(I apologize for such a vulgar title.)
The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, became involved in a very public and unprecedented spat with Venezuelan loose cannon and tyrant, Hugo Chávez. At the Ibero-American Summit, Chávez called (José María) Aznar, the former president of Spain, a fascist, and said that a fascist is less than human. The current president of Spain, José Luís Rodríguez Zapatero, intervened in Aznar’s support, saying Aznar was legitimately elected by the Spanish people and was a legitimate leader of Spain. But Chávez would not stop interrupting Zapatero. After the King said something to Chávez, gesturing in his direction and visibly agitated, the King leaned towards the microphone in front of him and said, “Why don’t you just shut up?” (“¿Por qué no te callas?”; note the second person familiar, which in this case is an indication of rudeness). A short while later, the King got up and left the room. He returned, but then left before the Chilean national anthem that closed the summit.
Bravo, Don Juan Carlos!
Soon: URLs to videos of the spat.
Effective immediately, I will impose a policy of not approving all comments. Rabidly anti-Semitic, rabidly anti-American, and otherwise unacceptable comments may be deleted. I will be going back and purging some comment threads of such comments.
I believe no justification is necessary.
If you submitted a comment and it does not appear, it means I have not approved it yet or I have deleted it. Please e-mail me to enquire. If I purge a comment, I will say so in its place rather than deleting it entirely.
In 1843, under General Charles. James Napier the British conquered Sindh. It is said that he announced his conquest with one word: “Peccavi”.
In Latin, “peccavi” means “I have sinned,” a play on General Napier’s intended message, “I have Sindh.”
I believe there is a technical difference between martial law and emergency rule. I believe that in the former, the entire government is overthrown and replaced with a caretaker (and temporary) government, usually hand-picked by the new military ruler. In the latter, the government is simply authorized to do more things than before. In both cases, the constitution is suspended. (I am not sure which cases, if any, necessarily involve the imposition of a Provisional Constitutional Order, which is a sort of temporary constitution.)
(As a point of reference, Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, had emergency rule, which was not martial law, declared, which spanned from June 25, 1975, to March 21, 1977. (This period is often known as the Emergency Raj.) This was in response to the Allahabad High Court dismissing her. That incident, and the difference between what Musharraf recently did and what he did when he initially took over in 1999, warrants a differentiation between martial law and emergency rule.)
Technically, Musharraf has imposed emergency rule and/or declared a state of emergency. He said in his address that the government will remain intact: nothing will change with regard to current governing authorities and bodies. In any case, the constitution has been suspended, and the Supreme Court has been flushed. All anti-Musharraf justices have been dismissed and detained. A new chief justice was sworn in by Musharraf. It is expected that the new Supreme Court will be assembled and sworn in soon. This time, it is expected that the Supreme Court will not challenge Musharraf or his directives.
Whether one may call this a “coup” is debatable. On the one hand, this was a coup against the Supreme Court. On the other hand, governing bodies, people, and authorities remain unchanged.
An interesting reaction by many Pakistanis when the military assumes control is to breathe a sigh of relief. Maybe now, they believe, the military can finally clean house, eliminating terrorists, militants, extremists, corrupt politicians, corrupt feudal lords, and so on.
It is expected that with the Supreme Court unable to meddle (and with the unprecedented silencing of the religious parties), Pakistan’s military government (under civilian guise) will do what needs to be done.
We’ll see if that happens.
If one examined the recent acts, actions, verdicts, and rulings of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, one might come to the conclusion that the Supreme Court had been stacked with terrorists, militants, and extremists and/or with those sympathetic to terrorists, militants, and extremists. But the simple fact is that the Pakistani Supreme Court was not stacked with such people. In its agenda against Musharraf, it supported everyone who opposed Musharraf (such as terrorists, militants, and extremists) and opposed anyone who supported or listened to Musharraf (such as the Pakistani military and the Pakistani police). And so it indirectly became a dependable tool for terrorists and their sympathizers. And, as such, became an enemy to Pakistan’s stability and security and to America’s efforts against terrorists in that part of the world.
It becomes very difficult for America to enlist Pakistan’s help when Pakistan’s Supreme Court is constantly setting free its jailed terrorists and ruling against anti-terrorist operations.
The last time America pushed Pakistan towards democracy, elections were held and the religious party became one the largest political players. They were and are intractably against America. Before those elections, there was no religious party in Pakistan.
The religious party — and remember that before those elections the religious elements never united to become a force with which to be reckoned — added a major complication, headache, factor of instability, and stumbling block for the Pakistani government.
So, for those clamoring for democracy in Pakistan: be careful what you’re asking for. When will be got might be far worse than what now exists.
One of Musharraf’s complaints in his address to Pakistan and to world was about the Pakistani media. He made a good point that while they ought to be independent, the media ought also to be responsible. The Pakistani media have been irresponsible and even have contributed to Pakistan’s current instability. I agree with him, and allow me to provide a few examples as to how he is right. Read the rest of this entry »
In his address on television to the public, President Pervaiz Musharraf explained why he invoked emergency rule.
The onus was placed on the Supreme Court of Pakistan, which he accused to endangering the stability and security of Pakistan. It had been doing this, he alleges, by needlessly delaying important decisions and by questioning (and even ruling against) vital operations against terrorists and extremists. Musharraf did mention the Supreme Court’s impending decision regarding Musharraf’s reelection. But he said that the Supreme Court prolonged the ruling far longer than what was prudent for the proper functioning of the government. He did not make any mention of the fact that the Supreme Court was said to be leaning to rule against him. Read the rest of this entry »