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       Volume 11 |Issue 02| January 13, 2012 |


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The Art of Self-sabotage

Aasha Mehreen Amin

We all know that politics is a funny business. Politicians in particular never fail to entertain. Sometimes, during bouts of hysterical narcissism, they will do or say the most outrageous things that provide rich fodder for the media and a good laugh for the public.

Like the minister, who under a barrage of criticism for failing to get the dilapidated roads fixed, claimed that he was a 'certified honest man' or the other minister who provided the solution to price hike of essentials such as food: 'eat less'.

Self-sabotage seems to be an affliction that lives off the ridiculous insecurities of some politicians. The latest case of 'shoot your own foot' syndrome comes from none other than a lawmaker.

First he goes off assaulting a woman TV journalist and a videographer, hurling swear words and then telling his goons to 'shoot' the other journalists who were protesting his wild behaviour. Meanwhile the camera is gleefully rolling to make juicy headlines for the evening news. The assaulted journalist's crime was asking the lawmaker, who happened to be president of the school's management committee, why the admission fees had been hiked despite the ceiling given by the Prime Minister. The lawmaker had lost face and just didn't have anything to say in his defence. Hence the thuggish behaviour. What this unruly lawmaker forgot is that when it comes to facing the media, offence is not the best defence. It's suicidal.

People who tend to unwittingly sabotage themselves because of their arrogance and ignorance are prone to burying themselves in the quicksand of gaffes.

This particular lawmaker went on taking wrong turns after becoming quite a celebrity for his dramatic attack on the woman journalist on camera.

He decided a counter move would be to deny the whole thing and claim that this was a media conspiracy to 'tarnish his image'. Oh no, not that again, we thought in pain. He even arranged a little talk show on a channel he owned where he criticised journalists for hatching a conspiracy against him.

Then he ordered the school where all the drama had taken place to make its students and teachers form a human chain in protest of this unjustified propaganda against him. How he would explain the video footage is not known.

Meanwhile, news reports confirmed that the students and teachers were practically forced to do this. Irate parents were seen rushing to the school and streets to take away their children. A few other people had been 'invited' to join the human chain and hold placards. When a Daily Star reporter asked one of them what he was protesting and what was written on the placard, he said he hadn't the foggiest idea!

Ironically, after this circus, the students of the school and some of their parents formed their own human chain, this time the real thing, to protest against the hike in fees and the 'corruption of officials', giving the whole tale a kind of Aesopian twist.

Thus, while we are more than a little worried about where our country is headed if we have such irresponsible lawmakers, one has to admit that they provide at least a good dose of comic relief every now and then.

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