The Princess and the Pea: A tale of Machiavellian Patriotism
This article will attempt to draw inferences and analogies between different stories we grew up with.
Lahore, 7th April: Starting with the Italian “Black Prince”, Niccolo Machiavelli the architect rather the inspiration behind “Laissez-faire” and a school of thought titled “Machiavellism” a belief that economies and businesses function best when there is no interference by the government.
The word is French, meaning to leave alone or to allow to do “without checks or control”. It is one of the guiding principles of capitalism and a free market. Laissez-faire if allowed to operate unabated, unchecked or without intervention will lead to a society where the few will own much more than is needed and the more will have nothing perhaps even left in perpetual destitution.
“Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel. Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are”.
That’s the most appropriate gist for all the narrative building around us and the shrouds it creates over the affairs of the National Flag carrier. Each interest group, association, union, competitive bargaining agent (CBA) gunning for their pound of flesh. But it would so seem that perhaps Shakespeare’s Shylock resides much more in the intents and actions of the association of its pilots more than any other.
First, they party for 14 days plus at the expense of the airline, not following self-isolation protocols or keeping themselves under strict quarantine and return back home carrying the virus. On arrival, they play the victim crying crocodile tears blaming it all on the “management” claiming that safety protocols are being breached. Resultantly, an advisory is issued to all its members to stop flying.
The aircraft flew empty without passengers, they were already in Canada from before and outside Pakistan. All that happened was that due to the chartered flights sponsored by the Canadian High Commission they landed back home. How could anybody else be held responsible but they themselves?
Oftentimes the cause of all our miseries is like a pebble in one’s foot or a pea under the mattress.
At a time which calls for a unified nationalistic spirit for the greater good and altruism, PALPA announces to its members to stop flying and calls in a strike of sorts. For what, personal gains?
Earlier, the employees of the company knowing the dire straits ahead, voluntarily reduced significant portions of their salaries, except the pilots who blatantly refused to do so. On an average the take-home salary of a rookie pilot is no less than half a million rupees a month, while their seniors going as high as over two million a month. This mind you is tax-free, paid for by PIA.
Second, they are paid 75 hours guaranteed per month regardless of whether they fly or not. They don’t want to let go of that. With everybody losing jobs and no immediate end in sight of this global pandemic or catastrophe, people from all walks of life are pitching in, but these princes are bothered by a pea under their mattresses.
Thirdly, when offered a free ride in a military aircraft to compensate for no domestic operations, they turn it down because military aircraft are beneath them or not up to standards. They ask for private luxury jets to ferry them back to their home stations as the evacuation flights are all planned to return back to Islamabad only.
Thanks to the 18th amendment which allows so much of autonomy to provinces that they can deny the request of the Federal Government to fly ferry or empty aircraft back to their main base at Karachi.
If at all Hans Christian Anderson’s princess was ever alive, she would find home to roost with the pilots of Pakistan International Airlines, the flag carrier of a third world nation where 21% or about 30 million people live with incomes less than a dollar and twenty-five cents a day.
I think the moral of the story is that no matter the situation some people will always find a reason to have their nose out of joint even if it’s just to be upset about a pea under 12 mattresses. They won’t say that they slept soundly on a stack of 12 fluffy mattresses.
They will whine and complain about being forced to sleep on a pea. They will ignore the 12 mattresses and only to see the pea. And they’ll go looking for the pea too. And I think it’s about time somebody put an end to their “untouchable” blackmailing nature.
Stay tuned to Baaghi TV for more interesting content.