Corrupt absolutely.

SOMETHING strange, unsettling and heartbreaking is happening in the world. Unpleasantness does not diminish the reality; it makes it unpalatable, but even bitter truths must be acknowledged. The corruption narrative has failed. The anti-corruption drive did not just run out of steam, it went bust. Not just in our neck of the woods, but globally.

Benjamin Netanyahu, poised to take back the reins in Israel, was indicted on several charges of corruption and abuse of public office in 2019. Unlike some of his predecessors, he refused to step down after the indictment. He is likely to become PM again. The entire case may be annulled if his right-wing allies' plans succeed.

In Brazil, Luiz Lula has just defeated Jair Bolsonaro in the elections. The same Lula who in 2017 faced trial on corruption charges and was convicted to serve jail time; in 2021, he was given a reprieve by the supreme court that asserted the trial court did not have proper jurisdiction. Is the electorate 'gullible' or has the triumvirate of executive, legislature and judiciary been playing too much to the gallery?

If someone convinces you to believe that the Brazilians only care about the sand and sun and football and samba, how would one explain what happened in the Philippines recently? The Marcos legacy was nothing but corruption and nepotism. It wasn't just a one-man show, it was a family-run saga of poor governance, cronyism, and amassing wealth at public expense.

Imelda Marcos became a synonym for conspicuous spending. Her staggering shoe collection became as infamous as her husband's conviction in a murder trial in his younger days; the conviction was later overturned by the supreme court. The entire family was banished to plush exile in Hawaii when the regime was overthrown in 1986.

Also read: Should we care about what Transparency International has to say on corruption in Pakistan?

The heir, Ferdinand Jr was, however, only recently elected to the highest office in the country. So, Filipinos still suffer from feudalism and have not gotten the hang of democracy rooted in public accountability, you believe? How about Malaysia and Indonesia? The datos and putris do not all have pristine reputations.

The corruption narrative is on its last legs.

No disrespect or malice is intended against any one of these great nations. Not just because they are friendly countries but because we suffer from the same public malaise in Pakistan. We are all in the same boat and it seems that...

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