Of Wikileaks, Vision and Bifocals
30 November, 2010
By Anwaar Hussain
The US says that Wikileaks disclosures are a crime. Since when has disclosure of a crime become a crime, wasn’t explained. Apart from the fact that the reaction of the United States’ Government borders on the ridiculous, it does remind one of that famous quote from the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, “Boy, I got vision and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”
Days after the damning disclosures, while surfing the net, the scribe stumbled upon excerpts from a guidebook called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. It is a comprehensive handbook published by the American Psychiatric Association and provides a classification of mental disorders. It is used around the world.
Allow me to explain.
In our general discussions we refer to each other as the American, the Brit, the French, the Pakistani etc. But when pre-qualifiers like the loud American, the frugal French, the Pakistani way are added, whether with prejudice or otherwise, these point to a predisposition towards certain typical behavioral patterns. Why else would the airport security staff the world over give us Pakistanis a thorough shake down the moment they see our green passports? Such nomenclature is quite indicative of the fact that a citizen of a particular nation tends to, or is expected to, exhibit traits peculiar to that nation in general. That in turn implies that nations tend to have personalities. And if they have personalities, they must have personality disorders as natural accompaniments.
After studying some portions of the DSM, one becomes increasingly convinced that nations too suffer from personality disorders. Broad classifications of personality disorders in the DSM range from antisocial personality, borderline personality, histrionic personality, narcissistic personality, avoidant personality, dependent personality, obsessive-compulsive personality, depressive personality to passive-aggressive personality. Think of a nation, go here for quick references and see what disorder a certain nation suffers from in your opinion.
But then there are some nations that, just like in United Nations where all nations are supposedly ‘equal’ in status, are more equal than the rest. In a 2005 research, psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon at the University of Surrey, UK, found out that three out of the several personality disorders were actually more common in high executives than in the disturbed criminals. Read these and see if a particular nation’s name comes to mind. These are;
Histrionic personality disorder: including phony charm, dishonesty, self-interest and manipulation.
Narcissistic personality disorder: including grandiosity, self-focused lack of empathy for others, exploitativeness and independence.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies.
If the three words in the country’s name begin with alphabets U, S and A, and in that order, you are thinking the same as the scribe.
Perhaps there is an immediate need for the United Nations to publish an International DSM. The state actors would at least know what they are dealing with when interacting with each other.
American government’s absurd condemnation of the Wikileaks confirms what President Muffley (Peter Sellers) said in the 1964 movie Dr. Strangelove or…,“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!” But who was it that said, “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts”?
Well done Julian Assange! They may forget your disclosures but they will never forget how you made them look.