Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, had a name for popular beliefs of the time that were used to frighten children: “bogey” or its plural “bogies.” A bogey, also known as a bogeyman, was a mythical creature used by adults to scare children into behaving. The bogeyman had no well-defined physical appearance and people had varied notions about it. However, it was commonly depicted to be a monster, which Socrates also called “the monsters under the bed.”
If Socrates were alive today, about two and half millennia later, he would describe the popular beliefs of many countries bogeymen. One would not be surprised if he named Pakistan a country of world-ranking bogeymen, perhaps below its friend Saudi Arabia which has the chutzpah to murder its citizens globally. However, Socrates would be surprised to see the mythical creature having come to life. He would also be surprised by the fact that the bogeymen don’t only frighten children but also adults into “behaving.”
Another shocking fact for Socrates would be that some of today’s bogeymen are no longer without an appearance. In a country like Pakistan, they are mostly men in Khaki uniform, and their protégés in plain clothes, armed to the teeth against the most vulnerable and the unarmed. Unlike the Greek bogeymen, these men don’t just frighten but actually punish and kill. They use the bogies (in the sense of popular beliefs) of forced religion and forced national identity to terrify and control dissenters. They use naked force and violence to enforce these beliefs.
Their ego is so absolute and monstrosity so utterly horrible that nothing changes them. Absolutely nothing softens them: the blood of the deceased, the tears of the bereaved mothers and children and the angst and plight of millions of innocents. In the land of these bogeymen, nothing but their monstrosity reigns supreme. What is also different about them is that they feed on the blood of the innocents. They feed on chaos.
They go bonkers when people ask questions because the bogeymen claim, which is hard to believe, that it is their job to maintain peace and order. But neither peace nor order is maintained. Chaos continues unabated because in chaos lies their power, respect and validation. Terminating this chaos, albeit temporarily, is a tool they use to win the public trust. It renders their presence necessary and at any cost. The deaths of hundreds and thousands don’t matter to the bogeymen if they can help to ensure the “unity” and “security,” whatever that means, of the country.
Under their law, torturing, disappearing and extra-judicially murdering anyone is in the country’s “best interest.” They have the monopoly over defining that interest. Anyone who dares to challenge them is terrified first, and if they persist, then tortured and killed. It is a fascist reign of terror, named “democracy.” Here only the bogeymen and their protégés rule. Here the dark forces of power, fear and pain dominate the atmosphere. Here the common, oppressed men and women breathe in fear and pain and then breathe them out. But who knows how long will this terror and chaos of the bogeymen last. History shows it does not for very long. We shall see.