In 2008 when Barack Hussain Obama took oath of office as the 44th President of United States of America (USA) he promised to shut down the infamous Guantanamo prison within a year. For his efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Less than six months remain before he steps down from the most powerful position in the world while the illegal detention centre is still there. Why?

President Obama had many firsts. His father was a Black Muslim from Kenya. After the divorce of his parents he was raised as a Christian by his mother and maternal grandparents. As a child he spent some time in Pakistan as well. After obtaining a law degree from the famous Harvard Law School, he started his practice in the city of Chicago before being elected the first African-American President of USA.

The Guantanamo Island detention centre was set up by President George W. Bush in 2002 in utter desperation. After the 9/11 incident US forces picked up suspected terrorists from all over the world who could not be kept in detention under the law of the land. Common law protects individual freedom to contain executive abuse. The approach being that; everyone is innocent unless proven guilty. While in Pakistan we have experienced several supra constitutional episodes, the Western World by and large abides by the constitution. Limits are not crossed. Corruption and international terrorism not only threatens our way of life but is also a major challenge to the rule of law. Being a practicing lawyer himself President Obama wanted to live by it.

‘Change we can believe in’ was the election slogan of Obama. He wanted to challenge the status-quo by shutting down illegalities like the Guantanamo detention centre. During his honeymoon period in office he moved fast and reviewed several cases of the inmates, some were also released from detention but then the forces of the status-quo regrouped. Even the powerful office of the President was rendered helpless.

Perhaps Obama is one of the ablest Presidents ever, yet he has been unable to implement his campaign promise. It clearly shows the power of the anti-change forces and status-quo mafias which are powerful and entrenched. While he succeeded on many fronts Guantanamo continues to survive with all its illegal and inhuman practices. While ‘Obama Care’ will be remembered as the high point of his Presidency, the detention centre could be the un-pardonable low.

Representative democracy and common law are fast being rendered ineffective in our times. Common good and will of the people is being ignored worldwide. Most democratic and socio-economic gains of the 20th century are being neutralised. The power of the establishment is over-whelming. Elected individuals come for limited periods and then leave. Those who stay get to call the shots. Change is not only difficult it has become impossible. Most Comrades have gone home there is no one left to fight. The era of resistance and activism is over. Leaders have been replaced by managers who only follow directives. Cost of dissent has become so high that no one dares any more. Time is running out for Barack Hussain Obama while Guantanamo lives on. One of his possible replacements Donald Trump has promised to keep it going and even expand it.

While the forces of status-quo are entrenched the Comrades of change are in disarray. For the future of mankind it is time to get organised. Election promises are made without any homework or access to reliable data and information. Even within the parties there is lack of clarity with manipulative forces in operation. While the rhetoric exists there is no will to dig in and fight for change. Voters expect their elected representatives to work for their interests but they seldom do.

It is time to review the weaknesses in the Common Law practice as it is unable to contain terrorism of various kinds. Representative democracy has become ineffective and may cause a breakdown of the democratic order in the 21st century. Unfortunately the very forums that are supposed to deliver on evolutionary change mechanisms are responsible for strengthening the status-quo. This is a perfect recipe for revolution and bloodshed.

Pakistan is also bracing for change. While the common man continues to suffer their elected representatives continue to increase their salaries and perks. There is a major disconnect between the rulers and the ruled. It is a state of utter frustration and helplessness.

Candidate Obama was right in saying ‘Change we must’ but as President he seemed helpless on many fronts. Same is true with political leadership all over the world including Pakistan. The politicians (Siasis) are unable to drive the Baboos or contain the Khakis and Qazis. As such there is no one to lead. Guantanamo is a result of failure and frustration which has to be overcome by the will and support of the people. Change is the only permanent factor, the rest is all temporary. For a better tomorrow it is also the solitary way forward.