Tell that to the Marines or to the people of Gaza and see if they agree. While most of the world was celebrating the New Year, the men, women and children of Gaza were crouching under their beds in the rubble of their homes in fear or busy mourning and burying their dead. One is amazed at the savagery of the attacks and the callous behavior of the non-state Israeli leaders, who seem to lack all sense and sensitivity. How can they unleash this carnage and the slaughter of men, women and children? How can our insensitive world leaders watch this slaughter, remain silent and allow the Israelis to bomb schools and hospitals, and deny them even medical aid? And while Gaza was being sadistically and brutally destroyed, the 'non state' leaders of the Super Powers were toasting in the NY and bickering over the wordings of the resolution condemning Israel's aggression, with the US, that preaches the world about democracy, respecting human rights, etc., repeatedly vetoing resolutions condemning the Israeli aggression. Over 700 innocent citizens have died and thousands injured since the carnage began. And the reason for this savage massacre, to protect the Israeli families who are living on Palestinian land, illegally occupied by them. And the tragedy is that it is with the approval of the American President and the leaders of the Muslim world, who have endorsed the US veto with their deafening silence. This is what we witnessed in Afghanistan and Iraq and now we are watching the same tragedy unfold in Palestine. Are Iran and Pakistan next? The west keeps brandishing Islam as a religion that preaches violence, yet refuses to condemn the barbaric behavior of the Israelis, who are even refusing to allow foreign reporters, aid workers and volunteers to go into Gaza, because they do not want the world to see the brutal suffering of the people. Hamas is also guilty for giving the Israelis an excuse to unleash its 'dogs of war' on its people, by firing missiles on them and using citizens as 'human shields'. No doubt, a justification is there, but knowing Israeli's fanatical behavior of 'a body for a tooth' and a neighborhood for an eye' policy, Hamas should have realized the consequences and should not have exposed their people to this terrible tragedy. The citizens of the world have at least reacted strongly, with protest rallies, but as always, with little effect. The brutal killings and the carnage continue, with no sign of stopping and if this is what the New Year has in store for us, then even God will not be able to help us. Now let us take a look at what the NY has in store for us in Pakistan. Well, there is some good news and some bad news. First the bad news. Surprise, surprise, Pakistan has finally admitted that Ajmal Kasab, the sole survivor of the Mumbai terrorist attack is a 'non-state' Pakistani. In other words, we are trying to tell the world that we have no clue of how many of the 170 million citizens living in Pakistan, are state or non-state Pakistanis. Not bad for a nuclear power. So where do we go from here? How many more options do we have, to continue this never-ending denial game? The Indian government has stated that the Mumbai attack was very professionally managed and could not have been carried out by so-called non-state actors. Those involved were skilled and experienced professionals, who could not have operated without being properly coached and trained. And if they were 'non-state actors', then they certainly deserve an Oscar. The operation was no sight seeing tour of Mumbai, but a very ambitious and audacious plan and carried out and executed with military precision. Therefore, to still maintain that they were non-state actors will no longer carry any credibility. However, there is one question that nobody has asked, who were the other nine dead terrorists and where did they come from? State or non-state, they must have come from somewhere. And how is it that the name and picture of the sole survivor has been splashed all over the world and his family conveniently located, but not a single picture or name of any of the other terrorists has been mentioned? And the government's response so far has been, the unceremoniously sacking of Maj. Gen. (Retd) M.A. Durrani, our National Security Advisor, for speaking the truth and Ms. Sherry Rehman's demand that Pakistani investigators should be allowed to visit the 'crime scene', almost 40 days after the tragedy. There are now speculations that next to go would be our very vocal and active Rehman Malik, PM's Adviser on Interior Affairs, who is also very fond of shooting from the hip. How many more will be made the sacrificial lambs, only time will tell? The heat is on and it is time for the government to get real, stop stalling and end 'pass the pillow game'. We will not be able to 'buy' American protection by pinning medals on their chest. It is time to take firm and immediate action against those responsible for the Mumbai attack and punish them. If the government fails to do so, then it should read the writing on the wall, before it is reduced to rubble. And adding insult to injury, our President has proudly presented to Richard Boucher, Assistant Secretary for the US, Pakistan's prestigious Hilal-e-Quaid-e-Azam, forgetting that American drones are still flying unhindered, over our NWFP hills and bombing where and when they please, killing innocent citizens in the process. But such is the mind set of our non-state leaders and their non-state advisors. No doubt, we can not bite the hand that has been feeding us for the last five decades, but to present Mr. Boucher such an award is an insult to all those who have received them over the years. Must we stoop so low to please Uncle Sam? Where is our national pride? As my friend, NS has suggested, it would be a great gesture if the previous recipients of the award were to return them, with a simple note, 'Thank you, but no thank you'. But then, how many have the moral courage to do so? Now to the good news. First, for once, there were no ugly incidents during Ashura and the LEA and the City Government must be congratulated for this. The other good news is that our beloved President, in his infinite wisdom, has blissfully announced that there will be no more load shedding. The Lord be praised, the crisis is over, factories will hum to their full capacity, there will be no job losses, exports will increase, dollars will pour in and the City of lights will be restored to its past glory. However, turning on the lights of our city will not be that easy or just by throwing a switch. According to our electrical engineers and experts, the country faces a shortfall of over 1500 MWs, a totally collapsed distribution system and over 40% line losses and power theft. All these require massive investments and at least three years to overcome. So hold on to your generators and UPS systems, as there might be a temporary lull in the load shedding, but you will still need them. And before we start celebrating, another word of caution. Cyril Almeida, in her article, In the year 2 AZ, (Dawn, 2nd Jan 09), she writes, 'With conventional wisdom, off the record or on the record, between the lines or straight shooting, political foes and friends alike agree that the Zardari system won't last'. Others have also voiced similar concern, but more of that in the next article. So dear citizens, put away the champagne glasses and let's see what surprises the coming months will bring us. E-mail: