Here is a recollection of a car accident on a modern super-highway and the ensuing human tragedy that followed. All eight members of the same family perished when the car they were travelling in stalled in the left fast lane as their vehicle ran out of petrol. They all got out of the car and started pushing it in the same lane. It was 3 a.m. on a foggy winter night. A four-wheel drive travelling at 130 kilometres per hour in the same fast lane struck the ill-fated car. No one who saw the scene of the accident could possibly forget the human mayhem the four-wheel drive that struck the car from behind flipped and rolled over for nearly half a mile and caught fire, the driver burnt beyond recognition. Human bodies scattered all over the place. The Pakistani community in this foreign country was emotionally devastated in the wake of this accident - and justifiably so. After all, it was not an ordinary accident; it was the ultimate tragedy that could befall a family in a time of peace, tranquillity and happiness the deceased family was returning home after dropping off their kin at the airport after a joyous visit. The entire Pakistani community mourned for months. At the communitys condolence meeting, some people attributed this accident to fate and destiny: Their time was over on this earth; God knows better why they were taken away; perhaps there was a celestial secret in it; they are all destined for Heaven because they are shaheeds These were some of the sentiments that were expressed. Indeed, that is how catharsis of human tragedy is sought - we feel helpless in the face of natures untimely fury and seek consolation in the unexplainable phenomenon. But an in-depth reflection and a better understanding of the human tragedies that we encounter on a daily basis (such as fatal car accidents, electric shock related deaths, food poisonings, etc.) will reveal another perspective on such human catastrophes: this perspective maintains that such tragedies can be contained because they are caused by human error. The point that is in this contemporary age of technological civilization, the element of human error has an irreversible cost, both in terms of human life and massive material damage - not to mention the torturous emotional devastation that such tragedies inflict on human beings. Consider, for example, the afore-mentioned fatal car accident - evaluate the human error: one does not drive on a super-highway with an empty petrol tank; one puts on the emergency hazard lights the moment the car stalls; one does not stand leisurely in the left fast lane; one does not remain in the moving traffic lane when the car is stalled - one immediately moves the stalled car to the 'shoulder provided for emergency purposes; and one makes the distress call to emergency services at once. The fact of the matter is that this unfortunate tragic accident could have been avoided by following the implicit rules of the present-day technological civilisation. Consider another recent disaster, in all probability and likelihood, caused by human error: the Margalla Hills Air Blue crash. The aviation rule that governs airport landings is that an approaching plane (cleared for landing and allowed to fly at a low altitude) has priority to use the air-strip. It is terribly disturbing to hear that the above-mentioned landing principle was not observed strictly as the Air Blue flight approached its landing. The media has reported that in the last minute communication between the pilot and air control on the ground, the pilot acknowledged the runway in his clear vision and could see the Margalla Hills plainly. Obviously the violation of landing rules by human error (whatever caused it) is responsible for this terrible tragedy that has devastated many families. Whereas technology is strictly rigid in its application and use, limiting human choice of actions, it also offers a great deal of potential to resolve human problems. Modern technology is specifically geared to pre-crisis solutions and resolutions of larger human problems that evolve out of natures disturbances. It is in this context that human judgments and actions are important. Take, for instance, the recent floods in Pakistan that have caused misery, devastation and the loss of life. Monsoons are a permanent part of our climate and atmospheric conditions; torrential rains come every year (in fact at a particular set schedule) and we know it. Floods are a part of our recorded history. So the vital question is: why havent successive governments in Pakistan taken pre-crisis measures and the management of limiting flood damages if not completely control natures fury? The answer to this extremely important question is fundamentally related to the dismissive, inefficient, mismanaged and apathetic attitude of the political leadership towards the masses and the errors in their decision-making priorities. Imagine, for illustration purposes only, had the yearly floods wreaked havoc on 'Riawind Estate or on expensive military garrisons, or on costly and fashionable residential 'Defence Societies popping up in each and every Pakistani city, or on the exclusive Islam-abad residential enclaves of bureaucrats and diplomats, or on the timelessly elegant GRO on the Mall in Lahore preserved from the British colonial times for top bureaucrats, judges and provincial cabinet ministers, the respective government functionaries and political decision-makers would have moved heaven and earth to control the flood devastation in the blink of an eye. I firmly believe, conceptually contend, and earnestly propose that our entire ruling elite is so indifferent to the plight of the masses, so insincere to the masses welfare, so unconcerned about the well-being, security and safety of the common citizen and so egocentrically occupied with their own self-interests that the countrys governance has assumed a diametrically opposite view of what a nations democratic governance should be. How else can one explain the endless national crises day after day, month after month, year after year? How else can one explain hundreds and thousands of 'refugees in their own homeland (the human tragedy in wake of the so-called war on terror)? How else can one explain one million people displaced by floods? How else can one explain hundreds swept away in flood waters? Our human tragedies are the outcome of the selfish, incompetent and apathetically insulated ruling elite It is about time the nation and the Pakistani masses hold someone accountable for all the devastations for all the tragedies that keep befalling our impoverished people. This is the moment for peoples action.We can change our fate our destiny It is not Gods wrath (punishment) - someone is responsible for all of it And we know who they are The writer is an academic, political analyst and conflict-resolution expert. Email: hl_mehdi@hotmail.com