There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people- Howard Zinn. Musa Khankhel became the 20th journalist in the last two years, to be targeted by demented brains that should be in prison serving a lifetime, but how can we expect justice in a country where the legal system is the weakest possible. That the constitutional courts have failed in Pakistan is evident from the fact that more than 70 Taliban courts now exist in the Swat valley alone, where 'speedy justice' is being meted out on the streets and people are standing there watching hooded men lash out their temper and their forced justice. The people have no choice because the state has failed them. What is perverse is that the state shows inhumane ignorance. An ordinary citizen wants to be acknowledged by the state when it comes to the problems he faces, and in a situation where for the last two years the people of this region are facing terror, no statesman has bothered to talk to these people directly. We live in a lawless society. Fragile is the foundation on which a society rests its tired self. It's a rhetoric but I will indulge in it again and say this - that institutions that are built on principles are the foundation that supports the people of a society. If they are weak all vices will come to the surface and hell will break loose. It takes very little time to look around ourselves and see how we have degraded from civility to the lowest levels where very little goodness exists. Most people think this is pessimism but I disagree because running away from reality so that one remains delusional and happy is escapism. I have seen the world around me change faces from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the beautiful to the grotesque and I am feeling helpless when I think of my children growing up without climbing trees to see butterflies embrace the spring flowers. I cannot send my children out on the roads without fearing so much and more. I shiver at the thought of what else awaits us in the name of modernism and our distorted view of it. This is what gives self proclaimed justice providers like the Taliban to step forward boldly and take on the responsibility to straighten people's values. What a slap in the face of the state We have a cabinet that has 92 members (give and take half if you want to) and we have ministers who do not even justify their portfolios. We do not expect them to do anything for us for we know the rituals from years now. They are there to fill the empty hours and pockets and when it's time to exist; they shall do so without any one asking them anything. They know they shall be glorified by a dead society and will continue to flag television shows and give their statements (example: Pervaiz Musharraf acting like a messiah on television) and they shall live happily ever after without guilt or accountability. Nonetheless, what I do have in my hand is the power to hold onto the values my parents have instilled in me. I still possess the fortune of love and compassion that I let trickle down into my children and those who come in contact in me. I still believe that we can rise from the lowest level even now if we empower ourselves with the energies that the universe has given us. For if we do not do so we shall not receive salvation. That is the price we pay for our silence as a people. That is the price we pay for our inertia till we remain so. E-mail: