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Even before one act of the Pegasus play is over, the next one is ready to hit the stands. The strand which runs through this unending saga is that the democratically elected rulers / leaders have no faith in democracy. The mechanism of checks and balances should work in a seamless manner, delivering maximum good to maximum people. The shoulders which carry these responsibilities, do not have grey matter to run human enterprises, which these democracies are. The self-discipline to run democratically elected governments is not their destinies. They are pygmies, when the world treats them larger than life. They live in their self-created images, the government glitz and media add to this aura.

For this is not enough to traverse into a myriad of democratic responsibilities, delivering each in the manner it should be. More often than not, they fail. The investigative report of Pegasus malware released by 17 international media organizations reveal this not so hidden fact of democratic leaderships. This created one of its kind furore across the globe. India reacted as if nothing had happened. The uproar was made to die down. This was July 2021. Then came the New York Times investigative report in Jan 2022. It blew off the lid further, on the same temperament, character and behaviour and total lack of democratic culture in a variety of democratic nations. It gives a feeling that if things can remain covered, then confidentiality and privacy privileges would necessarily be used for wrong reasons by democratically elected governments, leave aside the dictatorial one.

Going by the recent media reports, Pegasus ghost has come to hound the state which has supposedly vetted every sale of Pegasus. It is in this sacred land of Cyber Security, where the ultimate cyber weapon was born. This is the democratic state of Israel. Israel’s domestic spying scandal is itself taking monstrous proportions. There are reports that the police illegally used the Pegasus malware to hack phones of dozens of prominent figures. The bombshell was dropped by business daily, Calcalist, which has alleged that former premier’s son, activists, senior government officials, businessmen and other have been subject to the Pegasus onslaught. It is claimed that it was used against anti-Netanyahu protest movement.

The tools which were created to help the fight against terrorism and the like is being recklessly used against political rivals and to silence voices of protest. The inviolable right to privacy is being violated at the whims and fancies of their rulers. They are not able to make out that they cannot be permanent rulers. Israeli PM describes it as a grave situation, unacceptable in democracy. Israel has been under fire for allowing Pegasus to proliferate this invasive technology to states with poor human rights records. But now the Calcalist reports have brought the outrage home. The credibility of key Israeli institutions are at stake. President Herzog said, ”We must not lose democracy. We must not lose our Police. And we must certainly not lose public interest in them. This requires an in-depth and thorough investigation.” Hope India gets a cue out of it.


Sanjay Sahay

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