Sunday, September 26, 2010

...Condemned to Repetition

Came across this British film newsreel from early 1960 about Pakistan and specifically General Ayub Khan's plans for the country he had assumed charge of only two years earlier (through what was then propagandized as the "October Revolution", believe it or not) and thought it really was worth sharing.

Despite the almost laughable pukka orientalism of the British reporter and the PR nature of the report, it is fascinating to see images of the country from 50 years ago. But what is even more worth hearing are Ayub's words and ideas (often paraphrased by the reporter). Concern over 'corruption and a cracking economy', belief in a democracy 'suited to the local psyche', 'saving the future of the country' from those politicians who had 'let it down', 'devolving power down to the grassroots', an unwillingness to see himself as a military dictator, and support for the 'emancipation of women' as an engine for 'modernization.'

Hmmmmm. Now where might you have heard that again? In. Exactly. Those. Words.

What is that they say about those who cannot remember the past?

Part I:

Part II:

Tailpiece: The report ends with the following (probably unintentionally) prescient words: "Pakistanis know that their present revolutionary regime [sic] is the biggest gamble in their 12 years of independence. Will it pave the way to a stable and prosperous democracy? Or will it create evils as great as those it has driven out?" Keep in mind that within 10 years of this report, Pakistan was in a bloody civil war.


Magnum said...

Brilliant videos, Pyala, absolutely brilliant. Also notice the lack of beards amonng the masses. LOL!

And yea, you are right. Each and every military dictator has repeated the same damn mantra about corruption, law and order, blah, blah, blah.

Well done again, CP.

Musab said...

Fascinating. Despite the reporter sounding like a patronizing fop who's catchphrase seems to be 'w omen's emancipation', the videos are intriguing little time-capsules.

singingyogi said...

I just loved the videos of how Pakistan was in the 1960s - Same with India (where I am). How simple and uncomplicated Life seems then. Even Ayub Khan looks fairly decent and seems to be talking sense... Where did all these days go? Bhala tha kitna apna bachpan, bhala tha kitna!

takhalus said...

I've quoted it before and I'll do it again

"History repeats itself, the first as tragedy, then as farce."

Wallist said...

"alcohol is leagal in Karachi ... pardah and burqua are on the decline ..."

Wow. What happened then?

Alpha Za said...

Civil Wars, Damn Pyala, Y'all know exactly how to brighten my day.


Anonymous said...

@Wallist: then we got infected with a virus called Zia.