‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ George Santayana
Like the storm that throws the desert into disarray,tearing down the castles it built in sand erecting new structures out of oblivion and vanishing without trace;so it is with this nation that when shoved into murky waters gets up,shrugs and accepts the slough as fate.
We Pakistanis have a proclivity for forgetting;banishing incidents to the deep dark recesses of our grey matter where they bide their time,to emerge only when we fall prey to the same mistakes. And we of this admonish ourselves for lacking the astuteness to learn from our past. The cyclical pattern would condemn any human being to an asylum,who after several incidents of being burnt will still go play with fire.
Sometimes forgetting can be cathartic. Relegating disappointments and let-downs to the subconscious is a means of coming to terms with failure and moving on with a positive outlook. The only difference is that the subconscious never forgets,it internalizes events and learns from them. We unfortunately don’t.
One of the reasons I believe why Pakistan as a nation doesn’t dwell on a topic long enough to reach finito is the superfluity of pitfalls and disappointments. When it comes to pigeonholing these events we run out cerebral compartments in which to consign the Memogate issue,followed closely by the Mehrangate scandal;when close to 140 soldiers were buried in an avalanche in Siachen causing a nationwide debate and discussion on whether posting soldiers in no-man’s-land is even a good idea;Karachi went up in flames the embers of which still burn;families of missing persons swelled camps on the fringes of Baloch cities and people continued to go missing;Hazara Shiites are being terrorized and shot indiscriminately and we have no electricity,no fuel,our industries are shutting down one by one;the State Owned Enterprises are close to being sold off;the US never apologized for the Salala incident and now the National Assembly Speaker refuses to proceed with disqualification charges against the Prime minster. Must I go on?
This pill won’t go down anyone’s throat less be digested. Being bombarded with one anticlimactic nugget after another makes a nation wrought with fear and paranoia. But like I mentioned earlier we Pakistanis are superhuman folk. Feed us spurious drugs and watch us die for financial gain? Sure! We’ll protest and even threaten to boycott you completely but we’ll also forget in about four months and move on and pretend you never tried to kill us. We have more important issues at hand after all and by more important issues I mean India,who we must try to obliterate;all hail Difai Pakistan! We are all defenders of this State;and while we’re at it let’s deface a few Ahmedi mosques because they make our mosques look less pretty or something like that. Just like the kid who gets slapped around by those older and more powerful than himself goes and kicks the neighborhood dog to vent his anger,that’s how the sword brandishing ‘guardians’ of the faith pour out fire and brimstone for followers of faiths other than theirs.
Our leaders are no different. They deserve their own hats of shame. Corrupt to the core,they won’t even pretend to try to control the pillaging plague they have unleashed. Pitted against one another in a struggle for power and dollars the key institutions of this country will forget that the last time it held its begging bowl out and waged a proxy war for the US,Pakistan went over run with drugs,guns and free beards. No we really don’t learn. Or maybe it is because we don’t want to. Pakistan is a house on stilts caught in an earthquake eaten up by the termites that are its leadership and terrorists. Will you still sleep a dreamless sleep tonight knowing that entire communities need armed guards to guard them while they steal a snooze? Knowing that hundreds of thousands of people have had no dinner and are suicidal because they can’t afford to feed their families and will probably have to go sell a kidney? Yes you probably would. Just forget.