PAKISTAN: Author Wonders — Have We Learned the Lessons of the Past?

In a recent, and seemingly controversial, article in the Opinion section of the prominent Pakistani newspaper The Dawn, author Ardeshir Cowasjee wrote an article about the failures of the Pakistani government and people in light of a famous book written by the late American author Barbara Tuchman titled The March of Folly (1984).  The book discusses the similarity of the flaws between rulers throughout history that lead to their failure and their nation’s collapse. Tuchman’s thesis concentrates on how “folly triumphs over reason.”  Impressed with that theme, Ardeshir applies this conclusion to the downward spiral of violence and hatred within his own country.  He refers to the “debacle” of the Indo-Pakistani war of 1971, and writes, “The ignominy of military defeat resulted not only in the permanent loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh; it has left scars on Pakistani national psyche that to this day manifest in the shape of jihadist ideology. Instead of learning lessons from the previous folly, our jihadists now want to commit the folly of confronting the United States, replacing ‘crush India’ with the slogan ‘crush America’.”  He references Tuchman’s thesis to discuss the viral and self-destructive hatred of the jihadist mentality towards America this way:  “Most nations try to learn from their past but we Pakistanis are determined not to do so. Few books have been published, analyzing what went wrong and who did what in the greatest tragedy in the country’s history.”

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The Dawn



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