Friday, December 28, 2007

Swiss Cheesing History

One of my biggest gripes about NPR is how the distasteful historical record of the United States is redacted in stories where it should feature prominently (e.g. Guatemala, East Timor, Colombia, etc.) The recent coverage of Pakistan is striking in this regard.

Here are a few interesting remarks aired on NPR in the last two days:

Dec. 27, 2007 - ATC : (Siegel) "Pakistan has never been a place of stability, politically or otherwise."

Dec. 28 2007 - ME: (Northam) "Bhutto was a critical component of the Bush Administration's plans for Pakistan to try to bring democracy to the country and stabilize it."

Dec 28, 2007 - ATC: (Siegel) "...the history of the country as one abnormality, one aberration after another" and "when you try to sort out what is the root cause of the political problems...what is it...what's missing?"

In this last piece Siegel is talking with Adil Najam, a professor of public relations at Boston University and editor of the blog, All Things Pakistan. The piece was really strange in that Najam commented that three things explain Pakistan's troubled history: "our history," "our geography," and "our impatience." In the history the United States never came up (odd); even the BBC has a rather harsh take on that bit of history: "Last, but not least, the Americans have tended to use their crucial financial and military support selectively against democratic governments." Najam then examines geography, mentioning Pakistan's neighbors India, China, Afghanistan, and Iran. He notes that this and its strategic location have meant that "outside forces always [have been] very interested in Pakistan." But again no mention of the United States.

For a great antidote to this selective amnesia check out this great post on Manan Ahmed's blog, Chapati Mystery. Manan was on today's Democracy Now! along with Tariq Ali and it is well worth watching/listening to.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for that referral to Ahmed's blog! I heard him on D-N, but didn't get his name.


Porter Melmoth said...

Please see my blog for my own perspectives on the Bhutto assassination:

Sorry for the cheapie cut&paste, or access via name link...