50 Years Old Tune

A lot has changed since last 50 years. As much is different, though, some things remain stubbornly the same. I was reminded of this when glancing at a newspaper recently and noticing a report re-printed from 1965 that contained these words:

[Meanwhile, as reported by our correspondent in Dacca] the President of the Pakistan National Awami Party, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, today [July 17] called upon the Government not to yield under any circumstances to the pressure tactics of America whose aid with strings attached was motivated to enslave Pakistan. He emphatically declared that the entire nation was prepared to make any supreme sacrifice to face the crisis created by the stoppage of American aid.

Addressing a Press Conference in the city this evening, Maulana Sahib asserted that the people of Pakistan would be happy to go poor rather than to compromise their sovereignty and national integrity with the imperialist Power. He assured President Ayub Khan that he would find all patriotic elements in the country rallying round him to face the open imperialist threat from outside and smash the imperialist intrigue within the country. In this context, he expressed the hope that the Socialist countries of the world would come out fully in support of Pakistan in her hour of need as they did in Egypt, Algeria, Cuba, Indonesia, and other suffering countries of the world.

My eyes popped and I had to check again to confirm what I had read. This was written 50 years ago! Such is obvious from the names of the generals and politicians, but the rhetoric they are saying could easily be from any report today! Accusing “pressure tactics of America whose aid with strings attached was motivated to enslave Pakistan”. Declaring that “entire nation was prepared to make any supreme sacrifice to face the crisis”. Calling on “all patriotic elements in the country rallying round him to face the open imperialist threat from outside and smash the imperialist intrigue within the country”. And calling on the West’s rivals to “come out fully in support of Pakistan in her hour of need”.

It is not often that one can see the script laid so bare before one’s eyes, but here it is before us. The same script that has been read for over 50 years and brought us to the sad state where we find ourselves today. It is the same script that is being shouted by today’s hyper-nationalist generals and politicians. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different result. We are doing the same thing for half a century and expecting different result, and then?

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