This Is Known As "Bad Luck"

Though the link to this piece appeared over at Instapundit a few days ago, I hadn't read it until yesterday. If nothing else it proves that Robert Heinlein was right when he wrote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

All we need to do is look at Pakistan to see how Heinlein's observation is true.

As Anglo-Indians were driven out of Pakistan, its society and economy started to deteriorate. Those actually producing the wealth, running the bureaucracies, the courts, the hospitals, the police, the railroads, the schools were driven out and bad things started happening. As Masood Hasan writes in the Pakistan's international edition of The News:

It is hard to believe that Pakistan was once a gentle country. It is even harder to believe that some of the most wonderful people lived here. All that seems like a misty memory which has little relevance as you face the day’s first rude slaps. A friend passed me an interesting short article about the Anglo-Indians who lived and worked in what is now India and Pakistan. The Anglos are long gone swallowed up by the mists of time, driven out from here to fend for themselves. But in their extinction lies a bigger tragedy.

The Anglo Indians were fun people. But more than the singular expertise they brought to the jobs that became traditionally their forte, they added a swing, vibrancy and a sheer joy of living spirit to our society that in many ways epitomised the new, fresh spirit that was Pakistan. That was then. Now it’s a fading sepia tone picture. Those of us who grew up with them, watched with considerable sadness as family after family left this country to go and live in alien climes. There was nothing left for them. They were wise in retrospect. Look at our bestiality towards our minorities. But while the Anglo Indians were here, they gave us a unique gift. The joy of living and of being alive.

Pakistan is a shadow if its former self. Where once everyone could walk the streets safely, one now puts one's life in jeopardy, particularly if you aren't Pakistani. The government is corrupt, the military is rife with religious fundamentalists who see Wahabbi-perverted jihad as a good thing, and it's once thriving economy and society is a shambles.

The 1972 laws enforced by ZAB to please the fundos broke the spirit of all of us, particularly the Anglo Indians. Bars, discos, clubs all shut down in fear. Suddenly hosts of musicians and other artists had no livelihood. ‘Tolerance went up in smoke,’ recalls one sad person. Came 1979 and the evil Zia and the coup de grace forced the Anglos to escape, migrate anywhere they could go. They left by the droves, never to come back. The clubs died, the dance floors uprooted, the many services they offered fell by the wayside. In driving out this small community, we dug our own graves. We rapidly became soulless, grey, hypocritical and boring. With them gone, an integral part of decent civilian life was snuffed out. Guns replaced guitars. The scorched landscape that we inherited, now mocks us. Laughter has changed to anguish. Pakistan may be a ‘hard country’, but it is also a barren and desolate land. One gentleman of the fabled 60s sums it all up in one line: ‘Those days are gone. They will not come back.’ Quite an epitaph wouldn’t you agree?

What's telling are the comments from those who remember the days before everything started coming apart and their lament at what their home country has become.