Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sabiha Sumar

I caught an interview with Sabiha Sumar on CBS today. She is a journalist/film maker born in Pakistan. I felt she was pretty honest and bold about what is going on in Pakistan today, and about how the formula of democracy doesnt apply there as it would in other parts of the world. According to her (and I agree), it is the relegious extremism that is the biggest threat to the state being a realistic democracy there. Most of the people live in rural areas (like India) and have no idea about, or relevance with democracy. However, unlike India, most of the poor still live in a feudal society where local governing bodies make and implement the laws. And these local bodies are heavily influenced by the extremists. According to Sabiha, Gen. Musharraf kept the extremism away from the common people to some extent; but now, an election of ballot brought the political parties back in power, the ones that rely heavily on extremists for their own survival. Another good thing Sabiha stated was that no country has a right or business to take the idea of democracy and instill in another country; esp. not without properly understanding the latter's political context and cultural background. I admire the boldness with which she pointed out that US has no business going to Pakistan and trying to instill democracy there.. and that this effort is in fact doing the opposite. Interesting! One of her short interview films with Gen. Musharraf (Dinner with the President - A Nation's Journey) will be aired during Fall in the independent lens series on PBS, I think.

Great job, Sabiha! Keep it up!

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