The tide of failure

Cyril Almeida in Dawn:

ScreenHunter_01 Aug. 21 16.42 It didn’t register immediately. That the flood coverage is really about two catastrophes, not one. There is of course the damage caused by the flooding itself, the one Pakistan will take years to recover from. Then there’s the damage of the last 63 years that the floods have uncovered.

By now everyone’s seen them on television screens, the miles-long processions of barely recognisable humanity, the materially dispossessed, the broken and the bowed.

Traumatised, lives shattered, you expect the flood victims to look a certain way. But it’s more than that. The victims are clearly not new acquaintances of adversity. You can hear it in their voices, see it in their eyes, sense it through their leathery skin. The victims of the floods carry the burden of a lifetime of misery.

The second catastrophe: the great floods of 2010 have uncovered 63 years of the great unwashed masses of this country. The people the state has failed in the most terrible of ways, not this week, not last month, but over its entire, sordid history.

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