The latest offering from the imprudent documentary crew at Vice magazine is a guide to Karachi, Pakistan’s center of finance, education, and bloody violence. From burned-out neighborhoods to a smoldering dump on the outskirts of town, the Vice boys fraternized with all the elements of a gangster city: inept police forces, murderous politicians, mafioso shadow governors, and even the junkies.As Suroosh Alvi, co-founder of Vice, narrates:
In 2011, more than three times as many people were killed in Karachi than the number of people killed in American drone strikes in the tribal areas.Why does that matter? Because Pakistan matters—whether you’re an American worried about the extremists, an Indian worried about the nukes, or an Afghan worried about Pakistan’s ambitions. Basically, Pakistan is a powder keg, and Karachi is the detonator that could set it all off.
Hat tip to Michael J. Totten, who insists that the video should be “required viewing for journalists and American foreign policy makers who deal with Pakistan for a living.”I’ve been to Karachi a couple of times on my own, and while I didn’t get into some of the slum areas profiled in the Vice documentary, I saw enough to take the basic point. I’ve been there when the city was nearly shut down over outbreaks of ethnic and political violence; there are some incredibly bright and public spirited people in this city, but so far they are nowhere near charting a realistic program to halt an inexorable downward slide.