Only Harry Potter can save Pakistan!

Karachi school kids think You-Know-Who and the Death Eaters have seized control. But where's Dumbledore?

By Andrew Leonard
November 8, 2007 11:01PM (UTC)
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This might be the greatest victory of Western cultural imperialism, ever. Some Pakistani children consider their own president to be He Who Must Not Be Named.

Displaying a delightful sensitivity to the political situation, 12-year-olds at a Karachi private school have decided that President Pervez Musharraf is their nation's equivalent to Voldemort, while former premier Benazir Bhutto, whom many feel has helped validate Musharraf's rule by engaging in power-sharing talks with him, is Dolores Umbridge, the wicked witch who for a time replaced Dumbledore as headmaster of Hogwarts.



The students compared the President's takeover with Voldemort and the Death Eaters.

Though the students could not find a Harry Potter in Pakistan, sacked Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chowdhury came closest to being the wizard, and the protesting lawyers were seen as Potter's friends.

The students, who were also aware of the ban on private TV news channels, thought state-run PTV was like "Daily Prophet" -- the wizardry newspaper. The banned channels were compared to "The Quibbler" the newspaper that defied Voldemort's diktats and was eventually shut down following the kidnapping of the editor's daughter.

Their greatest disappointment -- no clear analog to Dumbledore is on the scene. Only the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, was seen as fitting the role, and he's been dead for almost 60 years.

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Globalization Harry Potter How The World Works Pakistan