Screening – Democracy in Flames

Screening Monday 27th July, 2009

                            “The buzz words for Pakistan are democracy, nuclear capability,      
                             fundamentalism, extremism, terrorism, and sometimes cricket”

Democracy In Flames is a journey into the heart of Pakistan’s democratic process in action, and provides a timeless historical snapshot at a turning point in world history.  Obama, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and even China are on the borders of a country increasingly seen as having a pivotal role in world affairs.  

This film follows a student from London to his hometown of Lahore, possessed with the grievances of a generation, and charged with monitoring free and fair elections.

The Pakistan elections took place under the cloud of the assassination of the iconic Benazir Bhutto, and the last excesses of the Bush-backed Musharraf regime. Politics student Taimur Rehman and his wife Mehwish flew into a dangerous and combustible political atmosphere. This observational documentary filmed by director Taimur Khan is a unique window into the murky world of Pakistani politics at a grass-roots level. Pakistan has never been seen like this before – non-hijab wearing women out and about campaigning at rallies, getting involved on the day itself, questioning and actually finding evidence of vote rigging and other irregularities that the status quo tried to cover up.

In the course of filming Taimur Rehman, adapted a famous poem and  turned it into a song. With the help of films director Taimur Khan they recorded and produce a music video, which became a huge hit on YouTube with more then 100,000 hits. An unexpected twist in the narrative, and indicative of a hidden constituency in Pakistan that doesn’t fall into the clichaic ‘religious’ and pseudo ‘democratic’ models that usually pervade analysis in the media.  There is something else going on, and has silently being going on for years – the silent majority – a strange mixture of the feudal illiterate and a westernized, educated, middle-class are fighting harder than ever for some notion of ‘democracy’.  Maybe in the future there will be more buzz words for Pakistan – poetry, films, music, and justice.  The disturbing alternative will be ‘Talibanistan’.

The film shows the true dynamics and structure of a society desperately trying to re-invent itself in a region of utter turmoil.  The nature of that re-invention will affect us all and this makes Democracy in Flames essential and compelling viewing for an international audience.

For more info on the film please click here –