Natural and economic disasters, wars, revolutions and genocides have dotted the timeline of history leading to the collapse of countries and sometimes whole civilisations. At a personal level, people hit rock bottom with life-altering injuries, loss of loved ones, collapse of business ventures, loss of home and community due to wars, natural disasters or even bad personal decisions.

People need hope to pick themselves up and carry on. One of the most revisited images through the ages is that of a mythical bird, the phoenix, rising from the ashes of its own destruction. The phoenix builds a nest of scented wood and resin. The sun's rays burn the bird and the nest to ashes, as it emerges once again in a new form. Something old needs to be let go to make space for the new.

There is much talk of the downward spiral of the economy of Pakistan and its institutions. A country that already rose once out of the trauma of Partition, Pakistan has been dogged by nay-sayers who devised terms for it such as 'failed state'.

In his article, Failed States are a Western Myth, Elliot Ross records that the term was first used in 1992 in an article in the US Foreign Policy journal 'as a rationale to impose US interests on less powerful nations.'

A tapestry in the United Nations Security Council depicts a phoenix, symbolising renewal after the Second World War. All of Europe had to rise from the ashes of two deadly world wars with a combined death toll of almost 100 million and many million wounded. Entire cities were reduced to rubble. There were food shortages and a shattered economy. The year 1945 was called Year Zero.

Britain faced the destruction of its capital city, its economy, and the loss of many lives, as well as control of its colonial Empire. The government prioritised the emotional restoration of its people. Britain became a welfare state, with a free National Health Service. Women, who played a crucial role during the war, were given the right to vote. The 1951 Festival of...

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