Postcards from Hell: 10. The Vimto Factor

Foreign Policy’s Failed States index is slightly more sensible this year, although it still rather resembles a random list of shitty countries. At least Pakistan is down to number 12, dropping below Guinea and the Central African Republic.

Maybe this year they have added the soft drinks index to their calculus. Broadly stated, this is based on the truism – well known to students of international diplomacy – that two countries that drink Vimto have never been to war with each other.

Basically, your standard failed state is defined by the availability of only two soft drinks – Coke and Fanta. Such is the ubiquity of Coca Cola that aid groups are even trying to work out how they can piggyback on its distribution systems to deliver medicine, vaccines or mosquito nets.

Anyway, when I potter down to my local shops there is a lot more on offer than Coke or Fanta. Living high on the hog, as I do, I have been able to buy cans of Tizer, fizzy Vimto and even Bass shandy (a terrible waste of a fine beer). Once again, conclusive evidence that Pakistan is not a failed state.

(Although maybe not as cool as Ethiopia, where I was served a fruit salad drizzled with Vimto.)

Postcards from Hell is my ironically titled list of things that are cool about Pakistan, my new home, or which contradict the notion that the country is some sort of failed state


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