I would endeavor on my blog to let Pakistanis know what they have not been told because it is not being reported by the Western world. I would show Pakistanis I am a real Pakistani not an outsider who blogtravelled with my white skin color and foreign citizenship as my greatest asset. I am as much a Pakistani as all the Pakistani that I would no doubt mention in my blog. This is not a rant about Pakistan’s problems, this is about my appreciation for my nation and former country of birth
Kaiser here made clear two things; first, he did not love the Hindus but, secondly, he had a lot of respect for Pakistan. His message and his suspicion of being made invisible was clear beyond doubt. I was shocked and speechless.
I was reminded of Kamran’s words when he mused:
how is it that Pakistanis want to discriminate against non-Pakistani desi bloggers and NOT EVEN include them in any list or first sentences within these posts? This strikes me as an odd, misguided, effort to shore up their own nationalistic credentials. As if they are the only real Pakistanis. This is wrong and ignorant behaviour. It indicates not only a lack of willingness to come into the modern world where everyone on the Internet is accepted and celebrated but also, a kind of isolationism….leading ultimately to more marginalization and more of a ghetto mentality that anyone inside Pakistan.
I was educated in Pakistan, now working in the UK. After the last four trips to Pakistan over the last 8 years, my decision not to return to Pakistan was firm, I admired Pakistan and wanted to be involved but there were too many obstacles to overcome, based upon my own personal experiences over these trips. Few Pakistanis would admit they are an altogether different brand. This is where the gap exists. So much of it boils down to ignorance and lack of cultural sensitivity just as Kaiser pointed out before he was banned.
As a Pakistani who has been living in the West I have had to make some serious adjustments to my life so I don’t annoy other people, some adjustments have been easy because I wanted it to be, some have been difficult but necessary to be accepted. There are things that I can be myself about and there are things where I become more ‘otherized’. If a man, for example, thinks I am too outspoken, he may distance himself from me. In every meeting i have with people, if I am not sure, should I expect to be first or should I expect to be seen as an outsider, I look for subtle non-verbal signals about this. If I am aware of those signals, I respond accordingly.
The problem with Pakistan is that there is no cultural sensitivity from people from one area to another. A majority of my friends in the UK are British Muslim women and they are acutely aware of cultural nuances of what they say and how they look. I developed this sense as my awareness of myself and others has grown. The same is true for working in International Development in Pakistan, I worked with a project based in Malakand, whose staff are all Pashtun and the majority of our staff working at the sub-office were Muhajirs.
Some of the managers would tell sexist jokes in the presence of their female staff. When they were challenged they would laugh and actually escalate their mockery of the women. They would make fun of the way they dress or look. These comments would be accompanied by loud laughter. In the presence of European women, They would not make these comments. I could work in areas that my Pakistani colleagues did not want to visit. The truth was that these areas were basically male territory and the men protected me rather than excluded me. I was like an almond in milk, in some eyes but the majority of the men were warm and wise. Not only that, but I could initiate the protection and get people to serve me in places where the Muhajir never went, that alone would have been enough to guarantee their protection.
For me, this experience was super positive. I gained respect, I gained mutual understanding and they gained my respect. They had my full respect and they earned it. I have never knocked on a men’s room door, never gone into a market to shop, never gone to a bus stop in the very early hours of the morning or waited in a queue or a park new or Lahore metro or the Lahore General Hospital. I have gone into these places but the choice rested with me and I made the decision on each occasion. This is the thing I could share with Pakistanis. Unfortunately, would they believe me? Ex white females like myself make few friends and establish no rapport. I am a record-keeping Westerner and I fit neatly into that box. Unfortunately, in the shape of a box it is not a box most Pakistanis would actually want to know because it keeps me away…
Speaking honestly about myself, I am a pearl among a load of other materials. I believe Pakistan is made of gold & diamonds. I spoke to Kaizar a few weeks ago and we exchanged views on Pakistan to clarify if we had consensus. Although different in some ways, the patterns matched up so it was reassuring for me. We both agreed about the importance of women’s empowerment and working towards that goal agreed that Pakhtoonhailing women and Urdu/Priebari speaking women needed to be separated and empowered separately. Why? Because they are different and work in different realms of life. What they share in common is their country, which they have fought to maintain and ensure that they can pass on, generation to generation. Some of them have effectively destroyed their reputation by associating their children with deracinse. Others have been complicit by not making clear who they are with the times and practicing their faith openly and freely. The majority are honest and loving. What they all have in common is this stunning meltingpot of an identity…
As for us ex Pakistanis, we belong to a different continent. We may indeed be a minority wherever we are. This is a strength not a weakness which kalam friend erroneously points out. We can relate to both worlds admirably but we are not from this region. We should support each other, share our ideas and all work together towards a sustaining excellence in being who we are and honouring our nation. Pakistan is actually, right now, a massive melting pot of all kinds of people, races and religions, who are today taking their steps into the global community. That’s what makes them a global power to be reckoned with, that’s what makes my love for my nation shine so brightly.
Write a formal article in English about: “Reconciliation through art in the troubled world.”
Get both the articles corrected and submit them to your English teacher at the English Department Office, MICE University.
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