By: Nidha Khan, IATG Contributor August 24, 2016
In the eyes of the world, being ‘Pakistani’ is often intertwined with terrorism, brutality, and oppression. Rarely, does the media report on the good that happens in our country; the people’s bravery, strength, and kindness are undeniably dismissed. This makes growing up as a young Pakistani in a western country hard. You will encounter people who have already made negative judgements about you before uttering even a single word to them. You are more likely to have people stare at you, whisper about you, not sit next to you, and make offensive jokes about you or the country that you have been tied to since birth. With little surprise, this can lead young Pakistani people like myself to sever our connections with Pakistan and to strip away every piece of our Pakistani identities. Personally, I had spent years actively trying to stop speaking Pashto and Urdu, refusing to wear Shalwar Kameez, and disliking the idea of attending community gatherings. It’s only in the past couple of years that I have come to accept and appreciate my Pakistani identity; understanding that the greater issue lies with the media’s depiction of Pakistan rather than my own Pakistani identity.
When news of the Pakistani humanitarian Abdul Sattar Edhi’s death broke, I was saddened that Pakistan had lost such a divine soul. He was the man who dedicated his life to helping people through his orphanages, hospitals, homeless shelters, rehab centres, and ambulance services. He refused to turn anyone away, regardless of their religion, sex, or class, emphasising that his religion was grounded in kindness. The world-wide coverage that surrounded his death surprised me, I had rarely seen news about Pakistani people who were devoted to creating a world with less suffering.
As I sat though and read more and more articles about Edhi over the past few days, it has made me even prouder to be a Pakistani because I share a homeland with this ‘angel of mercy’.
The recent articles written about Edhi’s life’s work highlighted to the world how Pakistanis are not all terrorists. We too can be full of compassion, love, and light. But, we shouldn’t have to wait till another Pakistani Humanitarian like Edhi dies or is brutally attacked like Malala for the world to be reminded of this. The media needs to do better if we are to create a more accepting and understanding world.
A food lover who just can’t cook. It takes me several burnt dishes and fits of frustration to create something remotely edible. To save my family the pain of helping me clean up, I sometimes just stick to browsing through Chrissy Teigen’s mouth-watering food pictures on Instagram. When I’m not creating havoc in the kitchen, you’ll find me writing, reading, starting discussions on breaking news and human rights issues, and of course, eating.