There are some traits common among us that posses an adamant viral potency. Some complexes, a few paranoid instincts; things that usually don’t come in the good books of psychology. A marked characteristic elaborating this point is our general opinion regarding our image as a nation from the worldview. We all are mature enough to understand that being in limelight with regards to terrorism, extremism, illiteracy and corruption is something that actually ‘does’ bring down a nation’s image. But somehow we are convinced that this exclusively owes to some planned mischief by the western lobby.

Ok, let’s have a sane peaceful debate regarding this. Majority of us are of the view that we are being portrayed bad only because we are Muslims. Of all the Muslim countries, why is the world so intent upon showering us with so much importance? Why not the same religious prejudice for Bangladesh or Syria? No, I’m not ignoring the other aspects. Of course our position in the international political and strategic framework does set us apart. But it’s not our religious identity that dragged us in the news. It was more because of the terrorist and extremist uprising phenomenons in the past decade. Once in the world spotlight; other linked factors like our reaction to terrorist elements, our society’s speedy radicalization, the root cause for all this and our view points as a whole were/are globally scrutinized for the obvious and understandable reasons. The output as expected drowned our name.

The element of prejudice might also be there but try considering things from a neutral prospective. Showering murderers with roses might be a noble act for you but the world views that as a shocking abnormality. The fact that we readily instigate violent protests on waves of fanaticism but prefer to act deaf and dumb on flaring corruption, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, rape, child labor, pedophilia, inflation and violation of human rights is an accepted trend for us. But my dear, this makes the world think that we all take Afghan imported opium in our daily diet. The problem lies in the fact that we are obstinate in viewing things from narrow nationalistic lens. But the same does not hold when things are viewed from a global standpoint. And what the world views is something that we should lament and conceive as a stimulus to fix our errors. Instead, turning away from the unpleasant reality and marking it as some Western tactic is nothing short of a childlike delusion.

This ^ , surely doesn't send a very positive message about us

Now the question of what lies beyond that image? True, not all of us come in equation with our popular image. Not all Pakistanis are terrorists, not all of us are Talibans. Pakistan is not a barren bombed land; we have beauty, culture, talent and the likes of Abdus Sattar Edhi and Asma Jahangiri. But whose duty is to promote that image? US? Sorry you are mistaken. Common sense cries in exasperation that they will obviously highlight of us what suits their political designs. Digest it or not, this is the way things work. Exposing our greater image and pleading our case is the responsibility of our media-alone.

I’m not here to advocate the West or their media. The sole purpose is to inject a reality check. So if next time Angelina Jolie raises eyebrows on the grave contrast between the elite and destitute lifestyle in our country, look at the deeper reality instead of coining it as a UN ploy to malign our image. And if you believe that all is not as negative here then don’t expect foreign media to wage go “green” campaigns on our name. Accept the facts and learn to speak for yourself. Whining, complaining and throwing emotional tantrums won’t do the trick.


84 thoughts on “Our Image: The reasons and our delusions

  1. Good job Habiba! its time that we must realize that we r responsible for our own well-being and prosperity. i totally agree with u that western policies n media would definitely propogate whatever suits their political scenarios.

    most of our problems today are the outcome of our own ignorance, indifference and injustice that we adamantly do to ourself n our society. we cannot ignore the fact that for many past decades we’ve been facing the problem of corrupt and insincere leadership but who votes for the same people again n again?

    Iqbal so beautifully says it in a nutshell:

    “Khuda ne aaj tak uss qaum ki halat nahi badlee
    na ho jiss ko khayal khus apni halat badalnay ka”

    • @N A, very nice poetic verse, fits very accurately on our situation. and yes much of what we are facing today is the outcome of our own blunders; may it be our political know how or our continued indifference to the injustice in our society.
      thanks for the input :]

  2. though i agree with ur stance on most of the dimensions u highlighted but u cant neglect the fact that the organizations supposedly made in the name of islamic ideology are heavily funded by the very ppl who now label us as terrorists.. n majority of our population is hardly over enthusiastic abt either Islam or hatred against West.. this is what i have found as the correct picture.

      • umm habiba actually i dont know wat to clear but all i wanted to say that these radical organizations based on so called true Islamic ideology now known as terrorists are funded by the ones who now are supposedly after these organizations in Pakistan.. n they have their ties with them still. as fazulrehamn type ppl who are responsible fro all this jihad mania have v good ties with west n all.. n well i ain’t into politics at all actually the talk shows piss me off big time so if i dont make sense kindly ignore 🙂

    • @Spherical sq, the reason is simply that it actually IS the root cause. I may sound obsessed but see here in this post the central point circles around our image. and both you and I know that the biggest culprit factor here is terrorism and that in turn is directly linked with radicalization.

  3. “But my dear, this makes the world think that we all take Afghan imported opium in our daily diet”
    hahahahahahahaha, now that is a classic remark 🙂

  4. hMm i would like to add a little after that all of us are not talibans and not all talibans are terrorists? and yess great to see u back in action 🙂

    • ‘not all talibans are terrorists’……..? there isnt anything like good or bad talibans, they all are just a crazy breed of fanatics whose sole aim is to “terrorize” humanity.
      n yea im back in action-at least for the time being :p good to have u back here on the blog discussion section as well :]

  5. Habiba ummm dont u think ur acting like americans who think all muslims are terrorists? weLL im not sure I cant blame all of them there has to be one just one who can end this severe aim of talibans to terrorize humanity as u said! there’s always someone…. there has to be someone….Im very hopeful and thats all i can do im afraid….
    and yesss im back in action as weLL 😀

  6. as for your statement:-
    “dont u think ur acting like americans who think all muslims are terrorists?”

    any reference affirming this? from my blog or my general comments?
    I label all “talibans” as terrorists and there is quite a conspicuous difference between talibans and Muslims.
    Though confusing this concept is a common impulsive behavior generally.

  7. i find it a little strange that when talibans were against soviets they were good people mujahideen and Americans where happy to help them Pakistani army was helping them gladly and Afghanis were allowed in Pakistan and thousands and thousands came in ,,, but when they went against america they were all bad ,,, every one knows that baitullah mahsood guys are americanized terrorists they get enough help from these guys but still they are talibans even though talibans dont accept em …. what is media’s job now a days is to copy paste from CNN , BBC and the great Fox news …

  8. @Uncle Tom, the fact that Talibans initally are the product of OURS and america’s adventures is a very known fact to all. No denying this. However this is NOT the excuse of acting blind towards their tyranny and gripping extremism now. what US did suited their political strategies and they used us in soviet war as simple as that. It was our ‘own’ fault that we cheerfully joined the blunder game trying to please US.
    And as for this statement of yours:-
    “,, but when they went against america they were all bad ,,”
    They are culprit in our eyes not because of this. At soviet war times they werent “suicide bombing” in Pakistan, nor were they trying to establish a radical government of their own (more of the state within state thing). The madness wasnt this explicit at that time.
    I’m afraid your words indirectly are directed to their defense and the usual support many people are willing to shower talibans with.

  9. Talibans are not a product of Pakistan army or American aid, they are product of soviet war brought upon them which the local people stood to defend, you were only there to help them , you did not creat them neither did you produce them.

    Common are you a kid or what, to help them was our necessity and Americans as well, we needed to stop soviets right there so they don’t attack us after and Americans needed to take revenge, its as simple as that.

    Everyone knows that Pakistani security agencies have found proves of outside involvement in these suicide bombings and many a times the talibans have said that we have nothing to do with public killing. But since CNN and BBC blame Taliban for every suicide bomb Pakistani media has no choice but to blindly follow them. What would you say to this theory that Mahsud group is getting help from outside.

  10. i wd second unle tom here for the fact that in R david case as well they have found proofs that he was having strong links with these crucial highups of Talibans so with all others active in pakistan to disrupt and sabotage our country. so say no to talibans alllllll kinds 🙂

    • Even if their is foreign hand involved why does it make us view the terrorists with white cap? I’m not here specifically pointing at you rather this is a general question.
      Why is our public so intent upon turning their face away from this reality that we DO have terrorists and extremists among us who are eating up us termites?
      as for the davis case: http://tribune.com.pk/story/122726/raymond-davistan/
      though difference of opinion on this article is understandable.

      • //Even if their is foreign hand involved why does it make us view the terrorists with white cap?// *surprised* didnt i say ‘say no to all kinds of Talibans?? hanh 😦
        i loaaaaaaaaaaathe them.
        as for the article i did go thru it js to kinda please you honestly.. as for me it doesnt change anything who says what abt whom… i feel like living in absolute chaos, absolute nonsense, and absolute confusion when it comes to politics.. sorry..

  11. just because BBC and CNN calls those idiots taliban doesn’t mean that i will also start calling them taliban, doesn’t this sound strange to you that in Afghanistan Americans are in war with Talibans and in Pakistan they are helping them. the biggest complex among Pakistnis is that they are blind followers of CNN and BBC they have no ideology of their own.

    • @uncle tom, first of all, kindly stop assuming things about me. I have opinions of my own, not of BBC or CNN. So yes if you are adamant in your support and defense of talibans then it doesn’t mean the rest of my kind are “brainwashed”. Learn to accept the fact that others can have their own and different opinions based on their “own” thinking, logics and point of view.
      As for talibans, I was and am their strong critic-the reasons you can read in a previous post titled ‘Spare us the horror’. And i really don’t get this hype of ‘foreign hand’. So if an amreeki asks you to blast or do any heinous act that like we are supposed to ‘defend’ you assuming you were monitored from outside and didn’t have brains of your own. Really?
      And its you who is following the blind perceptions not me. Two of my friends are Afghan migrants. I have better and first hand knowledge of the taliban reign than someone who just brushes everything under the carpet on the name of conspiracies.

  12. opinions are based on knowledge, where does your knowledge comes from??? and you have misunderstood me, i am not defending them i am only against using the word taliban for terrorist in Pakistan,neither did i say people who criticize them are brainwashed.

    Don’t talk about friends here, you only have 2 Afghan Friends i have many, i have friends not only from Afghan Areas also from northern Pakistan.

    can you quote me some Pakistanis who deny the foreign hand?

  13. ” i am not defending them i am only against using the word taliban for terrorist in Pakistan”
    that doesnt make much sense to me. Talbans BOTH Afghani and Pakistani ARE terrorists no matter if they get aid from someone or whatever.
    what they are doing is in front of our eyes. We dont need some complex knowledge to digest this fact. After what they did in Afghanistan and what they tried to do in waziristan, if still you have doubts about them then sorry there is not such “knowledge” available to convince you.

    and dont twist and turn your views by stuff like “im not defending talibans but i mean this and that…

    • This my friend is something I answered very explicitly in my first comment reply to you. You at least seem to have enough linguistic skills to comprehend what I said in one go.

  14. @Mahlaqa, i mentioned in my comment that I wasnt specifically pointing at you but it was a general question, a mere thought thats all. Chillpills..:]
    But i understand that politics is not your fav subject so i zip it 🙂

  15. Hello! First time viewer here! I am Don, from America. As citizens of any country, we all have the responsibility to support, encourage, fix, and criticize our countries and governments, to make sure (Hopefully) that everyone makes progress as time goes on. Of course that is easier said than done! In the U.S., it is much easier to try and make our country better because we are blessed with so many freedoms. But humans are more likely to muck things up, than improve, something true everywhere! Greed, prejudice, stupidity, and many other factors make it a crap shoot. Here in America, our democracy, which is actually a democratic republic, was called, “The Great Experiement!” No one believed we could pull it off! Our problem, throughout our history, is that white men have managed to basically screw everything up. Democracy? A nice idea, but please don’t let any white men in, otherwise game over. Regardless of any education, the people of Pakistan are not stupid. They know both the good and bad points of the country. Changing a country’s direction is like trying to change the direction of a huge boulder falling down a mountain! Not impossible, but pretty darn difficult! As in all countries though, it is up to the people to change, if they are not happy. Sometimes the path of least resistance is better because people already have enough burdens as is! And of course, trying to get a majority of people to believe and act in the same way, well, that’s harder than changing the direction of the boulder! I enjoyed your blog, and will continue to read! Take Care! Don

    • @Don, I agree with your thoughts and ofcourse I also do realize this fact that changing the view point of majority as a whole is an ardous task and that stringing high expectations here is sometimes too much too ask. however, sometimes you need to give this bitter dose in order to inject a reality check. This was the underlying intention in all my blog posts.
      And yes, thanks for dropping by, it was great to hear from you, keep visitng :]

  16. I hope that you are planning to become a journalist because after reading your posts it is safe to conclude that you have what it takes to be one. Best of luck

  17. I rarely get into political discussions because frnakly I have no idea what I’m talking about most of the time. I’m a Half-Indian, Half-Canadian, also Canadian living in America – talk about confused right? But in all seriousness, you just put into words what I am so incapable of doing in the most eloquent way.

    I second the notion that you become a reporter because truly, you have a way with words.

  18. well said…and yes reality check anyone?? lol. its great that you bring up the topic. Looking at it from here..pakistan is seen as a “oh pakistan…there so …blah” kinda deal…but what can you do? people blame the government, the lack of cleanliness on the streets, poverty, the false rumors, the true rumors lol, and they stereotype because that is what they see… I believe that the paki people have to change first for anything about the country to change…Pakistan is just a name but the people are the ones who are giving it the wrong title through their actions….hmmm ok now back to rooting for their cricket team to win tomorrow!!! haha

      • I hope every one of your exams went very well! yes I was wondering where you went lol. Was waiting for a new post infact!

        You look and remind me of a friend I used to have a couple of years ago!…its so strange how people look so much a like!

  19. @eva, really? was she a nice person or ahem ….. :p
    and thanks for waiting for my post 🙂 i just need to shake up my present lazy trance and jot down something, wish me luck!

  20. Hi Habiba!

    You have a wonderful blog covering a lot of issues!

    I agree with you that it’s hard to get an accurate picture of other countries. That applies to Americans thinking about Pakistan and probably to Pakistanis thinking about America. Most people in any country just want a decent life for themselves and their families. It would be so much easier if we could all try to help each other instead of fighting.

    We have a number of Pakistani students at our school: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/news/channels/29/stories/5682429

    • I just checked that link, great work by those students I must say!
      And yea I fully agree with you, lets hope for a better future that has no tint of prejudice.
      thanks for dropping by Rinth, its always great to interact with bloggers from other countries 🙂

  21. I agree with you. Pakistan is not just the land of extremists, or conservatives or dictators, we have honest people among us, sadly none of them are celebrated that much. Blood, chaos, inflation only these things are left for the media to show.

    Things like these:

    These people are true heroes they are the ones who need attention, these are the ones who can show their fellow countrymen how to live with dignity and respect in these hard times.

  22. Sometimes people are just looking at the bad side of things. They forget that these places are real countries with real people. I came from a third world country and for those who haven’t been there would probably say that it’s filthy, it’s poor, there’s lot of crimes based on what the media is showing them but what people don’t know is that there so much good and beauty in these places. The people despite of their poverty are happy, they can afford to smile in the midst of calamities and wrath of nature and economics, they don’t complain about stress, they are grateful that they have a job and means to feed their families. As for mother nature, there is an abundance of scenic spots and you don’t have to be rich to have a beach front property. Nothing disappoints me more than people being prejudiced because they are of a different race , religion or social status. God created as all equally, regardless of our faith. It was Man who started labeling things and segregating people. We lived once in paradise, as one unified people. I don’t see much sense why there is so much hate in the world. It just makes everything worse for everyone. Great post.

  23. It’s very sad that these days where the world … Muslim.. is mentioned .. the word .. terrorism … automatically follows…. decades ago the western world barely knew what muslims were.. we here grew up in a society where no one understood us or knew what or who we are. Then suddenly 10 years ago we were put on the map and have never been laid to peace since then..
    I could go on and on about this.. as it’s a subject that drives me up the wall.. but I can’t right now.. maybe another time..

  24. Pingback: Our Image: The reasons and our delusions | Tea Break

  25. I love your willingness to tell the truth. I’ve lived in countries where people are as blind to the obvious as you say they are in Pakistan, and I’ve also been irritated when a nation just won’t take responsibility for who they are and what they portray to the outside world. Nicely said Habiba.

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