By Ahmed Quraishi
They tried to take China down. So the Chinese citizens took China to the top of the world.
Just when everyone thought they had pooped on China’s big summer Olympics party, ordinary Chinese citizens who love their country came up with something to shock all critics: They took the Olympic torch to the highest mountain peak of the world, Everest. That’s a first in the two-thousand-year history of the Olympics.
When China haters were busy in burying Beijing Olympics in news headlines under the fake crisis of Tibet, ordinary Chinese citizens came up with an idea that no news television network of the world could ignore. Olympic torch atop Mount Everest for the first time. Who could bury this story? The Dalai Lama will have to fly to Jupiter to match this one.
At this time, this is the biggest favor anyone could do for China. And it was done. By Chinese mountaineers who thought this is the time to give something back to the homeland.
There are millions of Chinese Americans. And they love America, their homeland. And America is good to its citizens, which makes it a great country. Its foreign policy is a different story. Many of Chinese are third- or fourth-generation Chinese Americans. But when someone tried to organize anti-Chinese protests over Tibet in Los Angeles, they couldn’t find a single Chinese American worth his or her name to participate. And this was California, home to probably the largest China town in America.
Many of these Chinese Americans may have political issues or disagreements with the government in Beijing. They may or may not express these differences on Internet blogs, articles, or through direct interaction with Chinese officials. But they have something in them, in their blood, about their parents’ and grandparents’ homeland. It’s called patriotism. And I never knew you could pass it on to your children until I met Chinese Americans. That’s pure. You can’t fake it.
There’s a lesson in there for us in Pakistan. We – the successive governments, the military, politicians, teachers, journalists, poets, novelists, students, parties, filmmakers, and television anchormen and anchorwomen – we all need to institutionalize this sense of patriotism in ordinary Pakistanis. We need to instill it in our children at homes. When my teenage nephew came to me with a joke he received on his cell phone as SMS text, making fun of Pakistan because there are electricity and flour shortages here these days, and he enjoyed the joke, I smiled with him and said, ‘It’s good but delete it. Don’t forward it. Don’t allow anyone to make fun of your homeland. The dirt of your homeland’s soil cannot be measured by a bag of flour.’
The Americans needed 9/11 to revive patriotism. The Israelis needed the holocaust. The Indians waited for Bollywood films to gel together their nationhood. Pakistanis never needed any of that. They have a fascinating story to tell, a story that transcends a thousand years, that brings together honorable peoples from diverse and magnificent backgrounds, whose descendants created a weak country in 1947 and transformed it in half a century into an emerging business hub and one of the world’s impressive military powers.
Be proud. Learn from the Chinese.