Page 7 - Pakistan Link - January 26, 2018
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OPINION                                                                                                         JANUARY 26,  2018  –  PAKISTAN LINK  –  P7
                      Please Read This Book by a Christian on “A Sacred Land”

                 n By Dr Amineh Hoti          ethnically and religiously very diverse, with                              sour, is spewed forth by the world’s media un-
          Director, Centre for Dialogue and Action  Muslims,  Christians,  Hindus, Parsis, Ba’hais,                      til the entire world seems convinced of a few
                      Islamabad               Buddhists, Sikhs, the Kalash, atheists and so                              supposed ‘facts’ about Pakistan: that everyone
                                              many other people. Pakistan is a country, with                             is angry… and plotting the overthrow of the
           n one of his most recent tweets, Presi-  largely a poor population that could do with                         Western world” (Matthew, 2017: 13). Matthew
           dent Trump accused and labelled Paki-  funding for schools, universities and hospitals,                       points out that the facts do not match up to its
        Istan and alleged that it harbors terrorists   solid peace building projects, not threats, not                   negative image because although every coun-
        and this has implied that it must “do more”   labels, not scapegoating, and definitely not                       try has its problems, and so does Pakistan, but
                    (despite the fact that Pakistan   military force. This would be blatant callous-                     the image of this beautiful and sacred land is
                    has been fighting terrorism   ness and a disregard for human rights and a                            an unfair one and needs to be corrected.
                    and its people are victims of   violation of millions of innocent human lives.                           The image of Pakistan is “not representa-
                    terrorism) or face sanctions   In this context of unfair escalating hostil-                          tive, and it is not fair” he says (page 14). He
                    and even its military wrath.   ity and scapegoating with which many people                           adds that the “positive aspects of life in Paki-
                        Rumors even have it that   across the world are deeply uncomfortable, I                          stan are unknown by the people in the West”.
                    American stealth bombers   came across Matthew Vaughan who is a Chris-                               And at his book launch Matthew pointed out
        have been moved into Afghanistan for pos-  tian Englishman – a graduate from England’s                           that when he first wanted to publish his book
        sible deep penetration bombing into Pakistani   Oxford University and with his English wife                      all  the  publishers in the  West  said  the  book
        targets. This has made a population of two   and four little (blonde) children – three of                        must be a negative book on Pakistan on the
        hundred million people more uneasy and an-  whom are born in Pakistan – he has voluntari-                        subject of terrorism or about the oppression of
        gry.                                  ly chosen to settle and live in Pakistan today                             its women, if it is neither we are not interested
            The global picture that the world media   where he teaches and helps in charity work.                        as it won’t sell and it won’t make money. “No-
        has built up of Pakistan is a negative one; Pres-  Matthew sees Pakistan as his own “home” and                   body, they [the publishers] said, wanted to read
        ident Bush, in his time, too had told Pakistani   not just any ordinary nation, but a “sacred”                   a positive book about Pakistan” even though
        leaders, “You are with us, or we’ll bomb you   one (pg. 20). In his book, Notes from a Sacred                    this may be the reality (page 14). Matthew
        into the stone age!” Despite being president   Land: Tales of Hope from Pakistan published                       protests again “This is simply not fair” (ibid).
        of the most powerful country, America, both   in 2017 by Print Masters, he compares the  Matthew in his Islamabad home garden in Pakistan  He  writes,  “The  public  image  of  Pakistan  is
        show little knowledge and understanding of   beauty of northern Pakistan with its stunning                       negative but the hidden face of Pakistan, is far
        this deeply historical and culturally rich re-  green mountains and rivers to Switzerland   abad is an organized peaceful city with many   more often than not, beautiful, kind, welcom-
        gion. There are other commendable Ameri-  and Canada, “Pakistan’s reputation seems un-  trendy young people and many felt this to be a   ing, gentle and filled with hope…after living
        cans and Europeans, of course, who are sup-  deserved”.                                                          here for six years the description of Pakistan
        porting peace projects and working towards   He writes that since moving to Pakistan                             as ‘a sacred land’ seems less and less incongru-
        peace building.                       he realized that “it is one of the most unjustly   Mathew  writes, “It is bitter to think   ous to me with every passing day” (Matthew,
            Having lived in the US, the UK and in   maligned countries in the world. The mere  that Pakistan stands condemned by   2017: page 14).
        Pakistan and engaged in teaching innova-  mention of its name is sufficient to conjure up  people who have never experienced   He writes, “It is bitter to think that Paki-
        tive peace building with students at various   images of angry protests, of American flags   it. The images pumped out by the   stan stands condemned by people who have
        universities in all three countries and in my   being  burned by  mobs,  of  bombs…of may-  Western media…[are] not true.   never experienced it. The images pumped out
        travels for fieldwork from Swat to Karachi on   hem and guns and destruction and suffering                       by the Western media…[are] not true. It does
        the subject of the religions of Pakistan, I am   and chaos.” I remember the advertisements   It does not even come close to   not even come close to being true…hospital-
        stunned by the diversity of Pakistan and im-  for Homeland, the popular TV drama series   being true…hospitality, kindness,   ity, kindness, and natural beauty are far more
        pressed by the humanity and hospitality of its   shown in the US and in UK, in which Pakistan   and natural beauty are far more   representative of this land. In over six years I
        people.                               was constantly labeled and scapegoated and   representative of this land   have not once been insulted, have not once en-
            The country has been unfortunate in its   many people who have seen the country ob-                          countered criticism or anger from anyone in
        lack of good political leadership and repre-  jected strongly to the image of chaotic streets                    Pakistan, have not once been treated with any-
        sentation. Keep in mind its large numbers,   and bearded lunatics which the producers   mean and unfair portrayal. Matthew explains,   thing but the utmost kindness, despite living
        with a majority of young population, who are   showed as and in Islamabad. In reality, Islam-  “This bitter flood of tragedy, unrelenting and   BOOK, P9

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