You’re loud and messy and chaotic but you’re also the kids who dance in the street in the monsoons, you’re the beat of the dhol, you’re the 20 simultaneous games of cricket on any given ground, you’re the only people who believe that luddo is a game of skill, you’re endless streams of chai, you’re the maker of the best damned chappli kababs anywhere in the world, you’re a survivor despite bombs and tragedy and hate. You’re the place with the most heart l’ve ever seen. Happy birthday Pakistan, you gorgeous old thing.
That’s just an eyelash in my eye. It’s okay. No tears. Nope.
I grew up in Pakistan with two Americas. One was the America of To Kill a Mockingbird and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, of the young Michael Jackson and Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Charlie’s Angels and John McEnroe and Rob Lowe’s blue eyes. Of Martin Luther King and Snoopy. That America was exuberance and possibility. But there was another that I lived with. The America which cozied up to Pakistan’s military dictator, Zia-ul-Haq, because it served its own interests in Afghanistan to do so.
This America threw vast amounts of money at Zia, propping up his rule, strengthening his military, turning a blind eye to its nuclear program, working with him to promote the war in Afghanistan as a jihad for all Muslims rather than a territorial matter between Afghans and Soviets; this America spoke eloquently of the Afghan people’s right to freedom and self-determination but decided it was an internal matter when Zia’s government cracked down on pro-democracy protestors in Pakistan, or when he instituted public floggings and hangings, or when he passed a law which made it possible for a woman who had been raped to be stoned to death for adultery.
Janus-faced American policies. Something you won’t find openly discussed in political discourse: US regime(s)’s habit of backing up dictators in third world countries.
Your soldiers will come to our lands, but your novelists won’t. The unmanned drone hovering over Pakistan, controlled by someone in Langley, is an apt metaphor for America’s imaginative engagement with my nation.
Oh, Kamila. I love you.
You know, Malia and Sasha, they have friends whose parents are same-sex couples. There have been times where Michelle and I have been sitting around the dinner table and we’re talking about their friends and their parents and Malia and Sasha, it wouldn’t dawn on them that somehow their friends’ parents would be treated differently. It doesn’t make sense to them and frankly, that’s the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective.
Kissing babies is so passé.
President Barack Obama arrives at at Buckley Air Force Base, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Welcome to our new feature (that by Tumblr necessity must end with a question mark):
“What would you caption this photo?”
“Useless” major # 13 has kept me employed since before I graduated college…
Science be damned!
1. Fine Arts
(Ed: Your primary tumblrs majored in two of these and now work in the field of a third.)