A Valuable Lesson (My Last Article)

May 12, 2011

A few months back I was in USA to meet with some family and aunts. During this time I spent a lot of time with my cousins. When we were told there was some traditional Indian Bhangra event us girls decided it would be fun and decided to check it out. We had some fun and it was nice seeing some brown people around other than my family. We even had some drinks and by the time we were out of there we were kind of wobbly on our legs though my aunt had told us not to drink too much…

So as we were walking back to the car quite drunk and fooling around, I faked putting the Dupatta over my head which drew chuckles from my cousins. A white man who had been staring at us all this while with a cigarette in one hand stared at us, shook his head and said “F***** terrorists”. I froze right there and stared at him for one long second. I heard my cousin say come on but I just stared at the man.

Even though I happened to be a little drunk at that time and not to mention I am a devout Christian my brown skin color and messing around with a Dupatta made me a ‘terrorist’. Perhaps it was the alcohol or maybe my own feeling for my homeland set my blood on fire. But at that moment I actually felt something I admit to have never felt so deeply before, being part of a minority in a country where some people are not very tolerant. I really felt sympathy for what Muslims were going through. I also understood what it felt like to be called a terrorist just because you belonged to a particular race. In that one moment I knew exactly what Havi had probably felt when some Indians admitted murder and threatened to kill him, then tried to frame him as a terrorist or what other leaders may have felt when faced with similar situations. I felt angry and very annoyed.

Over whispers of my cousin to let it go and nudging from the other side I walked towards the man. The guy, probably a professional at calling people “terrorists” and being ignored actually looked surprised when I walked towards him and shouted at him to shut up. Then as I was walking back he finally found a tongue and asked “Is that what your religion teaches you?” I replied “I am a Christian” though I could not help the expletives  that came out of my mouth either. My friends half pulled me and I half walked away to the lot where our car was but the event taught me a very important lesson. It taught me to look with another persons eyes. A very valuable lesson.

Perhaps if we Pakistanis were as afraid of something as the west is of “Pakistan” or “Muslims” we would have died of a heart attack a long time ago. That we survived the wave of terrorism and great odds speaks of our resilience. But only God knows how much more we will have to suffer for our dreams of prosperity, peace and equality regardless of caste and creed to come true because all of us perhaps would prefer to stay in Pakistan had that environment of personal freedom existed.

The notes about Havi may be information that we don’t discuss but we all know what happened and it deserves to be known because in all these years no one has supported the cause of minorities and in general tolerance as this guy. Try to appreciate the article than picking things out.

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One Response to “A Valuable Lesson (My Last Article)”

  1. Muneer said

    Very nice article. And the lesson it goes for everyone. Understanding other peoples opinion is very important even if you disagree. It is all about tolerance.

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