Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crossing borders and ideologies

By Maryam Asjad (Jersey City, NJ)

I've grown accustomed to hearing about my country and my people discussed only in negative ways. It's enraging, and it stirs a riot inside me. I want to educate misinformed people, and fight for my background and my roots: Pakistan.

So, it was nice for a change to hear positive things about Pakistan and its people from a foreigner. Griff Witte, the deputy foreign editor of The Washington Post, spoke to us a few days ago. He's lived in Pakistan for more than a year and had great stories to share. But what really sparked my curiosity was his reaction to the people of Pakistan. I had expected him to have neutral, if not negative, views.

Then he surprised me. Witte absolutely loved living in Pakistan; he loved the people, the culture, and above all, the hospitality with which he was treated. I am probably biased, but it thrilled me to finally, finally hear someone sincerely express admiration towards the Pakistani people.

Witte's stories about his experiences reporting not only in Pakistan, but also in Afghanistan, were so refreshing to me, because he didn't tell them in a detached way. He seemed genuinely passionate about these countries, and even nostalgic at times.

I can only hope to have the same kind of passion for another country and its culture.

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