I love Pakistan

Published: August 26, 2012

When Mehreen Kasana started her ‘Pakistanis Against Stereotyping’ campaign, she had no idea that a one-day campaign would become a full-fledged and continuing project! PHOTOS TAKEN FROM HTTP://PAKISTANISAGAINSTSTE

When Mehreen Kasana started her ‘Pakistanis Against Stereotyping’ campaign, she had no idea that a one-day campaign would become a full-fledged and continuing project! PHOTOS TAKEN FROM HTTP://PAKISTANISAGAINSTSTE
When Mehreen Kasana started her ‘Pakistanis Against Stereotyping’ campaign, she had no idea that a one-day campaign would become a full-fledged and continuing project! PHOTOS TAKEN FROM HTTP://PAKISTANISAGAINSTSTE

I’ve been blogging and using social media for past two or three years and since then I’ve gained thousands of readers and followers.

Interacting with people from around the world and taking in their perspectives on issues is always interesting. I would often get questions that I initially found very funny but soon realised were in fact extremely racist.

I would get asked if we Pakistanis were “terrorists”, perpetually angst-ridden and hopeless or whether our national hobby was burning public property.

I’d always answer that we should not be collectively judged by the actions of a few and that this was an extremely narrow and stereotypical narrative of Pakistan.

No nation deserves stereotyping. Pakistan is above it and there is a lot more to us; our culture, youth, achievements, rich past, struggles, languages and society. The list is endless.

It’s pretty simple: I’m against typecasting nations wherever they are. What seems to be harmless stereotyping is, in reality, very dangerous considering its effects on human behaviour.

Racist stereotyping alienates people, justifies violent bigotry against them and further divides human communities.

The point of making the ‘Pakistanis Against Stereotyping’ blog was to create a forum for people from all over the world to collectively speak out against racism. I had no idea I would get thousands of entries from Pakistan and abroad.

It made my Independence Day a lot more fun, collecting all those submissions and putting them up on the site. The incoming traffic was insane! In a very good way.

So what was supposed to be a one-day project is now a proper, continuous effort in dispelling racist stereotypes about Pakistanis.

I had just wanted to remind everyone that stereotyping a population of more than 190 million people is pretty ridiculous and unfair. The Tumblr will always be up for anyone and everyone against racism.

Published in The Express Tribune, Sunday Magazine, August 26th, 2012.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (23)

  • Mohammad
    Aug 26, 2012 - 12:18PM

    You need to rethink of your campaign and change your slogan Vote for Change and Vote for the Right Person …. JAGo!!

    Recommend

  • just_someone
    Aug 26, 2012 - 12:23PM

    i only came here for the hottie in the black holding the pakistani flag :)

    Recommend

  • ayesha azeem
    Aug 26, 2012 - 1:08PM

    I love this lady Mehreen,She is just so Awesome…Keep it up Mehreen…You rock Girl..

    Recommend

  • ayesha azeem
    Aug 26, 2012 - 1:10PM

    @Mohammad:
    I agree with You…Mehreen should definitely do that..

    Recommend

  • Falcon
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:12PM

    Brilliant idea. Pakistanis like you never cease to inspire me!

    Recommend

  • Ammarttitude
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:22PM

    I know i’m late, but Mehreen can i submit a photo of myself?? :) I’m a 19 year old Pakistani boy, and I, toO, refuse to be sterotyped..!! Let me know and keep up the goOd work – Proud to be a Pakistani..

    Recommend

  • Advice
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:22PM

    Instead of you going ahead with this as a separate project, I think you should team up with the iPakistan team. Their concept is almost identical to yours, and they’ve been working for a longer time. I think its headed by a dude from Lahore called Rehman Ilyas. Contact him and see if working together is more feasible. I think if you join hands, your impact would be much greater. Just a thought :)

    Recommend

  • casim
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:25PM

    Young Pakistanis are extremely patriot but there are some who love Pakistan but are afraid to stay in Pakistan. Unfortunately Mehreen, who is a US national, will probably leave Pakistan & stay there! at the moment she is just obliging to her parents who came back to Pakistan. I’m not doubting the patriotism of people living abroad, its just unfortunate that even I sometimes feel like leaving Pakistan due to the mindset of the majority & our so called democratic, “pure” leadership. We need to bring drastic changes in our society, which is mostly living a life of “Jahalat”, if we can’t change ourselves then who are we to blame our leaders? Peace out.

    Recommend

  • EX Pakistani
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:26PM

    Ok let me guess. We are peaceful people and being branded negatively… Hmm. mistake that means is world’s and not ours… Ok… What is the news out of the country lets review

    1) Shia murdered
    2) Ahmedi murdered
    3) Bomb Blast in the cities people killed
    4) Mentally challenged girl accused of blasphemy
    5) Corruption

    Lets see why would anyone accept your point of view when not a single voice against these henious crime is ever raised…. Show me one march against any of the above…Recommend

  • Assam Zafar
    Aug 26, 2012 - 4:28PM

    Living as an expat in dubai I strongly believe that we have been stereotyped for all the wrong reasons. I guess its the fundamental responsibility of every individual to remove such a thinking. To me its the media that’s playing a very unfortunate role in this whole saga. There are way to many news channels than entertainment. Perhaps we are missing some kind of documentary channels that show case our culture, heritage and who we really are.
    PS: I have to say the article/blog is an innocent wish coming from common Pakistani.

    Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2012 - 4:58PM

    Agreed dear sis. Brilliant effort, great peace of writing, I must thank you for finally breaking the ice. Yes, we must raise our voice against the narrow vision and image of our society, shown by foreign media and other machinations. This is the only way to defy all those stereotypical war against us, we can’t let a fanatically sick minded Mula’h to be called our representative and the Symbol of our society.Recommend

  • Shahzad Hussain
    Aug 26, 2012 - 5:38PM

    good one !

    Recommend

  • Aug 26, 2012 - 5:49PM

    good

    Recommend

  • Sapan Kapoor
    Aug 26, 2012 - 8:02PM

    There are only two kinds of people in this world – good and bad. Just as there are good people in India, there are bad too and same goes for Pakistan or the US. Not everybody is a terrorist and not everybody is corrupt. We cannot stereotype the whole people just on the basis of actions of a few maniacs and lunatics.

    Recommend

  • Raza
    Aug 26, 2012 - 8:02PM

    Fair enough Mehreen; I appreciate what you’re doing, but a lot of stereotypes do stem from our violent/illiterate actions, our intolerance, our ignorance. I’m a proud Pakistani myself, but lets not close our eyes to the nonsense that does take place inside our borders day in day out, be it sectarian killings or ethnic discrimination or mass-level corruption. We need to find solutions to those first.

    Recommend

  • Vikram
    Aug 26, 2012 - 8:50PM

    I had just wanted to remind everyone that stereotyping a population of more than 190 million people is pretty ridiculous and unfair. The Tumblr will always be up for anyone and everyone against racism.

    You are more interested in creating a good image. Pakistan seriously needs to change its policy of using terrorism as a tool of its foreign police. Pakistanis destroyed Afghanistan using talibans and no Pakistani even blinked his eyes because it was Afghanis who were being terrorized and killed. No Pakistani showed any concern when 3 million people were slaughtered by Pakistan in East Pakistan. Mullahs openly call for killings of Shias and Ahmadi Muslims and no one says anything. Pakistanis have earned this image after very hard work.

    In Western countries most Pakistanis get treated well. In many countries people can’t even tell the difference between an Indian and a Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • PaKhtoon
    Aug 26, 2012 - 8:55PM

    @EX Pakistani: Dear indian, even if you give me 1 million $ I will not not introduce myself as an ex indian at any forum,,,,,, coz I am a Proud Paksitan and Love my country ….. Do YOU ?????

    Recommend

  • Pathan
    Aug 27, 2012 - 12:04AM

    It’s the mommy-daddy teenagers’ way of bringing change in Pakistan, which in fact, can’t change the lives of common Pakistanis. This kind of social media hype somehow gives some lime light to their online presence – the actual motivation behind this fuss.
    The irony is; that these soft-skinned teenagers are the offspring of the elite class who live on the hard-earned money of the poor masses of Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • Aug 27, 2012 - 4:22AM

    I usually don’t take part in thread discussions, let alone ET’s thread where I’ve noticed people go through these amazing fits of assumptions, tangents and accusations, so I’ll keep this short: When I did this campaign, never once did I state or imply I am proud of the negligence the status quo has shown towards minority rights, sectarian rifts and other equally important issues. It was to let the world know that there are Pakistanis who continue to speak for the rights of people, regardless of creed, color or caste, and that stereotyping them as those who don’t is unfair. If you think this anti-racist collage was implying I want another ’71 War or more state-sanctioned oppression against those less privileged than the majority, you’re wrong and you’re not worth the explanation. Try clearing up those counterproductive cynicism some time.

    Also, to someone who said I’ll “leave” the country forever and that I “came here because of my parents forcing me.” What course did you take in mind reading, because you just failed miserably. To those thinking I’m ‘elite’, I invite you to my place to give you a 101 on what’s elite and what’s not. Great job at assuming complete falsities. You’ve embarrassed yourself badly. I’m done here. Keep misconstruing; if anything, you’re part of the problem.

    Recommend

  • Saad
    Aug 27, 2012 - 8:22AM

    @Mehreen Kasana

    You need to relax, no need for the harsh attitude.

    Recommend

  • jism
    Aug 27, 2012 - 9:18AM

    It was to let the world know that there are Pakistanis who continue to speak for the rights of people, regardless of creed, color or caste, and that stereotyping them as those who don’t is unfair
    majority of Pakistanis have a name for those who stand up and raise their voice,they are called ‘liberal fascists’.The problem is not elsewhere,it’s in right in the home.Respect or recognition cannot be demanded,no one will respect even if we beg for it.we have to earn it,not by words but by actions.And the stereotyping is in line with actions of majority.Majority of population don’t even respect secularism,tolerance or interfaith belief, minority women are kidnapped and converted at the free will of majority.When the majority of society itself has failed to respect each other sensitivities and beliefs,demanding respect from outsiders is foolish
    I had just wanted to remind everyone that stereotyping a population of more than 190 million people is pretty ridiculous and unfair
    unfair? do you know how Jews are treated.Many countries don’t even let Israeli citizens in to their country,.every country is stereotyped,it’s not just Pakistan,this is not just a recent phenomenon,it’s been existing for centuries and will continue to exist.But on some ground realities, Pakistan is stereotyped in the worst possible way,it’s something which they have brought it upon themselves.
    I’d always answer that we should not be collectively judged by the actions of a few and that this was an extremely narrow and stereotypical narrative of Pakistan.Recommend

  • TARIQ
    Aug 30, 2012 - 5:10PM

    I would like to suggest Mehreen, that you should start campaign on terrorism. i think most of people didn’t know the exact philosophy of terrorism.

    because there is a little bit difference in fundamentalism and Terrorism. most of us Pakistanis still did not know the exact information whats going on in Pakistan after 9/11 Drama.

    Recommend

  • Nobody
    Sep 2, 2012 - 9:35AM

    @just_someone:
    Lol I admire your honesty/humor, but do take a deeper look into what she’s doing and join the ranks (if you haven’t already). I would like to as well, but not sure if this is strictly a born-and-bred-Pakistanis-only movement or foreign born Paks count as well. Either way, keep up the good work!

    Recommend

More in Magazine