Representing our real selves

I have learnt things about India and Afghanistan that are never shown by our media. Why don't they tell the truth?

Ayesha Jehangir October 18, 2011
While the US makes a ‘strategic deal’ with India to send the latter’s military to Afghanistan to train soldiers there, and also improve mutual trade relations, and Pakistan observes with uneasiness and helplessness, I, at Deutsche Welle, Bonn, begin to start working on a joint project with an Afghan and an Indian colleague on representing a positive image of our countries and the trilateral connection among the three neighbours.

With an aim to endorse our individual countries and prepare a group project about the three ‘most-in-the-news’ nations, us three have got together in Germany to work amiably, peacefully and, most important, coherently. We have no hidden agendas, we do not make under-the-table-deals, we do not conceal information from each other, and definitely do not make each other’s professional challengers, if any, our friends. We are here to represent our people, who are desperate for peaceful, inter-state relationships.

We work and live as a team. We hang out together, eat together, work together and guide each other when needed. We prefer to acclimatise ways that are suitable and acceptable to all three of us and often that requires sitting together and talking things out. We talk about the similarities among us and our people rather than the differences; we talk about culture, education, trade, tourism and society rather than arguing over religion and politics.

It has been just a week and we already know new things about each other’s countries; and to our surprise, things that are never shown by the media and politicians. Currently, what the masses know about the three countries is that there is an American war in Afghanistan and that India after settling an approximately $2 billion aid deal with the US is now ready to send its military to train Afghan soldiers against the Haqqanis and the Northern Alliance, once America’s blue-eyed boys.


Not many of us know that Afghan co-ed universities are blooming with students aiming at foreign universities and already working in various fields across the country. How many of us know that women and men study together without any differences any more in and outside their country, they work together and compete for excellence; and that most of them know how to speak Urdu, besides fluent English. And that most of them feel much more relieved than before with the American intervention in their country.

At least I didn't.
Ayesha Jehangir A sub-editor on the Lahore desk of The Express Tribune. She graduated from Kinnaird College with a masters in mass communication and is a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Fellow of Journalism at DW, Bonn.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.