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Posts Tagged Jewish Carlotta Gall’s Bigotry & Bias Against Islamic Nations

The New York Times A ‘Homeland’ We Pakistanis Don’t Recognize By Bina Shah

The New York Times

Bina Shah

Bina Shah became a contributing opinion writer for The International New York Times in the fall of 2013. Ms. Shah is a fiction writer and journalist in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of four novels — “Where They Dream in Blue,” “The 786 Cybercafe,” “Slum Child” and “A Season for Martyrs” — and two collections of short stories. Her work has been published in English, Spanish, German, Chinese, Vietnamese, Urdu, Sindhi and Italian. She writes a monthly column for Dawn, the largest English-language newspaper in Pakistan, and a blog, 21st Century Woman. She has contributed essays to The Guardian, The Independent, the literary magazines Granta and Wasafiri, and the journal Critical Muslim.





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A ‘Homeland’ We Pakistanis Don’t Recognize





 KARACHI, Pakistan — When I heard that the fourth season of Showtime’s “Homeland” would be set in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I awaited its season premiere with anticipation and trepidation. A major American television show would be portraying events set in my country, but I knew those events would be linked to the only thing that seems to interest the world’s eye: terrorism and how Islamist extremism affects Americans and the West.
   As advertising for the season premiere was heating up, a short essay by an American writer and activist, Laura Durkay, appeared on The Washington Post’s website under the headline “Homeland Is the Most Bigoted Show on Television.” Ms. Durkay wrote, “The entire structure of ‘Homeland’ is built on mashing together every manifestation of political Islam, Arabs, Muslims and the whole Middle East into a Frankenstein-monster global terrorist threat that simply doesn’t exist.”
   The show’s reputation along those lines had kept me away, even as I longed to examine Claire Danes’s portrayal of Carrie Mathison as a conflicted C.I.A. agent immersed in a male-dominated world, and engaging with Middle Eastern and Muslim characters. How could the show’s creators have dreamed up such a complex protagonist, while depicting the sociopolitical milieu in which so many of its characters exist with so little nuance?
   Yes, Hollywood isn’t known for historical accuracy or impartial portrayals of any fictionalized “other.” But I still couldn’t resist trying to see what Pakistan, my homeland, looked like through its eyes. I’m a writer of fiction, so I know about imagined worlds. You look not for complete truthfulness, but for verisimilitude — the “appearance of being true” — so it can give your art authenticity, credibility, believability. And we in Pakistan long to be seen with a vision that at least approaches the truth.
   Pakistan has long been said to have an image problem, a kind way to say that the world sees us one-dimensionally — as a country of terrorists and extremists, conservatives who enslave women and stone them to death, and tricky scoundrels who hate Americans and lie pathologically to our supposed allies. In Pakistan, we’ve long attributed the ubiquity of these images to what we believe is biased journalism, originating among mainstream American journalists who care little for depth and accuracy. By the time these tropes filter down into popular culture, and have morphed into the imaginings of showbiz writers, we’ve gone from an image problem to the realm of Jungian archetypes and haunting traumatized psyches.
   Whenever a Western movie contains a connection to Pakistan, we watch it in a sadomasochistic way, eager and nervous to see how the West observes us. We look to see if we come across to you as monsters, and then to see what our new, monstrous face looks like. Again and again, we see a refracted, distorted image of our homeland staring back at us. We know we have monsters among us, but this isn’t what we look like to ourselves.
   There have been previous international attempts to portray Pakistan on film: “A Mighty Heart,” about the kidnapping and murder of Daniel Pearl; or “Zero Dark Thirty,” about the assassination of Osama bin Laden. The Pearl film was shot largely in India, with some scenes in Pakistan; the Bin Laden film was shot in Jordan and India; in these and other films, streets and shops in India were given nominal Pakistani makeovers, and Indian actors were hired to pass as Pakistanis. In them, I have seen India’s signature homemade Ambassador cars traveling down Pakistani streets; actors who play tribal Pashtuns but look Bihari; Western women wearing chadors where they don’t have to, or going around bareheaded when they should be covered.
   In the season premiere of “Homeland,” Carrie Mathison orders an airstrike on a terrorist compound in a Pakistani tribal area bordering Afghanistan. It is utterly surreal for a Pakistani to watch a fictional imagining of the dreaded strike from the viewpoint of the person ordering it in an American control room: the disconnection, the studied casualness, the presenting of a birthday cake afterward. It’s not clear who the monsters are in this scene, even before it’s revealed that the strike hit a wedding party, killing women and children. It’s a moment of obvious reversal, but also of nuance, when I wasn’t expecting it.
   Still, the season’s first hour, in which Carrie also goes to Islamabad, offers up a hundred little clues that tell me this isn’t the country where I grew up, or live. When a tribal boy examines the dead in his village, I hear everyone speaking Urdu, not the region’s Pashto. Protesters gather across from the American Embassy in Islamabad, when in reality the embassy is hidden inside a diplomatic enclave to which public access is extremely limited. I find out later that the season was filmed in Cape Town, South Africa, with its Indian Muslim community standing in for Pakistanis.
   I realize afterward that I’ve been creating a test, for the creators of “Homeland” and all who would sell an imagined image of Pakistan: If this isn’t really Pakistan, and these aren’t really Pakistanis, then how they see us isn’t really true.
   A verse in the Quran says, “Behold, we have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another.” Even after everything that’s happened between us, we in Pakistan still want you to know us, not as you imagine us, but as we really are: flawed, struggling, complex, human. All of us, in the outside world as well as in Pakistan, need art — film and television, story and song — that closes that gap between representation and reality, instead of prying the two further apart.
     Bina Shah  is the author of several novels, including “Slum Child,” and short-story collections.  ■


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Carlotta Gall & US Twofold Diplomacy towards Pakistan- By Sajjad Shaukat

                                 Carlotta Gall & US Twofold Diplomacy towards Pakistan

                                                               By Sajjad Shaukat












Despite the fact that a number of Strategic Institutes and Think Tanks play a key role in formulation of American external policies, but contradictory statements of the US President, US Government  officials and US Media have always reflected that the United States has been acting upon a two-fold diplomacy (duplicitous role) towards Pakistan.

In the last few years, while ignoring the responsibilities of the US, ISAF and Karzai-led troops in Afghanistan, especially US civil and military high officials have unilaterally been blaming Pakistan to ‘do more’ against the militancy in the tribal regions in order to stop cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

In this regard, the then US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, while repeating the false allegations had accused Pak Army and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI of close contact with the Haqqani network and militant’s infilteration in Afghanistan. US Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen had also alleged that ISI has been supporting, funding, training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners in Afghanistan.

During her visit to India, the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, while showing US paradoxical approach had remarked, “New Delhi would bring prosperity and peace to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan…Pakistan must do more to tackle terror groups operating from its territory being used for attacks that destabilise Afghanistan or India.” And when she visited Pakisan, she said that Pakistan should take “strong steps to dismantle safe havens of Afghan insurgents and encourage Taliban to enter negotiations in good faith.” But she clarified that the US was not asking Pakistan to sacrifice its own security, saying, “Pakistan has a critical role to play in supporting Afghan reconciliation and ending the conflict.” Replying to a question that ISI was involved in attack on the US embassy in Kabul through Haqqani network, she categorically pointed out, “We have no evidence of that.”

The US Secretary of State explained, “Her country is also committed to the economic development of Pakistan”, and “supports regional economic integration between Pakistan and all its neighbours.”

However, if we take note of the US strategy about Pakistan, we observe that American policy goals are quite unclear. Sometimes, US top officials admire Pak Army’s action against the Taliban militants including arrests of the top Al Qaeda commanders by the ISI, sometimes, they revive their blame game against ISI including its links with the Haqqani network, sometimes they accuse that Al Qaeda Shura has been operating from Pakistan, sometimes, they misconceive that Pak nukes are not safe, sometimes, they show their determination to maintain ties with Pakistan and sometimes they threaten to stop aid of Islamabad, while sometimes to carry on the same.

The fact of the matter is that US has been acting upon a twofold diplomacy towards Pakistan. In this context, American CIA with the help of Indian RAW and Israeli Mossad has continuously been weakening Pakistan through subversive acts which keep on going in the country because it is the only nuclear state in the Islamic World. Washington which signed an agreement of civil nuclear technology with New Delhi in 2008 wants to counterbalance China by India. US-led some western countries also have tilt towards India as they consider it their larger market at the cost of Pakistan.

Nevertheless, Pakistan which had been granted the status of Non-NATO ally by America has now become a target of maliscious propaganda. Besides the collective connivance of their secret agences, the media of the US, India and some western countries leave no stone unturned in distorting the image of Pakistan, its army and ISI by continuing old allegations in wake of new developments.

In this connection, a female journalist, Carlotta Gall has always showed venomous drive against Pakistan. She has allegedly stated, “The Red Mosque stood at the centre of Pakistan’s support for Jihad in Afghanistan and throughout Muslim world. That Pakistan’s strategy is to show cooperation with the America’s fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants. 95% of Taliban fighting in Afghanistan are educated and trained in Haqqania Madrassa in Akora Khattak”. But, it is the past story when Soviets were the occupiers in Afghanistan, and Jihadi factions were used as a fodder to implement US amd Western plan.

In her book, titled “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan 2001-2004”, Carlotta Gall wrote: “The terror attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in 2008 that left 58 people dead, was sanctioned and monitored by senior officials of Pakistan’s ISI”. This is a deliberate lie, because there is no evidence to substantiate this allegation. In late 1970s and early 1980s, when Soviet forces were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan with active cooperation of Pakistan, the then government believed that Pakistan would have strategic depth in Afghanistan. In 1950s and 1960s, the then Pakistan governments had found strategic depth in Iran, as Tehran was member of CENTO. But that was a flawed policy. Now, Pakistan as a nation has confidence in itself and its armed forces, and does not look for strategic depth in other countries.

Partucularly, there is a paradigm shift in Pakistan’s policy, and Islamabad has a hands off policy regarding Afghanistan, despite negative propaganda by western intelligentsia including Carlotta Gall who stated, “Organizers of insurgencies in Afghanistan are in Pakistan and that these are well protected by ISI”. Anyhow, Pakistan neither harbor ambitions, nor has the intention to interfere in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. Pakistan government has taken confidence building measures and has given gestures to show its sincerity that it desires to see Afghanistan as a stable and peaceful country.

It was owing to this realization that none of the Afghan President candidates resorted to Pakistan-bashing during their recent election campaign. Pakistan’s cooperation in Global War on Terror has been an outstanding feature of NATO’s Afghan campaign. But Carlotta Gall is trying to defame Pakistan on the lines of India by accusing that Islamabad is playing a double game. Such allegations are baseless and wicked in nature. Carlotta Gall’s accusations about Red Mosque and assassination of Benazir Bhutto are reflections of a sick mind. She is a senior journalist who at the present, covers Pakistan and Afghanistan for New York Times. Unfortunately, Carlotta Gall showed utter disregard to the journalistic norms, and also did not bother about her self-respect and dignity. Her allegations about Gen. Musharraf, Shuja Pasha and Ziauddin Butt are totally unfounded; and so is the case of her false reporting about Hafiz Saeed and Mulla Omer. Her malicious propaganda against Pakistan, Pak Army and ISI is an effort to denigrate these institutions and create a market for selling her book. As a journalist, she should not stoop so low as to defame a state and its national institutions to make money or to achieve personal prominence.

Undoubtedly, she works with anti-Pakistan elements like Fareed Zakria, an Indian national who always showed a deep-seated animosity against Pakistan and leaves no stone unturned in showing Pakistan in bad light. New York Times often published stories denigrating Pakistan and its key institutions, and the excerpts of Carlotta Gall’s book were also published in the form of an article by this daily. In the past, apart from America’s duplicity, American media is also responsible for deteriorating relations between Pakistan and the United States. The downward slide in relations had begun when a CIA contractor Raymond Davis shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore. This was followed by the cladestne American raid which killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad—an operation that was seen as a open violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. Ties hit their lowest level after the US attack on two Afghan border posts on 26, 2011 which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. While, the US realized its mistakes by expressing regret over the incident, and tendered apology in that respect. When efforts are being made to remove the misunderstandings, American media and writers should not throw spanner in the works.

As regards the issue of cross-border terrorism, it is notable that since April, 2011, about 200 to 500 heavily-armed insurgents from Afghanistan’s side entered Pakistan’s region from time to time. They targeted the security check posts and other infrastructure of the tribal areas, and killed several innocent persons and personnel of the security forces. In his meeting with the NATO/ISAF Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Joseph F Dunford on April 1, 2013, Gen. Kayani asked him to stop cross-border infiltration from Afghanistan.

Nonetheless, the book of Carlotta Gall is a part of nefarious and venomous anti-Pakistan propaganda which reflects the US twofold diplomacy towards Pakistan.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: sajjad_logic@yahoo.com


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