Loyal Pakistani; Content American

Senior Hafsa Wahid talks about being a Pakistani-American.

Senior Hafsa Wahid talks about being a Pakistani-American.

By Hafsa Wahid

As a Pakistani-American, I often find my loyalties to those two nations sharply contrasting one another.

I was born in America, raised in America, and always wish to reside in America since this is my homeland. Yet, it would be unfair of me to neglect the effect that Pakistan has had on me. Pakistan has given me the relations and love that I have needed to create my identity. It is the land where my grandfather is buried, and I cannot bear to see that land turn to turmoil. The sand of that nation is valuable and dear to my heart. Therefore, both nations were vital in creating my personality.

But, why is it that the first thing I see on the walls of Pakistan after arriving at the airport is”F**** America”? Is it because America has drone bombed Pakistan for years which has resulted in the death of many innocent individuals? Or is it because America has enforced upon Pakistan the unjust release of a criminal such as Raymond Davis? Or is it rather because America has many times crumbled the sovereignty of Pakistan and treated it as its own land upon which it can intrude endlessly?

It may be all of these reasons and many more that have caused the bitter feelings of Pakistanis towards America. But where do I stand in this hatred? Do I pledge my allegiance to America and support its tactics, or do I support Pakistan?

Senior and Pakistani-American Mahnoor Bhatti believes that Pakistan wants to be left alone.

“I can understand where they are coming from. I mean the Pakistani people are unhappy because they wish to be left alone. [Pakistan] doesn’t want any of America’s influences on other third world countries to affect them,” Bhatti said.

Senior and Pakistani Fariha Waheed states that Pakistan’s dislike is warranted because even America wouldn’t love a country that has tried to harm it.

“Well, yes I think it does make sense. I mean Americans wouldn’t love a country who would try to harm them in any way. I maintain my position as a proud Pakistani and a happy American by staying out of politics,” Waheed said.

Although I agree with Waheed, I believe that it is vital to take active participation in politics and to voice our opinions in order to prompt changes.

America has provided me with countless benefits which I cannot deny. I have been provided with an affordable education, the freedom to voice my opinions, healthcare, and many other essential benefits. All of these benefits, however, are my rights and I am in no way indebted to America because I am a citizen of America.

Similarly, Bhatti is grateful to America.

“Personally, I identify myself as a Pakistani American. I am grateful for living here and looking at things in different perspectives. [But I think] every country should just take care of themselves and solve their own problems before fixing someone else’s problems. Like can the government take some action on today’s economy instead?” Bhatti said.

Yet, I cannot deny that many actions of America are hurtful to me as a Pakistani as well. Whenever I pass through airport security, I am pulled aside and given “special treatment” in the sense that I am checked more intensively than others. I am isolated and made to be seen like an outsider. Yet, I stand up to say that I am no outsider. I am an Pakistani- American who has the equal status of any American because America is made up of diverse cultures and ethnic backgrounds.

I strongly condemn the actions of America against Pakistan. Countless drone attacks and the war on terror have ended the lives of countless civilians. I am strongly against these actions. I call for an end to drone attacks and the death of innocent individuals. In no way am I ready to accept these policies. I will oppose these policies until my last breath and will not forgive America for the deaths of those individuals. As for those who are willing to tell me that only a few people were killed, my response is that that one person could have been you, your mother, father, or brother, and you would be devastated. That’s how people in Pakistan feel everyday when they face the news of countless deaths through drone attacks, plus thousands of other suicide attacks.

Not only do I strongly stand against the actions that America commits against Pakistan. I stand against all those things which America does to other nations around the world. I fail to understand, rather I am completely befuddled, when I am told that America funds Israel with millions of dollars which Israel uses for weapons. I fail to understand America’s loyalties as I stand with Palestine (let’s leave this debate for another time). My main point is that I am not ignorant of the fact the America has committed atrocious offenses against mankind. Thus, I can understand the hatred.

But, the resolution to this all lies in the fact that, as an American, I have a right to disagree with their policies and speak out against them. But some irrational policies do not warrant my hatred towards America as a nation. If I proclaim myself as an American it is not because of its unjust policies; rather, it is because of the academic opportunities in this nation.

Thus, to those Pakistanis who feel I should hate America; I will not hate it. Rather, I will hate its policies, and, to those Americans who feel that America has done me a favor; it has not. As an American I was warranted to all these liberties and they were my fundamental rights, but I cannot deny that America has been good to me. Both nations have been good to me, and I will remain open to both since they are both dear to me.