The world we live in demands that we designate particular nations or places as home, and others as Other or Rival or Enemy.
Though uncomfortable with nationalism and the artificial lines we draw to divide ourselves from others, I’m also achingly appreciative of the need for homes and comfortable spaces. (See this article on the menace of nationalism).
I deeply appreciate growing up in Pakistan, in my comfortable space. It will always be home, the place and the people I owe so very, very much.
I try my best, despite being surrounded in destructive discourses, designate any nations as Enemy or Other. Vested interests, hegemonic exploitative powers, hateful groups, divisive ideologies, and assorted 1%’s in Pakistan and worldwide are my Other. Those exploitative powers have blocked Pakistanis and others from living lives of happiness and freedom.
Let us unite, and work against the oppressions of those who are crushed, exploited, twisted into shape in the name of the nation-state. Kashmir. Palestine. Tibet. And so many, whose homes are destroyed to uphold a narrative. As Arundhati Roy asks, in a piece applicable to many other struggles, “Since when have maps been sacrosanct? Should a people’s right to self-determination be denied at any cost?”
Growing up in Pakistan, I learned that if there’s one thing Pakistanis are good at, it’s being self-critical and being critical of Pakistan. Let’s not stop asking questions, being critical, and demanding more of ourselves, and let’s never participate in oppressions – in the name of anything, whether ideological or materialistic.
Happy independence day, Pakistan! I love you. And I love all the Pakistanis who are working, against all odds, to make a better world and a better tomorrow. No matter what our politicians say, in order to protect my home, we don’t have to destroy our neighbors. In fact, our very survival depends on our neighborhoods working together. Let us stand together. Not apart, but together. That is our only hope.