Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Expanding Pakistan

I have to concur with readers of this blog that NPR News does a service to listeners by regularly featuring Philip Reeves' reports from Pakistan. NPR deserves further credit for its interview this morning with Moshin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie, two Pakistani novelists. They really take apart the one dimensional views of Pakistan that most US citizens are presented with in the press (views that can lead someone like Sen. Obama to assume that Pakistan is ours for the bombing).

Now if NPR could just extend this kind of layered reporting to the rest of the world. One is allowed to wish, eh?

1 comment:

Porter Melmoth said...

Indeed, the Pakistan series has been helpful, despite Renee sounding a bit clueless at times today. Too bad only a few minutes were given to this tiniest of tips to a huge iceberg, but a sample is better than nothing. The Western approach to Pakistan, which tends toward negativism, that the two authors describe, has really ALWAYS been the case, pre-9/11 or post 9/11. And with India too. I don't know why it's so difficult to observe a country and then report on it as it really is. Philip Reeves can certainly do that. He's the type who can describe a back alley in Bombay without disdain, or a palace in Islamabad without being intimidated. The Brits are usually much more seasoned and sensible in their approach to the Indian Subcontinent than the Americans are.

Another thing that the Western media better get their act together about: Pakistan is NOT the Middle East. It is not Central Asia, either. It is Indic. It was all part of India before 1947, and that's extremely important to remember.

Personal note: I have been to Pakistan, and it is one of the most fascinating places I can think of. Vastly underknown, with a confident culture, much sophistication, and a spectacularly varied landscape. The 'cherry-pick job' that Pakistan gets from the American media (Reeves' Pakistan being an amazing exception) regularly appalls me.