iramramzan

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A clarification of my diary from Pakistan

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My blog of Pakistan/Azad Jammu Kashmir went down really well with a lot of people that I know (and people I don’t know) but some Pakistani journalist on Twitter read it and decided that it provided “no insight and is racist”. Racist! He and a few other Pakistanis took offense to what I had written. Very maturely, he also decided not to direct these comments at me, but make rather nasty and snide comments to other people.

Not that I need to defend my own opinions, or apologise for what I’ve experienced, but I thought I’d write a very short blog in response to what has been said.

Accusation no.1: “No insight” – my diary was not intended to be an insight into Pakistan or AJK or even a deep analysis of a very complex region.  Yes, I decided to publish what I saw and observed but it’s just a diary – end of. I even said as much. However, someone on Twitter who follows me, whose family also happen to be from Bhimber, AJK, said that my diary had reflected exactly what he had seen and shared it on his Facebook.

Accusation no.2: “Racist” – Ah yes, when in doubt, just cry ‘racism’. This is by far the dumbest comment and I won’t really bother responding to that.

Accusation no.3: “She seemed disappointed that it was not Birmingham” – I am not from Birmingham, nor have I ever even been to Birmingham! (As a journalist, you should really have researched me better) It would also be pretty dumb of me to expect a region in south Asia to be like England.

Accusation no.4: “She didn’t even try to enjoy it – You try enjoying yourself when you are stuck in the house for 10 days straight, with nothing to do and no one to talk to. Also, if this journalist had bothered reading the blog properly, he would have read that I HAD indeed enjoyed part of my trip when I was in Lahore. I don’t hate AJK, I just hate the fact that my family never took me anywhere, as there are some amazing places to see in Kashmir.

~

I asked this journalist to email me with any comments as I was happy to answer any questions, but instead he decided that he would rather make comments behind my back instead of discussing it. Mature.

I used to enjoy going back to AJK because that is where my grandparents were from. Unfortunately, they are no longer with us, so as a result I do not feel connected to that place as I once did.

Also, in 2009, I had a horrendous experience in the village, which I will not go into, but let’s just say it left me with awful memories. Some of the people there who I thought were friends and allies treated my grandfather like dirt, especially when he became ill and hospitalised, so I severely dislike going back to schmooze with those very people. You try spending time with people who have done such horrible things and then tell me that I did not ‘make an effort’.

At the end of the day, I’ll say what the bloody hell I like. I do not owe anybody an apology. These are my own views and my own experiences – they’re very subjective and very personal, so why should I tailor them to appease everyone? If your experience of Pakistan or AJK is wonderful, then good for you – but mine is very different.

To the rest of you, thank you for reading my blogs and sharing your wonderful comments. I really appreciate it.

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Written by Iram Ramzan

March 10, 2013 at 5:41 pm

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