Friday, February 6, 2009

Global Media

For this week's blog entry, we borrow a post from Usman Ally's own personal blog.
Usman recently returned from Pakistan, where he was fascinated by what he calls the "creeping Americanisation of Pakistani Media."

Here's his excerpt: (for more of his blog check out


I’ve been here just about a week now, and I have to admit there has been quite a bit to take in. Everything from uncovering of old family stories that make us laugh and ache deep in our hearts, to the unavoidable reopening of old wounds that never fully healed and become part of our unspoken family history.

Life is strange: I finally become used to sitting next to my mother, watching Pakistani dramas and Indian movies when the world outside all of a sudden rudely interrupts our awkwardly beautiful moments of reconnection. The news on the telly has been flooded with images of death and destruction in Gaza, and the perception of the Arab-Israeli conflict is presented in a completely different light than it is in Chicago, Illinois.
However the media here uses much of the same tools. There is a FOX News here too, and it features radical perspectives calling for an armed military intervention by Pakistan in Gaza to “teach Israel a lesson” much in the same way Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity wanted America to “bomb them to bits” a few years ago. Thankfully the sane, sober news stations far outnumber the crazy ones, but it still leaves an impression in your mind when you see how different yet similar things are here.
As the conflict in Gaza grows many Arab nations and peoples have been looking to Pakistan as a muslim force that might be able to halt Israel. I say hogwash to that. Pakistan has plenty of its own problems to deal with what with inner turmoil of terror organizations, the Afghan border and India. And besides Arab nations love to beckon Pakistan to do something because this country has armed nuclear power, but Arabs still treat Pakistani people in a very pejorative way. But, I think I have mentioned this in a previous post already so I won’t waffle on now. I’ll just say that hopefully the armed offensive will end soon before more Palestinians are killed.

Back to war time terminology though…here terrorist organizations that lurk in the shadows of the northern areas of Pakistan feel galvanized and find justification of their actions because of the United States’ inaction, and seemingly pro-Israeli standpoint. Today 2 bombs went off in a part of Punjab that is not too far off from where we live. Far enough that it doesn’t affect us here in Islamabad at all, but still eerily close. I wonder if Americans back in Chicago realize that the terror organizations that plant these bombs that kill women and children use the same language as the US armed forces. When innocents are killed they call it “collateral damage” and those that have been killed are “casualties of war.” When more Pakistanis die than those who are targeted they say that it is due to “friendly fire.” They justify their war in exactly the same way that the US Armed Forces justify their own military actions in the Middle East. Interesting huh?"

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