how the world sees america

Begum Nawazish Ali - Drag Queen Defies U.S.

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Lahore, Pakistan - "I'm a drag queen, darling…not an extremist…and I still say if Pakistanis had more self-respect, we'd be even more anti-American," says Ali Saleem, who glosses his lips and dons a sari each week to interview celebrities and politicians on his TV program Begum Nawazish Ali, a talk show sensation in Pakistan. "I'm not speaking religion; it's common sense."

From politics to culture, Ali says American intervention in Pakistan has “brought nothing but sadness” by supporting dictators and rendering Pakistan’s people impotent, constantly looking to the outside world, particularly the U.S., for help solving its own problems.

He sees his TV show as an attempt to rekindle a sense of pride and responsibility in his viewers. He uses our interview to call for a boycott of all American goods and cultural products. Pakistanis must “Turn within for inspiration.”

That’s what Ali did. Growing up in an army cantonment on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border during General Zia ul-Haq’s years, Ali always knew he was a woman and “would just sit and pray for hours and hours in one place and say again and again to Allah, ‘Make me a girl, please make me a girl.’”

Allah seemed to be listening. In the late '80s Zia ul-Haq’s plane mysteriously crashed, the Cold War drew to a close, and Ali’s first muse, the 35-year-old Benazir Bhutto, became Prime Minister. “I fell head over heels in love with her,” Ali says and discovered his uncanny ability to impersonate Benazir. He achieved a modicum of parlor fame performing “my Benazir” before his friends at school and later in elite theaters around Karachi.

But as years passed by, he fell deep into depression, unhappy living out his fantasies through the façade of another. He claims to have attempted suicide 17 times. But one day a surgeon in Lahore associated with a new private TV station took him aside and told Ali there was “a true diva within,” dying to come out.

When Musharaff liberalized the airwaves in 2003, it did. Ali stopped impersonating Bhutto and developed “the woman I was born to be” before the camera. Begum Nawazish Ali was born.

Ali tells me this story in his hotel room over cigarettes and fried shrimp at 2pm. He just woke up but is still tired. He drank a lot the night before. The conversation turns to sex.

“Any man off the street will be open for sex with another man, trust me, but ask them if they’re gay and of course they say no. In a way, Pakistan is much more open than it’s given credit for,” Ali says, despite draconian anti-sodomy laws and routine abuse of gender minorities.

I ask about the sexual revolution in the West, and drag TV hosts from the UK and U.S. Were they influences? “Not at all!” he exclaims. American “jeans, t-shirts, Coca-Cola, great.” But it’s not about Americanization, Ali emphasizes. “Pakistanis are evolving their own way forward.”

In fact, those who link internal sexual struggles too closely with the U.S. can actually do the movement a disservice by propagating the myth that homosexuality is derived from Western licentiousness, says Ali. He says homegrown heroines like Begum Nawazish Ali must give the underground gay scene public voice, not U.S. calls for gender equality.

“America just cares about its interests, not about principle,” says Ali. “You can’t trust it. It’s selfish and cold.” What Pakistan needs is a warm local face of difference, be it a male, female, or both.

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Comments (102)

Annoymous:

is it good to blame each other ??

LaDuqesa:

The part of the article which really interested me was the remark that Begum Nawazish Ali made about "any Pakistani man off the street " would be prepared to have sex with another man, but that these men would not consider thamselves as being "GAY". This is an attitude found all over the Muslim world and is a tradition that has flourished for 100s of years. Under the surface, what for want of a beter name needs to be called "bi-" or "homo-sexuality" goes on and has gone on since even before the Muslim period. Unfortunately, this tradition is tottering under the edifice of Western cultural imperialism, helped by ignorant and rabid "gay rights" advocates. A way of life is on its way out. What a shame.

Thoughtful Patriot:

Wow, so many of the comments here are so disappointing. Here we have an opportunity to talk about our differences, admit our mistakes, and find solutions and common ground, and instead there is so much bickering. Who among you thinks that such writings will make anything better?

We are caught in a clash of civilizations, religions, governments, and ambitions, not to mention fears, hopes and dreams. If the US is the lone superpower (and the richest country), we are fools if we squander this TEMPORARY situation to try to assert our will over others, an endeavor which cannot possibly succeed. To attempt to do so is the OPPOSITE of democracy, and will only engender a horrific backlash. We (in the US) enjoy the fruits of exploitation performed out of our sight, providing the cheap goods that mostly end up as landfill, enriching the coffers of the most wealthy while trapping most of us in endless cycles of wanting, striving, spending, and, inevitably, disappointment.

The US has a unique opportunity to lead the world to a better place, not by extermination of opposition, but by intelligent and compassionate enrollment of EVERYONE in finding ways to peacefully (and healthfully) coexist. This includes somehow addressing the GLARING INSULT that western commercialism and blatant sexuality does to conservative islamic sensibilities. This is no more accomplished by bullets and bombs or sweatshop exploitation than by bombastic denouncement of one another in forums such as this.


Jackie:

Why does it matter if this person is a drag queen? Does speaking one's opinion only matter when it's someone you approve of doing the talking? And for those of you who are judging this person for being a drag queen, is that your "christianity showing through?"

Aamir Ali:

ICBM:

Calling someone an Islamist does not win you any arguments. Your complaint about Pakistan's western border was addressed a few posts ago in which I said that the border cannot be controlled to the impossible standards that Americans want, and that Americans themselves have not eradicated terrorism from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why are you issuing threats to Muslims and Pakistanis anyway? Have you seen the miserable performance of the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the defeats of your conspiracy in Lebanon?

alan:

Jamal: Let me review some of the wars you list since you are not familiar with the history : 1) WWII--German attack on Poland,finally opposed by Britain and France, after they had acquiesced in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia. Then they invaded and occupied most of Europe, torturing much of the continent. Were we supposed to let Hitler build his 1000 year Reich and enslave and exterminate the sub-human races in Europe, and then reach out to America in North America? 2) Korea: A North Korean/Soviet invasion of South Korea. Compare the 2 Koreas today to see if it was worth it. 3) Iraq 1--Didn't Iraq invade Kuwait and most of the world, including much of the Arab World, participate in in this war to liberate Kuwait? Ask the Kuwaitis? Vietnam--after the defeat of America in Vietnam, didn't China also go to war against Vietnam? Hmmm? You don't refer to the aggressive Chinese. Iraq 2. Here you have a disasterous American policy, but why have you nothing to say about the butchery perpetrated by Muslim against each other--Sunni vs Shiite? Are there any fatwas against these inhuman crimes. No it never registers unless the Muslim World can blame the Jews. And the American and European intervention (far too late) to save Bosnia Muslims--again it doesn't rate a mention. If America is so bad, so evil, why is everyone over there crossing our borders to get here. Why do I see Muslim immigrants opening businesses all over American (and also European) cities? Are Muslims voting with their feet on the state of the Muslim World?

flswampwolf:

The thing that constantly amuses me is when people of any country critize another country for doing things that advance and support their own self interests. Countries, political groups, religions and social organizations ALWAYS act in their own self interests. The whole purpose of organization is to advance the causes and lifestyle of the people belonging to that organization. Sometimes charity work and humane actions are taken that help others outside of the group, but that is only if it advances the espoused causes of the organization or will benefit them in the long run with generated good will or tangible returns. To hear Pakistanis and their American counterparts whine about who helped who and who's getting the crppy end of the stick is sad. It ignores the basic nature of what an organization is and why someone is a supporter of said organization. It's ALWAYS about self interest, people! No matter what country or society you're from, deep down you know the only thing that matters is how any action will affect you and your fellows, and that the stranger is to be feared, shunned and attacked. Xenophobia is hardwired into our DNA and only rational thought keeps it at bay. Religion and faith certainly aren't rational, so of course it relys on xenophobia as the perfect vehicle for it's "us vs them" way of advancement of the cause. We keep this up, and only cockroaches and Keith Richards will be around to laugh at our folly.

MOJO:

Can we all just get along?

howeird:

"islam is the fastest growing religion in the world". I can easily believe that. birth rates in muslim countries are very high, I just read a quote from egypt that said a new baby was born there every 23 seconds. don't we have enough people in this world already? therefor I applaud the pakistani drag queen for doing her share in not contributing any more. ali is also right in saying that we in america are creating all this mayhem in the world because of our self interest. oil, to fuel our sedentary lifestyle etc.. as for religous extremists, they are all over the place. we have christo-facists too in our current regime. great going ali! you started a global debate!

ICBM:

Jamal:

"The quality & construct of your comments on the geography between Afghanistan and Pakistan & freedom of speech speaks volumes about your imagined qualifications, if you have any beyond high schooling that is! It does not qualify a response."

Then why respond? The reason can only be that you are an Islamist idiot and you cannot help yourself. You have a definite need to expose your viewpoints and posit them as erudition, when you are nothing more than a semi-literate Pakistani rube. Why can you not be honest along with your dear friend "veteran" and state openly that you are Islamist cretins? Your shrill cries are falling on deaf ears old boys and slowly the worm is turning against the religion of peace and people like you.

As for you "veteran", or is it Mustafa, no one gives a fig about what Europe's position is on any matter of importance. I would appreciate that you pass my postings on to your friends so they can hate as well. By the way Jamal and "veteran", I am a South American. Sorry to destroy your stereotypes you mongoloids.
Cheers

Britney Spears:

I apologize to the pap for a stunt that was done 4 months ago regarding an umbrella. I was preparing my character for a role in a movie where the husband never plays his part so they switch places accidentally. I take all my roles very seriously and got a little carried away. Unfortunately I didn't get the part.

Oups wrong blog. I did it again.


Anonymous:

Bad Boy...have you been a bad boy again? Looks like you missed your morning medications again! They may have to tie you up and electro-shock you again now, so behave!!

Bad Boy:

I need to P here.... All the Indians and American Indians please open wide your otherwise filthy mouths so that I could aim and give you your daily dose of warm and bubbly Mountain Dew!! You can also save some for washing yourselves, your kids and your homes with it later.

PEACE:

STOP FIGHTING PEOPLE...IT IS NOT THAT IMPORTANT!!

PEACE ALL

To Nivedita:

Jamal is a typical islmaist, brainwashed by Pukistani media and by islamic hogwash. Do not try talking sense to him. You really think he would know history (at least the right version) of it? He has been bred to hate, be prejudiced, bifoted, narrow-minded and intolerant. He has a hard time even accepting it that he and his brethren (or their ancestors rather) are former Buddhists or Hindus or Sikhs who were force converted to this vile cult!! And then guys like Aamir-my-ancestors-were-forced-to-islam-Ali would call all hard evidence (like population genetics) as ridiculous "theories"!

Mark Bernadiner:

Irshad Manji's artcile is crap...it is misguiding! From the past, islam was a source of fascism, islamofascism, and offered Final Solution idea to Hitler. Islam took a significant part in implementation of this idea. Islam offered worldwide terrorism, murder, theft, ethnic cleansing, alteration of history and nothing else. I forgot, islam offered a world caliphate, which, eventually, must include Europe and America. In short, it is a dangerous cult and needs to be eliminated (the cult per se, not its followers). All followers of this dangerous cult need to be taught some sense and educated on how to be peaceful, tolerant and pluralistic!

Nivedita:

A little off topic, but what the heck!

Jamal: Kashmir was independent before it was invaded by PAKISTANI tribesmen. Its PAKISTAN whos is the problem here, not India.

Besides, if Pakistan is so concerned about the sovreignty of Kashmir, they would not have ceded 5180 sq km of northern Kashmir to China in 1963 would they now?

Xistns:

I am sorry...Irshad Manji is not an ex-muslim (as I erroneously said), but just a muslim who has realized the folly in being a radical hate-mongering idiot. She is talking about reforming religion...let's see how well that goes with the not-so-open-minded most of the muslim world.

Xistns:

Anyone read yesterday's Irshad Manji's column in the "On Faith" section: guest voices? It was an eye-opener. Read it all you islamists, you bigoted intolerant radical fundamentalists. It tells you what your religion/cult truly is. And that coming from an ex-muslim makes it all the more credible. Take that...

Wonder why more muslims are not sensible or intelligent enough to desert that cult and go towards something more humane. The world would be so much better that way.

Mike:

Veteran:


Yeah, you are so unconcerned with or opinions that you are haningot on an American news outlet's opnion section.

Your bigotry is appalling , but then again, you are from Europe.

Veteran:

ICBM:
Americans are lucky we europeans dont really pay attention to their mostly, as you yourself prove with your posts, unqualified "opinions", cause if your white/christian warrior mindset would get public here you'd have thousands of people REALLY hating America. Your ignorance and self-centrism is really chilling my blood inside my veins. I do really feel sorry about your mostly educated, loving countrymen, having to put up with your pure, neo-darwinian, therefore quasi-racist HATRED.

Jamal:

Thanks again for your 'credible' comments ICBM. Also nice to know that you are neither and Indian nor Asian but just another stupid racist anti-muslim American who tends not to see beyond the length of his own nose.

The quality & construct of your comments on the geography between Afghanistan and Pakistan & freedom of speech speaks volumes about your imagined qualifications, if you have any beyond high schooling that is! It does not qualify a response.

You & your type belong on this blog! So stay here and keep yapping like a good tail wagging puppy!

Cheers & Ciao.

ICBM:

Jamal:

You are an idiot but I am not surprised since your limited intelligence would assume that anyone who views Pakistan as an enemy is an Indian. I am not an Indian nor even an Asian, but I am quite familiar with the geography of Pakistan and Afghanistan and yes, I do know enough about military matters to comment on this very subject. Perhaps you can answer why the Pakistani Army is incapable of patrolling its Western Frontier yet openly states that it can win a nuclear war with India, a nation that has beaten Pakis in every armed confrontation and has ten times it's population? Apparently the Western Frontier is only accessible to the Taliban and their ISI masters, and supporters like you. However, one wonders how long your friends will be around to spread their bile?

"The same goes for the Danish Cartoons, when was the last time you or any one like you said something against the Jews in the USA?"

This is a real problem for you Jamal, but like a good muslim it always comes back to the Jews. Tell me, do you really believe that Jews and Christians are no better than pigs like your friend Nasrallah?

"...is proof enough of why the Americans are hated worldwide"

Care to find out how well loved you muslims are around the world old boy? Also, Louisiana is not a city but then, I don't really need to point that out to such a brilliant mind like yours do I? Do you know the geography of the places you discuss? I do not think so.

"I am grateful though that you have graciously accepted your hatred and despise of the Muslims all over the world. This certainly gives your comments 'credibility' that they deserve. Thanks again for being anti-Muslim and re-enforcing the title of this hate blog."

You are very welcome dear Jamal and I hope I can do more for you and your wonderful nation in the future. Cheers.

Jamal:

ICBM

Indian Army has half a million soldiers in Kashmir, which is essentially more than the some of the local populated areas and yet still they have been unable to eliminate the independence resistance by local Kashimiris? Do you really know the geography of the area to comment on military matters? I do not think so.

Regarding emergency services, agreed that we like you Indians, lack basic services in view of emergencies like earthquakes, floods etc. But then again, the did the US, being the most developed country in the world, fare well in its handling of the natural disaster in shape of the sea-tornado that recently hit the city of Louisiana? It is your own Hillery Clinton who said that had Louisiana been a white dominated area, the response to the natural disaster would have been different. Name one country in the world that has handled natural disasters in the most efficient form?

Lastly, when you speak of a man-made disaster you naturally refer to a nuclear confrontation. Unfortunately and since you have chosen a name depicting your international terrorist outlook and zero level of intelligence, I deem not to respond. The same goes for the Danish Cartoons, when was the last time you or any one like you said something against the Jews in the USA? Scared of being shunned and labeled as an anti-semite? Trying talking to your friend on the phone and use the words Taliban, bomb and allah in one sentence. Next day you will have FBI SWAT breaking your door with you face down & hands behind your back!! Enough said of the prevailing level of tolerance and freedom of speech in your country.

I am grateful though that you have graciously accepted your hatred and despise of the Muslims all over the world. This certainly gives your comments 'credibility' that they deserve. Thanks again for being anti-Muslim and re-enforcing the title of this hate blog.


Jamal:

Mike

Aimal Kasi was not a terrorist per say. He was a criminal who was hired by your own CIA to spook on whatever matters. His actions were on the account of frustration on his CIA handlers and he chose to shoot them at the doorstep of CIA HQ in Langley. He did not kill in the name of religion or any other religious motive thereof. This is similar to what your own citizen did in Oklahoma when he blew up the FBI building. He was too a criminal.

FYI, Aimal Kasi was arrested through the help of Pakistan Government and was extradited to US.

As I said before, try to get your facts straight before commenting. Your cocky tone of addressing others is proof enough of why the Americans are hated worldwide. In fact this essentially hate blog run by WP and Newsweek is proof enough!

Tom Wallach - Well put.

Tom Wallach:

I think all of you are missing the forest for the trees here. you see the complaints against the US, and the general denigration of the role of the United States in the world, and you react either defensively, or aggressively in support. This person is not attacking the United States for its vile morality, its licentiousness, or any number of other things that rightly should make us bridle in defense of our culture. They are attacking our actions, and to be quite honest, regardless of our intentions, our actions in foreign policy for the last eight-250 years have been nothing short of self interested. Unfortunately, for the last 8 years, they have been dishonest, crude, and ultimately dramatically unsuccessful (unless you work for an oil company). yes, as an American I dislike hearing the blame heaped on the United States, but you must recognize that we made ourselves a target. Pakistan has had troubles and woes since they split from India, and those woes have been the fault of a variety of factors, and people. That isnt what is being discussed here, and I am not qualified to answer what Pakistan's true problems are.

What Mr. Bakshi has found is a truly interesting voice, portraying the non-fanatical perspective of a very interesting, and fairly popular persona in a country that is, theoretically, an ally. If this is what a transexual individual, despised by the people we typically see as the purveyors of anti-americanism, sees in the United States, perhaps we should take a step back and recognize our mistakes. To be quite honest, we abuse our friends, neighbors, and allies, and if I were a citizen of one of those nations, I would be farangrier at our government, and our people. In fact, even as an American, I am already.

Maritza:

AWESOME - Pakistani drag queens. Gives me hope that tolerance is growing in that section of the world. Also, I note that wisdom is often appreciated when delivered by a "fool", as in _King Lear_. Not like I'm dissing the girls, but when they get outspoken it's good they're wearing their disguises.

Jo - As for other countries continually having to be "grateful" to the U.S. - good grief! Will we pout and have a tantrum if life isn't always fair? We must accept, maturely for a young country, that we will not be thanked for most things that we do (or funding that we provide) and move on.

Besides, what exactly would a display of gratefulness look like? How long would it be required to last? Who would have to witness it?

Aamir Ali:

Jo:

The only thing US does is to write checks to Pakistani govt for logistical support and catching terrorists that escape US troops in Afghanistan.

That does not prevent military coups, civil wars or mullah takeover in Pakistan. Dont make claims based on air.

ICBM:

Pakistan cannot control its western border to the impossible extent that Americans want. Lets also observe that the US is unable to control Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mike:

Our problem with India is Kashmir. You should also look at the thousands of innocents america has killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, before barking at Pakistanis.

Anonymous:

As a human being, my response to Ali is that we in America are working hard to remove and prevent violent religious militants whereever they may be. Our toughest challenge is removing them from our own government, but they will be eliminated.

Mike:

Jamal -

You ignorantly say: "There has not been a single time when any Pakistani citizen has been involved in any terror crime against US."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir_Aimal_Kasi

You look like a fool when you demonstrate your own ignorance when proclaiming others ignorant.

Frankly, the only people who give a flying flip about what people in Pakistan think are liberal reporters. You folks have been demonstrating your savagery since the partitioning of India and Pakistan. Your culture has produced nothing but hatred and violence for centuries. Dont blame your problems on us.

Mike:

Jamal -

You ignorantly say: "There has not been a single time when any Pakistani citizen has been involved in any terror crime against US."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir_Aimal_Kasi

You look like a fool when you demonstrate your own ignorance when proclaiming others ignorant.

Frankly, the only people who give a flying flip about what people in Pakistan think are liberal reporters. You folks have been demonstrating your savagery since the partitioning of India and Pakistan. Shouldn't you be off hating Hindus or something like the other savages in Pakistan?

ICBM:

"Aiding in the 2005 earthquake, for which we are thankful to the US Government, was primarily also a PR stunt for the flagelling US image at the time.

Pakistan is also helping out the US Forces both officially and unofficially in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan to locate the foreigners who are creating instability for both. Pakistan Army has around 50000 deployed soldiers in the area whereas the US has more cops in NY then they have soldiers in Afghanistan.
-Jamal"

How very interesting. Pakistan says it cannot control it's Western frontier yet amazingly insists that it can fight and win a nuclear war with India. As for US assistance during the earthquake, I was never in favor of that as I believe you should stew in your own juices. However, it was interesting to see how wholly inadequate your emergency services are and I question how you will fare in a man-made disaster? Yes Aamir, I do not like Islam at all and this was long before 9-11. As for taking criticism that is laughable coming from a follower of the religion of peace. Did you like those Danish cartoons old boy?

Rob:

I'm sorry but why do we have to help anyone.

Would they help us? I doubt it.

America is always to blame.

It does not matter how much money is handed out, how many extremists killed, or anything else for that matter.

Talk to your leadership if there are problems were you live, it is their responsibility, not ours.

Grow up already.

Jamal:

Lest we forget for the ignorant lot here. Pakistan Army saved the asses of US Special Forces and regular grunts in Somalia. Documented though not accurately represented in BLACK HAWK DOWN! Aiding in the 2005 earthquake, for which we are thankful to the US Government, was primarily also a PR stunt for the flagelling US image at the time.

Pakistan is also helping out the US Forces both officially and unofficially in the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan to locate the foreigners who are creating instability for both. Pakistan Army has around 50000 deployed soldiers in the area whereas the US has more cops in NY then they have soldiers in Afghanistan.

Remember ALL the hijackers of 9/11 were Saudis. But since the US gets it oil, which in turns runs its economy and its defense machinery, it cannot even dare to lift a finger on the Saudis. Instead it is equipping them with more arms (US$20 billion).

Until to date ALL the criminals responsible for 9/11 were of origins other than Pakistan. There has not been a single time when any Pakistani citizen has been involved in any terror crime against US.

American foreign policy compass has always been way off mark which is quite evident from its predominant failures in the foreign policy & increase of militancy against it around the world.

So those pointing a finger on Pakistan for ills facing the US should first try to know the ground facts before moving forward with basically ludicrous and baseless statements on this blog.

Jo:

Well, we are the reason you still haven't had a military coup or a mini-civil war in Pakistan. We have prevented the crazy mullahs from taking over the country and the citizens should be grateful for that. Also, destroying al-qeda or taliban was in your best interests too, so don't try to make it sound like you did a favor on us.

I cannot disagree though, that Iraq was a miserable failure. That however is not the issue here!

Aamir Ali:

Pakquake2005.com

Pakistanis certainly appreciate the help Americans provided during our earthquake relief effort. That does not mean we will also appreciate when you threaten or bomb our country.

The Americans on this page are really behaving very childlishly. If you guys are a superpower, then at least read the whole article and then think 1 minute over it.

Aamir Ali:

Jo:

The US isnt protecting Pakistan from anything, we are protecting ourselves. Pakistan is also the only reason the US has enjoyed success in Afghanistan and against Taliban/Alqaida.

American unilateralism has brought complete disaster in Iraq, but insecure and arrogant Americans like you cannot learn anything from it.

Aamir Ali:

ICBM:

Pakistan has given enormous help in destrying Alqaida and Taliban, but a prejudiced fellow like you doesnt care about any of that and simply wants war against all bearded men in this world. That is your wrong thinking.

Americans call themselves a superpower, well then they should take some criticism.

BV:

Reply to AK: The British transfer of power to the natives in India/Pakistan was with no bloodshed. British did not initiate the Partition. In other words, British initiated Indian partition just as much people of US initiated the Iraq partition! British did not divide(they definitely conquered) India. In other words India was 100 times more divided than Iraq ever was and is!. British did not kill many Indians nor did they do much/any forced conversions to Christianity. The number of Indians killed by Europeans is not even worth mentioning, compared to killings Indian by Indians during the colonial period and after the partition. How could ~5-6 European Cavalry regiments ~20-25 Infantry regiments control 500 million people? They did not kill as many people in normal peace keeping operations these days. I do not even want to mention the good things British have done in India, the list is so large.

Sorry for going away from the immediate issue here. I did not mean to. But many of the issues that existed in India and Pakistan still remains the issue between Pakistan and America. I hope the people of Pakistan and India could shake them off.

Rory:

"Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world."

This statement always makes me laugh. Islam is only the "fastest growing" because it is so terrified of other religions that it refuses to compete with them. Muslims are routinely killed if they try to leave Islam. Entire Islamic countries refuse to even let people bring Bibles and crucifixes in - there was a recent article about how Saudi Arabia is now prohibiting people from bringing pornography, alcohol, fireworks, Bibles, and crucifixes into the country. Yes, they lumped them together just like that. Other articles show how people from Indonesia to the Gaza Strip are forcibly converted to Islam and then punished when they inevitably try to switch back.

If Islam really were so great, it wouldn't be afraid to let other religions in. But the frantic manner in which Islamic countries reject other religions just conceals the obvious: Islam gets its sh*t handed to it on a platter when faced with other religions. Name me a modern Islamic invention that doesn't relate to better car bombs or suicide vests. Name me a modern Fortune 500 country that derived from an Islamic state. It's pathetic.

Indeed, if it weren't for Islam's compulsion to force its followers to spread across the globe and drag everyone back into the 7th century, I really wouldn't care. Keep your miserable backwater countries, nobody else wants them. But calling Islam the "fastest growing religion" is like calling the Bataan Death March the world's "fastest growing marathon".

Joe:

"... it is the Pakistani young boys rather than girls who are in danger of being raped..."

Not news. Have not you heard of Isalmic suicide bombers being promised an afterlife with company of 7 year old boys?

Mohammed Atta in his will had said he does not want females to visit his grave. How about bin laden and other leaders. They all have a thing for young boys.

Jamal:

Tut..Tut..Tut... You Americans always ask the same question each decade....why do they hate us?...if its not the Muslims its the Soviets or the Europeans or the Vietnamese or Koreans. You have been fighting wars ever since your inception as a nation...WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War, Iraq Part I, Iraq Part II so on. Says a lot about the quality of your international relations? Feel sorry for your poor grunt recruited from any poor downtown Miserableville in US and now stuck against his will in a war which even your country opposes! Keep fooling yourselves folks, its working for the likes of you. Happy Reading!

WASHINGTON - Army soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, and more than a quarter did so while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new military report.
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The report, obtained by The Associated Press ahead of its scheduled release Thursday, found there were 99 confirmed suicides among active duty soldiers during 2006, up from 88 the previous year and the highest number since the 102 suicides in 1991 at the time of the Persian Gulf War.

The suicide rate for the Army has fluctuated over the past 26 years, from last year's high of 17.3 per 100,000 to a low of 9.1 per 100,000 in 2001.

Last year, "Iraq was the most common deployment location for both (suicides) and attempts," the report said.

The 99 suicides included 28 soldiers deployed to the two wars and 71 who weren't. About twice as many women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan committed suicide as did women not sent to war, the report said.

Preliminary numbers for the first half of this year indicate the number of suicides could decline across the service in 2007 but increase among troops serving in the wars, officials said.

The increases for 2006 came as Army officials worked to set up a number of new and stronger programs for providing mental health care to a force strained by the longer-than-expected war in Iraq and the global counterterrorism war entering its sixth year.

Failed personal relationships, legal and financial problems and the stress of their jobs were factors motivating the soldiers to commit suicide, according to the report.

"In addition, there was a significant relationship between suicide attempts and number of days deployed" in Iraq, Afghanistan or nearby countries where troops are participating in the war effort, it said. The same pattern seemed to hold true for those who not only attempted, but succeeded in killing themselves.

There also "was limited evidence to support the view that multiple ... deployments are a risk factor for suicide behaviors," it said.

About a quarter of those who killed themselves had a history of at least one psychiatric disorder. Of those, about 20 percent had been diagnosed with a mood disorder such as bipolar disorder and/or depression; and 8 percent had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, including post traumatic stress disorder — one of the signature injuries of the conflict in Iraq.

Firearms were the most common method of suicide. Those who attempted suicide but didn't succeed tended more often to take overdoses and cut themselves.

In a service of more than a half million troop, the 99 suicides amounted to a rate of 17.3 per 100,000 — the highest in the past 26 years, the report said. The average rate over those years has been 12.3 per 100,000.

The rate for those serving in the wars stayed about the same, 19.4 per 100,000 in 2006, compared with 19.9 in 2005.

The Army said the information was compiled from reports collected as part of its suicide prevention program — reports required for all "suicide-related behaviors that result in death, hospitalization or evacuation" of the soldier. It can take considerable time to investigate a suicide and, in fact, the Army said that in addition to the 99 confirmed suicides last year, there are two other deaths suspected as suicides in which investigations were pending.

___

Associated Press reporter Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report from Washington.

AK:

BV, look up Partition. India and Pakistan's birth was unfortunately bathed in blood, thanks to the extension of the British policy of divide and conquer.

And everyone else, please lay off Amar and calling him names. It's infantile and does little to advance the discussion, which is the whole point of the blog. If you feel compelled to express your disdain for the "anti-Americanism" of the Washington Post on every post he makes, then please find another forum that is more sympathetic to your sensibilities. He's doing a great job trying to find answers for us to digest. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to get these people to talk to him when they know that what they say will be read all around the world.

WhoCares:

When will some "journalist" come interview me so I can tell them how much I hate Pakistan?

Paul:

What a load of CR&P! A drag-queen hates us? And who does this creep support? The Islamo-radicals against whom Musharef and we are battling? I bet the Taliban would love to get their hands on this idiot. This type of hypocracy of public opinion seems to be common in the mid-east and South Asia. America is far away, and is really only an idea to the average Pakistani anyway, so it does no harm to "hate" America.

WILLEM :

HAS A DRAGQUEEN EVER BEEN WRONG? NO WAY JOSE!!!
TELL IT LIKE IT IS MS PAKIPOE "RELIGION IS THE PROBLEM AND NOT THE ANSWER"!!

curtlbc:

A Pakistani drag queen hates us? This is the straw that broke the camel's back, let's demand our government changes it's policies now. FYI, I heard there is a bearded lady in Mongolia who is upset about the war in Iraq. Send Bakshi there immediately for some more hard-hitting journalism.

Confused:

Why do some of the people who routinely post on these articles constantly accuse Amar of propagandizing anti-Americanism? He does an impeccable job of excluding himself from his observations; rarely have I seen such objective, unbiased reporting. He is getting these people he interviews to speak openly and honestly about how they view America. So essentially what you haters are saying is that by giving a voice to perspectives you are loathe to hear, he is in effect promoting those voices? Ridiculous. Take the Indian and Pakistani opinions for what they're worth: they are varying outlooks on the U.S. we in America would rarely be exposed to otherwise. Great series Amar, and keep up the good work.

pakquake2005.com:

“America just cares about its interests, not about principle,” says Ali. “You can’t trust it. It’s selfish and cold.”

--- It would be even colder if after losing your home in the mountains due to an earthquake you didn't have all those American helicopters bringing blankets & tents to keep you warm.

btw - What were Pakistan's interests when Khan was selling off nuke technology? In the future that will likely result in many more deaths than you can claim the US is responsible for.

Personally, I've nothing against Pakistan. I do have something against people who blame America for everything bad in their world. America is far from perfect but I would rather them as the sole superpower than Russia, China, France, India or Pakistan to name a few. Little Estonia could do a good job at it though. ;)

JBE:

“Any man off the street will be open for sex with another man, trust me" he says.

Oh?

THAT statement alone should illuminate the veracity, or the depravity of the fantasy-minded person who uttered it. It certainly is not the universal desire of humans with a Y chromasome.

"Always" and "never" are two words most people should avoid.

Funny, I don't think it is the latter becase I can definitely say I am excluded, as I have never accepted such an offer on the street no matter how many times I've been asked by gay men on Hollywood Blvd, while relieving myself in the bathroom of the historic, Laguna Beach Hotel, or while dining at Genki restaurant.

I wonder what other ideas he has that are equally wacked? What a good start on a new pakistan!

Life:

Everyone needs to get their priorities right. Stop fighting about my country is better than yours and my religion is better than yours.

There are two important things above your nationality or your religion.

The fact that you are a HUMAN BEING.

and even higher in priority should be
The fact that you are a LIVING BEING

Wake up!

XISTNS:

Refreshing to read about your experience in Pakistan

sb:

I was recently in Pakistan and my experience with Pakistanis was totally different than portrayed in the media and by Miss Nawazish Ali (please read name with snotty tone). I was a bit hesitant to go being a female Christian American because everyone here said the Pakistanis would be mean to my family and I. In the end it was an amazing trip. The people were so nice and pleasant and were not saying any Anti-American things. We were having civil conversations on US-Pakistan/Pakistan-US relations. People were more interested in what Americans thought of Pakistanis, and asked if we hated them. It was also refreshing to see the younger generations creating their own identities and interests. Than again I was talking to the "comon, everyday people", people on the streets... whatever that means.
Oh and I'm not a totally oblivious American I do a have a Masters in International Relations...

XISTNS:

Old Testament has violent verses, I do accept. But I challenge you to find one violent verse preached by Jesus Christ, just one!

Anonymous:

XISTNS! Nice name too (smirk) I don't feel the need to know your name so don't bother with mine.

The article relates to a drag queen, not remotely Islamic, and his/her call to his nations to embrace their nationality. It has nothing to do with religious teachings of any religion. In this case, the person is not attacking Christianity, but Americanism. You are threatened by Islam itself and choose to drag it into this context. Not only that, your statements are incorrect and inflammatory. I don't believe for a minute that you have read the Quran, a large portion of which is very close to the Old Testament and speaks of the same prophets of Christianity. Therefore, you should not open your mouth and expose your ignorance and intolerance.

XISTNS:

And I have, for your information, a copy of the quran (English translation, of course) and have read it cover-to-cover once. That is more than what many muslims in these so-called islamic states have read, according to statistics!

XISTNS:

oops...typo! I meant "my comments were NOT inappropriate". screwed that up a bit, but you know what I mean (embarassed smile)

to Anonymous (nice name, btw):

Pakistan (or for that matter any islamic nation) and its nationalism is closely linked to islam. It is islam that is the root cause of terrorism in the 20th and 21st century, hence my comments, I feel, were not inappropriate. I am sorry that you just don't get it!

XISTNS:

to Anonymous (nice name, btw):

Pakistan (or for that matter any islamic nation) and its nationalism is closely linked to islam. It is islam that is the root cause of terrorism in the 20th and 21st century, hence my comments, I feel, were inappropriate. I am sorry that you just don't get it!

Anonymous:

XISTNS:

Stop embarrasing yourself with the nonsense you have posted. Your statements are completely irrelevant. The issue at hand here is Pakistan and its nationalism and not Islam. Don't use this as a forum to bash religion and expose your small-mindedness and bigotry.

The Quran is widely read by all Muslims and if you were not so stupid, you could pick it up and read it yourself -- also, it is the fastest growing religion in the world, something that intimidates people like yourself, but the truth.

BV:

Have a happy Sixtyth INDEPENDANCE Day to Pakistan and India!.

What is to be noted is that it was the first power tranfer in the world in 1947 without shedding blood. Thanks for the Indo-Pak and British leaders.

Jo:

As long as you don't support terrorism, why would we bomb you? Are you out of your mind. And education and health care should be a priority, along with environment, for all those who care about mankind and its future.

Ali:

As a Pakistani, I really dont care as long as Americans dont bomb me I dont care. Education and Economy is what we need to focus on, the biggest threat is America, as long as they are human enough to spare us some blood, then we can continue on the right path.

BV:

The story here has two points

1) A drag queen has a life is Pakistan. Great!. Good side of Pakistan. Pakistani secularists need to get more voice than many of the educated fundamentalist Muslims in this forum who are not willing to criticize their own attitude and leaders.

2) "She" feels strongly against American policy. I do not know whether it is hate. If it is hate, it needs to be condemned. If it is disagreement or dislike, then that is good. People who do act are the ones who get disliked. Give an anonymous feedback form to your colleges in your office. If you get dislike, you are definitely a change agent and probably are doing well in your work. If no response or muted response, you are not doing much. So as American, we have to take the disagreements and admit wrongs and should be proud of good things that caused the hate. Most Americans are willing to do that. Musharaf is most hated by many for his good acts. His bad acts needs to be condemned and Americans are with Pakistan against the lack of political freedom.


Pakistan was, is and would be a strong ally of US as long as the secular voice in Pakistan exists. That relationship has nothing to do with India. Pakistan is a nation that can influence the backward (not economically) Muslim population in the rest of the world. If it falls to fundamentalist, we should be turning our attention against Pakistan. US should be showing its face to ordinary citizens in Pakistan in a secular and fun loving fashion.

I salute the Bangladeshis as they showed to an extent how a Muslim nation can progress, albeit slow but steadily in the grassroots. Women stories and micro credit stories from Bangladesh is encouraging from a human rights standpoint. Their Pakistani political culture is discouraging, showing it is tough to change one’s cultural heritage, even though it fought against it to gain freedom!

Nivedita:

Jo: I certainly agree that Pakistan should not blame the US for all its woes. That would be being escapist (which I must say, Pakistan always is) (couldn't resist that!). I guess what I wanted to say was that the relationship between Pakistan and the US is far more complex than what we all might want to believe or are led to believe.

Jo:

Cathey...are you kidding me? Have you been smoking pot?

Jo:

Nice piece of writing by "Xistnes"... makes sense though people will be up in arms against your post!

A news article today:
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A U.S. law linking aid to Pakistan to progress in the fight against militancy and some comments from U.S. politicians were detrimental to cooperation between the countries, Pakistan said on Wednesday.

Do you see the gall these people have...warning us about relations? Like we give a tiny rat's $@#
This is not a symbiotic relationship, it is parasitism at its best. Pakistan is benefitting from our money and resources, they are using our military to secure their borders, they are using US taxpayers' money to build their nation and even to build madrassas preaching anti-US teachings (when they should be using it to fight terror actually). And now they threaten us that relations will be damaged? Really?

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

ICBM:

Aamir Ali:

Pakistan wants to hunt with the hounds and run with the foxes. It is an enemy nation and time is running out. Since the Taliban and Osama are so popular in your country I hope you enjoy sharing their fate because night is coming to Pakistan and many around the world will celebrate.

cathey:

america should for once put its self interest behind and stop fightin against muslims for oil.......everyone know dat 9/11 was just an americas plot to start war in afghanistan and iraq subsequently.....its just looking for mere reasons to suppress muslims one way or another but it should not forget wht goes around come around......wht hes making muslim nation go through 2day will through it itself tomorrow every action has a reaction u know ........if u lot out there get ma point

Xistns:

The growth of Islam in any country is a threat to its peace and security. This could be UK, US, Canada, India, Indonesia, or Philippines. Speaking against Islam and its inhumane teachings excites Muslims and make them hysterical. Most of the Muslims have not read quran and have no idea of the amount of hate and violence that is preached in that book. If these people become familiar with the real content of quran, after passing through the usual stage of denial, they will eventually leave Islam. To avoid social strives, it would be better for the common good to start debates like these soon and explore and reform Islam. Muslims are coming in big numbers and they are procreating faster than any other group. If we hide our heads under the sands, this problem is only going to aggravate. Soon the day will come when Muslims will be a great force, but it will be a force that will want to destroy our freedom and our national unity. We just cannot afford the luxury to sit back and let Islamic fundamentalism grow in our own backyard. Islam and Islamic fundamentalism are the same thing. Islam is a fundamentalist cult. The bombings, assassinations, and terrorism are not the work of few extremist radical Muslims but they are what Islam teaches and preaches. The fact that most of the Muslims are not aware of the brutal teachings of Islam and therefore live decently, hurting no one and being reliable citizens does not make Islam a tolerant doctrine or one to tolerate.

Shalini Razdan:

I'm almost afraid to make a comment here for fear of getting smeared in the Pakistan vs. America mudfest, but what the heck, you only live once.:)

Unlike some others on the board, I didn't interpret Begum Nawazish Ali's comments as anti-Amrican so much as self-critical. Indeed, I think the essential point he was trying to make, was that Pakistan needed to stop fixating on America and take responsibility and ownership of their society, culture and country.

As an Indian-American, I have to say that Ali's dismay, at the extent of American influence on Pakistani culture, struck a chord. As much as I love American TV shows like "The Sopranos" or "House", it is disconcerting to travel to India and find the local population immersed in American pop culture! Worrying about American culture subsuming one’s own native culture is a concern much of the world shares, methinks.

Aamir Ali:

ICBM:

Our country deserves a lot better since it has provided critical help and victories to America. Americans should respect Pakistanis.

sadna:

Who were the most fundamentalist Mujahiddeen in the Afghan War? Hekmatyar and Sayyaff.

Who set up an elaborate arms pipeline and supplied the lion's share of billions of dollars of arms, material and battle planning to the most fundamentalist mujahidden at expense of other mujahidden? The US government.

Why does America hate Americans?


After raining funds and arms on the most nasty Salafists for more than a decade, who does the US goverment and media blame today for ongoing armed jihad ? Every Muslim on the street from Algeria to Indonesia who had nothing to do with any of it.

Why does America hate Muslims?


At whose behest were these fundamentalist mujahiddeen favored at the expense of others by the US from 1979-1990? The Pakistani Army's.

Who else in Pakistan supported Hekmatyar with madrassa-trained fighters,channeled funds and organisational muscle? Jamat i Islami and successive Pakistani governments.

Which clients did Pakistan switch to when Hekmatyar couldn't win Kabul even after raining rockets on it for two years (1992-94) as Prime Minister of Afghanistan? The Taliban.

Who supported Taliban with madrassa-trained fighters, channeled funds and organisational muscle? Jamat e Ulema Pakistan and successive Pakistani governments.

Who were fellow travellers of Al Qaeda fighters sharing training camps in Afghanistan pre- 9/11? The Taliban, the Pakistan Army, Pakistani religious parties, Pakistani jihadi parties.

Who does Pakistani society blame for getting involved in the Afghan-Soviet war and post-war civil war? The US.

What do these above-listed entities in Pakistan define as jihad today? Their client Muslims killing other Muslims in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Why does Pakistan hate Muslims?

Who will ask these unanswered questions?

Bad Boy:

It seems that the Americans (most of whom are with Indian origins) are being shown a mirror and they certainly do not like what they see! Typical American (and Resident Indians!) reaction spread all over this blog.

IMRAN:

GO BEGUM, I LOVE YOUR SHOW I WATCHED IT ALL THE TIME YOU ARE THE JOY OF THE PAKISTANI PEOPLE LIKE ME, GO TELL THOSE FASCIST AMERICANS WHO IS THE REAL TERRORIST, THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN DO WITH THESE TERRORIST AMERICANS THERE ONLY GOAL IS TO CALL US EXTREMIST AND THEN KILL US, I WILL ALWAY SUPPORT THE FREEDOM OF ALL EVEN DRAQ QUEENS. I THINK TO BE ANTI-AMERICAN MEANS TO BE A GOOD TOLERANT HUMAN BEING, AND I THINK WE PAKISTANIS HAVE FINALLY FIGURED THAT....

GongZhang:

“Any man off the street will be open for sex with another man, trust me, but ask them if they’re gay and of course they say no. In a way, Pakistan is much more open than it’s given credit for,”

So much for Islamic teachings that Pakistanis wear on their sleeves. Please note that I have no problems with gays because I do believe that they are born that way. But I do have a problem with people who are vehemently anti-gay (most Muslims and religious Christians) and who will still engage in homosexuality clandestinely.

By the way, I read a report that it is teenaged boys rather than teenaged girls who are mostly in danger of rape in Pakistan.

ICBM:

Aamir Ali:

Your country deserves no better and if you Pakis continue on your course you will be dealing with a man-made earthquake.

Aamir Ali:

Tired of it all:

Pakistanis are grateful to the help American provide during our earthquake. What we despise is how your country uses us as a condom.

AM :

For an insightful look at Pakistan and its current challenges, see:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/23/070723fa_fact_dalrymple

Amar:

While in Lahore you may want to visit Asma Jahangir.

Bill:

The US promoted extremism and jihadists in Islamic countries to fight the Soviets. Not just Pakistan but Egypt, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. Now we have to deal with the monster we created, as do the rulers of all these countries.

Bill

Tired of it all:

Next time there is an earthquake in Pakistan, let them dig themselves out then. I despise Bush, but every little problem is not a result of the US.

Aamir Ali:

Jo:
Pakistanis problem with America is how America uses Pakistan as a condom. That is a legitimate complaint.

Pakistanis also realize that Americans are powerful and that they kill and destroy to get what they want. Americans didn't like Saddam and wanted Iraqi oil, so Americans march into Baghdad. America isn't the devil and it isn't a saint either.


Bruce:

My favorite Quote is by Robert A. Heinlein (Sci-Fi Author) "The most preposterous notion Homo Sapiens
has yet dreamed up is that the Lord God, shaper and ruler of all the universes wants the saccharine adoration of his creatures,can be swayed by their prayers,and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, least productive industry in all of human history." This goes for whatever you wish to call god. Allah, Jehovah,etc.

stelladonna:

I'm crying my eyes out!!!

melb:

How bout those great pictures Bakshi chose or his header? Hollywood, Iraq andburning flags, that's what America is all about!

Maybe Bakshi's interview subjects are so rabidly anti-American because they have as simplistic, ignorant and negative impression of America as he does.

Any chance the liberalsin the media will ever do a sroy about how Americans feel about Pakistan? or a story about how folks in Pakistan feel about other countries? Of course not! The goal of Bakshi and other propogadists is to convince Americans that they need to share the views of the wacko let or else the rest of the wrld will hate us.

I don't care what Pakistanis think of me any more than they care about what I think of them.

Mike:

This fellow isn't defying the US. The US is making no atempt to control him or his message.

We know that the America hating crew at WaPo think that anyone who also hates America is a hero. The rest of us just see yet one more foreigner who wants to blame the world's problems on the bad old US. Yawn.

Joe:

Well, Mr. Bakshi, another Pakistani/Muslim railing and ranting against America. Can't even get some support from a drag queen in an Islamic country! We Americans have no hope and should just stop wasting billions of dollars of our taxpayers' money. If they feel we used them like a condom, next time do not let us come in. As they you fool me once, you are smart, but you fool me twice then I am the fool.

But I also ask what Pakistanis/Muslims have done for America and the rest of the world: Mastermind of 9/11 was a Pakistani (KSM),creation of Taliban. Russian school children massacre, daily terror strikes in Thailand, India, Iraq, Afghan...

And btw when I opened this web site , I saw 175 Muslims being blown up by their Muslim brethrens in Iraq (Kurds). Please stop importing this culture into our country.

Also your mention of gays and abuser of gender minorities is what we expect of these god fearing Muslims.

mike adair:

jo: words are important. especially when the conflict bewteen the two cultures is often framed by extremists (on both sides) as "my god can beat up your god". the literal use of the phrase "godforsaken" means that god has forsaken them (the pakistanis), and by using that phrase you could be perceived as fanning the flames of hatred. after reading your follow up post, it seems you didnt mean it that way.

Jo:

In my first post (which was in response to Holden's comment), I wanted to point out to him/her that this is not a forum for religion bashing. Hence my comment: "why bring religion into this". And in my second post, where I mention "godforsaken country", I was just pointing out the shambles your country is in and wanted to ask you not to blame the US for every problem your country faces, most of which (or rather all of which) is due to your stupidity and corrupt behavior. Of course, as mentioned above, blaming US is a national pastime of Pakistan.

mike adair:

aamir ali: sometimes when people (like jo) get heated, they let slip how they REALLY feel. read the lamentaion about "bringing religion into it" in the first post by jo. then notice the use of the phrase "godforsaken" by jo in the second post. looks like jo feels god has turned his/her/its back on pakistan, but god clearly smiles down on jo's country.

Anonymous:

aamir ali: sometimes when people (like jo) get heated, they let slip how they REALLY feel. read the lamentaion about "bringing religion into it" in the first post by jo. then notice the use of the phrase "godforsaken" by jo in the second post. looks like jo feels god has turned his/her/its back on pakistan, but god clearly smiles down on jo's country.

Aamir Ali:

Jo:

The US may have given some money and used guns to Pakistan, but nowhere the amount of help you claim in your post. The US has used and disposed of Pakistan many times, thats what Pakistanis don't like about America.

There is no hatred here, just a disgust at America using Pakistan like a condom.

Jo:

Nivedita: Still does not justify terrorism by islamic fanatics! Nor does it justify these mullahs blaming us for every little thing happening in their godforsaken country!

Nivedita:

Well, Jo lets see. It was the US that initially helped the mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. The US also supplied tanks to Pakistan in the 1965 war against India. The US supports military dictatorships when it suits it (eg. Saddam, Musharraf) and disposes them when it doesn't. It seems to me that the US is doing whats in its selfish interest, not Pakistan's!! Pakistan has been used as a pawn more than once by the US, its only now that Pakistan is realising it. Finally, the US and Pakistan do not have a one-way deal as you see it. Unless it was in the US's interests to do so, Pakistan would have never gotten that kind of support from the US.

mike adair:

question for holden: are you aware that you just described the majority of americans? your comments may be true about the average pakistani, but they sure as heck describe most americans.

Jo:

I don't know why you would bring religion into this, but I agree that blaming us for all their problems seems to have become a favorite pastime of politicians and commoners. That is just a sign of national lethargy and jealousy.

Holden:

"Ali says American intervention in Pakistan has “brought nothing but sadness” by supporting dictators and rendering Pakistan’s people impotent, constantly looking to the outside world, particularly the U.S., for help solving its own problems..."


Pakistan's people are impotent not because US supports their dictators but because they follow the vile teachings of a cult. They are radical and fanatic and that makes them incapable of sane thinking and blunts their civic sense and morality. Everything they look at and interpret is through "religion goggles". Take those glasses off, reform islam and most of your problems will sort themselves out. Stop blaming us for all that is wrong in your country.

Anonymous:

"America's intervention has brought nothing but sadness."

Does that include the referenced 2003 liberalizing of the airwaves that allows this hideous root-marm to regurgitate "her" vapid opinions?

As usual, it's always America's fault. I'm sure life as a glamorous drag queen will be much better under sharia. Just at least have the dignity to not try to flee to the US when that happens.

Jo:

Why hate us though, in the first place? Isn't it mighty ungrateful of the Pakistanis to do so? Have we not been supporting them against radical religious fundamentalists in their own country? Have we not provided them with enough financial help to sustain their armies and economies as well? Have we not tried to shield them from "home-grown" terrorists and from those in Afghanistan?

And why is Mr Bakshi giving a drag queen's views the publicity it clearly does not deserve?

DC reader:

Well, what do you expect when we support dictators and sell/give weapons to anyone we deem useful to short term interests? That the people in those countries will start singing our praises? That their drag queens will perform Kate Smith covers? SNAP!

bender:

There are so many pieces in the WaPo expressing outraged scorn for the U.S. that reading them becomes rather pedestrian. One would think that all the haters have been represented in print by now and rehashing their grievances is our fate. What a breath of fresh air to find a suicidal drag queen from Pakistan that hates us too. I smell Pulitzer!

Andre L.:

You bettah work!

BV:

I give it to the Pakistani and Indian society in allowing the existence and thriving of Hijra/Hijada/DragQueen communities. They even have the cities of their own. It is kind of ironic to have people of that life style thriving in rigid religious societies. The historical background of that dates back to the economic/cultural glory days of the past. Hindu liberal religion, Buddhism (tantric budhism!), Sufism etc. flourished in those days. People had much more human rights than the current human rights situation in western countries. Even the Islamists were not that hardcore!.

I do not condone many liberal ideas and thoughts. I think human beings are here to procreate and let the race multiply in number (Well, we may have more than we need now). At the same time, we should not condemn somebody finding happiness in life through alternative lifestyles. It may be their physiological nature or psychological nature. As long as that lifestyle does not challenge the mainstream lifestyle, who are we to judge people's choice. Alternative lifestyles were respected and were given the freedom in the India and Pakistan of the past. I still think even people in US can think clearly in the ways that people from Indian subcontinent did in the past.

But then came this religious dogma. I do not leave the western countries out of that list either. The West glorified the religious killings when they were barbarians in thinking, the Islamists picked up from there. Some of the upper class(I do not mean caste) of highly intellectual Indian subcontinent still has the power to think liberally. But there are masses who are in the lower range trying to come up the ranks. They are easily influenced by the ill willed religious leaders. They are the ones who are controlling the public agenda in India and Pakistan. India and Pakistan has no reason to engage in rivalry apart from this. I hope the educated and rational lot in this forum would gain the upper hand in the public forums. We should lend support to the hard working, free thinking class who are very much active in pockets of Indian and Pakistani administration. Indian subcontinent is in that process of transformation. Do not poison the growth or become a weed with religious dogmatism. Religion should be private. I urge the Pakistanis to come out strongly against theocracy. Indians were freer(a lot in Pakistan as well), now they are leaning to the extreme views. Please do not be an educated religious extremist!

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