A study of Anti-Americanism in Pakistan (Part III)

by Abdul Majeed Abid

Regarding the basis of hate towards the US, Professor Hamid Kizilbash’s paper in 1988 stated that Pakistanis give three kinds of reasons for negative feelings about America. One involves U.S. policies toward Pakistan such as failure to come to Pakistan’s aid during the Bangladesh crisis, using Pakistan for its own interests, and opposition to Pakistan’s peaceful nuclear program. A second deals with American global policy, including support of Israel, opposition to Iran’s present government, and use of force against small Third World nations. The third includes American involvement in Pakistan—for example, support of the military regime, obstructing a settlement of the Afghan issue, and responsibility for the decline in the value of the local currency.

Columnist Fasi Zaka in one of his columns suggested that the kind of anti-Americanism found these days (among the middle-classes of the country) is extremely ill-informed. He wrote that a lot of young Pakistanis are basing their understanding of international politics by watching low-budget straight-to-video ‘documentaries’ on YouTube!

The unfortunate fact is that most of Anti-America bashing is done for all the wrong reasons. United States of America is no beacon of International justice nor are they the mega-scheming empire that we so love to depict in our lengthy and flowery diatribes. U.S.A is neither the “great Satan” nor is the “defender of democracy”, it is somewhere in between these two extremes.   The most accurate basis of U.S-bashing would be to criticize the impunity with which that country holds the rest of the world accountable based on its standards or the brazen use of force by the United States across the globe(and NOT only against the Muslims-contrary to popular belief) over the last 70 years.  Ironically, more people in the United States itself and in Europe protested against the Iraq war than in any of the Muslim “Ummah”. While we are at it, it should also not be forgotten what the “Muslim Imperialism” did in its own days. If Mohammad bin Qasim can come all the way from Hijaz to Sindh just because of a letter written by a woman, Moosa bin Naseer can send an army to help Count Julian across the Mediterranean, G.I Joe also has the equal right to retaliate when a bunch of dimwits attack its homeland via flying planes. America is not controlling the world like we think it is. Add this to the fact that more than 90% Pakistani people have never been to the U.S and have never met an American in real life.

Another ugly issue surrounding the prevalent anti-Americanism is the hypocrisy of it. Most people attending the “Go Amrika Go” rallies would love to get a U.S Visa and spend their rest of lives in the same country whose flag they burn on monthly basis for fun. People like this can be seen queuing up outside American fast-food chains, they like to wear American brands(new or second hand), they watch American films, follow the trends set by Americans, use American-built devices like a Personal Computer or an iPhone and the list goes on and on. It would be unfair not to say that one characteristic that unites us Pakistanis is this hypocrisy that we fail to see.

U.S is not the wealthiest country in the world, rather it the country with the most loans. The unemployment rates in United States are rising on weekly basis, people are getting their homes taken away from them, if “Amrika” is so powerful, Why can’t it help its OWN people? We have been made to think via convoluted conspiracy theories that Amrika has some kind of Vendetta against Muslims. No doubt, a lot of Muslim countries have been at the receiving end of Amrika’s wrath including Iraq, Afghanistan and lately Libya. But does that mean what was happening at Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya was Justified.? The genocide being committed by Saddam and Qaddafi was “western propaganda” only? Al-Qaeda was a bunch of average  bearded guys who played for the same football team? As a society, we do not want to tolerate any dissenting voice and I am already expecting remarks branding me “another American agent” or  “Amriki apologist” and all my protestations will be useless when that happens.At the end, I would just like to re-quote Mr. Tufail Ahmad, “It[Anti-American sentiment] hegemonizes minds and prevents people from seeing facts as they exist”

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