By Arieb Azhar
November 14, 2013
The US and Pakistan have been closely allied since the signing of the first mutual defence treaty in May 1954.There was a brief interruption during the left leaning government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, but afterwards during General Zia and Reagan’s time, at the height of the cold war, they practically became blood brothers, and worked hand in hand to prop up the Jihadi militant outfits who were fighting against the Soviets.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, there was again a realignment of relations, but they were again firmly established when President Bush pressurised the state of Pakistan into becoming a key ally in the War against Terror.
Throughout this long romance between our militaries and governments, however, the people of Pakistan and the United States have not really been properly introduced to each other and have a lot of misconceptions regarding each other’s societies.
I still hold that there are more similarities between our societies than the average American or Pakistani is aware of.
For example there’s the fascination for WWE wrestling. The average American redneck would be surprised to learn that the average Pakistani also considers WWE wrestling to be an actual sport and not a dramatised spectacle of stunts, and gets as much pleasure from watching two over-sized males in skimpy clothing, yelling obscenities and pretending to beat each other up, as his white counterpart.
Then, there’s the love of gorging oneself with food that both societies share. Though owing to fast food and sodas, obesity is a bigger problem in the US than in Pakistan.
The majority of young people in both societies also prefer slapstick humor and horsing around more than some sophisticated, complicated comedy.
Both American and Pakistani societies are heavily in debt and spend more than they earn. The disparity between the rich and poor is colossal while many rich people lead unashamedly ostentatious lifestyles and blame the poverty of the homeless on God’s natural law of selection or simply laziness.
Despite invoking the natural law of selection where their own wealth is concerned, average Pakistanis and Americans completely reject Darwin’s theory of evolution and are proud and vocal creationists.
Both the average Americans (such as represented by the Republican Tea Party groups), and the average Pakistanis (represented by various right-wing groups) use religious scriptures to advocate prayers in schools, anti-abortion campaigns and broader or less gun control. They both feel that despite the secular foundations of their respective countries, religion should never have been separated from the state, and that as a result of it society has been taken over by godless people of loose morals such as homosexuals, socialists and human rights activists.
Both average Americans and Pakistanis are fond of sensational news channels, run by conglomerate media companies, where they can watch their favorite most irritating, opinionated, self-righteous and fascist-minded TV anchor insulting social scientists, professors and foreign agents.
Both consider TV preachers to be the most learned scholars and historians around, since they are able to provide irrefutable proof of how only people from their own particular religious group will be granted entry into heaven, while those of all other religions, as well as homosexuals, drug addicts, social rights activists, atheists and socialists will burn in eternal hell fire for their sins.
Both the average American and average Pakistani don’t have access to a social health care system and consider all illnesses to be punishments from God for our own loose morals.
Both have a fascination for guns and weapons and prefer to be counted amongst the hunters rather than gatherers and farmers. Both consider shooting a gun to be the best form of aphrodisiac together with Viagra and other potency concoctions.
Both average Americans and Pakistanis are fascinated by cults and conspiracies, and consider aliens or djinns to be behind most unexplained phenomena.
Both countries have regularly produced mass murderers and serial killers, though in Pakistan they are sometimes also called martyrs when they’re killed.
The average citizens of both countries love watching violent and gory movies where the story-line of good versus evil is kept simple and to the point.
I can go on…
Both prefer going to a strip joint strip or watching a mujrah dance rather than some complicated refined dance, which is trying to be artistic.
Both societies have serious heroine addiction problems.
Both love watching and betting on boring ball games on television and love taking part in lotteries.
Both Americans and Pakistanis prefer not to get involved in the foreign policies of their governments or question the interventions of their militaries and spy agencies in countries that are supposed to be their allies.
Citizens from both countries have a ‘chosen race/country syndrome’.
Both have a soft spot for military dictators with moustaches, though the average American prefers them to be outside of his/her own country…
Arieb Azhar is a singer songwriter based in Islamabad. He studied Philosophy and Indology from the University of Zagreb in Croatia, where he also used to lead an Irish Celtic World Music band.