EXCLUSION

 

I just finished reading a book. It is titled The Reluctant Fundamentalist”, written by a Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid.

Initially I was angry at his words at the way he had described his emotions when the Twin Towers fell. But then as I got into the book, I recognized his feelings. I understood his ache.  The way he had left his family and come to the U S and graduated with such high honors from Princeton, and employed by one of the prestigious firms in New York, and feeling lonely because his parents were just barely making it at home. His lavish life was a mockery to the life they lived. US was aiding India in trying to find the terrorists in Pakistan and while telling the government and the people that it was their ally.

His home and the city of Lahore with its beautiful gardens, the Royal Mosques, the Forts that were built almost a thousand years ago, while the American people were hanging on to the coast lines to establish themselves in order to make some impact on  history just a couple or three centuries ago. Now those beautiful buildings in the North West Frontier have ruins scattered all over that great country, and they remind me of a saying in Urdu that “The ruins always proclaim that the buildings were once majestic and beautiful”.

He talks about the racial profiling and the prejudicial attitude of the average and common people in a city called New York, which is supposed to be the melting pot of the world. He contrasts it to the kindness and hospitality of that other nation, where a guest, a tourist, and a stranger is revered and welcomed in the home and allowed to sit at the dining table and share whatever fare the hosts have.

I wonder about this precious gift of respect that this young author bestows on his people and his homeland which has now fallen on evil times, and how the other nations of the world ignore and humiliate.

Despite the big strides that Pakistan and India have taken in the field of technology, I think the real East remains unexplored. The blindness of contempt is more hopeless than the blindness of ignorance; contempt kills the light which ignorance merely leaves unignited. The East waits to be recognized, even today, and understood, yes even today by the Western races. The white races, who think that only a white lady can win the Miss America Pageant; and because the color of the latest winner is brown or dark, she should be humiliated. What logic is this that this nation of whites deludes itself in? Do they not recognize that the people of the East want to be understood and recognized and cheered, in order not only to be able to give what is true in her, but also to be confident of her own mission? Do we always have to sweep Human Rights under the carpet because the other race is not the white skinned, blond haired, blue eyed race? Where is the empathy of humanity touching the souls and the core of human beings? Has America lost it?

I started to talk about the book that Mohsin Hamid wrote, and I slid into the topic of racial prejudice and ignorance of the white people.

I am sorry if I have ruffled some feathers. You should know that I always speak my mind.

Zakiah.

About Zakiah

I write poetry and some fiction, have a book that was published in 2012. . . Stray Thoughts/Winged Words. I have four grandchildren, ages 16 and half to almost 16 months. I love the ocean, and grew up along the Indian Ocean in South India. I am a retired physician. Don't know much else to say. Thanks for reading. That has been my profile for so many years. My daughter Saadia a great poet and story teller, has two sons; the oldest grandson is now 21 years old, doing architectural engineering at Missouri S&T in Rolla MO. His younger brother is almost 16 and taking driving lessons seriously and is in High School. The other two grandsons, children of my son Sayeed, are 9 and 5. I have recently published another book titled Gulistan, A home of Flowers. It has stories and memories of my childhood and of a distant land which I still consider as my HOME., even though I have lived here in the US for more than fifty years. Hope to see you on my blog.
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6 Responses to EXCLUSION

  1. atlantaspoon says:

    I can understand what the author is trying to say being that I began as an immigrant here and had to face harsh prejudice and bias. Now that I’ve seen alot of life, I can understand both sides of the coin. The melting pot does indeed threaten many people’s (punct.?) ways of life. However, there is an art to assimilation that, unfortunately, is not passed down from generation to generation. I would venture to say the author’s experience is a culmination of these factors, but of course there are surely more.

    I’ve concluded that as we live in a time where our leaders try to accommodate more citizen-embracing cultures, they also have to live with the fact that there will be ethnic/religious opportunists who use democratic language to advance ideals that are antithetical to the idea of our republic. And this will exacerbate any prejudice that is naturally out there as a result of a group of people integrating with another group.

  2. Humor_Me_Now says:

    Good Morning, Dr. Zakiah

    My 12 older brother was a seaman during WW2—I was 8 years old when Pearl Harbor was bombed. My best friend was Japanese and American, but his family and all Japanese were sent to camps during the war. They were fine Americans.

    My brother told me of how many around the world hated America. He was not sure why. Funny, but he said that the Russians were very nice to him and the English not.

    I think we just have many countries with different cultures and religions that are important to them. They would all like some respect. I do not think it is going to happen.

    India and many nations have been around for thousands of years, but America has only been around a short time, and it is a little unique in that it was built on immigrants. It was never a perfect union. They could not solve the slavery issue, so they tabled it. It later and today caused the nation much grief.

    During my lifetime, our nation went to the aid of nations—like during WW2 to defeat Hitler and later help restore not only allies, but formerly enemy nations.

    Later wars are suspect and recent wars seen very unwise.

    I lived near Dearborn, Michigan and they had a large Muslim population. They were quiet living people that took some discrimination from a few local politicians, but not bad.

    I fear that the USA is on the downward path and may collapse one day due to the way they have handle Muslim nations due to their oil reserves-in part. I also think that despite what many try to say, it was founded on Christian principles and these have obviously been abandoned. Fine moderate Muslims have not been as strong against their terrorists as they could have. I think many mistakes have been made on both sides. Like, I think using drones to kill terrorists is wrong, but makes many feel good just to get rid of them.

    The book you read reminded me of TV news programs which should some population overseas celebrating the attack on America on 911. We have our enemies and the authors feelings are very understandable.

    I am not optimistic about our future. It may be our turn as a nation to feel the pain of collapse and slaughter.

    frank

  3. I commented this post on Xanga…but wanted to “like” it here!
    HUGS!!!

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