Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, October 17, 2014

Note to “Homeland” producers: Islamabad is NOT a Grimy Shit-Hole

I've never been to Islamabad (and I've never watched Homeland), but this article — 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad — totally nails it.

In the mid 1970s I spent some time traveling through Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal.  Before I left the U.S. I read several travel/guide books of those countries, and they all described Islamabad as Pakistan's gleaming meticulously planned modern capitol city.  If I knew that from just reading a travel book (and they didn't even have the Intertubes or the google in those days), you'd think the creators of a highly-acclaimed TV drama would have discovered this simple fact.

I guess Homeland doesn't want to show a bunch of jihadists and their sympathizers sipping cappuccino in trendy coffee houses and shopping in modern stores instead of dusty back-alley bazaars.  Who needs accuracy when you can just keep trotting out the same tired one-dimensional stereotypes.

Like I said, I never went to Islamabad, but I was in Peshawar, Rawalpindi (near Islamabad) and Lahore.  Also Mingora — north of Peshawar — hometown of Malala and the crazed wackjobs who blinded her.  Mingora and Peshawar in particular both had this intangible pull to them, a certain vibe you just can't put your finger on.  Same with everywhere I went in Afghanistan.  This was before any of the political/religious bloodshed flared up.  Needless to say, I wouldn't go back there now.

But forty years ago, the people there were very friendly and welcoming, in a standoff-ish don't fuck with me and nobody gets hurt sort of way.  I don't know what changed.  My guess would be the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan triggered a chain reaction that ultimately led up to today's bloodbath.

Like they say, travel is broadening and enlightening.  Obviously, traveling to Afghanistan or Pakistan is not in the cards any more.  But research — use the google — and accurate portrayals are the least we could do.  Enabling ignorance and prejudice by trotting out the same simple-minded stereotypes accomplishes nothing.


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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's possible in their sick way they are making a weak case for Pakistani immigration to the US by making their homeland look so bad.

Or it's the typical American TV habit to stereotype everybody.

Yeah!

Erik

October 19, 2014 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I'm guessing it's the latter. Millions of Americans are addicted to thinking the rest of the world is either a backward hellhole or a socialist nanny state that saps initiative and destroys freedom.

October 19, 2014 at 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Drew said...

I spent a week in Islamabad nine years ago when I went to collect my brother who had been travelling around the area. He had been jumped by a gang a Pakistani males while returning to his hotel/hostel and brutally beaten and slashed around the face and body simply for being a white westerner. His girlfriend was lucky enough to escape as Pakistani males love to rape and abuse women, especially white women, and they made it was clear what would happen to her. The local Police didn't give a shit and by all accounts knew who the attackers were, the hospital treated him like trash, and our embassy didn't want to get involved.
During my stay while I waited for him to be stable enough to leave, I found the city to be unwelcoming, filthy, and by modern standards...yes, a dump.
And why do the producers portray middle eastern Muslims in such a way? Because that is the picture they themselves have painted. TV shows and Hollywood movies don't run propaganda to make westerners hate Islam. Westerners hate Islam because of the actions of a LARGE majority of Muslims. It's no longer a minority painting a portrayal of Islam, but a majority. It's becoming a regular occurrence to learn of Pakistani males raping underage girls in the UK and US. Such pleasant people.

Anyway, I digress. My point? Islamabad is a shit hole.

December 17, 2014 at 9:46 PM  

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