Boohoo, Pakistan Portrayed On TV As Sort Of Place Where They, Oh, Stone Women -- Which, In Real Life, They Actually Do

By Amy Alkon


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Boohoo, Pakistan Portrayed On TV As Sort Of Place Where They, Oh, Stone Women — Which, In Real Life, They Actually Do
A Pakistani woman writes to complain about the portrayal of Pakistan on “Homeland,” the Showtime show starring Clare Danes as a CIA agent dealing with Muslim terrorism.

Gregg and I have been complaining, too, about the show lately — that the recent episodes have been slow as hell and focused on this boring baby angle.

But novelist Bina Shah writes in The New York Times:

I’m a writer of fiction, so I know about imagined worlds. You look not for complete truthfulness, but for verisimilitude — the “appearance of being true” — so it can give your art authenticity, credibility, believability. And we in Pakistan long to be seen with a vision that at least approaches the truth.

Pakistan has long been said to have an image problem, a kind way to say that the world sees us one-dimensionally — as a country of terrorists and extremists, conservatives who enslave women and stone them to death, and tricky scoundrels who hate Americans and lie pathologically to our supposed allies. In Pakistan, we’ve long attributed the ubiquity of these images to what we believe is biased journalism, originating among mainstream American journalists who care little for depth and accuracy. By the time these tropes filter down into popular culture, and have morphed into the imaginings of showbiz writers, we’ve gone from an image problem to the realm of Jungian archetypes and haunting traumatized psyches.

Whenever a Western movie contains a connection to Pakistan, we watch it in a sadomasochistic way, eager and nervous to see how the West observes us. We look to see if we come across to you as monsters, and then to see what our new, monstrous face looks like. Again and again, we see a refracted, distorted image of our homeland staring back at us. We know we have monsters among us, but this isn’t what we look like to ourselves.

Guess what: Nobody does TV shows about a mom taking her kids to school.

And you should be a little more focused on the monsters among you — and how disgustingly commonplace stonings of women are, along with all the other human rights abuses that are part and parcel of Islam.

Okay, TV sometimes fails on what’s exactly real:

Still, the season’s first hour, in which Carrie also goes to Islamabad, offers up a hundred little …Click Here To Read The Full Story >>>

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