It’s Troubled, But It’s Home

Mohsin Hamid at his website (first published in the Washington Post):

Mohsin20hamidAs my wife and I board our flight from London to Lahore, evident all around us is a longing for home — for the friends and family who are central to Pakistani culture in a way that many foreigners find so remarkable. (As an admiring American roommate of mine once said, “All you guys do is hang out.”) This duality of Pakistan as a place both troubled and normal, a place capable of producing a large diaspora while also affectionately tugging at those who have left, is often lost on the world’s media. International news outlets tend to cast Pakistan as the one-dimensional villain of a horror film, a kind of Jason or Freddie whose only role is to frighten. Scant attention is paid to the hospitality, the love for music and dance, or the simple ordinariness of 164 million people going about their daily lives.

As we take our seats on a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777, my fellow passengers do not look to me like embodiments of the hearts and minds of an important frontline state in the “war on terror.” They look like people excited to be headed home.

More here.