It has always interested and stimulated me to be a person of attention and interest (not celebrity). I know I am not one to shy away from the spotlight – as you will see from many self-indulgent blogs but there is something unique about putting yourself somewhere that you are unique.
I’ve been extreme lucky to be in the position of rarity and attention often. It’s strange that just being ‘normal’ can have the responses of jaws hit the ground, heads turning and anything from shy giggles to pointing and yelling. Sometimes it is annoying and embarrassing but who do have to blame if you put yourself in that situation to start with! Most of the time it is privilege with significant consequences.
Often I have been the first or single source of experience for people to see, meet, touch or interact with a foreigner (god and Allah help them). I am conscious that whatever mood or actions I give off will be the source of their 6pm news to their family and friends for the evening or sometimes for the rest of their lives – like the girl who screamed as I ran on the path next to her house in remote Ethiopia (sorry!) but I love it. I also know that with simple gestures I have the power to add a little extra to that person’s day, week or month just by being a foreigner in a lowly frequented foreigner place. It usually doesn’t take much – a smile, a word in their own language, a local gesture, 5 seconds to stop and say hello and I know that they have a lasting effect as I am probably the guy who said cupboard in Urdu or gave a thumbs up at the traffic lights.
It is not the notoriety or self flagellation that has the appeal but this human connection and exchange where I to have a few seconds of opportunity to be a part of a journey for some people to know that there are other humans out there who look different but are just human.
The dial really gets turned up on this effect when I am lucky enough to step foot in a school. Here I get to have such raw and quality insights into a people and culture to learn and experience it from them. They also get to go more than skin deep better than just seeing someone like me on TV. This is where a beautiful exchange of humanity occurs with thinking, perspectives, learning and new experiences as the outcome.
I’m not sure exactly what I am really trying to prove in this scribble but I do know there is something in these kinds of experiences that truly makes my heart sing and the rawest of human element is expressed. Each time the experience is with such inquisition, excitement and usually jubilation it just makes me love the world even more and become an eternal optimist that we are essentially programed to get along…
I know the point! Pakistan is no different to any other place on earth. We are all brothers, we are all sisters – we are all Global Citizens. So please on behalf of the Pakistani people who I have so fat with with and know are the VAAAAAST majority – dispel these horrible negative stereotypes we get in the ‘west’ and appreciate these people as we do ourselves, our neighbours, our nationals and anyone else we usually meet and spend 5 minutes with!
Pakistan is another one of those places where my thoughts, words, actions and moods have a greater impact and I can only hope to play an honest and sincere human, not pretending to be anyone or anything else. I am their advocate as I can reach out on their behalf as they not easily able to do. I promise them that I will be their representative and do my best to tell the world the truth of how wonderful they are just as we all are and if you have a problem with a certain people or place then go and visit and meet with it before you make negative opinions on something you might have little personal interaction with. I say this for all the people of the world in the dozens of countries I have been lucky to experience and the thousands of people I have met.
If you are still sceptical maybe try this… – just go meet someone from a race, religion, gender persuasion, or any other difference that you haven’t met before and I guarantee an almost perfect success rate of people that say ‘actually they’re alright…’
It’s not rocket science it’s beautiful human nature…
No, I haven’t been in the poppy fields here these are just the emotions that run through you when you get to interact with new people in new places and learn and share with them!