A SMALL COMPARISON OF A FEW ELEMENTS IN PAKISTANI AND AMERICAN SOCIETIES
Lifestyle in United States vs Pakistan an autobiography by Author: A.Awan
Life in United States is very different than life back home. It gets extremely lonely here. You feel confused between feeling like you don’t have anything to do to you don’t have time to do anything. People don’t have time. You yourself don’t have time for yourself. You often feel like you’ve just become a robot. You often feel like you have no social life. I seldom felt like that in Pakistan. Many people may not reciprocate with me and say that it depends upon you to go out and make a healthy stable social life for yourself. But most of the time, these people were either born in America or have been living here for many years now. My brother doesn’t feel that way now. But he used to be very anxious for a few years when he first moved here. in his early years. Similarly, me, despite being a Masters student, feel anxious probably because I’m a freshie. I may not feel this way a few years down the line. But I guess its also because back in Pakistan, we get used to living in our own bubble. There isn’t much cross-cultural diversity. Almost everyone knows Urdu and there is a uniformity of facial features alongside very little variation in skin colors. America, on the other hand is very diverse. You have the typical goras, desis, Arabs, blacks etc. Someone like me, who’s spent most of their life in likeminded and similar looking people, find it over whelming to have meaningful interactions and friendships with people from other ethnicities. There are, however, some things that I’ve deeply observed in USA within just a few months of living here. And the reason for writing this blog is to show the areas where we need to work and actually learn from USA to be a better society especially in terms of justice and education.
One thing I absolutely love about America is that it’s extremely beautiful. Not that Pakistan isn’t. It’s just that, sadly, only those parts of Pakistan remain beautiful where (most) city people can’t actually go too often. I seldom find anyone littering here but in Pakistan, specially in Karachi, freedom is defined by your ability to be an absolute jahil and bless each and every wall with your pan ki peek. I don’t say it out of hatred for my country. I say it out of sadness because I’ve seen Karachi deteriorate from being one of the most breathtaking cities in the world to an absolute pile of garbage.
Here in America, you feel secure most of the time. I mean you have this peace in the back of your mind that even if something bad happens to you, you can always expect justice from the court. It’s a very common phrase that when two people get into a fight, they say to each other that I’ll see you in court. This is because they have trust on their judicial system. Everybody knows what George W Bush did and how Pakistan suffered with innumerable drone attacks during Obama’s time in the office. And we can’t forget how racist Trump is. And yes, their actions have taken a great toll on the safety of Muslims in the United States yet, whenever a major Islamophobic hate crime takes place within this country, we’ve had the same people involved in terrorizing Muslim countries and literally destroying them say that we stand with the American Muslims and even Non-American Muslims inside America. They don’t just say it to safeguard their vote banks. They say it because it is true to a great extent. Because they know they can get away with what they do to us in Muslim countries but they can’t get away with it in their home country. This is due to the fact that they’ve made laws that by and large ensure the safety and well being of people from pretty much all races and all religions for the greater good and stability of the country. Not only do they have these laws but these laws are also promulgated.
I’ve never heard anyone say that court phrase I mentioned earlier to someone in Pakistan. This deeply shows that unfortunately, we know, we all know very well that we can’t expect justice from our judiciary system. It’s crippled and handicapped. People actually wish to settle things outside the court because it’s a nuisance. It’s such a shame that the followers of Rasullah SAW and Umer RA, the two greatest symbols of justice among all of humanity have downgraded to such a level.
I remember when I first moved to Pakistan, I was so happy to be among my people. I lived there for 7 years and I just kept growing angrier and sad. I had many good times too just like the instances I mentioned in my last blog. But overall, there is a growing frustration among the masses. There are two reasons to it. One, the system is an absolute ludicrous. We’ve been bombarded with so many inconveniences that we don’t get the time to think about challenging or changing the system. We’ve been made to be so busy that we don’t even know and educate ourselves on what our rights are.
A small but extremely important example is that of our education system. The subjects you choose to study from matriculation decide and dictate the course of your career for the rest of your life. There is no turning back. In America, if you’re an arts major and still decide to be a doctor, you won’t have to repeat 4 years of matriculation and intermediate to apply for medical schools. You just have to study the prerequisite courses. But if someone tries to do that you have to repeat subjects irrelevant to the fields despite having taken them previously. This is just one example that I gave. You can point out such rubbish “protocols” regarding almost everything around you.
Coming to the second reason however, people themselves are totally and wholesomely responsible and to be blamed. That is absolute disregard for the word of Allah. Many Muslims including myself are Muslims just because we were born into Muslim families. We just happened to inherit this religion from our parents. So, we have people who can misuse whatever little authority they have because there is no accountability. Almost every single person is absolutely dishonest to the extent their power allows them to be. We only blame politicians for it but no, most people in almost every single profession are corrupt. From our teachers, chefs, house help, bus drivers, office clerks, army officers, students, engineers, doctors, grave diggers to news anchors, politicians, executives every person is corrupt to the point where their authority allows them to be. Allah does not change the condition of a people unless they themselves work for change. If we can really get away with misusing our authority and escape getting chitrolled (Urdu/Punjabi for being beaten by shoes or leather straps by the police) in this world, we should be very worried as Allah is just. If one doesn’t pay for his/her crimes in this world, he/she will have to payback in the next. And trust me, given the description of angels we have, chitrol from them will definitely hurt infinitely more than chitrol from humans of course. We can’t be corrupt and yet expect to have a system that is at the pinnacle of human rights and morality as the system is inevitably run by us.