As a Proud Pakistani American I was all up for the Irvine Friendship Cities Program, initiated with all good intentions . The core and solitary idea behind it was to extend hand in Friendship with various cities of the world and to promote and maintain healthy ties between them in order for the global progression. This simple thought was not conjured for any political, religious reasons or for personal fulfillment in the city office.
Irvine is fairly a newly developed city from amongst the many in Orange County of Southern California. It blankets people from various different communities. What makes this particular city segment out, is not merely its diversified nature but more so the attitude of its citizens towards each other. The exuberance and the active partaking, the people of Irvine exhibits from the Global village festival held yearly to supporting their local schools to exercising their freedom of speech at the City Council. Just recently the city has been ranked as one of the top best cities of United States in terms of safety, education and merely living in. And so the Friendship Cities Proposal, was a small stride initiated to keep harmonious relations not only amongst the residents of Irvine but to recognize their place of origin and form enthusiastic bonds in all good spirit.
I, with many others very naïvely and eagerly assembled at the city council on the 8th of April 2014, to speak in support of this thought. As a proud Pakistani American, I was enthralled by the idea of Karachi, my birth place being in the nominations.
One could only imagine the simple truth of the term, “Dirty Politics”, when one has a chance of witnessing it. As an educator it was an eye opener for me to witness a sea of people readily speaking and corroborating against the modest, straightforward agenda.
People representing other ethical groups came across as rigid and proved themselves as dwellers of the problems. In the words of my friend, “If we start extending friendships towards other nations keeping in mind their human rights policies and records this world would be an EVEN colder place”.
The simple hand in friendship can essentially work towards cultivating the current situations of many cities around the world. It would only be an optimistic step, a small one rather than the political foreign affairs agenda discussed by the Great Giants ruling. In those anyhow the essence of establishing any positive relations is lost in the political rant safe guarding their office posts.
What was more disappointing was the reaction from the Mayor. The city council was no less than a fish market or rather an exposed capacity for a pimp who very viciously and tactfully sells its product to the highest bidder, bidding. Here, inside the city chambers the innocent idea was cunningly and insight-fully sold out to those who are the champions in upholding their office posts from time to time.
To kill two birds with one stone, was very proudly put in practical practice by the Mayor and city council members making the meek residents as their bait.
The Friendship Cities Program was a positive reflection on how a democracy should function not primarily within its geographical boundaries but on a transnational level, educating citizens of the world about the varied nature of this precise world we reside in. Only such a step would engage humans globally together for the greater good of all. Only such a step would help in spanning the gap between nations of different realms in respect to each of their supreme cultures, religions and even politics. It is this Friendship step which would attest as a common ground for humble inhabitants, whoever they maybe and from where ever they may be.
What the mayor was not aware of before labeling Karachi as a “Taliban City”, that it houses people like Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Ameen Gulgee, Saba Ikram to name a few. It serves as one of the largest Democratic Metropolitan cities in Asia. What the mayor unfortunately was ignorant of was the simple fact that Junoon ( one of the largest rock music bands of Asia) performed LIVE at UN General Assembly Hall on Oct 24, 2001 on United Nations Day in NY. The city itself is the Mecca Hub of Pakistan in terms of foreign businesses. The mayor didn’t have his facts in place that in 2007, the World Bank identified Karachi as the most business-friendly city in Pakistan. In 2010, It was researched by Mercer to be the most inexpensive cities in the world. It is home to some of the best world-renowned universities and the foreign boards of education including that in the United States recognizes the caliber of these educational institutions.
Perfection is a dictionary term which should NOT be used when blathering about nations, rather working towards in harmony with each other is a very meager step towards attaining it.
Lets keep aside “us” for a moment and create a better world for those yet to come.
Lets leave behind a legacy of positivity and sow seeds of love, friendship and harmony at a global level, so that our generations reap and follow on our benchmark.
Lets for once think of a revolution outside of archery, weapons, nuclear weapons and manslaughter. Lets for once scratch in history a revolution on “Friendship”.
Lets use the freedom of speech towards betterment rather than personal judgment.
let Martin Luther King’s Dream takes its wings further beyond the horizons of the ‘ Land of the Free and Home of the Brave”…