Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Letter published in Vanity Fair

More Letters

A Convenient Target

Over Al Gore; where’s the outrage? asks a soldier’s mom; finding the good in Pakistan; recounting a visit to Coffee Grounds; asshole ageism; and a dog potty for the balcony.

WEB EXCLUSIVE November 13, 2007

When Pakistan Met Isabella

IT IS UNFORTUNATE that Isabella Blow’s visit to Pakistan was not mentioned in “Final Blow” [by Edward Helmore, September]. The late Ms. Blow visited Karachi in December 2006 to attend the Lux Carnivale de Couture fashion event. Photographs of her striking appearance received prominent coverage in the Pakistani media. On her death, she was respectfully eulogized by the press here.

We in Pakistan know that our country tends to make international news for all the wrong reasons. Admittedly, we have had more than our fair share of terrorism, but there is so much more going on here that doesn’t get mentioned in the global media. Blow remarked to the local press that “there is so much warmth amongst the people here.”

But rather than witnessing Pakistan’s phenomenal strides in media, hospitality, music, and even fashion, the world’s cameras prefer to zoom in on our internal political strife. When A-list celebrities do visit, it’s mostly for philanthropic causes, or so the international media would have us believe. How many Americans today are aware that Robert De Niro visited Chitral and watched polo played on the world’s highest polo ground; that Ava Gardner and Stewart Granger shot an MGM film here, in Bhowani Junction; or that actress Rita Hayworth married the dashing Prince Aly Aga Khan, Pakistan’s representative to the United Nations? In the absence of reporting on our rich and varied sociocultural landscape, current coverage of Pakistan paints a determinedly bleak and decidedly unglamorous picture of this country to the outside world. We certainly expect more from Vanity Fair, and the rest of the world’s prominent publications. —LAALEEN KHAN, Lahore, Pakistan

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