Happy Independence Day #Pakistan! Growing up, I used to be embarrassed of my heritage. Elementary school was full of children who called us Camel Jockies and after 9/11 I remember it being significantly harder to blend in with the terrorist jokes and the general ostracizing of anyone who looked different. I used to feel shameful that my family was South Asian and that we practiced a different religion.
I tried to run away from it most of my life keeping very few South Asian friends and rarely dating within my race. I despised the food and almost never watched the movies or listened to the music. I think things started changing for me once I matured and started to admire so many aspects of my culture and the courage of its people. I really got involved in a lot of human rights issues in college and blogged about the marginalization within South Asian culture. I never once gave up hope for peace and progress.
Being proud of your culture does not mean turning a blind eye to the politics or human rights issues. I think being proud of your culture is understanding the sacrifice our parents made, understanding the diaspora of all South Asians who migrated. Its not about being "fobby" or "Americanized" and its not having to choose between a burger or nihari; between a ghazal or Kanye.
We are a mixture of two really beautiful worlds that collided and whatever choices we make as individuals do not have to fall on any end of the spectrum because we have been given the right to choose and any person who judges is truly no friend at all.
That is why despite being born in Dallas, I celebrate the Independence of Pakistan. Afterall, though my father passed, I still feel the streets of #Karachi flowing through my veins and this blood is not weak. #PakistanZindabad