Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lahore, we say, is Pakistan's Heart ...

...and yesterday, Mrs Clinton heard it straight from the heart.


And one has to give Hilary C credit for actually getting out and about and right into the heart of Pakistan. But winning it over will be easier said than done, never mind the hopeful noises one hears in the US media--be it corporate, public, or alternative. (See here, for example.) The US, after all, is coming right out of a complete and utter defeat on the propaganda, sorry, PR, sorry, Public Diplomacy front on the Kerry Lugar Bill. (In case, you don't follow what I mean, please ask. Or, if you understand Urdu, check out last Sunday's discussion on ABN Chicago, or the upcoming pilot podcast of Taraqqi Pasand Media.) Of course, "the other side" is helped in no small measure by the fact that any discussion between the American Establishment and the Pakistani People degenerates very fast into rapidfire mutual recriminations.

The New York Times actually has a very good round-up in their article, of her PR challenge. Readers of this blog and my other writings and radio appearances (here on general background and here on Mrs. Clinton's last foray into lecturing Pakistanis, for example) will remember me pointing out how Pakistanis feel. But all we usually get is a person in a business suit behind a podium and "the average Pakistani" screaming at their television. So, beyond the "I Told You So"s, it was heartwarming to see, as the article says, an American official go face-to-face with "an audience so uniformly suspicious and immune to her star power as the polite, but unsmiling, university students who challenged her at Government College University in Lahore". Yeh cheez! as we say in Pakistan; that's what I am talking about!

[Photo: Clinton at Badshahi Masjid, Lahore--Reuters photo with NY Times article quoted]
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