Uh oh, we’ve got trouble in Peshawar ki streets
Cynthia Ritchie, an American Filmmaker now based in Pakistan has been exploring our beautiful country for quite some time now.
Everything from venturing out to Kashmir,
To really acclimating herself to our way of life.
Through food, obviously, the REAL Pakistani way
Recently, Ritchie was in Peshawar, where a fan caught some glimpses of her going about her business in the streets, riding her bike and exploring the town.
@CynthiaDRitchie enjoying on the roads of Peshawar,
She is an American director/ producer, and shows a positive image of #Pakistan to the world through her work.👌@GulBukhari 🔥🔥🔥
We are really thank full to Cynthia showing positive image of motherland..#PositivePakistan pic.twitter.com/zHae9huOs9
— MOOSA 🇵🇰 (@MOOSA_PATRIOT) November 12, 2018
However, soon after, Cynthia’s picture became the topic of discussion but for the wrong reasons…
People on Twitter began calling out the Filmmaker, stating that Pakistani women are unable to lead the same kind of free life as a foreigner.
Enjoying on the roads in carefully scripted pics to do what exactly? Let's have Pakistani women ride bikes and rickshaws then see if the response is same of the ppl.
— Hassan Ali (@SiriPayee) November 13, 2018
— PTI PAKISTAN (@Muhamma36140350) November 13, 2018
Have locals fallen short of giving a positive image of the country that even positive image building had to be outsourced?
— Gulalai_Ismail (@Gulalai_Ismail) November 13, 2018
Basically, pretty offended.
Women were especially offended when a fellow foreigner jumped in, supporting Cynthia and he basically said that if women feel oppressed in Pakistan they can just go out bicycling like Cynthia did
Is it that easy to just go out bicycle on the road, in Peshawar, for women? These Pakistani women shared how this was not the case.
Tell that to the fathers, brothers and husbands who don’t let them out of the house. Also to those men who harass them when they actually do go out. What world do you live in?? https://t.co/s87P7kpUMV
— Gule (@gulmeenay) November 13, 2018
Dear Richard, before you start asking Pakistani women what they have done in this regard – please know that countless women in this country risk their lives daily to just exist in public space, go to work and get an education – much more than you or Cynthia could ever do. https://t.co/5pUUcQFqSp
— Sehar Tariq (@sehartariq) November 14, 2018
Richard, you give example of one white woman. How many examples of Pakistani women should I give? One was murdered in cold blood while in public space interacting with supporters. Have you heard of Benazir Bhutto? Can name 100's of ordinary women who paid price but not tweeting https://t.co/PUp4Ujvlqd
— Mariana Baabar Pashteen (@MarianaBaabar) November 14, 2018
Since the images have made their rounds and the conversation has started, Cynthia spoke up to those speaking against her.
I see you identify as a feminist. Feminism means, among other things, promoting social equality of the sexes- why should country of origin matter?
My goal w/ Pesh images is to encourage a sense of normalcy, promoting peace & progress in Pakistan. 1/2 https://t.co/o9GIU3BAKz
— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) November 14, 2018
Pakistan has been bombarded w/ negative imaging for so long (mostly by international media & then domestic) the people start believing & behaving in a manner consistent with that imaging – a self-fulfilling prophesy.
We all need a little outside encouragement at times. Peace https://t.co/Q4RVUWPUIj
— Cynthia D. Ritchie (@CynthiaDRitchie) November 14, 2018
Many people were happy with Cynthia’s response.
Just let them say what they wanted to Cynthia You are not answerable to each and every individual. Few people just don't really enjoy the normalcy. Anything that goes for a better image of Pakistan isn't easy for them to digest.
— Adnan Nazir (@adnanazir) November 14, 2018
There are people trying best to tarnish image and they aren’t happy anyone interfering in their god given right.. it is like undoing to the sacred job they have embarked upon.. for years..
— Abdullah Butt (@conxect) November 14, 2018
@CynthiaDRitchie These people don't want Pakistan to be seen as peaceful country and will always discourage people by different means People like you are our hope to defeat them and not get discouraged 💪💪🙏
— Syed Kashif (@syedkashif7866) November 14, 2018
When it comes to showing a ‘positive side’ to Pakistan, the debate is that we only find it effective and justified if some foreigner comes in and portrays it as opposed to our own people.
People have criticized the fandom around foreign visitors to Pakistan like Jeremy McLellan and Eva Zu Beck who, according to the critics, are trying to teach Pakistanis how to love their own country, in a freaky repeat of colonial practices.
Many people are speaking out against white folks teaching us how we feel about our own country, especially because these people are not experiencing the country the same as many of its oppressed residents actually are.
Cynthia and Richard experience Pakistan in an alternate universe.
— S. (@RagnarSlothbro_) November 13, 2018
Cynthia aur Richard asal experts hein Pakistan kay, humm saray chutiye hein basically !!!!!
— Faisal Rafi (@faisalrafi) November 5, 2018
So, on one hand, the tweets criticizing Cynthia’s experience were not completely false in stating that the true image of Pakistan is one that is only really pushed out by people who have experienced very little of it.
However, on the other hand, why should we be upset with other nationalities enjoying our country? When people like Cynthia or even the German Ambassador come in and show the world the brighter and best side of Pakistan is something we should be grateful for, not critical of.
Either way, this is clearly something that needs to be addressed immediately.
Have you seen the image of Cynthia? What do you think? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Love you.
This German Photographer Is Documenting Falling In Love With Pakistan, One Stunning Picture At A Time
Cover photo source: @MOOSA_PATRIOT Via Twitter