Pakistani Journalist Rahat Hussain recently visited AUM while working on a project with The Montgomery Advertiser. He spoke to a group of roughly 30 faculty and staff about different aspects of Pakistan including its culture. Hussain is employed with MAG:The Weekly, a fashion magazine based out of Pakistan. He got his start writing after graduating from pharmacy school and realizing that journalists are more highly paid than pharmacists in Pakistan. This is due to the country lacking medical industry. It was interesting to hear how someone from that side of the world feels about all of the turmoil in the Middle East.
This was his first time in the United States, and it was as if Hussain felt obligated to clear the air with those in attendance that Pakistan is not the evil country that many Americans believe it is. He engaged in conversation and was open to questioning. He said “Pakistan has been the United States’ biggest ally since Sept. 11, 2001.” Pakistan borders both Afghanistan and Iraq, two of the United States biggest enemies in the War on Terror. He wanted people to understand that just because Pakistan was in the same region, the people there didn’t feel the same way about the United States as its bordering countries. He discussed the terrain, and how it isn’t all desert. Instead, it’s a beautiful country with pristine architecture and landscape. Hussain also spoke about the multiple famous musicians, athletes, and artists native to Pakistan.
Hussain spent a little time talking about religion, and how writing for a fashion magazine can be risky in Pakistan. “I have been threatened,” Hussain said. “There was a picture we used for the cover several years back that had an image of a women showing too much skin. People called me and told me I had to take it down.” Hussain made it clear that writing is his passion even if there are risks involved. “There have been people killed over things they have said in their writings, but some things must be said.” His passion for his job is truly remarkable, and something we could all learn from.
By Robert Lemons
Photo courtesy of Erin Mills