Fatima Bhutto


Hello I'm far just sat and I'm the producer of how I found my voice. A pod cost by intelligence squared. We hope you enjoyed this absurd but just before the main event I wanted to let you know that this season season of how I found my voice is sponsored by the out an innovative premium car rental service powered by Jaguar Landrover. If you live in London like me and want to get out of the city easy for a weekend the out is designed for us. It's a premium car rental service without the hassle. Just download the APP but you'll vehicle and a call will be delivered to your doorstep within three three hours of booking when you're done the COBB also be picked up from your chosen location. My colleague recently is the service. I loved how easy it was. He went on a last minute. We can trip to Brighton. Easing a Land Rover Discovery Sport. They have a whole range of premium vehicles to choose from including the Range Rover Sport and the Electric Jaguar. I pace in every king. You get unlimited mileage additional drivers philly comprehensive insurance and even the congestion and dot charging pleaded. So if you're a Londoner who wants to rent a car and style download. Download the APP today. Now let's go to this week's episode and when my father stepped out of the car to ask what was happening signal was given to shoot to commence firing and my father and six other men were for killed that night. uh power is incredibly corrosive. Corrosive for us with my father was a threat to her. My father was a critic okay. My aunt was killed years later on. So there's no chance to ask her. Hello and welcome to how I found my voice podcast from intelligence squared. I'm Samir Amira. Ahmed and I'm going behind the celebrity persona to find out what influences shaped their success. How politicians artists writers and performers grow? Grow Up to become such great communicators. If you enjoy this podcast please take a moment to rate and review us on Apple podcasts. Fatima Bhutto is a journalist and novelist and a real citizen of the world. Born in Kabul raised in Syria an educated in New York and London and she joins me. Now you've reported from Lebanon from Iran from Cuba and you are an activist. I love reading. Your social media feeds full of an forthright comments about everything from religious extremism to Feminism A to Western anti Muslim hypocrisy. You're lost novel. The runaways was a sensitive an engaging thriller about teenagers drawn into joining Dinesh. And your latest book canoe. Can you kings of the world is dispatches about the global impact of Bollywood of Turkish traumas and South Korean K pop. I have to mention. Of course the FAMILY NAME BHUTTO UTAH. Which carries quite some residents is one of the most well known political dynasties in Pakistan? Your Grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with the first democratically elected. Prime Prime Minister of the country was overthrown in a military coup and he was executed. And I remember that day. It said that the history of the Bhutto family mirrors the history of Pakistan. Why didn't you feel about such a a claim? But thank you for. Thanks for coming on to talk about how you found your voice. I want to take you back to the start. So you're born in Kabul in in a household where your father was essentially in exile. Wasn't he from Zero Hawks military regime but he was planning. Would it be a revolution with your uncle. Well thank Samir for that welcome and introduction. It's hard to begin seeking after all that. My father was in exile in Afghanistan on. He was resisting getting the military dictatorship. He was a very young man. He was twenty eight years old when I was born. But he was twenty five years old When by his salons upward path was halted and halted quite brutally by a military dictatorship essentially stopped the momentum that Bison in had been building for itself was an incredibly young country at the time and genucel Hukou was a CIA back? Dictator just brutalized the society so there was mass. Censorship mass arrests public floggings journalists were rounded up in whipped stadiums and. My father was one of the political young by Kazan at the time of resisting the dictatorship actively but I would say my birth go to bid him the way it sounds like a very tense time and it certainly it was before I was born. He left Afghanistan soon afterwards. You to Damascus. And we moved to Damascus. And you lived there 'til you were twelve. So what was that the timeline. Yeah we live they said I was twelve and my father becomes a single father on his life is now haircuts for little girls and bedtime stories and and teaching me how to read and write and we had a pretty strange but also a normal fund childhood Syria at the time was quite a closed closed society and I wrote about this a little bit in new kings of the world. It was a time when you couldn't really get very much except the BBC World Service News on the radio. They should've been the one thousand nine hundred eighty eight exactly and so we got our news on the radio from the BBC. But you couldn't really pick up western newspapers or things things like that at the same time of course. Western culture was unavoidable. So you you've got all the Eddie Murphy movies or Episodes of Dallas and cheers and and things like that. It was an unusual time but I do a Happy Childhood in Syria. Will you mentioned you. Father was a single dad so what was happening in your family among why parents divorced divorced When I was quite young about three years old and I was very attached to my father and so I I opted quite easily? He and he he became my father and mother and baby sitter and best friend and and everything rolled into one and I really credit him actually. They would so much because being raised by father who never told you there any limits to what you could do or should do was incredibly liberating and and strangely remains till this this day. There is a fearlessness about that. Comes off so early on meets. You and I'm guessing now this back to just the environment that your father created at home the yes he did this incredible thing which was that. He never lied to me so he never pretended that things were not frightening at times and in fact spoke quite freely around on me so I knew things like dictatorship and martial law and a new these words at a young age and I knew that bad things that happened in my family and I I could see my father's pain and he never hid his feelings either so I I saw him struggle but at the same time he was somebody who loved life and and enjoy life and was curious about the world and and so he didn't teach me to be afraid. He taught me to be unafraid. But at the same time to be vulnerable as well and I. It's amazing that even today I mean I'm thirty seven now. My father was killed when I was fourteen. But it's those lessons that really I have with me today and that's a keep pushing me forward. You obviously have very positive febreeze but I was thinking you know for someone especially for a girl to be growing up without her mom. Your father remarried Lebanese woman fascinated by what that was like because obviously he then straightway have a culturally mixed at you. Well I guess. Our home was always culturally mixed because my father's mother was Iranian and so there was already that we then were living in Syria. I growing up as a child of exile. I thought I was Syrian. Essentially and my father was always reminding me that it wasn't and not only that I wasn't but that that this was temporary so I would you know put a post drop on my wall as a kid and he would say. Oh No don't put that. We're we're leaving soon. Okay what we live here now and he would say no no no. It's not for long. And and so that created strains of being being somewhere and not not being. They're wrong how interesting. It's that being almost a professional exile. Yeah waiting to go back to Pakistan all the time were that. My father lives constantly in in that in that limbo and he would say to me. You know we're going to go home. We're going to go home and I would say when he was a soon really soon but then I realized there was no soon you know and I would mode press a bit more this year. And he's yes this year and the year would pass and we wouldn't leave and so I started to ignore his his Predictions of when we would go home and and then one year he happened to be right and he said it and that was the year we left or year was that that was nineteen ninety-three so I was eleven at the time and he decided to contest elections in Pakistan and return home after sixteen years of of exile. And I thought okay. We'll find if you know if he doesn't win we won't go back and you know he's going to win and he did win and so sort of overnight tonight. We had to start making preparations to leave and at the same time as that was true. Remind us what he won. He won A seat in the assembly from Larkana which had been my my grandfather's seems like an MP exactly like an MP and he was going to go go back and he had always lived with Pakistan even when he was away from it so he was spoke about it in very romantic terms about the C.. You know Caribbean Sea and the smell of salt in the air. All the food so in a way it was like returning home even though it had never been a home for me at least not up until that point and so one thousand nine hundred three. We went back to listen. I want you take back a little bit before that to say. When did you first realize having the PUTO name was significant? This is the Bhutto heartland. Generations have lived here. The bhuttos belong to the country's futile ruling class. I the family is one of the largest and most powerful in the province of Sindh August donkey coin card in the heat cooked up to try to to fathom the BHUTTOS lasting influence. This is the place to start. Well I knew things that happened in our family and I had seen some things happen in our family so I understood that there was something around us. What did you seen happen? Well I mean I saw that. My father was exile that I was growing up in a country that that wasn't mine. Mine my father's brother. My uncle was killed when I was three years old We were all there when it happened. So how'd that high. I was poisoned. And his wife was then jailed of of not coming to the aid of dying man so sorry he died very slow death breath and his wife had been in the House the whole time and had not alerted the police or call for an ambulance so so yeah. I knew these things were happening getting around us. I didn't quite connect them. What maybe I did but not consciously I suppose? The first time I realized there was something was the first time I went Augustan. which is when I was seven years old and that was the first time I saw this country only heard about and that my father had sort of dreamed and about all these years and they're understood that there were people who knew who this family was and it meant something to people maybe good things maybe bad things but but something nonetheless? I'm wondering what you were like going to school functions on Because you orange confident campaign I see speaking out on saving issues gates hypocrisy in American gun control on the way. Hollywood celebrates white savior stories. We always like like. This is a child's yeah. I'm afraid I want. I'm afraid I was. I was a sensitive todd I think but at the same same time I was always outspoken. And no one told me I shouldn't be No you speak up about God Trying to think now I mean I understood myself to be an adult and people spoke to me like I wasn't adult so it depended I mean I I used to get agitated about. I mean when I was a child growing up in Syria in the first grade we started Language Bridge lessons and all the native Arabic speakers went into the native class and all the foreigners went into the foreigner class You know the colloquial Arabic lessons and I went into the native class and my father said Oh no no no. You shouldn't be eight. Plus you're not Arab. You should go into the forest last so he moved me to the colloquial class and I moved myself back to the native speaker class because I thought I'm not going to go to a lower level of language class. Just because you you want me to stay foreign little things like that but But I but I always wanted to learn and I wanted to know what was wrong with things why they were wrong. Could they be better. Because also can I say someone who shares a Pakistani heritage. I picked up a sense of a kind of racism that exists in in. Some Indians. Pakistanis that are somehow crew to people they are less of value and I wonder if that was something. You were aware of in gray up in Syria. No I mean. I think my father was afraid that I well. I knew things that happened in our family. Father I did it on purpose where he just of other but but so what. I went into the native speaker classes and panicked and thought you know you you. You don't actually live here you. You're actually just visitor. So those were little things. He used to I didn't know why panic about but no it wasn't a racist in that sends. My father was given shelter released so Syria Syria was was a refuge was a haven but no I didn't think so. My father was a head to quite international upbringing in that sense and like me had one those sort of odd accents neither here nor there so he could fit in places and he loved to travel so we didn't have that at home. We didn't have that at home but in fact it was the opposite to be up by his attorney in Syria was an unusual thing because people haven't really encountered South Asian so they thought what they thought. There was only one kind of south Asian and they hides I guess the usual stereotypes people would have about South Asians and I think well I mean you all eat certain food or you know you will sound a certain way everyone does that stupid accent from approved who the simpsons accident you and they wonder why you don't speak like that I remember like I guess the same thing. Anyone who grows up outside their country feels like my grandmother. Mother came to visit at. Oh my body is here. which is you know your father's mother and people were like your Daddy? They make fun of you for Ice Week so actually the opposite. I had that kind of thing. Okay I want to ask about something Difficult when she's you in your home and your father was murdered he. He was assassinated on the road. Outside your house. This is in Karachi Pakistan after you'd move back of fourteen and you heard the gunshots to modify ask what what you remember about that night. Yeah I remember everything really about that. Night It was a very tense time because my father was a very outspoken critic of the government on his book a lot about the corruption of the state and the violence of state forces and at that time in the early to mid nineties. They were a spate of extra-judicial killings in Karachi in particular. I mean some three thousand people were killed by the police. In what they called. Encounter killings an encounter means the police turn up in an area to arrest someone. This was the police version. Of course that person resisted and and they got shot in the back. Bhutto's last activity one of defiance a news conference to condemn police who charged over recent violence. I challenge them to come in a recipe. If they can face the consequences afterwards political consequence but the consequences now will be far greater than he envisaged after a shootout the began when police stopped his vehicle and two others on their way home. Say the government at the time was has been by your aunt. Yes tense writes. My father's eldest older sister Benazir Bhutto was the was the prime minister at the time. And they they didn't have a good relationship. My father is very critical of of of her own own corruption and we started to feel the things were so few something sinister in the in the week before my my father was killed. It had always been very tense city and it was a tense time But I ha- started to be around. They started to put armored cars around the house. You know one day there was one armored vehicle. The next day they were to the day the three so we were expecting something in my father had said that they were going to try and arrest him him and he packed a little bag with books and things he wanted to read. And and that's what we thought might happen or at least that's what it looked like. Sigmund happened but he was coming back from an election. I'm actually election rally but a public meeting on the outskirts of Karachi and when when he was Reaching the road of our house he was stopped. There were about one hundred policemen on the roads that night some were in trees trees and sniper positions and they had closed all the streetlights and they had moved all the guards of nearby residences and embassies into their house and when my father stepped out of the car to ask what was happening signal was given to shoot to commence firing and my father and six other men were killed that night. They were shot multiple times and then left to bleed on the road. They left there for about an hour and when they were moved there were not move to hospitals they were moved to clinics and know whether could treat a gunshot wound because the aim was was to kill these men and I was at home. I was waiting for my father in his in his bedroom. Actually and so. We heard everything when we tried to leave a house. We were told by the police. There'd been a robbery in the neighborhood that we had standards. I'm so sorry. Thank you One of the last promises you'd you'd make your father was about telling his story wasn't it. Yes my father was was killed two days after his birthday and he had just turned forty forty two years old and we'd come back from a birthday dinner and even very quiet at dinner and my father was never quiet. He was always talkative and he was very quiet and we came home and I started to ask him about his life. And if you had any regrets what did he remember from certain periods things like that and as we were talking to you really have to write a book and he loved loved riding my father and he loved reading and he said No. No no no no you you do it. You write my book for me and very excited that he would think of that. Oh trust me me and I got a pen and a paper and he said no no. No when I'm gone not now. I had no idea that it'd be an endangered. But but my father had encouraged courage my writing from a very young age on encouraged me not only to read but but also to write. I wanted to be a writer really at that point so it remained in the back of my mind and I always felt it was a promise I owed my father but also as a promise I was scared to have to fulfil. I didn't want I want to do it in a sense because it would mean really that he was gone. There was no one else to do it but me and so it was almost almost ten years later that I started. I started slowly the work of research that then became songs of blood and sword on the nights nights that your father died. You ran your aunt Benazir didn't you. I did when we we were not allowed to leave the house. You know. This isn't the days before cell phones and twitter and satellite news and all that so we had no idea what had happened. But my father wasn't coming home and we were waiting and expecting him and expect him. Anew started to get nervous and I called the Prime Minister's House to talk to my aunt. find out what had happened thinking. Maybe he'd been arrested and I remember the ADC. The secretary came on the line and and was already was already saying to me. I'm so sorry I'm so sorry I'm so sorry I didn't know what he was talking about so I just kept reading that I needed to talk to him and he kept telling me he was sorry and the anti connected. Connect me not to my aunt but to my aunt's husband Asif Zardari and It was the guy who told me that I couldn't speak week to my aunt when I insisted and said it was very urgent something had happened. I need to talk to my aunt. He said. Don't you know your father has been shot. That's totally found out. You blame your aunt. Don't you well my aunt. Certainly has a responsibility in the aftermath of the killing all all the witnesses and survivors were arrested. But none of the police were Again in the immediate aftermath tribunal. Oh was put forward by the government that was to investigate the assassination but that had no legal power to pass. Sentence that tribunal was organized by my aunt and even though it had no legal power to pass sentence it concluded that the assassination could not have been carried out except with approval from the highest bench of government. That would would be her and unfortunately the way she continued to conduct yourself didn't lend itself to any any of innocence. Why was the case? Do you think pink. Why why did she? Why does she do that? Why do you think she would have killed your father? I don't know I don't know I think that power is Incredibly corrosive corrosive for us. I think it produces fear That's explainable in some cases. My father was a threat to her. My father was a critic and people had a hope and a promise for him. It hadn't been tested yet. Didn't have the chance to be tested. But unfortunately fortunately my aunt's herself was killed years later on so there's no chance to ask her one of one of the men who was on the road that night she later inducted one of the one of the police people a high ranking police. Intelligence officer was on the road that night. My father was killed and after my father's death my aunt. Welcome that man into the Central Committee of her political party. I mean there's a strange things to do. They defy logic. I so I couldn't possibly gone to why she did them. I wondering how your life changed in that one terrible moment you were so young I noticed you published a book of Poetry Victory Fifteen just a year after the murder. Yes I had been already was very very young and I had studied writing poetry for a school project right and I was show them to my father the poems and he said to me you have to publish these and he was incredibly supportive but I thought no not no not. That's crazy I'm a kid like a kid. Why would I published in? and He'd gone and found publishes addresses and clip them out and written sample letters for me and and so we're actually before he was killed. We were in the process of like talking to the small presses and things like that and because I was underage I had to have a guardian the signature on one of these contracts and I remember as things would change in those days and growing menacing. I I said to my father will if you jail. WHO's is going to sign my contract? and He's put it in my put it in my bag. You know sign in jail. And of course that was packed in his room and so after he was killed. It became even more important for me to publish this poems in his memory and so so I did. Oxford University press by his own publish. Push them at the end of the year after the murder. I guess I kept writing always thinking that I would one. They become like a proper grownup writer but still felt far away that time. Well it's interesting because you're writing is is clear and you see to be both an artist under journalist a-list same time you sort of cut through the truth. Why Guess I? I've done a little bit of everything. In that sense. I started my writing career really as a journalists I wrote for a Pakistan e paper and they send you out. Yeah John John was do paper and the news with the English so they sent me out to do different stories and they sent me to Iran. They sent me to Cuba and they gave me space to write about what I wanted. So I I learnt really how to begin working as a proper writer and she felt safe staying in Pakistan. After your father died. Well I I did and I didn't. I mean I never really feel a hundred percent safe in by San because because of the fact that you really don't have any recourse in a country like where do you go when something bad happens. You know the courts to protect you. The police don't protect too. So you do feel vulnerable. I think that's most people would say that. Not just me but at the same time where is safe. You know. I'm I I don't know what's safe or West. They've there's no place that's going to be one hundred percent safe anywhere. You went on to study at Columbia University which is in New York right Middle Eastern languages yet Middle Eastern legs clearly being in the Nathan Clark and then the School of Oriental and African studies in London. Yeah Salvation government studied now. One might have thoughts with those choices you were thinking about using your voice. Yeah in active politics while I did for a long period very seriously consider that and I've always been fascinated by politics and interested and disturbed by politics and I did studying and at the same time as well. That's true wouldn't really say I'm not in politics. I mean I am not in active politics but I feel what I do is quite political but at the same time much freer than it would be if I was an actual politics I I I write about things that I care about that that are meaningful to me. What's your family expectation at all that you would go into politics being who you were from the family? The U Well I think I think maybe people thought I might. Nobody ever forced me or or made. It seem like I had to. I always wanted to I was I said I wanted to be a writer. I was allowed the freedom to choose. I mean nobody really groomed me in that sense but at the same time you know you you you have a bit of grooming anyways. Don't you because you you learn how to navigate certain things that you wouldn't otherwise so. I traveled across Pakistan with my family with all of them with my aunt with my grandmother with my father on their political tours and trips. But it's those things that made me a writer not a politician Uh what a jump straight into your fiction and how you use it to express what could be seen as kind of political concerns. Activist concerns the runaways. Your most recent novel is a story about extremists. And what draws people into jihadi brides young men going off off apparently happy to join dash these torturing murderous cult. Many people might think I don't want to understand them. We've seen the backlash against people like should be in a bedroom and The others from Britain in particular who've gone off to join dash people think they're monsters. Why did you want to understand them now? I have to say it's incredibly humane and thought provoking book. Thank you. We've now had years and years in years of evidence that not understanding why these things happen leads to even more dangerous consequences. If you want to change the world we live in if we want to be safer and more secure than I think. We have a duty to understand why people would be vulnerable to radicalism why people would be drawn into violence. And we'll see what happens when people dismiss it and say these barbarians and we don't want to talk about them. It makes it worse and particularly if you come from the Non Western world then you know that. The reasoning is flawed. To begin with the reasoning has been since nine eleven that these are people from a certain place these people of a certain certain religion and this is how they are infected with these impulses and of course that's not true. I don't think radicalism is born out of religion at all. I think it's born out of humiliation and isolation and the fact that many many young people today don't see a future for themselves in their countries and and if you don't see a future in your country you'll be vulnerable to anyone who offers you a future and I think that's what that's what happened with a lot of these young people who have picked up left lives of essential comfort. Let's say and gone off to join dash in Iraq or Syria. It's been interesting seeing the rise. As a far-right extremes of terrorist acts in North America and around Europe because it's massively increased threat right and when you look into the background and again it's mostly young men it's very intraday you go and they suffer the same impulse. which is that? The they're clinging to a past you know and that past is decades ago that passes maybe even something they've never even lived through but they cling to it because they see in their present that they are not respected that their voice is not given a space that people like them are somehow excluded from society on. They feel wounded wounded and humiliated by that. I mean I is born out of that. But so are these Nazis these neo Nazis. You know I hate the word white nationalist because that what does that even mean. It doesn't mean anything if you'll brown they call you a terrorist. You know if you're White Call Your White Knight doesn't it's not even a word that but but they are born exactly the same impulse you move so easily between cultures and continents kings of the world's this fascinating Booker Booker dispatchers. You're looking at changing workings of soft power. Can you tell me briefly this thesis you have about how American power I spread its influence throughout Asia. yeah in the Middle East through military bases Yeah I think I think our understanding is that in a Americana is spread by virtue of cool. that it's just elvis was just intron and that's why everyone in the world wants where Blue Jeans and sing rock and roll. But it's really accompanied by militarism and a lot of senses today for the first time in history you have the lowest number of US bases and troops globally dispatched but that number was incredibly high in the nineteen fifties and nineteen sixties. You had American army bases. He essentially all over the world And those bases were not only conduits for American in culture they brought with them American movies American music American dress American fashion but in the case of Korea I think is really interesting. Example when and the Americans set up their bases and South Korea around the time of the Korean War in the nineteen fifties if you will these troops there had to be entertained. Somehow they had they had had to have something to do when they weren't doing the work of of of soldiering. And if you were a young Korean and you wanted to play rock and roll and you wanted to dance you. You couldn't do that in clubs in Seoul because they played foxtrot music you know they play the stodgy sort of limp sounding music but you could on the basis you could go to the basis and play electric guitar and and capable was really born out of that out of that beginning. It sounds like a strange beginning. But but it's true you and I think that's that's really how this culture spreads American culture is just innocently accepted by all of us. We watched the movies. We don't even think twice about about who's behind the wheel of what the messaging is. One example I was like is Mission impossible the Tom Cruise Tom Cruise films exactly it was first. TV show in the sixties. Whenever was a now? It's this mega billion dollar series of films and Tom Cruise's character works for an organization called the IMF Mif. You know the impulsive impossible missions force. But you know that's crazy that's that's it's not even subliminal it's so transparent but we don't we don't even think think about it. This is fantastic bizarre in county. How we're CON Bollywood superstar? Who's filling me for some Middle Eastern show in Dubai and it's just the whole sense of Bollywood's impact now being so much bigger and exporting around the world but it's not all positive and you were very frank about your concerns about how Bollywood it has changed and become co opted by Hindu nationalists? Do you think people take that threat. Seriously enough Well you know if I I started writing new kings of the world in two thousand sixteen and that's why I made the choice to include Bollywood. If I was writing the book today in Two Thousand Nineteen I would not have included Bollywood because because I think fit I think the Bollywood has been always very faithful mirror to Indian society. It's reflected the aspirations the struggles on and the fishers of Indian Indian society from the nineteen forties. The nine hundred forty nine hundred fifty S. Bollywood films were really idealistic. Films and my brotherhood and nation building and and moral tales in the nineteen. Seventies films are about injustice and about the poor being dispossessed. Aren't as Roy said what you said as well which is a bunch in that super would play Lease Mun or a porter's yes. They working class shoeshine boys farmers and then you have nine thousand nine hundred liberalism them and then there are no more farmers films and there are no more shoeshine boys and they are all multinational bankers. Who Live in London in summer and Switzerland and have fast cars and and that's finding it reflects the time you know when undergoing neoliberal reforms but today Bollywood films are about war? You know. They're about this muscular. Jingoism Ango ISM that is violent and If -clusive come to look a lot like Hollywood films of the eighties with a big buffed bodies uh-huh yes exactly the aesthetic has got find also the militaristic messaging it's completely minister militaristic and and I think that's alienating and I think it's dangerous I'm I'm one of those people that really does believe that politics is in everything you know when I sit down to watch a movie today. I'm not comfortable. I'm uncomfortable watching it and I think unfortunately culture only moves when it's free of constraints. It moves beautifully. When it's free of constraints it can have politics? It always will have politics but when it constrains itself to a message pushing a message then that culture is going to be wounded. And it's and I think that's what's going to happen with Bollywood moving forward. Just remind US how how you've noticed. Mody the prime minister specifically having an impact on on trying to use Bollywood Stars for his. You see see it You see you see most recently in February of this year Pakistan in just stood again at the brink of war design nuclear armed nations on our our air forces engaged in dogfights for the first time since nineteen seventy one and at that time I was in Islamabad. And Pakistani public figures. Coming out not to say we do not want war. We did not want Indians today. We do not want tonight. We do not have any appetite for this at the same time. Bollywood actors were coming out and cheering hewing war and with cheering strikes Pakistan. and to me that was I mean an unimaginable lead disgusting. Can you imagine I dunno Tom Cruise. WHO's cheering a drone strike minute? It sounds completely. Misplaced does not the role of an artist. So it's it's been impacted like that. I think a lot of recent in Bollywood films have been specific. I mean there have been many films about Moody himself. have been films About these programs you know. His sort of initiatives is sort of soft initiatives. If you want to call them that now have Bollywood films about them. I think what's more interesting coming out of India or TV shows at the moment you know streaming so the the shows that are coming on Netflix Amazon prime. They were a little more interesting than what's coming out of Bollywood. Do you feel a responsibility to represent the voices of of Pakistanis and Islam. That are not heard beneath the headlines. You speak out against the likes of Richard Dawkins as being as damaging into productive discourses Fox News. Yeah yeah well. I don't see myself as a voice for anyone really. I mean I speak out about those things because I I'm personally affronted by them You know I I believe in the idea of discourse I believe in the idea of conversation and dialogue on I. Why don't you get either those from Richard Dawkins or Fox News? It's the same pushing of an agenda on what I'm personally fronted. By as Richard Dawkins can be incredibly Fred ably patriarchal and insulting. When he stands up and says Muslim women need help? You know The so demeaning to Muslim women as though we don't have capacity and capability to help ourselves. We need you know this sort of white savior like Richard Dawkins. So I'm personally offended by. That's why I said it and Fox News is just an insult to everyone is that I've been looking at your twitter feed and this is you on the new Dakota fanning film about a white Ethiopian. Aping refugee once again. Hollywood steps up to tell the urgent unheard time. You stories of white people novelist shriver. There's no volume control on inexhaustible exhaustible white privilege but there should be a you Frank Mississippi refreshing but you have a worry about the effects of a potentially offending important people. No I I mean I I. I tried to go by the hippocratic oath. So I I don't want to cause harm to anybody and I don't want to be insulting anybody or demeaning to anybody but yeah I think if somebody is Exclusionary on if somebody is bigoted or somebody is offensive. But I think you have a right to say Let's stop where you are. I don't accept that I'm you know there's a problem with your conversation. I think we have to say that. I think it's important. I think the idea idea of Hollywood telling that story woke. None of us have seen the film but it sounds ridiculous. Doesn't it you know foxy not your why does is there have to be a white woman in the story for us to have sympathy with refugees. Tail on also you know easy opium has its own stories and narratives. Aren't they allowed those. I think that's that's partially why Western culture is under threat from so many places because it assumes itself is the center and the neutral center. Yes yes of course the enlightened objective center as though such a thing could exist and you know the Hollywood has come so late to the idea of representation. They think that representation means that you put an Asian American President of film. You know one character or you put a Mexican character in a TV show and boom. That's the end of the problem. Everyone fuel seen unheard but what they don't realize. Why would we watch your show with one measly character when there is a whole industry in industries everywhere else in the a world where the stories are Mexican? The producers are Mexican the actors Mexican or Asian American or African. There's a world that we live in a multi-polar world and there's culture blossoming in so many points are not restricted to only one. This is your view that there is a big global culture and it's just certain western institutions still refusing to see the world that way completely. I mean you know everybody in the world who is Not White was essentially as opposed to stand up and give a standing ovation nation to crazy rich Asians. As somehow this is now encompassed what it means to be Asian. Why would we do that when I can go and watch any a number of Korean films which are nuanced sophisticated and an incredibly elegantly told in in their diversity in their multiplicity and why do I have to cheer for one American film when there are libraries film out there I just to me? It seems absurd. Especially when you see the row over the Asian Shen writer. Oh yes. He's refused to work on the second one because they were offering her eighth of the money. Exactly of the white male writer. Although you've made it clear you have no plans. Let's go into politics. I just wonder if knowing that you know you carry the name brutal you you have a life in Pakistan was outside. Do you worry that there are people who see you as a threat just because you do speak out and you speak out on issues like corruption is speak out on issues I I don't know really You know I think that I worked consistently as a writer release since I left college so I don't know if people how will take that as proof that I'd like to stay writer or if they just see that as a placeholder until I I I. I really couldn't couldn't answer that I don't know what do you think it's possible. Something might tempt you into politics. I don't really think so because I think that with their many answers I mean I think I'd at points of I have considered it and have want to and I made the choice not to in Pakistan or elsewhere in Pakistan but but at the same time I'm you know I'm free to say what I think at the moment and I'm free to have opinions. That might otherwise be impossible. If I were in politics. I mean those are enormous Thomas Freedoms I'm not sure I would rush to give up ever and also I. I do think I have a lot of hope for Bagazan I I don't I don't see that that it's waiting for me in particular. I don't think that you know I. I have any special onset hopeful because people look at today and they wonder if the endemic corruption. Yeah Yeah has really changed. Well I think there's a difference between being hopeful for for the people of a place than for the government of a place I think if you look at the people of Pakistan they're incredibly really young. Were a huge population. Something like seventy percent of our two hundred million people almost are under the age of thirty They're they're a population that has this under. Thirty population has survived life. Under military dictatorship. Terrorism invasions occupations hugh patients this veivers on and they're hard working in the de Dynamic and in that sense it you you can be anything but hopeful hopeful and excited to see what will happen. Governments are obviously not great sources of of hope for anyone I would say but I think by his suns Pakistan. Today's in an interesting position in the world. It's always been But I think our population is tired of war on. I'm tired of corruption and tired of the same old same old and I don't think they're going to allow it for for forever. What are you going to do with your voice next? That's a good question. I'm a little burnt out after two books One fiction and one non. Fix Unfair. When you've just I don't know yet? I mean it the way it happened. The runaways came out with not that much space between you kings of the world. So I'm not sure what I will do next whether it be fiction on fiction but I'm going to take a little marination period. I guess to to wait and see what strikes Fatima. Bhutto's thank you so much for talking about how you find your voice. I'm sincere amid and the producer was adjusted We'd love to hear from you and let us know what you think by rating and reviewing how I found my voice on Apple podcasts Hello again it's far producer of how I found my voice. We really hope you enjoyed this week's show. Don't forget to subscribe and cheating into our episode next week. In the meantime we wanted to give a big shoutout to our sponsor the out an innovative premium car rental service powered by Jaguar Landrover. If you're a Londoner and want want to get out of the city for a weekend download the APP for premium hassle-free experience choose from a range of cars including the Range Rover Sport and all electric Jagua Go. I pace the call will be delivered and picked up from your doorstep. You get unlimited mileage additional drivers philly comprehensive insurance and even the congestion and charging pleaded. Download the APP today.

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