Yank-bashing over a cup of tea

Published: June 29, 2011

We are oh so proud of Dr Shireen Mazari for creating a scene because a man bumped his chair against hers and did not apologise PHOTO: QAZI USMAN

Our pancakes had just arrived when we heard a loud:

“Who do you think you are, you bloody CIA agent?”

This was followed by a chuckle in a male voice and an accented:

“What makes you think I am CIA? How can you even be sure I’m an American?”

What followed was a ten-minute long loud rant, in the first hoarse female voice, complete with expletive ridden language and name calling.

My mother instantly guessed it was Dr Shireen Mazari.

“Who the f*** do you think you are? How can you treat a Pakistani this way? Get this man out of this restaurant or I will call the Police!”

I, the patron of the same restaurant, did not hear another sentence out of the man. I am sure he must have spoken, but he was not loud enough for me to hear, on the other end of the restaurant.

In an article in another newspaper about the incident, this man was described as “military looking.”

Yes, this Caucasian man was tall and burly, but I cannot say whether he was military or not.

According to the US National Health Statics 2006, the average height of white American men is 5 feet 10 inches. So he could be military, or he could just be one of those adventurous people who enjoy treking Pakistan’s gorgeous mountains. Or, a volunteer with the Red Cross.

The restaurant manager advised this couple to leave, and they did, but only after paying for their meal. The manager waved them away, but they insisted on paying. And when the woman turned around to leave, I saw the streams of tears flowing down her face.

Dr Mazari left after the next couple of minutes.

Yes, we are oh so proud of Dr Shireen Mazari for creating a scene because a man bumped his chair against hers and did not apologise; for using the F-word more than a few times, in a public place in a loud enough voice that every the patron heard it; for making a woman cry – a woman who was a visitor in this country – our guest.

It is not “burger” of me to also think of this American as a guest instead of a villain.

It is sane of me.

Just as I believe that every Muslim is not a terrorist, I believe that every US citizen is not a CIA agent.

Imagine if one of us, a Pakistani, was called a terrorist and threatened with calling the police by a citizen for not having good manners in the USA – if, instead of taking our side and telling the offending party to shut up, the managers asked us to leave. And imagine if, instead of being disgusted by that countryman, people publicly extolled her virtues.

I am not proud of Shireen Mazari. And I am certainly not proud of myself – because I got scared and did not stand up to a bully.

Maryam Mushtaq Mian

Maryam Mushtaq Mian

An undergraduate studying management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who loves being back in Islamabad and trying out all the new restaurants.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://www.6la8.com Confused

    Yeah, that is a shame.Recommend

  • Sheherbano

    A pathetic attempt by the writer to smear Ms Mazari !! Recommend

  • fus

    Sad…every other foreigner is CIA agent for us. Sad state of affairs. What do you expect from Ms. SM that is the only rant we hear from her even in the talk shows. No substance just conspiracy theories. Recommend

  • http://syedaabidabokhari.wordpress.com The Only Normal Person Here.

    -

    Sarcasm is not everyone’s cup of tea.Recommend

  • faraz

    She is angry at being removed from ISS where she was Director during Musharraf era. She was appointed Director for writing a book explaining how Nawaz Sharif lost the Kargil war which had actually been won by the army! Recommend

  • Waqas

    Its true that as a nation, no matter how educated we become we have started to create stereotypes for foreigners.. How many times have we actually approached a Chinese and appreciated them for being so immensely nice to our country through out the past 60+ years?

    Why is it that we automatically believe that if the government of a particular country has some stance, it shall automatically be the stance of every person in that country? Wouldn’t it be same as someone saying that we, Pakistanis, are all corrupt and inefficient and inherently dangerous?
    If we continue to keep a similar stance against the foreigners, we will ourselves lose all the right to raise our voices if they stereotype us.

    I totally agree with the author when she talks about how we would have reacted had a similar news been heard from USA about some Pakistani being mistreated and humiliated in public for something so trivial as accidentally bumping the chair into someone else’s. Recommend

  • Rashid Khan

    Maryam I do not think your silence at the time is so grievous primarily because you were scared and realize it and also have the courage to express your regret. You have rightly pointed out the flaw in SM’s behavior – how many of have the guts to what you have done.
    As for SM, she was wrong and there are no two ways about it. All Americans or for that matter westerners aren’t CIA agents in the same vein as all Pakistanis and Muslims aren’t Taliban and terrorists.
    Just turn the table over and visualize SM in a similar situation where she is at the receiving end of such stereotyped abuse and tongue lashing. And no one steps in to support her while the restaurant management sides with the perpetuator of this abuse.Recommend

  • Rashid Khan

    Maryam I do not think your silence at the time is so grievous primarily because you realize it and have the courage to express your regret and have also pointed out the flaw in SM’s behavior – how many of have the guts to what you have done.
    As for SM, she was wrong and there are no two ways about it. All Americans or for that matter westerners aren’t CIA agents in the same vein as all Pakistanis and Muslims aren’t Taliban and terrorists.
    Just turn the table over and visualize SM in a similar situation where she is at the receiving end of such stereotyped abuse and tongue lashing. And no one steps in to support her while the restaurant management sides with the perpetuator of this abuse.Recommend

  • Mark

    @Sheherbano:
    Pathetic attempt at using the universal “I don’t like what I’m hearing but I’ll just act mightier-than-thou out of a desperate attempt at drawing attention away from the fact I have no real argument.” line.

    You pretty much just helped that supposed defamation’s validity. The only disagreement has come from an obvious fool.Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    Ms Mazari seriously needs to learn how to pick her battles. Recommend

  • ba ha

    The loud mouth foreigner should be introduced to our thana culture in a civilized legal and democratic manner of course!Recommend

  • Eeman

    Paranoia has engulfed many right-wingers. PTI is no exception. Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    It is unfortunate that our attitudes have become more hostile and confrontational, which is also evident in our foreign policy.Recommend

  • Butt Seriously

    You are hereby entitled to an American PR. Please apply in person…..

    On a more serious note… are there any sane people on the other side of the fence in the US administration?

    Forty Thousand dead. We have become the laughing stock of this world…. that is an agonizing prospect or is it not? Who is responsible?Recommend

  • Frank

    I think we really need some control over who is allowed to blog and on what they are allowed to write. This is was a cheap and nasty attack on Dr. Shireen Mazari. You are unable to attack her ideas so instead you try to attack her personality. The author really needs to grow up.Recommend

  • Sarah

    I used to like Shireen Mazari but now it seems she is no better than every other ignorant person out there. Whether he is American or a CIA agent or not, she should not have reacted in the way she did. Have some class, lady. Recommend

  • Usman Ahmad

    Seriously but I didn’t get s single thing…what are you trying to say? Yeah agree as said above MIT and this piece?…sigh!Recommend

  • sars

    Regardless of who the man was , (it is immaterial whether he was American),he should have been treated with respect.
    This is our custom and should continue.This should extend to everyone white, black , brown or blue.
    Maybe along the way we will find some respect for ourselves as wellRecommend

  • MsMarium

    @Maryam Mushtaq Mian:you are the sister of Nadeem F.Paracha ..the way he insulted Ms Mazari ..u did the same ..pathetic!pathetic! :(Recommend

  • Saleem

    Dr Shireen Mazari was always an apologist for the gun runners and is now sulking as her move to Imran Special Interest khan is long way to paying off Recommend

  • shoaib

    This article may backfire you miss and this forums is not to victimize someone if that thing has happened there then there is some background no Pakistani like Davis killed innocent people and no Pakistani Drone killed innocent in America and also more than 5000 ISI members are not in America so you analysis is looking extremely personal based to malign mazari and you will be equally criticized and I request tribune to look at your writer in another article one of your author criticized BOL because it is launched by GEO ur Competitor and if u start posting such article may be I who is regular reader of u will quit!!!!Recommend

  • Zahra

    My God. This is just embarrassing on so many levels. You hit the nail on the head when you asked the reader to imagine if this had happened to a Pakistani in the U.S. I can imagine the uproar that would have stirred, and yet we don’t realize this when we subject a visitor in our country to such treatment. And this too coming from a public figure in the country. Recommend

  • Frank

    KolachiMom

    Ms Mazari seriously needs to learn how
    to pick her battles.

    And you seriously need to learn how to be more skeptical of claims made by bloggers. Recommend

  • Adeel

    Aunty SM = Zaid Hamid IIRecommend

  • Sabih Shad

    The current affairs of our country have made even the few who weren’t intolerant, intolerant.Recommend

  • malik

    I am gobsmacked to read the negative comments of this articles and the personal attacks on the author.

    Here was a person, very much present during a controversial episode, and she is presenting her version of event, as it happened.

    And her version does not seem to fit in with the popular narrative of ‘Whole of US Is Evil’.

    So, if someone stands up and tells the truth, you start bashing up the person for saying something unpleasant? I think this is becoming our national trait !!

    PS: by the way, Maryam, you should be proud of what you have written and of yourself. Way to go, girl !Recommend

  • Frank

    Maryam Mushtaq Mian

    Yes, we are oh so proud of Dr Shireen
    Mazari for creating a scene because a
    man bumped his chair against hers and
    did not apologise; for using the
    F-word more than a few times, in a
    public place in a loud enough voice
    that every the patron heard it; for
    making a woman cry – a woman who was a
    visitor in this country – our guest.

    It is not “burger” of me to also think
    of this American as a guest instead of
    a villain
    It is sane of me.

    .Oh give it the melodrama a rest. When Pakistanis murder and run over innocent Americans and our government bullies and threatens the American government to free these murderers then you burger boys and girls can talk.Recommend

  • Moiz

    Frank: When the Pakistani government spends two centuries enriching its country, rather than enriching terrorists and ignorant conspiracy theorists, then it can do whatever the heck it wantsRecommend

  • Hmmm

    And you think you can write?Recommend

  • ayesha

    if this is true, then shame indeed…on her for behaving so inappropriately and on the others for praising her without verifying the facts…

    just goes to show that Pakistanis are some of the most intolerant people in the world! Recommend

  • maha minhas

    I have met Shireen Mazari and I have no doubt that Maryam’s account of her misbehaviour is absolutely correct. Not only is the lady brassy, loud and uncouth, she is also bigoted in the extreme. Brave of Maryam to write about it so honestly.
    I don’t blame her at all for not speaking up in the cafe. Madam SM packs quite a lethal punch which has silenced many shopkeepers and customers in Isloo’s Kohsar Market and beyond! Recommend

  • ahsan khan

    if the scene described by the author is true then its really sad and shameful act done by so much literate women.Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    Thank you MMM !!!

    I read the other side of the history ( Read : Ms.Mazari’s exclusive version )
    where the lady in question was fuming about how she was maltreated by an AMRIKAN .

    God ! at that particualr time , for a moment I thought , I wish I were there to slap the Yankee or slam my fist onto his face ( typical Pakistani jazbati male way )

    Thank you for putting forth the other side of the story .

    Merci .Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    @Frank: “And you seriously need to learn how to be more skeptical of claims made by bloggers.”

    Why? Because this particular blogger’s views don’t agree with yours? I don’t know about you sir, but where I come from, you lose your temper, you lose your battle. And, Ms. Mazari showed herself as a irrational woman, who not only picks ridiculous battles, but also thinks disturbing the peace is an OK thing to do, just because she’s angry. There were reports of her outburst before this blogger posted here. SM needs to learn to get over her crass, and vile forms of attack. She’s not doing herself any favours. Recommend

  • Ali Wazir

    This article is pure slander… SM a Pakistani women alone in a restaurant felt slighted and got in a small argument with a 2 foreigner..Thats all that happened, there were two foreigner and she was alone… It wasnt like she was leading a crazed mob that set on fire american quadraplegic priest.

    What is shameful is the self hating fellow Pakistanis at the restaurant butting in and telling SM to pipe down. …Its an arguments between adults no need to butt in…….
    Well she did not shut up and and gave the Americans a piece of her mind…good for her..

    And the most shameful thing is onlooking gawkers taking up position in defense of their “guest” as an the after thought..Its frankly none of your business…

    Lets turn things around…Would you take the same position if a Black water type came out in traffic and shot a passing cars tyre out, for “looking” aggressive.(Which did really happen btw reported in media). Would you come stop your car and tell the Americans , this is not how “Guests” should behave?? I dont think so….

    Also how is he a “guest”, are all Americans your guests? Was Raymond Davis your “Guest” too?FYI Well he left without flushing the toilet, and killed two people…Recommend

  • Imran

    Lady,

    Have you ever been to immigration counter at JFK, have you ever gone through the identification/registration process at Port of Entry for Illegal Alien…….

    The American deserved every bit of Mazari treatment–Recommend

  • luqman

    Maryam … If the actually story is the same as what you have put up…. its a matter of extreme embarrassment for all of us and specially coming from person like SM who represents the literati of the country …… just watch the deterioration in our national character ….. Recommend

  • Yasir Mehmood

    Dr mazari is i think on a campaign of driving foreigners out of this country. Her newspaper last year, published photographs of an australian photojournalist as being ‘mysterious US nationals’ as front page story later, poor guy had to leave this country for his dear life. Another wall street journalist was being brushed as CIA spy in her news article, he also left Pakistan as his security was compromised. No wonder Pakistan is moving towards international isolation and soon will be like North korea thanks to people like her.Recommend

  • CB Guy

    What i read elsewhere about the incident actually took place prior to your pancakes arriving and it did seem like a deliberate attempt by the party involved other them the lady you talk about, to create a scene. he was allegedly the one using the F word numerous times before meeting with some treatment from the other end. I am really not sure now that whose fault was it? Recommend

  • Frank

    Kolachimom

    Why? Because this particular
    blogger’s views don’t agree with
    yours?

    Because neither of us know if the blogger is telling the truth or not. One thing that is certain is that the blogger does not like Dr. Mazari’s political views but instead of criticizing those she has chosen to launch a personal attack on her. Recommend

  • Hassan

    Could this blog be more one sided and nauseating, there were other patrons there who side with Dr Mazari and that the individual sweared at her first which lead to her losing her temper. So either be objective or stop writing such trash to come across as an pretentious do gooder who is tolerant, and above such human responses. Good on you Dr Mazari for standing up for yourself.Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    Now it dawned to me , why so many here to blindly and blatanatly defend Ms.Mazari , despite the fact , she was the one on the giving end to the poor Yankee doodle ( how come she was so sure that the GORA was a Yank and NOT from Moldavia or for that matter from the Urals ) .

    Ahhh….She belongs to the PTI which had more netwarriors than any other parties ,sitting in chilled room , enjoying a mug of frothe , daydeaming for a-la revolution . LOL ………….Recommend

  • Frank

    salman orangiwala

    how come she was so sure that the GORA
    was a Yank and NOT from Moldavia or
    for that matter from the Urals

    You can’t tell the difference between an American accent and a Moldavian one? You’re not very smart, are you?Recommend

  • Jareer

    @Sheherbano: Brilliant. But how do you come to this conclusion, mind sharing with us?Recommend

  • abdullahazim

    @Rashid Khan:
    people see half side of the coin and not the full and started calling that SM IS WRONG. black and white makes Grey. most of you are learned people. why cant you see that what was that man’s reply to SM AT FIRST just by pseudo names we see replies written by people who themselves cant stand against American aggression in the country.this writer herself lives in America and is telling half the story, and that too American version, not SM version Recommend

  • Hassan

    @ Salman, you try hard to bring PTI into each one of your inane arguments to get some attention but it doesnt seem to be working. Obviously how can PTI bring a revolution when the patent for bringing revolutions are with the party that has been bringing a revolution for 19 years from London….LOL!!!!!!Recommend

  • Salman Orangiwala

    @ Frank

    Very Right ! you got my point .
    See? the poor guy was not yelling , it was the PTI Co-chair person ( or is it Secretary General , oh ! Imran’s party has a Sec Gen too ?? ) who DID all the talking real “hunky-dorey” ( Read : squablling )

    Infact the the scared GORA was so aw-strcuk that he was just mumbling under his breath .
    .
    Incase you havent seen the Baltics speaking such glib English with a near perfect American or Cocney accent , I woud suggest to have a first hand encounter with a Baltic gent or lady in the Midde east .

    @ Hassan

    So what’s the point ? PTI didn’t even dare to participate in the AJK Election .
    Pray ,don’t subjugate me to spill the beans …errrrr the REAL cause or the explicit
    writing on the wall .
    Having said that , you do understand you ought not to be that “optimistic” about PTI’s foothold in Karachi ,.
    As a matter of fact you and all PTI netwarriors may day dream , but be realistic .

    This will reduce the pain in case of post-election-after-shock-of-slammed-door-on-face like syndrome .

    I made my point , right ?Recommend

  • Amer Ali Shah

    It was not just an accidental bump of the chair as has been portrayed by some of the westernized liberal extremists.It was more like a “we will make a horrible example” type of threat to silence a patriotic lady who is is one of the very few left to have the brains to unearth zionist-American-Indian-Mossad conspiracies underlying every thing that goes wrong with the great ummah residing in the pure land.I like the rest of my country men are proud of the way she stood up to the veiled threat by the black water agent who in an effort to make a mockery of our moral system was roaming around arm in arm with a ‘na mehram’ aurat.Recommend

  • Amer Ali Shah

    Another unashamed violation of our sovereignty by a black water operative,promptly dealt with by a patriotic lady .If nothing more it was surely a warning of the “will make a horrible example” genre the message was “we can bump ur chair anywhere and anytime we like”!.We are proud of the lady who stood up to this zionist-American-Indian conspiracy. Recommend

  • raha

    lol are u kidding me A mountaineer or red cross in islamabad rofl some people will do anything for their American masters atleast she is not a mental slave like u have became after studying in USA …………. than again quite natural eh?Recommend

  • Farah

    Dear Maryam Was it just a chair hit?Please reply.Dr M is not an ordinary person.Her veiws are not well taken by all westerners.Nonetheless a human can get angry but not insuch amanner not because of education but as a Muslim.Many of our poor and uneducated people behave excellent.Dr should learn from them.Recommend

  • shazia

    @Maryam Mushtaq .Maryam if you come across blackwater please invite them for a cup of tea.Ha ha ha.You are really so well mannered and good hearted.Recommend

  • Leader

    she is high status woman, who is vocal for her country, not like any other douche bag criticizing for no good…

    what does this blogger know, life threat is ?? what does she know what the defiant people in this country are going through ? what she knows how many times such incident has happened with Dr Mazari ??

    she is just a blogger, a level shown in her article… nothing to be personal with, but writing absolute is just quite immature.

    Hats off to the great Lady, keep it up Dr. Mazari !!Recommend

  • Amir

    There are just way too many Americans in our beautiful capital these days and they think the capital of Pakistan belongs to them. I’m afraid if we Pakistanis dont take full control over our beautiful capital, these American parasites will. And please Maryam stop having an inferiority complex to the goras, you are not Indian.Recommend