Sexy people need to care about Pakistan

Published: November 2, 2010

Do we need big celebrities to draw our attention to our own problems?

I must admit that the number of flood awareness related display pictures, events and links shared on Facebook have significantly decreased even though the problem, itself, has not.

Display pictures have changed from victims submerged in water or looking up at helicopters for food or to be rescued to people joyfully posing at weddings and parties. My events page, once full of requests from charity organisers, is now dominated by clothes exhibitions.

This gradual change left me with slight grief as I realised that we had hit a saturation point – done what we felt we could and now wanted to return to our comfort zone.

Imagine my surprise then, when a video, titled ‘Pakistan needs YOU’, of big celebrities (Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz, David Beckham, to name a few) popped up on my Facebook page.

Each celebrity would appear on screen individually, and ominously snap their fingers, followed by the words, “Every moment people die in Pakistan”.

“Wow, everyone must already know about this,” I thought to myself. How is this not splashed all over the papers?

Without a second thought, I eagerly posted the video on my profile, only to be told the next day that it was manipulated. The video was in fact a “Make poverty history” video, (not so) cleverly edited with a picture or two of the flood victims put in for good measure and no information about where to donate. It was a rather “duh” moment for me.

So the question is, since Hollywood celebrities are not about to make a video for Pakistan anytime soon – especially given Angelina Jolie’s “thappar” on our faces saying our leaders are as selfish as can be, and Pakistan’s “thappar” in return saying she is of questionable character (think Talat Hussain’s article) – is it acceptable to manipulate such videos to create awareness for Pakistan?

If we must put our editing abilities to good use, why not let the creative juices flow and make something that appeals to Pakistani sensibilities and is more than just big shot celebrities dressed in white.

Do we need the glamorous, the gorgeous and the good looking, millions of miles away, to convince us to help our own people?


Saleha Riaz

An LSE graduate working as a sub-editor on the editorial pages of The Express Tribune

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

  • Aamina

    Brilliantly said! This nation needs to wake up, especially the elite!!Recommend

  • The Only Normal Person Here.

    There is nothing wrong if someone from a foreign land comes to help and can make people help more. One cant deny the fact that celebs from other part of the world do have influence on us, not only because of their stardom but somehow or the other they are more credible or seems so.

    We dont exactly have a charity culture, unlike “them” we dont take charity as our responsible but as “ehsaan”. So with a mindset like that we do need good looking people to make us donate.Recommend

  • syme

    Its always the poor who are the cannon fodder. i don’t agree with you miss Saleha Raiz. to me this article is a cheap show down of sentiments.
    Your words lack the charisma and all I sense in your article is a poverty of thought. If Talat hussain is a sexist or a misogynist then what the heck it has to do with the flood victims fate? he metaphorically explained the emotional attachment of our ruling elite with flood affectee. he told the people of pakistan that who are the sexy elite of pakistan and if LUBP is offended by his comparison its not because of love for jolie but the love of PM.Recommend

  • sana

    Saleha, are you telling me that your facebook profile picture (which I searched for) hasn’t changed too? Are you and the man hugging you in the picture flood victims?

    We need to stop being so pessimistic as a nation, and start appreciating the good things that happen to us and our people. So what if a celebrity was required to increase awareness? The point is, if there are ways to increase awareness and raise funds for the flood victims, then we need to make sure we do our part by making it happen. No point belittling efforts made by others. Even if Jolie donated $100, thats still $100 more to feed people with.

    In Lahore we have organised small events to raise money. Each event has one chief guest (or ‘celebrity’) and as a result, the turnout is fabulous. Why complain?

    And please stop talking about facebook. Recommend

  • Sarah

    oh my god I totally saw that video and believed it to be true!

    this is MY duh moment. brilliant article though!

    I agree, the creative thinkers of our country need to join hands and work together for an awareness campaign.

    but how and where do we begin?Recommend

  • Aisha

    Great article. I was just thinking about how donations must’ve slowed down although people are still suffering and need help, especially with winter right around the cornerRecommend

  • S. Ali Raza

    We have Rana Sanaullah. .who needs sexy foreigners ;) Recommend

  • Saba

    I agree with your article except for the Angelina’s “thappar” part. I don’t care what she does in her private life, but no one is forcing to come here over and over again and yet she does it anyway. And what she said about “our leaders” is true, we’re just too chicken to say it ourselves. Said leader’s wife just dropped 700,000 dollars on a single shopping trip in London solely to buy things for an upcoming wedding. Everything she said about our leader’s needing to curb their own extravagance is an understatement and we should be ashamed as a nation for not saying it often enough ourselves. What are we scared of? They’re only human. When the game is over the pawns and the king all go into the same box.Recommend

  • Saba

    oh- and whoever picked the attention-seeking title- it’s very misleading and misrepresents the article. the article is not as shallow as the title makes it sound. i do believe a lot of people wont take is seriously and may not click on it because of that.Recommend

  • Lalit

    why do you feel embarrassed?at the fake video or at dearth of celebrities endorsing the flood cause?that fellow must be commended who took the pain to edit that ”original video” to tailor it(although violating some copyrights maybe,in consistency with our south Asian traits)according to the most pinching problem of his nation.we in India edit a whole movie and release it under a name called”knock-out”.we never felt embarrassment. and thanks to creatures like Talat Hussain ,celebrities will cringe,at the mention of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Saleha Riaz

    I do agree about the headline of this title – I will leave the web department to explain :) The headline I gave was something along the lines of Pakistan’s flood fatigue.

    As for Jolie, I have immense respect for what she does. The point I was trying to make was that given how Hussain’s article treated her report on flood relief work in Pakistan, attacking her personal life, his article has the potential to discourage other celebs from helping us as well, if they were to hear about it, so let’s not expect an actual video of this sort any time soon. That was all.

    And Sana, of course I am part of the problem, hence the ‘we’ in the article.Recommend

  • Aamina

    I agree with Saba regarding the title. It is really misleading.Recommend

  • Mariam

    Celebrities always help in drawing more attention and I can see nothing wrong in this. Recommend


    get a life tribune just stop publishing foreign mediaRecommend

  • Sarah B. Haider

    @sana: you landed on the wrong FB profile methinks.:PRecommend

  • zahra shah

    well said salehaRecommend

  • Tyrone

    ‘Do we need the glamorous, the gorgeous and the good looking, millions of miles away, to convince us to help our own people?’

    No but having celebs motivatating people in the rest of the World to help is what we need.

    Also when global stars do seak out it hels us feel not alone.Recommend

  • Sher Afgun Khan

    well written and thought provoking. I thought it is only the TV news channels that are culpable of this practice but you are very right to point out that it is the psyche of the nation as a whole. Well done Saleha once again.Recommend

  • Ghufran Ahmed

    well whatsoever is the personal life of Angelina, this is her matter but people like talat hussain are typical media gimmick, not only him infact, all of us are. when we can’t defend our pathetic acts we start getting personal.
    this nation has indeed beocame selfish and ignorant and celeb like Jolie can only induce a media activity….
    and there’s no use to try discussing elite and government………its a universal truth that they are devils of this country.Recommend

  • Attaur Rehman Khan

    Good work by them, the title of story is really misleading.Recommend

  • Abu Bakr Agha

    Mike Shinoda is THE man.Recommend