Headline September 28, 2016/ ''' *WILD* BY !WOW! : '''

''' *WILD* BY !WOW! : '''

IN PAKISTAN  -THE FIRST CONCEPTUAL  *temporary host and trustee* of the World Students Society, nothing has impressed me more:

Than this  great nation's  and its simple people's  genuine appreciation of creativity, colour, freedom of expression, and a great sense of travel and adventure.

But Alas, the luxury of travel for vacation or exploration is a privilege enjoyed only by the  upper-middle and  the upper class. 

However, as one's passport is also a major determining factor in where and when one can travel to, even if one has the financial resources.    

And I return to this theme  later and towards the end of the this headline, when I am feeling somewhat Wild and maybe a little free. 

Wild by nature an International Bestseller,  is a rare masterpiece. on an explorer woman's  20,000  kilometre solo walking journey from Siberia to Laos, Thailand, and then walk across Australia.

Explorer Sarah Marquis took  *Three Years Alone in Wilderness on Foot*.
Remarkable! By any measure  -as I now go on to capture some delightful events in the book......... 
All are small misadventures when compared with the mishap in Laos where the explorer makes the mistake of camping on a well-trodden path in the dense woods.

As it turns out, her tent was in the way of some really angry drug traffickers.

They fire some round in the air and make her leave with them. For hours, they made her walk with them while she consistently repeated:
''I'm a tourist. I'm from Switzerland. Do you understand me?''

Eventually,  they let her go, after the hostage taker tells her  in perfect English:
''*We're sorry for the disturbance, ma'am!*''

Throughout her  Asian  adventures,  Explorer Sarah Marquis  receives generous help from women:

''With a single look and without judgment ,  they always identify me with the denominator that unites us: women.

And that is enough for our simple and authentic exchanges.''

But, after adventurer enters   Australia,  her sense of identity,  which is based on her social constricted gender,  changes into something more isolating and almost bordering ethnocentrism:

''I become aware that,  for once, I melt into the crowd. All around me there are lots of  ''Long Noses''   with white skin,  and no Asians. No one gives me judgmental or questioning looks.

I breathe deeply; I'm among my own people. For the first time in  20 years, I immediately and intimately  understand my belonging to the ethnic group known as  Caucasian.''

*This is a certain brand of  Eurocentric whiteness  that survives all the cultural unlearning imposed on the traveller and makes one wonder if the trap of identity can ever be truly avoided.*   

Here is a traveller  who has communicated with the Wolves and understood their animal desire to mark their territory but whenever she meets people in Asia she is judgmental,  either they are very good because they help her-

Or they are subhuman because they harass her or they simply do not understand her.

But the white Australians are spared this kind of  collective judgment. They can be forgiven:

''I'm happy to arrive in Australia by sea, it's a nod to all the people who once left everything behind and arrived by boat.
Australia has always been my destination!''

There is immense  Othering   in this kind of natural adventure. It is evident in the fact that even   sherpas are not credited for the summits they have scaled.

People of color must reclaim and  flaunt their connection with nature and turn it into cultural capital   if possible.

Europe, as  Dipesh Chakrabarty has theorised, must be provincialised.''

So to sum, I revert to the beginning passages of this headline and quote Zoya Nazir, a graduate student at  University of Istanbul, as she  talks poignantly of many a lesson of reality and history:

As a Pakistani passport holder, one reality hits particularly hard every time my European friends from university or in my shared flat in Istanbul talk about taking a flight to a Schengen country, like it's a walk to a neighbor's house.

They often include me in their plans to go to Prague, Paris or Berlin  -unaware that I have to fist go through the long and cumbersome process of visa application   -and then fear a possible risk of rejection.

Any Pakistani national will be able to relate to my plight; our passport ranks as one of the worst in the world allowing  visa-free  access to only 29 countries.

With the deteriorating security situation and the war on terrorism, obtaining a visa has become even more difficult.

Turkey is not in the Schengen region and Turkish nationals don't have the luxury of  visa-free  travel to most of Europe either but they definitely have it easier. 

In fact, the latest Turkey-EU agreement on the refugee crisis rests very much on the premise- The provisions of  visa-free access to the continent for Turkish nationals.

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers of Turkey and EU. See Ya all on  !WOW!  -the World Students Society and Twitter- !E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' History & World '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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