• Lahore
  • Karachi
  • Islamabad
FAQs

About the Post For Peace project:

PROJECT IDEA:

How would you describe the aims of the project in a few words?
Dispelling some of the illusions about Pakistani people.

What is the purpose of this project?
We would not say that there is misinformation in popular media about Pakistan or its people but the image that is portrayed is very far from ground realities. There are misconceptions about Pakistani people in the U.S. and likewise there are misconceptions about Americans among Pakistani people. This project was an effort to allow people in the U.S. to hear what the popular opinion in Pakistan is about America, American policies and American people.

Is it just Americans who need to learn more?
No. People in Pakistan also have some misconceptions. This project was not only an exercise to get the American public to see a different side of Pakistan but was also an exercise in getting Pakistani citizens to think deeply about what exactly causes anti-American prejudices. Almost every single person who wrote a postcard or volunteered for a video was engaged in a discussion about what exactly the do or don’t like about the U.S. (e.g. being forced to dig beneath the surface by having them express their opinions on how they feel about the U.S. bombing Pakistani territory and giving Aid at the same time)

Why send out postcards? Instead I can read about Pakistan in the newspaper, watch it on television, read books and do a Google search.
Dispelling Illusions is not something we can do by sitting in our living rooms or attending seminars. “If we want to know about the Roman empire for instance, then we can probably do it in a library but if we are trying to learn more about a live, on-going social process that is changing all the time, and we only get to see little pieces of it in the news, that’s really not the way to do it. We do it through interactions with other people and by functioning in some kind of community of concern, and of commitment, and of activism.”(1)

Is the information censored to portray a specific view?
No. None of the messages on the postcards, the comments on the pictures or the content of the videos has been edited to portray any specific point of view. The opinions portrayed are the opinions of the people themselves and not the organizing team or the group Responsible Citizens.

Can this project really be taken as representative of popular public opinion?
Pakistan’s population is around 16M people. The project covered approx. 200,000. This is ~1.25% of the population. It is by no means a good census but given the range of professions, economic class and level of education covered by these 200,000 people; it is a very reliable representation of popular opinion.

PROJECT ORGANIZATION AND EXECUTION

Who sent these postcards?
People from all walks of life. School teachers, bankers, house-wives, factory workers, rikshaw drivers, school and university students, doctors, business owners, construction workers, laborers (who work by the hour) anyone and everyone. People with no age restriction, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, everyday common Pakistani citizens.

How did you get the mailing addresses? Isn’t this invasion of privacy?
We got publicly listed addresses from the Yellow Pages. No, we were very careful in avoiding any invasion of privacy.

Who organized this?
This was a project of a group called Responsible Citizens – Zimmedar Shehri. For details about the umbrella organization Responsible citizens or the team that worked specifically on this project please see the Contact Us section.

How did you organize this?
The organizing team printed the postcards and set up stalls in several places. People would come up, write their message on the postcards and give us Rs.25 and return the postcard with the message. The price of the postcards, mailing costs and the cost of setting up a stall is all that the people paid.

Did you make some money from this project?
No. The price of the postcards was set in a way to balance out the cost of printing, mailing and covering the logistics (e.g. setting up a stall, launching this website) and in the end the organizing team broke even; no profits and no losses.