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‘Load Shedding’, A Word Not So Popular In The U.S.

We, as Pakistanis might be familiar with the phrase ‘Load Shedding’; however this so called term is not so popular in the western world especially in a country such as the U.S. Having lived in the U.S for most of my life, I have raised the issue of load shedding on a number of occasions; take for instance my World History class. My professor posed a question with regard to the current situation in third world countries such as Pakistan, China and Africa. I immediately raised my hand and boldly spoke about the domestic issues Pakistan was facing in the current world such as acid attacks, terrorism and lack of education.

However, the entire class lost track of what I was saying when I highlighted the issue of load shedding. The response I anticipated from my fellow classmates was quite the contrary. None of them had an idea about load shedding. Embarrassingly, not even my professor knew what it really meant. It’s not their fault either. The U.S. has never experienced 24/7 load shedding in any of its states so this term would sound rather idiosyncratic to most of them.

We, as Pakistanis, however, have gotten used to this phrase. Maybe load shedding has become a part of our daily routine. We all know how drastically load shedding has affected Pakistan and its people. We all have been there, done that.

I often discussed a few ongoing issues with my friends back in the U.S. and one of them was regarding load shedding. The U.S. has always been a multi cultured country and that is mainly why I had some friends in college who belonged from different parts of the world including China, Cameroon, Sudan, Taiwan and Indonesia. I could relate to them in so many ways as most of them had been victims of droughts, floods, hurricanes and political unrest in their respective countries. After discussing the issue of load shedding in detail, here are my friends’ reactions:

“Load shedding? What does that mean?” asked Bailey Thomas, one of my friends from Taiwan.

I had to go through my story all over again as Bailey did not quite get what I was saying. After thoroughly explaining him everything, he understood the whole scenario.

One of my close friends, Jena Urban from Ukraine was familiar with the term ‘electrical power shutdown’ but had no idea that it was an ongoing crisis in a country such as Pakistan.

“Over twelve hours of load shedding in your country? What’s your government doing?” Jena asked.

I found Jena’s question rather challenging to resist as it was quite embarrassing for me to tell her that Pakistan’s own government was responsible for such a crisis. However, I disclosed this bitter reality in the end.

“Are you serious? How can they do that to your own people? If this happened in China, all of us would have banded together and protested against the government.” said Cheng Lee, one of my classmates.

I completely agreed with Cheng. When load shedding initially took place in Pakistan, our people did not exhibit much infuriation. I, myself have witnessed a number of Pakistani individuals’ claim, ‘I am fine with what I have.’ If a person’s rights are not being granted by the government, one should vocalize.

It all boils down to a country and its integrity. I literally felt as if other countries were doing far better than Pakistan, primarily due to fair leadership and governance. I solely emphasized on the issue of load shedding barring a few other ground breaking realities such as corruption, acid attacks, sexism, terrorism, illiteracy and a number of other social and political problems. Amid the current situation, I just hope that Pakistan does not end up like Somalia in the coming years.

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