Speaker offers insight into problems of Pakistan

Ethan Casey and Fawad Butt gave two main reasons for the current Pakistani situation: lack of education and poverty.

In a Tuesday lecture called “Pakistan: The Human Dimension,” American journalist Ethan Casey and collaborator Fawad Butt provided insight into the human element between the West and Pakistan. Casey read excerpts from his new book “Overtaken By Events: A Pakistan Road Trip.” He used quotes and examples from interviews and interactions he had with people during his trip earlier this year through India and Pakistan. A slide show of photos by amateur photographer Pete Sabo, who accompanied Casey on the journey, played in the background of the room at University Christian Church.

Butt, who did not accompany Casey on the overland trip, offered his insight from the perspective of a Pakistani-American. Butt said it was not enough to educate small numbers of Pakistani people because a competitive market did not exist in the country. Those able to receive an education, Butt said, traveled elsewhere, exporting the country’s talent.

Butt described the Pakistani people as those lacking opportunity, not intelligence. He said the environment, including poverty, placed a limit on achieving potential.

“You could take Einstein and put him in Pakistan and he would be riding a donkey,” Butt said.

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a psychology theory, human needs – physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization – must be met from the bottom up. Butt said that by meeting the basic needs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there would be more hope among the Pakistani people. Butt mentioned primary and secondary education as part of a solution.

Both Casey’s and Butt’s arguments pointed toward education as a key component for a more stable Pakistan. But their main focus remained on the human element.

In their lecture, Casey and Butt presented stories from real people on both sides of the Pakistani-American gap. Stories included local perspectives on Americans from Pakistanis, and American examples of goodwill toward the human connection and understanding.

“Human nature and human experience – that’s all the stuff that doesn’t make it into newspapers,” Casey said.

Butt said the West took unthinking and insensitive approach toward its actions, including the increase of drone attacks.

Kristen Deptula, a senior international politics and Spanish major, said her studies focused primarily on Europe and South America, but found the insight valuable.

“Focus starts from a bottom-up perspective and not a top-down perspective,” Deptula said.