Australian social worker Shaniera Akram took to social media to voice her disappointment and dismay over people constantly demeaning all the blood and sweat she has shed for Pakistan over the past 10 years, simply because of her White skin and Australian heritage.The social media influencer wrote, “Sick of being called a “randomn White woman”,”rich gori”, “privileged White person”, “someone who occasionally lives in Pakistan”, “celebrity’s wife”.
Shaniera questioned all those who judge her and downplay all the positive work she has done, simply on the basis of her being White, saying “Do you not remember I have spent 10 years in Pakistan, fighting for the rights of our people, caring for those who are underprivileged and standing up for the country I have grown to love”
Shaniera also added that though she is married to a national hero, she has always tried to use her privilege to “stand up for what is right and just”. To amplify the rights of those who need support. “I had a chance to make a small difference where I could, to build my name and use it not for selfish reasons but for the good of our country…and I took it”, she wrote.
Being actively involved in The Akram Foundation, and various other philanthropic projects, Shaniera’s work has included rehabilitating victims of the 2016 Lahore suicide bombing, raising charity for hospitals, promoting health and fitness, creating environmental awareness, speaking about road safety, recycling and clean drinking water.
She also pointed out that where people may only see her White skin and origin, they fail to acknowledge that at the end of the day, she has left all of her family, friends and support system behind “weddings, birthdays, funerals, seeing friends and family grow, I have missed time with my loved ones that I will never get back”.
Where birth and citizenship make or break the deal to legally declare a country’s citizen, we agree with Shaniera that one’s actions, their contribution and all that they have done for a country, are more important factors in deciding how much they belong there. Towards the end, Shaniera urged Pakistanis to ‘stop this horrible trolling’, asserting ‘I am a part of Pakistan whether you like it or not. I have earned my position here.”