Fall weather and pink backpacks are evoking back-to-school feelings amongst participants at the Institute of Policy Studies, where American delegates have gathered for an interactive session to condemn drone strikes.

One Pakistani participant walks up to an American delegate and says: “You remind me of Rachel Corrie” — referring to the legendary American peace activist, who had travelled to Gaza to protest against the Israeli occupation and put her life at risk.

Although the comment is meant to break the ice but the peace activist, Suzie Gilbert, a tall American woman with endless strands of curly long hair, immediately recognises the reference — the importance and its history. She informs that a lot of American delegates that have come to Pakistan have also been involved in peace activities in Gaza and Iraq.

Suzie Gilbert adds to the diversity of the delegation visiting Pakistan. She lives in Los Angeles and works in Hollywood. She has worked in various anti-war movies and knows the famous movie director Oliver Stone quite well.

Clarifying that Hollywood and American cinema should not be associated with the anti-Islam film that created a furore recently.

There are plenty of positive films being made in America.

She also emphasises that the delegation should not be associated with “hippies” because it is a diverse group and there are even military veterans in the delegation.

The problem she says is that in the American mainstream media there is an image that drones are good. Which is wrong because it creates anti-Americanism around the world. The delegation wants to change the narrative on both sides, Pakistan as well as America. Pakistanis should know that all Americans don’t favour drone strikes and Americans should know that drone strikes are creating anti-American feelings around the world.

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