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U.S. diplomat sings to win over Pakistan

AFP
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Luring listeners:Shayla Cram, the U.S. public diplomacy officer sings a Pashto song on her guitar in Islamabad.Photo: AFP
Luring listeners:Shayla Cram, the U.S. public diplomacy officer sings a Pashto song on her guitar in Islamabad.Photo: AFP

A U.S. official is taking a novel approach to diplomacy in Pakistan — singing in a local language to build bridges.

Shayla Cram, a public diplomacy officer assigned to Peshawar, the gateway to Al-Qaeda and Taliban strongholds in the northwestern tribal belt, has not only learnt Pashto but has penned her own Pashto-style song.

"Jenaiy", which means "girl", is a tribute to Malala Yousafzai, the teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting education for girls.

It features Cram on guitar and vocals and a Pakistani musician on the rabab — a traditional stringed instrument — and urges girls to have hope for the future and pursue their dreams.

Despite the anti-American feeling, Cram says the song has had a good response so far. She now plans to work with local musicians to record a whole album in other Pakistani languages.AFP


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