Canadian travel vlogger Rosie Gabrielle has been on a mission to motorbike around the world and is currently in Hunza. After some locals reached out to her with concerns over tourists littering, she used her platform to help raise their concerns. Unfortunately, actor Ushna Shah didn't like what Gabrielle said and claimed that a white person has no right to comment on Pakistan.
Gabrielle's post featured a picture of her holding a bag full of trash and pointed out the entitlement of tourists who visit scenic areas and leave a trail of trash behind. While there are problems with people gatekeeping entire areas, especially if those people aren't from the areas in question, the Balaa actor believed a better option would be to ban her from visiting altogether.
"You know what we don't appreciate? Judgemental, condescending, 'white saviour' wannabes," she posted, adding that the government of Pakistan should stop handing out "YouTube visas".
While the concept of a white saviour complex is indeed problematic, Gabrielle claims to be speaking on behalf of locals who reached out to her. She spoke about trash being dumped in the region as well as a rave that was held there. Setting aside the rave and the debate about culture versus freedom, the trash issue is real.
Instead of feeling attacked, Shah could have instead directed the same energy towards acknowledging the actual issue — the fact that there are few to no waste disposal systems in our country and people don't care about littering. This is a serious issue that needs to be talked about.
People should know that littering is not okay and something to be ashamed of rather than defensive about. Perhaps Gabrielle isn't the best person to highlight the issue — it would have been great if it was coming from locals instead — but the issue remains. The one way to avoid something like this in the future is to keep our country clean so that no bloggers, white or otherwise, get a chance to point it out.