Thursday, 30 October 2014

Good evening from Accra







Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Good morning from Accra


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Good bye Islamabad

Kavita and I fly back to West Africa early tomorrow morning. We are meeting in Accra for a small holiday before we head back to Liberia. We celebrate our reunion, Haresh's birthday and him being healthy and safe after a near ebola scare.
It was cold when I arrived back in March and it is cold again. 
Damn, I'm going to miss home and the old folks are going to miss Kavita. 
West Africa here we come and good bye Islamabad.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Top cats

I bought these funky cats at the Lok Virsa yesterday. Best of all, they were only 500 rupees each.




I also bought this 'kapre gi guriya' for Kavita. 


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Digitising Family Albums

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Anna Karenina 


I have started an impossible and arduous project - digitising our family albums. I have been obsessed with it for some time and, felt I must immediately convert all our film photography into digital copies lest they become destroyed in a freak accident and be lost to posterity for ever. It was quite an urgent task in my mind but since I am the queen of procrastination, I did not start it until the end of September. 

We have 15 albums that contain images of our family life, vacations and my parents' younger pictures from before they were married. There are a couple of albums that only have photographs of official events like a national day reception or my father presenting his credentials to a head of state.

I also have 2 separate albums of my years at QMW as an undergraduate student (1998-2001) as well as some work photos of my field trips to Afghanistan when I worked with UNJLC (2002-2003). 

I digitised my Afghanistan album and, it took so long and was so boring that I wanted to give up the rest of the project. 

Most of these albums are blank sticky pages where photographs were pasted and then covered with a clear cover. Peeling off that cover, carefully taking off the photographs, scanning them individually and then sticking them back on is a very meticulous job. There are about four photos in one page. Even though I tried to work fast and in an organised manner, it took me a week to get through one album. 


But despite how meticulous the job is, it is incredibly rewarding.

There is something so beautiful about film photography and, seeing it fine detail, scanned, on your computer screen allows  you to really look at it quite close and appreciate it all the more. 


My father took most of the photographs and did such a wonderful job of capturing our childhoods.

 The pictures where we are posing are so natural and intimate. For some, he went to great lengths to dress up our little sister in elaborate head gear.

As I pore over the photographs, I wonder what we were thinking and how happy we were. 

One of the reasons I was too lazy to start on this project was that there no quiet, cool space to do it in the sweltering heat during the summer months. The dining room was a good bet with plenty of table space but the AC in that room doesn't work. Even though the ground level of the house, where the dining room is, is not as hot as the top floor where my room is, it was too humid and uncomfortable to do something like a Digitising Family Albums project.

Now, I'm in Kavita's room - store room - spare room where I have a desk and can slowly but steadily work on this project. I can also listen to my music without the roar of the ceiling fan.

Now, summer has given way to autumn, and the air is cool and crips. We are sleeping under the 'razai' at night. It seems it is the perfect weather to indulge this bitter sweet work. 

As I look at happy memories, my heart is warmed on this rather lonesome Sunday evening.

We are always going to be missing an older technology or style, it seems, as time marches on: black and white photographs, black and white films, Haseena Moin TV Dramas, postcards and letters in envelopes and tring tring telephones.

Does anyone feel as old as I do today?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Children's programmes

Children's programmes like Sesame Street and cartoons like Horrid Henry, Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory are so well made! Not only are they educational but so funny. Actually, except for Sesame Street, I don't know how educational the rest are but they sure are AWESOME.

Million-dollar sitcoms and silver screen comedies aren't even half as funny or poignant. The typical comedy from the US or even Pakistan is actually quite lame. For example, the Big Bang Theory, despite being so promising, is full of cliches and really dumb humour. I was so disappointed to see a programme on a Pakistani channel with a stellar cast but it lacked really good dialogues and punch lines. My favourite US comedy still remains Frasier and from the UK, Fawlty Towers and Black Adder. Although, I have found a new-found appreciation for Mr. Bean and finally appreciate the comedic genius of that character. As for classic Pakistani comedy, there are so many: Fifty Fifty and Alif Noon, to name a few.

Speaking of Sesame Street, after watching it after years now because of Kavita, I now know who Big Bird sounds like.

There was this acquaintance who used to sound oddly familiar. Now I know why.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Ebola Rage # 3

I imagine ebola for the average lay person in Europe or Northern American must be like a horrifying and thrilling horror film as depicted by almost all the media - the initial plot revolves around show casing thousands of nameless Africans succumbing to a killer disease. Later the stories are dotted by the actual names and faces of a few heroic Americans falling sick and being evacuated back to their homeland and given experimental drugs which suddenly appear on the screen. Apparently this drug has no viable market and maybe research and tests are a long ways off. This drug does not reappear again although we continue to watch ebola ravage thousands more Africans. Local and international doctors plead for help for more doctors and help but they appear as irrelevant characters on the sidelines for dramatic effect. Towards the climax, the plague has managed to jump continents onboard planes and threatens a zombie apocalyse in the Western world. More screen time is given to airport screenings in Canada and the UK. The movie is now entirely shot in North America and how the President will show incredible leadership and save the say.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I am not a boring adult

I was at my best friend's kid's first birthday party and found myself trying to prove to some teenagers that I was not a typical boring adult.

It seems it's often an objective of mine to prove to kids that I can talk and play with them. It works with little kids but it can be rather tricky with older ones.

At today's birthday party, there were two teenage boys who I knew would soon be moving to Australia with their mother who was recently awarded a scholarship to go study Educational Leadership at a graduate level. 

I thought I'd try become friends with these kids by telling them everything I knew about Australia. 

"Do you know any famous Australians?"

They rattled off some cricketers' names. 

"No, no, no cricket references."

Hmmmm....

"Didn't you guys see Lord of the Rings?" 

Yes.

"Well, Lady Galadrial! That's played by Cate Blanchett. She's Aussie."

Oh.

"Any other names you know?"

Hmmmmm... They clearly weren't interested in this "Name a famous Aussie" game.

"Didn't you guys see X-Men?"

Yes.

"Wolvervine! He's played by an Aussie. Hugh Jackman."

Oh.

I repeated the same question with Thor. "Haven't you guys seen Thor? That guy is Aussie, too."

These kids were clearly not convinced I was not a boring adult. 

I laughed it off and told them to just watch a lot of Masterchef Australia to prepare for their 2-year move to Down Under. 

I might as well be a boring adult for saying that. 

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Weekly Round Up

And, here is the much awaited round up of what I've been reading and sharing on Facebook.

Feminism, Gender Oppression and Equality

When will we stop calling successful women ‘abrasive’? explores how professional women - doing the same work as their male counterparts - are viewed differently:
Russian cosmonaut Yelena Serova hit the headlines as she prepared to blast off into space after years of training. But despite her considerable expertise, journalists bombarded Serova with questions about personal grooming and parenting. I can’t be the only one who felt like applauding when she finally snapped at a press conference after being asked how she’d style her hair on the International Space Station, replying: “Can I ask a question, too: aren’t you interested in the hair styles of my colleagues?”
These different cases reveal a pattern – successful women make people feel uncomfortable. They are seen as somehow unfeminine or unnatural and in need of being brought down a peg or two. And the best way to wrangle them back into manageability is to remind them of the fact that, regardless of their achievements, they will be judged first and foremost as women, and found wanting. Girls, after all, are supposed to be likable, pliant, polite, quiet and gentle. Be too smart, too successful, too accomplished, and risk facing a sharp reminder that you’ve done so at the cost of your feminine “appeal”.
The article really speaks for itself. A negative social view of professional women is indeed deep rooted. 

In my experience, I've overheard for example housewife aunties and in fact my own mother talk about working women with contempt and awe. Working women are almost always seen as aggressive for some reason.

I think human society - after thousands years of gender oppression - is still trying to figure out how to carve a non-patriarchal world. Until then, it's going to be very muddled. 

One of the sites that appears on my FB newsfeed is The Logical Indian and I love this meme:



I love Stop policing my daughter's appetite: "'You're not going to eat all of that, are you?' said a stranger in a café to my four year old daughter Violet. Violet was tucking into a slab of chocolate cake with ice cream on the side. The woman meant her comment to be friendly, but it was the only thing she commented on to Violet. Violet is in kindergarten and already people — even complete strangers — are judging her food choices, intimating that she should distrust these choices and that her appetite should be ignored. What’s worse, Violet is learning that women policing other women’s appetites is a great conversation starter, or even a bonding ritual."

Apart from already making me think about how to help Kavita develop a healthy and guilt free relatinoship with food, this article really struck too. Women are nearly always apologising about how much and what they eat and, often crack jokes about never being able to follow a strict diet. They really do feel this is a good way to bond with another woman.

Animal Rights

I started to understand and appreciate issues related to the environment and animal rights well into my 30s although I used to detest the thought of my parents buying ivory while we were posted in Senegal from 1993 to 1995. 

Yes, chimpanzees should be given legal rights, just like us talks about a case that an animal rights group will present before a judge in New York. It seems it is a landmark case. See an excerpt from the article:
"Not too many years ago, many human beings were treated like property. Married women and children were simply the property of men, and many Africans were considered to be the property of white Europeans. But now people are waking up to the view that, as the author of The Color Purple, Alice Walker, put it, “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men”. It is this sentiment which inspired PETA US' ground-breaking lawsuit against SeaWorld three years ago, which sought to establish that five wild-caught orcas deserved protection under the US Constitution's 13th Amendment, which prohibits slavery.

Tommy, the primate plaintiff, lives in a small cage at the back of a dark shed at a trailer sales park in New York state, with only a TV on a table to keep him company. There's no doubt that Tommy's psychological and physical needs are not being met in this barren environment and that a transfer to a sanctuary would do his welfare good. But that's not the point.

Keeping these highly intelligent, self-aware, autonomous, emotionally complex beings in any kind of captivity can never be justified. Chimpanzees belong in rain forests where they can forage for natural foods, make and use tools, build nests, groom each other and raise families. No amount of care can replace the natural lives of which they're deprived. Would any human swap freedom for a lifetime of captivity?"
My friend, a biologist who has worked with conservation groups in Africa, made the following very beautiful comment:  "See a chimp in its natural environment and you will see its relevance in the world. In captivity it merely becomes a joke, a caricature of human kind. When we laugh at a chimp in an artificial enclosure, we are really laughing at ourselves as ill-adapted misfits in a disappearing world."


Are the Olympics worth it?

Apparently no one is interested in hosting the 2022 Olympics. Norway pulled out. See The Bidding For The 2022 Olympics Is A Disaster Because Everyone Figured Out That Hosting Is A Total Waste:
"Public expenditures on sports infrastructure and event operations necessarily entail reductions in other government services, an expansion of government borrowing, or an increase in taxation, all of which produce a drag on the local economy. At best public expenditures on sports-related construction or operation have zero net impact on the economy as the employment benefits of the project are matched by employment losses associated with higher taxes or spending cuts elsewhere in the system."
Is the same going to happen with the FIFA World Cup? The pre-Cup coverage was, as I remember it, almost evenly divided between social protests and actual coverage of the preparations. The recent London Olympics were also full of controversy.

The question is why does the staging of sporting events which supposedly unite humanity and are a fine example of the human spirit have to be so expensive? 

And talking of Norway

It is apparently the best place to grow old in: 12 Reasons To Move To Norway Right Now.

Selfies and Social Media


I don't know how accurate this is but it definitely a good commentary on how technology and social media can also be used. 


Ebola

Opinion: International community must not isolate Liberia is a good piece adding a voice to the unfair quarantine of Liberia. It is an excellent article except for this one sentence:

"And when they do, they will dance and sing and praise God and move forward, and the world will be better off for it."



This is truly an uplifting story amongst all the articles, TV reports, blogs and photographs that have captured the ebola crisis in all its gory glory Woman saves three relatives from Ebola:
"It can be exhausting nursing a child through a nasty bout with the flu, so imagine how 22-year-old Fatu Kekula felt nursing her entire family through Ebola. Her father. Her mother. Her sister. Her cousin. Fatu took care of them all, single-handedly feeding them, cleaning them and giving them medications. And she did so with remarkable success. Three out of her four patients survived. That's a 25% death rate -- considerably better than the estimated Ebola death rate of 70%."
Another piece of reassuring news was the arrival of 165 Cuban medical doctors and nurses in Sierra Leone. This photo was posted by WHO:

"165 Cuban medical doctors and nurses have arrived in #SierraLeone to support the #Ebola response efforts.  All of the Cuban health workers have more than 15 years’ experience and have worked in other countries facing natural disasters and disease outbreaks. Some of the workers have already been working in Sierra Leone and #Guinea for some years and are willing to continue their service there."
See also the related article on the WHO website: Cuban medical team heading for Sierra Leone.

Thankfully, the Washington Post, an American paper, acknowledges Cuba in In the medical response to Ebola, Cuba is punching far above its weight: "On Thursday, 165 health professionals from the country arrived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to join the fight against Ebola – the largest medical team of any single foreign nation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And after being trained to deal with Ebola, a further 296 Cuban doctors and nurses will go to Liberia and Guinea, the other two countries worst hit by the crisis."

Liberian Senate calls for more transparency over Ebola funds emphasises the need for transparency and accountability in funds disbursement and usage both by national governments as well as the aid industry. See an excerpt:
"It is in times of emergency in recent years that the lack of accountability has been most apparent. More than four years after the earthquake in Haiti – and with a central role played by several former US presidents in coordinating relief efforts – it is hard to clarify exactly what happened to the $9bn in emergency aid. For example, one review indicates that only 0.9% of the more than $1bn pledged by USAid after the disaster has actually gone to Haitian organisations; while another US government report indicates that as of last year only 35% of pledged funds had actually been disbursed. Meanwhile, thousands of Haitians displaced by the disaster continue to live in makeshift housing, squalor and destitution.
The aid industry is often criticised for its lack of openness and effectiveness. While progress is being made – through efforts like the Aid Industry Transparency Initiative, for example – more must be done in times of crisis. Before demanding that west African governments report to their citizens, donors must prove that they too can remove bureaucratic red tape and spend relief aid judiciously and expeditiously. As the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has repeatedly pointed out to donors, even before the recent Ebola outbreak, we must 'shorten the road from commitment to cash'.
In west Africa, we must act now to avoid the problems of past humanitarian relief efforts. Donors should embrace lessons from previous emergencies such as the Asian tsunami, including the need to emphasise local ownership, ensure participatory efforts, make transparency a priority, build capacity to manage funds and handle complaints effectively."
The article is co-penned by Blair Glencorse, a friend, who founded the Accountability Lab.

See Liberia imposes media restrictions on ‘invasive’ Ebola coverage:  "Journalists will need official permission to cover many aspects of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, under new rules that the government said aimed at protecting patient privacy. The move was announced on Thursday, the day an American cameraman working for NBC News in Liberia became the first foreign journalist to test positive for Ebola. There was no indication that the new rules were related to that case. Growing international media interest in the outbreak that has killed nearly 2,000 people and infected 3,696 in Liberia has highlighted the challenges to the West African country’s healthcare system."

No 'I' in the Fight to Quell Ebola is a personal blog by a friend who also lives and works in Liberia although out of the country at the moment. 

Don’t forget: Liberia, ravaged by the Ebola epidemic, was created by the U.S. is an excellent Washington Post piece that discusses the legacy of colonialism and how it continues to shape and influence not only trade and politics but aid. See an excerpt:
"As Helene Cooper of the New York Times reports, the international response to the crisis has played out along historic lines, with former colonial powers coming to the aid of their former colonies:

In an echo of the colonialism that characterized West Africa in the 19th century, Britain has focused its assistance efforts on its former colony Sierra Leone, as British troops head there to build and staff a 63-bed facility near the capital, Freetown. France has sent medical experts to its former colony Guinea.
That leaves Liberia, with its historic ties to America’s antebellum era, in the United States’ hands. In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said a perception by other countries that the United States would take care of Liberia had hurt the country so far in the Ebola fight. She said a health expert with the French group Doctors Without Borders told her recently: 'We’re French. You’ve got America behind you; why should we have to do this for you?'"
I was explaining the very same thing to a US Embassy staff that I met at The Hot Spot the other day. I feel I have become an Ambassador for Liberia and explain to friends and strangers how impoverished and ill-equipped the country is to deal with this crisis. Usually Ambassadors promote the more positive aspects of their countries but in this tragedy journalists and aid workers have become diplomats on behalf of Liberia emphasising how much Liberia needs help. None of us are being patronising. Liberians deserve to get all the assistance and support they need in this hour of need. Support and assistance must come not out of pity. It is the right of Liberians and indeed people in strife and pain to be helped.

Dallas Ebola Patient Thomas Eric Duncan Has Died was reported on 8  October.

Sadly, there is no shortage or reporting on ebola but substantive help is yet to come. In the meantime, let's read another article on how awful ebola is and read about the bravery of health workers: "Life, Death and Grim Routine Fill the Day at a Liberian Ebola Clinic."

I imagine ebola for the average lay person in Europe or North American must be like a horrifying and thrilling horror film as depicted by almost all the media - the initial plot revolves around show casing thousands of nameless Africans succumbing to a killer disease.  Later the stories are dotted by the actual names and faces of a few heroic Americans falling sick and being evacuated back to their homeland and given experimental drugs which suddenly appear on the screen. Apparently this drug has no viable market and research and tests are a long ways off. This drug does not reappear again although we continue to watch ebola ravage thousands more Africans. Local and international doctors plead for help for more doctors and help but they appear as irrelevant characters on the sidelines for dramatic effect. Towards the climax, the plague has managed to jump continents onboard planes and threatens a zombie apocalyse in the Western world. More screen time is given to airport screenings in Canada and the UK. The movie is now entirely shot in North America and how the President will show incredible leadership and save the say.

Pakistan's Raison D'etre Questioned

This is a great blog talking about the national identity of Pakistan: The Islamization of Pakistan. See an excerpt:
Quaid-e-Azam in his March 1940 presidential address said “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders; and it is only a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality. This misconception of one Indian Nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state.”  
The statement raises a serious question; how many states do we need to accommodate different nations, respectively?
I'm sure the younger generation of Pakistan is asking such questions more and more.

On a fundamental level, Pakistan's problems are not dissimilar to that of any other nation state:  a violent beginning, civil war, tyranny of the majority, identity crises, foreign adventures, and a blood sucking elite. And somehow, Pakistan has managed to not completely disintegrate and fall apart. Maybe Pakistan is a managed chaos. 

Even if Pakistan does not become another Afghanistan or Somalia, what is the greatest risk and tragedy? That the majority of Pakistanis are poor, disenfranchised. That minorities and women are not safe. That the average Pakistani is being brainwashed by rabid mullahs. 

Analysts bemoaning our state of affairs frequently bring up the origins of our state and hence the question: "how many states do we need to accommodate different nations, respectively?" If Pakistan was meant to protect Muslims, why are Muslims killing each other? 

Eid ul Adha or Tabaski in Senegal

This is a cool article about how Eid or Tabaski is celebrated in Senegal and how Senegalese abroad use a website to send sheep and goats back home.

I reminded me of how I, as a snotty Pakistani kid abroad, used to find it "incorrect" that Eid ul Adha is referred to as Tabaski when we lived there as a family from 1993 to 1995. Of course as adult I appreciate that Islam like many other global religions is diverse and local.  

Also, I also realise how many Muslims do not appreciate this fact, from the Arabicisation of Islam in Pakistan by the state to more fundamentalist groups who interpret the religion as static and never having moved beyond 7th century Arabia and consider any localised version to be corruption.

See an excerpt from Ecommerce: Tabaski rams bought in Paris, eaten in Dakar: "This is Tabaski - known elsewhere as Eid al-Adha - the biggest festival and holiday of the year in Senegal, a country that is 90% Muslim. This year it falls on 4 October.

.....an ecommerce start-up called Niokobok comes in.

The company lets the Senegalese diaspora around the world shop online for food, electronics and solar systems sourced in Senegal to be delivered to family and friends there. They also deliver rams and goats for Tabaski - as well as all the traditional trimmings: potatoes, onions, and sauces. Customers can go to the website and view videos of the animals for sale, before making their selection."

Insincere Revolutions

I picked up Pique from one a bookshop and not only loved the fantastic cover but the main feature Insincere Revolutions. Read it, I insist.

History

First Muslims to arrive in the subcontinent were Ismailis’ is a summary of lecture by Dr Mubarak Ali at the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation. See an excerpt from the article: 
"Dr Ali said in Pakistan, after 1947, history was written in different stages. First rulers started to devise ways how to identify Pakistan as different from India. Instead of looking for its roots in the Indus Valley Civilisation, they tried to identify Pakistan with Mesopotamia. Even Prof Ahmed Ali wrote a piece saying Mesopatamian culture was deep-rooted in us.

In the second stage a lot of other distortions were made. Dr Ishtiaq Hussein Qureshi wrote that Akbar was responsible for the fall of the Mughal Empire. And that the Muslims who arrived in India did not have their ethnic identities. After the fall of Dhaka, Z. A. Bhutto formed a cultural department which tried to prove that Bengal had nothing to do with the Indian subcontinent. Then Dr Dani came up with the idea that we had our links with Central Asia and not with India.
In Pakistan, history was not considered an important subject; therefore, in the 1960s it was replaced with the discipline of Social Studies, which began history with Moenjodaro, then jumped to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and then to the two-nation theory — it was discontinued, interrupted history. Such an attitude would lead us to have no historical consciousness."
It's precisely what I have been thinking about as I have been sightseeing in and out of Islamabad. What Dr Ali is explaining is essentially the impact of particularly poor nationalism. 

And, speaking of national narratives, this wonderful meme-like reduced history of Christopher Columbus apparently all comes from A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (which I started reading in Chicago in 2012 when I was there staying with my friend Chipo). Apparently, one US city or state is going to do away with Columbus Day. 

 
The War That Gets Waged in Our and Our Children's Names
  

Humour of All Kinds




 
I love this cover and the featured piece "Insincere Revolutions'' in
Pique.

Arrogant Humour

New York Times apologizes over India's Mars Mission cartoon is a Times of India article. I was quite s
hocked by the unbelievable arrogance and racism of this cartoon. Was the Editor sleeping?







Actually, all roads in Islamabad lead to the dharna









Wednesday, 8 October 2014

All roads lead to Blue Area


The metro bus project and the 'dharna' have made going to Blue Area a night mare.

The metro bus project ripped up perfectly sound roads and highways in order to make a separate bus lane and, made going to that side of town quite a tricky endeavour. Was the project necessary, everyone has been asking and usually giving a negative verdict.

The 'dharna' that is supposedly going to usher in a Naya Pakistan has also completely choked that part of the city. The government has responded by stacking up containers all over which makes going to a certain office or shop in Blue Area like going through a maze.





Today, apparently I needed to get to the Emirates office before 4 PM in order to - once again - make a date change and pay some fees. A 72-year old taxi driver - bless his soul - got me as close as possible to the Emirates office. We parked in a ' band gali' and then I walked over a small bridge, past some red-bricked government housing, over beautifully shaded foot paths and arrived a few minutes before 4 PM only to find the office closed.
 

I know I did not confuse the time or date as I had penciled it in my notebook while on the Emirates helpline.

I could only shrug my shoulders and walked back to the taxi. The ebola crisis has really affected my business, my family, and almost made me a refugee. My life is in a limbo. One more delay is not going to give me a nervous breakdown.


It was mostly dead quiet at that time and all the security guards were snoozing. With the change of weather, we are finally experiencing autumn. Although beautiful all year around, Islamabad is especially lovely to walk around when the weather is crisp and the sunlight streams in through the shaded avenues. 

On the way back, I saw an almost scuffle. A group of boys and men were hauling some sacks towards the 'dharna' site chanting "Go Nawaz Go." Two boys yelled "Go Imran Go" in their direction. In a few seconds the bigger group was ready to beat up those two boys. A crowd gathered to diffuse the situation.

As I got back, I told the taxi driver what happened. A police man nearby started criticising the 'dharna' and said the 'Jehudis' were behind it. I took a moment to politely explain to him that we can't lump all our flaws and failings on outsiders and especially must stop demonising the 'Jehudis.'

T
he taxi driver told me that apparently the Qadri camp is paying "protestors" 2,000 rupees a day, or 2,500 with food!

So, I am still stuck in Islamabad. With that cancelled Air Ivoire flight on the 16th from Accra to Monrovia, I do not know if I should wait for the KQ flight on the 24th or just re-route the flight from Dubai to Monrovia via Casablanca.

Scenes at Islamabad Zoo on the second day of Eid







Role Models

Kavita's elder sister graduated from Flinders University in Australia and is now a bio medical engineer. 
With one sister a sassy singing sensation and the other a master of science, Kavita has excellent role models to look up to. 
Well done Haresh and well done to the girls.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Faisal Mosque at night



On the way back from the zoo or was it the park (the two places I take Kavita to all the time), I had to stop at the Faisal Mosque to get a night shot.