25/05: This side of PakistanDisclaimer: The credit for this article lies with Tals Diaz and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I am posting this here for informational purpose only.
By Tals Diaz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.” –William Blake
“We are going to sky, who wants to come with us? We have gone to heaven, we have been the friends of the angels, And now we will go back there, for there is our country.” –Rumi, Sufi poet
MANILA, Philippines—From afar, they looked like vultures circling over prey. As we moved closer though, we saw them for what they really were—majestic eagles, hundreds of them, circling languidly over the terracotta-stained houses lining the streets of Karachi.
Truly, there are things that need to be seen up close to gain a much better perspective.
Mention the name Pakistan and immediately you evoke feelings of fear and awe. For you could say that the country has had its lion’s share of bad publicity. Largely due to a West-centric media, its PR portfolio reads like an eternal caveat: a nuclear-powered, hardline Islamic nation under tightfisted rule—certainly not the winning combination to inspire an entry in the “Must See Places on Earth” traveler’s list. Add 9/11 to that wicked equation, when Pakistan had become a victim of its own geography since the US focused its ensuing War on Terror on neighboring Afghanistan, and you’ll most likely dismiss the country as a dangerous land.
The only thing more dangerous, I believe, is perception that is bloated as truth.
So what is the story behind the headlines?
However, the recent earthquake in China has shaken me out of my stupor and taken me back to the haunting memories of the earth quake in Kashmir in 2005. You can read my posts about it here and here.
It is said that a single picture speaks a thousand words. Look at these 50,000 words and see for yourself what shook me out of my stupor.
In this time of need of our Chinese brothers and sisters, I extend my deepest condolences for the loss of life that they have experienced. We, as Pakistanis, will remember our Chinese friends in our prayers and good wishes. May the souls of those who suffered and lost their lives in this earthquake rest in peace. Amen.
Relationships are turn asunder by death and injuries and times like these are the true test of human resilience. I am sure the Chinese nation will pull through the difficulties and make a new better path for themselves. Fortunately, the Chinese government has responded decisively and quickly without need of external prompting. This is extremely fortunate and speaks in itself for how much China has undergone a transformation for the better.
In all, I would ask the Chinese people to remain steadfast and have patience for loved ones lost. Remember the fond memories and symbolize the dead with those memories. Once again, my deepest condolences for your losses and the destruction incurred due to this natural calamity.
22/02: Railway PicturesPakistan Railways has been the state operator for rail based transportation system since independence. Some months back, I had to visit Rawalpindi Railway Station and snapped a couple pictures. For some reason which I fail to understand, these pictures fascinate me. The pictures are below:
The above picture shows a train ready to start its journey.
I got some drinks at the Railway Restaurant and the above switch board caught my eye. It surprised me that they are using such old switches and that they are still operational. It seems as if the British era relics have survived the many years of service (with maintenance and repair, of course).
The news item is titled "More Muslim girls wear scarf in games". Miss Dewnya Bakri should be an inspiration for other Muslim girls and women who hesitate to wear hijab due to taunts and questions about it asked of them. She proves that where there is a will, there is a way for young Muslim women to be an active part of the society while not leaving their religious obligations at the side.
No one can force a Muslim women to wear a hijab, but if it is indeed her choice to wear it, no one can stop her since it is her right except where it may cause her or those around her any harm. Considering the controversy of banning the hijab in some European countries and a few women losing their jobs in Britain, unless all religious items are banned (which would include crosses, the skull cap for both Muslim and Jewish men (Kippah)) it is discrimination if only Muslim women who want to wear hijab are stopped from doing so solely on the basis of other people feeling intimidated.
In doing so, we ignore the wisdom of hijab. It covers the head and bosom of a woman. One may wonder exactly what function this serves. It basically enables a woman to be judged on the basis of her qualities other than her physical attributes which certain men seem so fond of doing. Let's face it, not all women are blonde hotties (as the term goes - no offence intended to blonde women). What are women, who lack the impressively dimensioned physical attributes to do while the others get all the attention? When we bring in the prevalent insecurity in women about how they look and what people think of them, this becomes all the more of a serious concern. Ultimately, a woman becomes an object rather than her own person who is intelligent, clever, witty and charming. Would a woman really want to be treated as an object rather than her own person?