Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Another Voice of Peace . . . . Silenced

"Voice of Peace" is the name of a little heard of Independent radio broadcater based out of the relatively peaceful provence of Parvan in Afghanistan. It was run and managed by Zakia Kaki a forward thinking woman with independent views who was critical of the warlords and talibanization in her area. She was the voice of women's rights in a region where women are caged in their houses, she was promoting peace and convincing the local population to send their daughters to schools, the majority of her staff were women striving to make a difference. Other than being a reporter she was a teacher in a girls school. One of the very few female reporters to speak up during the Taliban rule, she stood for something, she knew that every breath she took could be her last but did'nt give in to thugs and threats. She spoke for her country, she spoke for her fellow people and in the end she payed the price she was shot dead, seven times while sleeping next to her 20 month old child.

Her rare voice of peace in a world full of bloodshed and misery was silenced in the end by bullets for speaking for her rights and the rights of others who dare not speak. She laid her life for what she believed in, lots of other voices of peace will be silenced if we do not speak up about this, Silence is not an option.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No inspiration

Usually I'v never been this strapped for words as I have been in the last few days everytime I log into blogger and decided to blog when I open the post I can't think of anything to write about. Life has been busy as usual but that doesnt mean I have no time, I have time but the time seems obnoxiouly empty, is that even possible, I guess it is. These days I can sit and think about "nothing" and when I want to sleep my mind goes into warp speed. Its a curse I tell you, last night as usual I had too much on my mind and did'nt sleep at all. Since I didn't sleep I figured I'd watch a movie, as luck would have it I started watching a movie called "Fountain", now I'm sure the movie was amazing, I could feel it, but I didn't entirely understand it. It had something to do with life, love, immortality but it was definately confusing, I guess I'll spend another night trying to understand it by watching it again and then again, that movie it seems was as confused as I get sometimes. Did this make sense, I don't think so, I'll try and give it a shot again soon, untill then adios.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Vulture Funds

Jane Mutanga is ill with the symptoms of AIDS and exhausted by hunger, often too ill to work to feed her orphaned nephew Obetty (11, left) and two children, Milimo, 4 and Mazuba. *

While a lot of governments and people are trying to alleviate the problems of developing nations by finding ways to eliminate their debt, there are companies and businessmen lining their pockets with money which was meant to feed the poorest of the poor. Vulture funds as described by the IMF are "companies which buy up the debt of poor nations cheaply when it is about to be written off and then sue for the full value of the debt plus interest - which might be ten times what they paid for it."

The world is full of greed but vulture funds take the cake, whats surprising is that these businesses collect in rich countries by taking the poor nations to court, several cases have been lost by cash strapped governments and vulture funds have collected millions which were meant for housing, food, medicine and education. The UK & US governments whose courts entertain these cases, can put a stop to all this but vulture funds line up the pockets of politicians to continue doing what they are doing.

  • British Virgin Islands-based Donegal International paid less than $4m for a debt the African nation owed, but successfully sued Zambia for a $42m repayment.
  • Paul Singer bought Congo Brazzaville’s debt for $10 million and is suing for $400 million.
  • In 1996, Singer bought discounted Peruvian debt for $11 million and sued for $58 million.

Donegal International is collecting its money from the Zambian government after winning its case in the UK. Calls for Bush to put a stop to Paul singer and his likes have put Mr. President between the devil and the deep blue sea, because Paul singer according to a BBC Newsnight Report is the largest "donor" to the Bush Campaign($1.7M) and has already pledged 15 Million for Rudy Guiliani's campaign.

* Picture taken from World Vision International

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Adventure and Cracker

Do not have much to write the past few days and I believe one should not write if there is nothing to write but here I am writing gibberish again which most of my audience will probably not understand.

First here is the cracker which probably only hindi/urdu speaking readers will understand. One of my ABCD Karachi dwelling cousins had to write an essay for her urdu O'Level exams the essay was "Allodgi" (pollution) key nuksanat per mazmoon likhen" (Write an essay on the adverse effects of Pollution.) and She comes home and tells every one she wrote a great essay on "Allo" (potatoes) aur "Ghee" (Oil) key nuksanat".

secondly the adventure, well its not really an adventure. Day before my car was not available and I decided to to take the bus from Dubai to Sharjah. In my 5 years in the UAE I have never used public transport before. The buses were abundant because apparently since RTA (road and transport authority) were short on buses they had hired buses from rental companies, the driver was not in uniform but the bus was decent and clean. The reason that I would probably not take another bus in this city is that the first time i took one the driver did not know the way to his destination and wasted at least 30 mins.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Karachi Burning

Even though I am not from Karachi, I have Pakistani blood running in my veins. I have been out of the country for most of the past 10 years, but have deep rooted connections, I travel there every 3 months at least for something or the other. To this day I love Pakistan, always have, I have preferred it over any other place I have lived in. It pains me to see what has been happening there for as long as I can remember. It pains me to see that there is no value of life. Every single person who has had control in the country has done nothing but loot it and try to retain their power by hook or by crook. This general is nothing different, even though at one time I thought he was different, at one time I believed in him, I believed that he would do things differently, when he took power I honestly believed he was doing it for the country. I guess I was naive, it seems what people say is true, most of the people most of the time only end up disappointing you.

"Who more foolish then we like cattle who,
Ever herded to doom by a cunning few,
By baubles bought or fear enslaved;
Are perpetually denied what be our due! "

Endless Desert

It is sometimes nice to drive up to the tallest dune in the desert, take off the shoes, let the warm fresh breeze hit your face and blow through your hair, walk on the soft sand and just look out into the endless desert, do it at night and you will enjoy the quite peaceful sky covered with bright stars.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain

Picture is of Akira Kurosawa's Dreams a series of 8 short films by one of the greatest directors of all times. For a review read Danel Griffin's guide to Cinema.

A Fresh Sight

It is quite refreshing to find two Bedouins taking their camels all decorated for a ride in the desert. Dubai is such a busy city with cars and big building and no time on our hands to enjoy some of the "finer" things in life that a sight like this is bliss to sore eyes.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Five things you don’t know about me

I'v been going through some problems with work and family and thus have been absent from the blog. Radha tagged me a few days back so here goes.

1. I want life to be simple, quite and peaceful. I don't like big city living, I'd be much happier in a small town where everyone knows everyone else, I could have lived that life but instead I'm in Dubai hoping to one day soon get some peace in my life.

2. I love to read and spend all my free time in a quite place reading anything I can find.

3. I love anything to do with food, love to see, cook and eat. I indulge myself quite often.

4. I can't stay in one place too long, I get agitated so every 3-4 months when I'm at my wits end I go somewhere to get some sanity back.

5. I cant operate a TV, VCR, DVD properly even though every other technology I'm comfortable with, thats probably because I haven't used one in about 7-8 years, everything I do, I do on my computer.

Can't think of who to tag so anyone who wants to do this is welcome.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dubai the future

Poof... this last week has been crazy busy, but I have some pictures to share with you all. Dubai is spending absurd amounts of money and putting in a great deal of effort to make Dubai what it is. Here are some pictures of what Dubai will have in the future.
Yes Dubai is getting its own universal, and its not just Universal Studios, keeping with the Dubai tradition of making everything into a city its going to be "Universal City Dubailand" Its going to have a theme park with hotels, lakes and the works and rides not seen in any of the Universal parks yet.
This is part of the Bawadi hotel strip a dome with a temperature controlled resort, temperature controlled because it houses its own tropical forest and environment, this project is not small it covers hundreds of acres.
Another property in the Bawadi development, this one is the replica of some castle, what I dont understand is why not be origional when you have unlimited resources. This whole hotel strip is replica of one thing or the other, you can see the Bellagio right behind the castles, the Taj Mahal & great wall to the right and there are numerous other imitations which include the petronas towers, petersburg square and many others.
Another gem in Dubai's crown, this is the Dubai sports city, which houses stadiums, administration offices for sporting bodies, training institutes and hostels for athletes, Dubai is aspiring to host the Olympics and this is one major step towards that.
No this is not a helicopter its the latest in marine entertainment, a new age catamaran.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Violence lives on

Just read this, do not have the energy to write about it, but in the lawlessness that is Iraq and Afghanistan, sad things are happening every hour of the day and there is no one to correct the wrong. When will we learn from our past mistakes and when will we learn to honor and respect each other?

To the Humane in Everyone.

Oh man thou wer't gifted such a wondrous thing,
To live on earth in merry mirth as gypsy king!
With the universe as teat to which all life cling,
Molded and in place much before your birth,
And mother nature as ward all joys to bring !

And as guide old ageless meandering time,
Shedding en route treasures most sublime,
As wisdom hid in books of things divine!
But thy devils such a self destructive creed,
In Eden sowed fear, greed, confusion and brine!

Ancient the myths rulers hold that might is right!
False the hymns priests sing of a frightening night!
Hollow the gleam both show of treasures bright!
With such lies was Divinity ever profaned,
And men enslaved by devils in purple trite!

Can He be Almighty if he needs our swords?
Or scriptures holy if they be our words?
And how to reconcile with an Almighty Lord,
Who can’t forgive you or me without dying?
Oh why is it we can’t all believe in a God,
Who orders love and is free of our lying!

When it’s over, it’s all over may well be lies,
But wasting life in dreadful fear cannot be wise?
Does it matter if endless sleep close your eyes,
Or you live on in another world? For as you fret
The past is lost in future dread and present flies!

Know fearful hearts eagerly become slaves,
In fear to tremble even beyond the graves!
You can be kings if truth lights your face,
Can you loose, if this truth you embrace?
Shackled with fear you ever live in disgrace!

For ought by naught our treasures can reduce,
Both science and scriptures do this deduce.
Nor all the lying can a single truth confuse,
As when light comes darkness must flee,
And hearts never wanting, who can abuse?

Tis but a while my muse it began to sing ,
Methinks it will die if not allowed to fling,
The mire covering heroes for truths to spring .
So bear with me as I allow it to soar,
And hear the misty peels of ancient bells ring.

Come take a seat in this eye opening show,
Watch great spirits struggle and knowledge glow,
Watch freedom sing and civilizations grow ,
Till priests and rulers in never ending greed,
To ‘govern’ the awaked another war bestow !

Why fear a night when we can have the light?
As people ever bonded with perpetual fright!
As willing slaves toiling for our masters delight.
As truth confounded by a ‘Babel’ of lies.
As a horde of Ishmaels who sold their birthright!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Sometimes I sit and wonder about life, how things are, how they have been and how they should be. Although I seldom find peace in how things are and don't see any respite from the busy monotonous life that most of us lead, I let my mind wander, wander freely over plains admiring the endless fields filled with wild flowers. I can imagine myself breath the fresh air. Then I let it wander even further, wander over mountains and into valleys, I even let it dip in the blue cold glacial waters of the lakes. I do all this because when I let my mind wander I find myself in my element, I find myself happy doing things I would like to do. This is how it should be.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Arranged Marriage

The past few months have been desi marriage season, desi's like to get married in winters for a lot of reasons, including but not limited to winter vacations and Christmas break in the western world and nice weather. Of course with marriage bells all around people tend to talk about the subject and me thinks bloggers have been at it in a big way. Mostly ladies writing about the whole arranged marriage "arrangement". Some have been bitter and some just plain sad at the whole process. Ladies I feel for you, honestly I do but ever wonder what the other side goes through. here's just a glimpse.

Mind you the guy is a guest at the girl's place.

(After the initial introductions and ice breaking, lots of ice is needed to be broken because of all the tension in the environment)

Q. Girls Mom: So beta What did you study.
Answer. Aunty I did my Masters in Environmental Sciences.

Q. Girls Mom: Beta Environmental Sciences, I thought you did Engineering.
Answer. (Thinking Why did I say Sciences when its an engineering degree) Jee its an engineering degree, Environmental Engineering.

Aunty thinks (I knew it, he's a Liar)
Q. Girls Mom: How is the job market?
Answer: its really good, there are a lot of jobs, its an emerging market.

The questions slowly progress from the "not so normal" to absurd and the whole team(yes there is a team) of interrogators start questioning. Thankfully the males in the interrogation team do not ask questions they are just there to observe the expressions, gauge and access what is being said, they wont say much while you are there but will be sure they know you better then you when you leave.

Q. Girl's Aunt: Beta jee do you smoke?
Answer: Jee just socially very little and im planning on quitting before marrying, I dont want to smoke in front of children in the house.
(Aunty thinks yeah right! - guy is actually pissed off by now and wants to say "With you people anywhere near me I'd probably start on dope")

Q. Girls married Sister: Do you drink? (point blank no breather)
Answer: No I do NOT
(all of them think not possible, how can it be, he's certainly a liar. Guy needs a galon of Vodka straight by now just for this ordeal to end.)

The questions go one, the guy very respectfully answers all questions and is thankful when the whole thing is over. This interview was just one part of the process, The girls family is on the phone as soon as the guy departs, they have interrogated him well. They have the information they need. They will track down every single one of his acquaintances from school to university and start their background checks. They will get their "people" in government to open an inquiry into his past, They will find some high up in the ISI to dig dirt on him, and if there are any skeletons in his past, even if they are from ages ago with no bearing on the present the guy has had it.

So ladies, the whole desi/muslim marriage process (including issues after marriage) is archaic and sad. It effects everyone, the good thing is that some things are changing, and it is us who have to be agents of change and progress. It is us who have to be rational when others are not and hopefully when we are at a stage when our kids are getting married we will not do what our elders have been doing for generations.

I always thought . . .

And I always thought blogging was easy, no way is it easy. I mean I just started and can't keep up. I'm liking the whole experience thing, but my computer got a "disease" and when I got it fixed I figured I'd post something on Friday, come Friday my employers who I think would shame Hitler himself in their wickedness "ordered" me to spend the whole day at a seminar, well at least the location was amazing I hadn't been to that resort before and the food was good. So I am tired, and taking Saturday off.

Met this lady at the seminar, Austrian. Seemed like she had done her fair share of traveling around the world and said that the UAE is one of the worst with traffic, tell me about it. Apparently she worked at the transportation Department in Austria and was appalled at the conditions here. She wanted to know why with so much resources nothing was being done, "no planning at all" she says. I told her oh there's planning, lots of it, come back in a couple of years and you'll see a metro in place. "Metro's gonna give you bull shit" she says, I had to remind her that we had camels in the sand land and regretfully no bulls. I asked her why she said that and she said for public transport to work, the network had to be amazing, according to her experience what is being planned for Dubai is not gonna do any good. And here I was hoping the roads will be open for me to drive around on, tut tut, we don't always get what we want do we.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Happy Easter

"Twelve Monograms" one of fifty (fifty two including the unfinished) easter eggs magnificently made by Peter Carl Faberge, for the Russian Czars. The eggs are made of precious metals and gemstones. The Faberge eggs are regarded as some of the best pieces of Jewelry in the world and other than the ones that are missing most belong to prestigious museums and private collection of the rich and famous.

Happy easter egg hunting everyone.