Why Malala?

This was on Yahoo today:

Malala, survivor of Taliban, resented in Pakistan hometown

Interesting article and even more interesting comments such as:

“May be Pakistanis never learn. What can one say. Why even such articles get published? She is a hero and will always be. A male shopkeeper of course would never appreciate her….”

“She is a bright, articulate girl forced into the spotlight because of the violence done to her. “

“She is trying to make Pakistan a better and safer place to live. A place to live in peace !”

I have two questions for these people. Do you live in Pakistan? Do you know what is really going on there?

The only information you have is what your media is giving you.  There may be a handful of people who resent Malala. A large percent are proud. And then there are the  few people who have enough intelligence to question.

Why? Why Malala?

Within a few hours the news was all over the world and President Obama condemns the attack and offers air ambulance services. This was honorable of him. But why only for Malala? Why didn’t he ever condemn the deaths of hundreds of children of Pakistan who have died in Drone attacks in the past four years? He has authorized 193 attacks and over 800 innocent civilians are dead. How many Al-Qaeda? 22. (Read this)

These children had names. They went to school. They wanted a better life. But they weren’t shot by the Taliban. So it doesn’t count.

UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared the attack as  a ”heinous and cowardly act.”

It was a heinous and cowardly act. And what about the random killing of three men by Raymond Davis? One of the men’s widows committed suicide, another attempted suicide:

 “The man murdered my husband and I demand justice. I don’t care if he is American he must not be allowed to get away with this,” Shumaila said.

No one condemned anything. Raymond Davis went home.  The men were mourned only in Pakistan. They weren’t shot by the Taliban. So it doesn’t count.

Laura Bush wrote an article in the Washington Times, one day after Malala was shot. She lauds Malala and condemns the Taliban, of course it must be a bit personal for her due to 9/11. Does she condemn the deaths of  30 000 innocent Pakistanis since her husband started his war on terror?  Your 9/11 is their 24/7 even after all these years. These were civilians. They had nothing to with the Taliban. No article to the Washington Post for them.

Madonna dedicates a song to her at her concert and shows off a ‘tattoo’ of Malala’s name on her lower back. Nice to know how aware she was of the tragedies of Pakistani children.  I want to see the name of this child tattooed to her back: His name was Syed Wali Shah and he was only seven when he died in a Drone attack.

He was someone’s child. Living flesh and blood. He had hopes and dreams. He was not killed by the Taliban, that is why you don’t know him.

So yes, some of us do question why Malala? Her coverage has the world focusing on one thing ; Pakistan’s rampant militancy. Ironically it wasn’t the problem it is today before 9/11. So question everything.

(I want to point out that Pakistan doesn’t just have Malala. Have you ever heard of Wajiha the little girl who drives a rickshaw to support her family? Of course not. Do you know Firdaus Begum the woman who runs soup kitchens for the poor against incredible hurdles? Have you heard of child activist Iqbal Masih? He was 10, he stood alone without the support of a family to fight against bonded labor. )




Apartment Life in Karachi

When I was living in Karachi (which I just googled and found is no longer on the most dangerous cities list since we moved) we lived in a large comfortable house. But I also had the opportunity to live awhile in an apartment or ‘flat complex’. It was ….an experience.
Link for article in Dawn newspaper:http://archives.dawn.com/archives/69571
meet the neighbors
Flat out: Meet the neighbours

By Khaula Mazhar

People who prefer living in a house rather than in a flat have absolutely no sense of adventure. Where else can you find so many different types of people living in the same place, constantly getting on each other`s nerves? Where else can you find such an interesting environment?

For starters, look at the amazing artwork that goes into the décor of even the most average, normal, everyday flat. Notice the dramatic red streaks in corners and on the lower parts of walls? You may call it disgusting, I call it artistic. Only a paan addict can truly appreciate its beauty.

The leaky plumbing is another amazing aspect; the designs caused by the water slowly seeping out of the pipes and into the walls give the place a lot of character. And there`s so much to talk about once your tiles start falling out due to the water damage; at your next family get-together you can hold the audience spell bound as you narrate how a chunk of plaster fell on your head while you were in the loo.

There is constant activity in the complex parking areas, and if you live on the ground floor you`ll never be far from the action; be it the Peeping Toms, who always appear at your window the second you open your curtains, or the cricket crazy delinquents who keep the window makers in business. But all this pales into insignificance once Eidul Azha draws near. The sights (animals of all shapes, sizes, personalities and all of their recycled food lying around in cute lumps), sounds (baaing, mooing, moaning, groaning, screaming, pleading, all seasoned with a few spicy swear words) and SMELLS (let`s just say `organic` shall we?) Who needs a vacation to exotic locales when so much is happening at their doorstep?

Living in a flat also engenders a feeling of togetherness with your neighbours. They know everything about you, you know everything about them. For example, I know the timetable of the lady who lives upstairs. She starts cooking when it`s my bedtime. The second I fall asleep I am awoken by the gentle scraping sound of her `sil butta` and I can picture her grinding away at all those aromatic spices. She`s so considerate, she always brings me a plate of her Bihari kebabs, making sure I get them no matter what — even if she has to pound on my door for twenty minutes, while I try to drag myself out of bed, at a quarter past midnight. Her persistence amazes me; so does her timetable.

There`s a very caring family in the flat opposite ours. They care about what I`m doing, why I am doing it, who has come to visit me and why; what I have cooked and, since it smells so good, can I send some over? Of course, they keep me informed of all their goings-on as well. I feel like I`m part of their family. When a baby was born at one of their relatives, I felt like a proud aunt. A family feud left me indignant. I now have more things to worry about than I need and I doubt I will ever run out. Isn`t that great? They also keep me from getting lonely as someone is always dropping in. If “Bhabi” can`t come by, she`ll be sure to send over her four different sized children to keep me company, no matter how much I insist that I don`t need it.

No flat would be complete without the `been there, done that` family. I know they are very popular, and they are a real favourite of mine. No matter what you have seen, heard, done; no matter where all you have been, you`ll find they have seen that, heard that, done that, been there, and of course, all on a much grander scale. It really boosts your spirits to be associated with such sophisticated people.

Life in flats is never boring; there`s always something going on to keep you distracted. Either it`s an aameen or a birthday, sometimes even a mehndi in the reception area. If you don`t feel like cooking you can always attend one of these functions without the hassle of fighting traffic or driving a distance; just skip downstairs.

So, if you are bored of your large living quarters, your privacy, your beautiful lawn, your own, undisputed parking area, your peace and quiet, don`t despair; excitement is just round the corner! Pack up and move your family to the nearest flat complex.

Immigrating Granny

This is an article I wrote for July 1st’s Dawn newspaper, the editor asked me to write about settling in a new country. Since I was moving back home and it was not a new experience for me, I wrote from the view point of an old lady moving abroad from Pakistan for the first time. If you want to read about interesting things that happen when you move out of North America go and visit this great blog : http://communicatingacrossboundariesblog.com/


Multicultural, confused and enjoying it.

I was feeling kind of homesick, which is confusing, because now I have two homes (Canada and Pakistan). If I stay at one, I’ll always be missing the other. This is a post I did for Karachi tips. Ever feel homesick?

Click to read:http://www.karachitips.com/blog/2012/04/26/love-from-abroad-i-miss-karachi-my-home/