Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Never Give Up Hope

Everybody seems to be really ecstatic about Obama winning the election. The Kenyans went as far as declaring a nation-wide public holiday on account of him being the son of a Kenyan, though Obama is yet to proudly acknowledge his connection to his father. Heck, there were celebrations in Lyari even, I heard. I guess he played football with the locals there during his visit to Karachi in the 80s.

Someone shared on our university group a link to Obama's victory speech in Chicago:

If a black shiny boy from the south side of Chicago can do this, I hope we, in Pakistan, learn from the history and finally get rid of corrupt army and so called politicians. No matter where you stand this history in US and in Chicago, Grand Park is the place of history. For just to give a perspective, it is like a brilliant and intelligent middle class person from Lalo-Khait in Karachi or Mughalpura Lahore beat Banazir (Late) and Army at the same time.

My good friend AVS, posted this as a reply:

It's a huge achievement for Obama. Yet, a Harvard and Columbia alumnus, you can hardly compare him to anyone from the mentioned areas.

His race got the right to vote 188 Years after the independence of the country. 188 years of darkness. Against all the tyranny, oppression and cruelty, MLK Jr., Rosa Parks and others never gave up hope in their country. Nor did they leave the country they loved because it had no light ahead. They are the ones who made it possible. Had they given up hope in their country and made lives for themselves someplace else, Grand park would've been just another park in the city.

I hope I made the message clear enough.

God bless Pakistan.
I hope the message is clear enough.  Just thought I would share. 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Confession

I was going through my email archives and I found this.  It's pretty hilarious (and a bit old) and I thought I would share.  Though, it's a bit raunchy but hey, parental guidance is already recommended on my blog.  So, here it is.

Hello, my name is Smarty and I suffer from guilt for not forwarding 50 billion bloody chain letters sent to me by people who actually believe, if you send them on, a poor six-year-old girl in Scotland with a breast on her forehead will be able to raise enough money to have it removed before her redneck parents sell her to a travelling freak show.

Facebook or hotmail will delete your account or charge you cash in the future if you don't forward this crap and prove your alive, or you don't like someone anymore and they are not your BFF unless they forward this email with hearts, roses and guilt trip.

And no ... Applebee's or any other restaurant is NOT going to give you a gift certificate if you forward an email.

Forwarding garbage will not make little cartoon characters fornicate on your computer screen if you hit the select number of forwards!

TRY IT, IT REALLY WORKS! Also known as the mating call of the moron.

And, do you honestly believe that Bill Gates is going to give $1000 to you, and everyone to whom you send 'his' email?

How stupid are we?

Ooooh, looky here! If I scroll down this page and make a wish, I'll get laid by a model I just happen to run into the next day!

What a bunch of bullshit.

Maybe the evil chain letter leprechauns will come into my house and sodomise me in my sleep for not continuing a chain letter that was started by St Peter in 5AD and brought to this country by midget pilgrim stowaways on the Endeavour.

If you're going to forward something, at least send something mildly amusing.

I've seen all the 'send this to 10 of your closest friends, and this poor, wretched excuse for a human being will somehow receive a nickel from some omniscient being' forwards about 90 times. I might actually give a shit if it WORKED! This is an idiot detector!

If you are unsure how email, your computer, or the 'forward' button works, perhaps you should give your computer to someone with a clue. Show a little intelligence and think about what you're actually contributing to by sending out these forwards. Chances are, it's your own unpopularity.

The point being?

If you get some chain letter that's threatening to leave you shagless or luckless for the rest of your life, delete it.

If it's funny, send it on.

Don't piss people off by making them feel guilty about a leper in Botswana with no teeth who has been tied to the arse of a dead elephant for 27 years and whose only salvation is the 5 cents per letter he'll receive if you forward this email.

Now forward this to everyone you know. Otherwise, tomorrow morning your underwear will turn carnivorous and will consume your genitals.

Have a nice day. 

And for all the people who keep sending me chain emails, I always wanted to send this back to you but I couldn't because one has to open an email to reply to it.  I hope you get the point.

Now stop sending me junk!

Adios

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

He Is Back

The Hello, Gorgeous guy is back.  

As reported here, this guy had taken a different view of the whole Zardari-Palin stint.  He got hammered in the media afterwards and now, he is back with a reply.  

Since I posted his first letter, I feel obliged to post this one as well.  

THIS is further to my captioned letter of Oct 17. It appears that some of your readers focused only on its superficial meaning, but weren’t able to understand the real message.

Thus, Samar Kaiser (Oct 21) and Riffat Rehman (Oct 29) were unhappy that I had apparently tried to justify Asif Zardari’s telling Sarah Palin she was ‘gorgeous’ and even offering to hug her. In her sequal, “The great ‘seducteur’” (Nov 2), to the column ‘Hello, Gorgeous’ which had set off the lively debate in these columns, Anjum Niaz has revealed another reader’s response.

Ms Niaz says that a female friend of hers in America ‘was not amused’ by my anonymous, light-hearted response. The friend threatened that if I tried to behave with her impulsively and called her ‘gorgeous’ as I had jokingly said I would be the first pretty woman that I next encountered in the west, I would get ‘punched’ (by her)!

The intended message of my letter had four points.

1) It is more difficult to restrain one’s impulses during one’s youth, compared to the time when one is in the 50s. A person is more likely to feel lonely when travelling alone, but even then self-control must be there, as in my trip to Paris.

2) Before saying the things that he did in front of Ms Palin, our president should have considered the adverse effect this could have on the people back home, especially the youth.

3) A married man has additionally got to consider his wife’s sensibilities. Mr Zardari, too, had a wife until just nine months before the incident. So, that was all the more reason for him to be extra careful.

4) He should have apologised to the nation, or at least expressed his regrets, but he hasn’t, so far. Perhaps his wife’s first death anniversary on Dec 27 may serve to make him contrite.

As far as Ms Anjum’s friend is concerned, she would have been better off, if, instead of emotion, she had used reason to assess my letter. Somebody had said, “I have never known a man who was sensual in his youth, who was high-minded when old.” If I could resist all the temptations of the West even in my younger days, why would I not be high-minded now?

Seneca’s words said in this context ought to be internalised: “What if one might have all the pleasures of the world for the asking? Who would so unman himself as by accepting them to desert his soul and become a perpetual slave to his senses.”

A READER

Karachi

By the way, I found it myself this time around.  And I think that his earlier stance was more amusing than this one.

Tada

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

About The Presidents

Well, it's official. Barack Hussein Obama II (two!?!) is the first even African-American President of the US of A. The Democrat enjoyed a landslide victory over Republican senator John Sydney McCain III (three!?!) Hats off to the democratic system there, certainly the best in the world!

Though, I never liked Obama's anti-Pakistan stance, I still think that a Democrat win is in the best interest of the world. The world just can't afford another term of the Republicans and although, I don't see anything changing for Pakistan, I am still hopeful for a better future as American policies might get a massive overhaul.  For the better, I hope!

Let's see if Obama really brings the promised change or if the promises made by the President-Elect of the US of A turn out to be as reliable as the ones made by our very own honorable one.  

Speaking of whom, our democratically elected civil president has taken a 200 member delegation on a chartered plane to Saudi Arabia (the biggest ever all expense paid government sponsored trip to this country in our history) to assist him with all the begging, has extended the cabinet to match the size of the squad of Manchester United Football Club, has included every Tom, Dick, Harry and Amin Fahim of PPP as ministers and has decided to reinstate all the politically appointed jialas of PPP's 93-96 tenure back into the organizations they had sucked to death regardless of any financial implications. All in times of the worst economic crisis that faces Pakistan, of course.

Hats off to us as well! We definitely are the worst example of democracy on planet Earth.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Meeting With A Self Proclaimed Runaway Suicide Bomber

It happened last Friday.

I was coming out of the mosque after Jumma prayers when I caught this guy. He was standing at the main gate of the mosque, just like other beggers.

A few things distinguished him from the others standing there with him, though. He didn’t look like a beggar, he was not crying out loud about his woes or anything and hanging by his chest was a note that had a pretty shocking statement written.

I had a glance and I moved to my ride. It was more like ‘I came, I saw and I conquered’ thingy, except that you need to replace came with saw, saw with totally freaked out and conquered with got the hell outta there to catch the true essence of the situation.

A friend FS had a look at the note and the guy as well. Both of us wanted to talk to the guy but the fact that he had that note hanging from his neck was keeping us from it. We had doubts that he might explode or something. But somehow, we overcame that and convinced ourselves to talk to him.

And that we did. We conducted a lengthy interview of the guy.

Since, FS played a critical role in this fiasco (he did most of the talking), I asked him to write the blog entry for me (the reason this took this long to get published). He started off as something for a blog post, and then he thought about turning it into an email for some news channel. This is his take on this:

In Pakistan, it is a common sight to see beggars swarming mosque entrances after Friday prayers. Yet, worshippers coming out of the Najam Mosque, near Tipu Sultan and Shaheed-e-Millat Road crossing on the 25th of October were startled to see an old man asking for money. What was unique about the old man was that he held a banner that proclaimed in broken Urdu, and in even more broken English, that he had been pressed by terrorists to become a suicide bomber and upon his refusal, he was severely tortured. To escape from this torture, he quit his job and left his home, and now he is in need of financial help.

This could have been a clever new way to beg for money; however, the last line of the banner said something more alarming: these terrorists are aided by Iran and their real aim is to spread terror in the country while putting the blame on India, Israel and America. When pressed for more information, the man said that he used to be a high school science teacher in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. In his area, terrorists are actively engaged in recruiting to-be-suicide bombers, and they are mostly targeting young children and teenagers. He was approached by these terrorists and when he refused, they tortured him so badly that he lost sight in his right eye. He informed the authorities, even going as far as the Supreme Court, yet nobody believed him. Now, he wants the people assembled there to take up his cause, and bring his ordeal to the notice of the mainstream media.

Who could this man really be, and why is he so brazenly saying something so dangerous in public? Is he telling the truth, or is this just a clever new ploy to lure alms out of people’s pockets? Or could this be something more sinister? The banner is also apparently “signed” by one Fazl-ur-Rehman of S.S.T. This could be an attempt to fan the flames of sectarian violence, and given the machinations of the spy agencies in our region, this is highly probable. The English written in red and in fine print found near the top left of the banner reads:

[They] do terrorism with the collaboration of Persia (Eran) and blame America, India & Israeli. Financially help me. - Fazal Rehman (SST)

Given the propensity of Pakistanis to put the blame for all their woes on the American- Israeli-Indian “axis of evil”, this is indeed a remarkable statement. In fact, the likely reaction of many Pakistanis, after reading this will be that this is another attempt by the CIA-Mossad-RAW nexus to further destabilize the country. This may or may not be true, but this innocuous looking old man is definitely a sign of things to come. But the real mystery is who is Fazal Rehman and what does SST represent.

We even managed to take some pictures from a mobile camera. Right click and open in a new window to have a look at larger images. The text is pretty legible.


There were a lot of doubts about this guy, his story and his intentions.

  • He claimed that he went to the Supreme Court but to no avail. Considering the state of our judicial system, it would take years to make your way up to the Supreme Court. He didn't look like someone who could afford that.
  • If he was a teacher then he should have been aware enough not to ask money in front of a mosque. He should have gone to Edhi etc. They could have taken care of him easily.
  • He said he lost one of his eyes to torture. Both his eyes and his eyesight looked fine.
  • The Urdu written seemed broken, giving it a Kashmiri style. The guy spoke perfect Urdu, in contrast.
  • The guy actually wanted us to spread the word around and was very vocal about it, even more than asking for money, which he actually was there for.
  • When we asked his name, he murmured something, which none of us could recall afterwards. Although, FS thought he had said it out clearly and we just missed it, I think he intentionally wanted to avoid the question.

All in all, this seemed like an effort to earn some easy money at best (we helped him a little), and promote sectarian violence at worst. Given the circumstances, both of us believe that his motive was the latter one.

By the way, if someone is wondering, I blurred out some controversial text from the images and also cropped other people's faces out of the frame. I don’t want to be a part of someone’s maligned agenda, if there is any.

Thank you FS, YBA and AIK for helping out with this post.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Balochistan Needs Us

Besides all claims from the government that the rescue operation was complete and its efforts for the rehabilitation of the Balochistan earth quake victims had been guided by a focused approach, a lot still needs to be done.

The deadly earthquake on the 29th of October left over 300 people dead, scores injured and around 15,000 people displaced. Unofficial sources say some 70,000 homes have been demolished. 

Though, the destruction is not as brutal as 2005's Kashmir's earthquake, things are still pretty bleak and with winter fast approaching, there isn't any good news in sight for the people of Ziarat and other quake hit areas. The survival of the survivors is a question mark here as they are forced to live under open skies with temperatures dropping below freezing point at nights. 

I was listening to a news report the other day that stated that majority of the people affected (the count touches five figures here) were not satisfied with the efforts being put forward by the government.  The government can't do everything; we should all step up and take responsibility.

There have been donation centers setup everywhere in the country.  I, being a software geek, know about the ones setup at my alma mater NUCES and by P@SHA for sure.  A little Google search would definitely yield more than these two results.  One could also contact reputable aid agencies like Edhi Foundation in this regard.

Please try to donate as much as you can.  Our Balochi brothers and sisters badly need it.