Why I Love Pakistan

Why I Love Pakistan (March 23, 2013)

Following is the text of the keynote address I delivered at the Pakistan Day banquet of the Pakistan Association of America, Troy, Michigan, March 23, 2013. – Ethan Casey

There’s a question I get asked almost invariably, whenever I speak in public about a country I’ve known and loved for almost twenty years: Why Pakistan? I don’t think I can fully or satisfactorily answer that question, but this talk will be an attempt at least to acknowledge and address it.

The people who ask the question – Why Pakistan? – often phrase it as, “Why did you first go to Pakistan?” There are specific, contingent answers I can give to that version of the question. Most specifically, I first went to Pakistan in early 1995 because a fourteen-year-old Pakistani Christian boy, Salamat Masih, and his uncle were on trial for blasphemy, and the newspaper I was writing for at the time, the South China Morning Post of Hong Kong, wanted me to write about it. More broadly, I had become interested in the horrible and chronically disputed situation in Kashmir, I had already spent many weeks on the ground in the Kashmir Valley itself and several months in India, and I felt both a desire and a duty to spend time in Pakistan, in order to elicit and appreciate the Pakistani point of view on Kashmir. These were identifiable, proximate starting points for what has become my lifelong friendship with Pakistan.

I don’t think that’s what most people who ask mean by the question, though. Implied in it are a few other questions: Why do you care about Pakistan? Why do you look at and write about Pakistan so differently from so many other Americans? Why in the world would you go to a country with such a bad reputation? Why do you keep going back?

These questions are more interesting, and my books are attempts to offer full, proper answers to them. In fact, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it has taken me the effort of writing two full books, just to begin answering the questions for myself.

Which is to say that I can’t really explain my enduring interest in, and love for, Pakistan, but I can narrate it. I once told a New York literary agent that I had written a book about Pakistan. He responded by asking me: “What’s your argument?” I’m sure the agent considered himself savvy, but his question betrayed the fact that he looked at Pakistan the same tiresome way most members of the American political and publishing establishment do: not as a country and a society in its own right, but as a problem or challenge for America to deal with, about which it’s necessary for any writer to have an argument. Not only do I refuse to see Pakistan that way; I genuinely don’t see it that way. I don’t claim to know or understand Pakistan completely. But by the same token, I don’t know or understand my own wife or mother or father or brother completely. But I love my wife and parents and brother, and my own country, as well as I humanly can, despite their faults and flaws, as I know they also love me despite mine. My love for Pakistan is similar: human, based on flawed and partial knowledge and understanding, but honest and genuine. I was so surprised by the literary agent’s question – “What’s your argument?” – that I could scarcely blurt out my answer, which was and is: “I’m not making an argument; I’m telling a story.”

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7th April – The First Anniversary of Bashir Qureshi: “Such is my Love for Mother Sindh, Other Beloveds all Forgotten”

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom

Watthee hara hara janamu waribo, mitthaa Mehraann mein milbo

“Every birth each ‘n every time we’ll keep returning to Sindh Mo0therland,

Dearest! Each ‘n every time we’ll keep meeting on banks of Mehran grand”

(Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom)

(Note: Mehran – Sindhuu Nadee, Indus

River; Grand ‘n Great River of Sindh)

Today, 7th April 2013, is the First Anniversary of the departure of that magnificent, monumental and marvellous Sindhi leader, Saaeen Bashir Khan Quraishi, from his Motherland, Sindh and from our midst, his beloved kindred folks, Maaruunarraa of his Maleer! Integrity ‘n Credibility, Humility ‘n Humbleness are some of the most important ‘n formidable qualities in a real ‘n true, verdant ‘n veritable leader of a great ‘n glorious Nation! His integrity was impeccable! His credibility was impregnable! His humility exemplary! His humbleness exceptional! If Sindh be the Queen of the World, he was her Crowning Glory!

This is my humble homage ‘n a tearful tribute to Bashir Khan Quraishi on his 1st Death Anniversary! I am sharing herewith my humble and modest homage and a tearful and heart-wrenching tribute that I posted on 7th April, 2012, when we heard the passing-away of this wonderful man, a real and true leader of Sindhis and one of my dearest and closest friend! He was venomously, wily and viciously poisoned by the savages, brutes and barbarians who tyrannically rule, terrorise, torture and torment our glorious motherland, Sindh, and the simple, naive, gullible and docile indigenous people of Sindh, today!

Extremely saddened and shocked to learn about the passing-away of one of the most cherished, loved and illustrious son of Sindh. We raise our humble hands towards the Magnificent Lord (Allah, God, Ishwar, Ahura-Mazda, Waaheguru) in sacred prayer, to grant our brother Bashir Khan Qureshi, a choicest place in His Gardens. May His Soul Rest in Peace! May the Good Lord give courage and fortitude to his entire family, colleague, friends and millions of Sindhis in Sindh, Hind and worldwide Diaspora he had left behind mourning, to bear this extremely heavy untimely and irreplaceable loss with patience and forbearance. Aameen.

We also beseech the Most Beneficent Creator to shower His Mercy and Benevolence over his beloved Motherland, Sindh, now suddenly and sadly left without the great helmsman and, I must say, anchorless in this turbulent ocean of our existence.

Bashir Qureshi was a leader extraordinaire, an exceptional and exquisite human being and a bright and brilliant sun that shone and glittered our Fatherland, Sindh!

He was the roaring and raging voice of Sindh, the versatile leader of Sindh, the brave and courageous Sindhi, the humble and loving human being is no more with us! He fought for Sindh, he agitated for the rights of downtrodden people of Sindh, he vociferously, vehemently and valiantly declared Independence and Freedom for Sindh and, sadly, he paid the ultimate price – the martyrdom. Now, it is up to people of Sindh to RESOLVE, UNITE and FIGHT for the Freedom of their Motherland!

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‘They want me dead!’ Venezuelan president claims US murder plot

Acting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro believes there is a US plot to assassinate him during his election campaign. He called on his followers to be “vigilant” and warned conspirators want to prevent his victory in next week’s election.

Presidential candidate Maduro pointed the finger at the former US Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich and the ex-ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roger Noriega, outing them as the driving force behind the conspiracy.

Their goal is to kill me,” said Maduro on Saturday during an electoral campaign speech in the northern state of Bolivar. He called on his supporters to be on maximum alert, warning that the object of the plot was to increase the homicide rate in cities across Venezuela and cause a blackout ahead of the elections.

“Roger Noriega and Otto Reich are involved, as well as the Salvadorian far right that has contracted hit men,” announced Maduro during his speech. He stressed that they wanted him dead because “they know they cannot beat me in fair elections.” …

Read more » http://rt.com/news/venezuela-maduro-murder-plot-457/

Jewish circumcision leave 2 infants in New York with Herpes

Baby boys got sick after the ultra-Orthodox practice

By Reuven Blau / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Two Brooklyn infants have contracted herpes through a controversial religious circumcision ritual in the past three months, according to the city’s Health Department.

The unidentified baby boys became sick after the centuries-old, ultra-Orthodox ritual associated with the bris known as metzizah b’peh.

Under the practice, the rabbi or mohel removes blood from the wound on the baby’s penis with his mouth — a practice city Health Department officials have slammed, saying it carries “inherent risks” for babies.

The Bloomberg administration has moved to require mohels who perform the ritual to provide parents with a document informing them of the health risks involved. The parents must then sign a consent form.

But several influential religious Jewish organizations have sued, arguing the policy violates the First Amendment.

In January, a federal judge ruled against the group’s initial legal maneuver to block the new city policy.

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