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Wednesday, October 19, 2011 Victoria (250)-412-1724

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Rohini Kapoor 250-708-3376 Servicing the community with trust and integrity Victoria BC

“The Twain Shall Meet”

Elisabeth Sandberg, Judith Anderson and Jamshed Masroor during an East-meets-West multicultural evening at the Scandinavian Community Centre in Burnaby, BC. Photo by Mohsin Abbas/Editor Diversity Reporter (more coverage on page 18-19)

East-meets-west poet lauded by B.C. audience Diversity Reporter staff SURREY —“The Twain Shall Meet” was the apt theme for a recent east-meets-west multi-cultural evening with award-winning Pakistani-Norwegian poet Jamshed Masroor. Masroor read from his latest book, Elusive Shadows, which was well received by the people gathered at the Al-Madina Restaurant on Scott Road in Surrey. Urdu Weekly Jang and Diversity Reporter hosted the evening with support from the Canada Urdu Association, the Scandinavian Cultural Society, Norwegian House Society and Scandinavian Community Centre.

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October 19, 2011

3

Community Partnership Network is busy building inclusiveness

M. Abbas - Diversity Reporter staff

tions and businesses. • A public media awareness campaign was initiated, including practical tools to help attract and retain immigrants in the workplace and community. “These new initiatives have helped build awareness about the CPN, and increased our membership to include over 60 agencies, businesses and institutions who are working together to create and welcome diversity in the workplace,” said Steven Baileys, program coordinator at the InterCultural Association. CPN members are committed to ensuring their staff receive diversity training and learn how to be more inclusive and welcoming to every-

• Forty staff from Community Living Victoria participated in a twoday workshop aimed at recognizing challenges for the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities. • Saanich Parks and Recreation staff completed the Safe Harbour Training program to ensure their recreation centres are welcoming and inclusive to all members of the community.

The Community Partnership Network had a busy year trying to build more welcoming and inclusive work places and communities, says local “As a member of the CPN, I have inter-cultural advocate Steven Baigained a better understanding of how leys. important a welcoming and inclusive The Community Partnership Netcommunity can be to a new arrival work (CPN) is a group of local agento our city. It takes many stakeholdcies, businesses and institutions comers around the table and a commitmitted to making ethnic and cultural ment to the task, but we are building minoriawareness ties feel As a member of the CPN, I have gained a better understanding and focus on more these issues, welcome of how important a welcoming and inclusive community can be and are makand to a new arrival to our city. It takes many stakeholders around ing a differincluded ence for the the table and a commitment to the task, but we are building in their future of our workawareness and focus on these issues, and are making a differ- Victoria citiplaces zens.” Bruce ence for the future of our Victoria citizens.” and Andrews, in the Canadian Greater Victoria community at large. one. The impact is being felt across Red Cross, Coastal Region. Through the CPN, the following the city. For example: initiatives were completed in the past • Twenty members from Saanyear: ich Police Services took part in a • A community dialogue on dione-day training workshop. Constaversity was held in March with over Diversity Reporter is seeking ble and administrative staff explored 80 people in attendance. committed bloggers looking success and challenges of serving an • Diversity training workshops to increase their readership. increasingly diverse community, and were conducted for over 75 particiin expanding cross-cultural commuSend you blog link to conpants from a wide range of organizanication skills. tact@diversityreporter.com

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Diversity Reporter Connecting communities www.diversityreporter.com Editor/Publisher: Mohsin Abbas Advertisements: advertise@diversityreporter.com Contributors: Raquel Gallego, Brendan Kergin, Jennifer Patel, Anthem Man, Prof. Darshan Singh, Waqar Yousaf Butt Photographers: Dan Eastabrook, Yukari Tanji Urdu Editor: Dr. Shamas Javid Graphics: Francisco Cumayas, Randy Hume Inquiries: Tel: 604-800-7744 or 250-412-1724 Fax: 250-483-6383 General inquiries: contact@diversityreporter.com Events: events@diversityreporter.com Contact: British Columbia Diversity Reporter Media /Frontline Media, P.O. Box 49022 Victoria, BC V8P 5V8, Canada Saskatchewan Frontline Media 62-1755 Hamilton Street, Regina, SK, S4P 2B5

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October 19, 2011

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OPINION

Victoria school children getting a taste of entrepreneurship Diversity Reporter staff More than 200 Victoria school children will take part in a business mentorship program to help celebrate Small Business Month in British Columbia. In partnership with Prodigy Group, the Junior Achievement Business Basic Program will introduce about 240 Grade 5 students from the Capital Region to concepts of business organization, management, production and marketing. Young entrepreneurs — members of Victoria’s own Prodigy Group — will bring the program to local classrooms. “Working in partnership with the Prodigy Group enables us to encourage entrepreneurial aspirations among our local youth. “ said Deborah Wakeham, Regional Manager, Vancouver Island Junior Achievement of British Columbia. “These young business people have so much knowledge and experience to share – the Prodigy Group is able to inspire students to think about business in our community and business in the future.” The Prodigy Group is a committee of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. The professional net-

working group provides social and community involvement opportunities, along with mentorship relationships, for aspiring business leaders. The group also donates proceeds from its events to the Junior Achievement’s Business Basics Program and Community Micro Lending. “Community involvement is incredibly important for any young professional” said Josh Hample. “Getting the opportunity to help develop the next generation of business leaders with Junior Achievement is absolutely an honour.” Hample oversees the Business Basics program and participates in the Prodigy Group Mentoring Program where selected leaders in the Chamber of Commerce business community mentor Prodigy Group members. Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business. With over 120 charters worldwide, JA brings a global view of business to local communities. JA programs help prepare students for the real world as they learn how to apply entrepreneurial thinking in the workplace, learn financial and money management concepts and understand the impor-

tance of an education as it relates to their long-term career goals. The Junior Achievement Business Basics program puts students in charge of making big decisions in different areas of a small business. Students put their talents to the test in the organization, management, production and marketing of their very own companies. Students get a taste of real world business challenges and discover the value of teamwork. On Vancouver Island, Junior Achievement reaches over 6,000 students annually, with the help of over 200 volunteers from the business community. During the 2010/11 school year, more than 250 programs were provided in the region. The partnership between JA and Prodigy Group results in the nurturing and mentoring of young entrepreneurs, which leads to innovative industries, new jobs and wealth creation. The program ultimately encourages entrepreneurship, which is an asset to the region’s economy and a priority of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

Why the Conservatives are wrong on crime

Jasbir Sandhu New Democrat MP for Surrey North and Opposition Critic for Public Safety On September 20, the Conservative Government introduced an omnibus crime bill in the House of Commons.  The bill promises to make sweeping changes to our criminal justice system that virtually all experts warn will have a devastating impact.   As MP for Surrey North, a community where crime, gang violence and drug related crimes are very real problems, and as the Opposition Critic for Public Safety, I am very concerned about the Conservative approach to crime.  The Conservative crime agenda is largely based on a failed American approach to crime that has proven to be incredibly expensive and ineffective. Across the United States, governments have tried the same approach the Conservative Government is proposing.  They have found it to waste tax dollars, and to do nothing to prevent crime.  Canada should be learning from the mistakes of our neighbours to the south, not repeating them.  While the Conservatives talk tough on time, they prove again and again that they are not smart on crime.   In June the Auditor General released a report revealing that the RCMP is crippled by underfunding and doesn’t have enough resources to fight organized crime. Now the government is threatening to pull the RMCP out of BC altogether by 2013 if the province doesn’t agree to a deal that is seriously lacking details regarding costs and accountability. Here in BC our courts systems are already so backed-up that drug charges are being thrown out due to trials that are delayed by years. The Conservatives refuse to fund the RCMP properly and are now proposing changes that will cause the courts to become even more delayed.   New Democrats believe that the primary goal of any changes to our criminal justice system should be public safety, it should be safer streets and communities, and we should accomplish this by finding a cost effective programs and policies that really make a difference, like putting more police on the streets and stopping gangs from recruiting our youth. Canadians deserve to know the real costs of this legislation and they deserve safe communities. What we know now about the Conservative crime bill is that it will cost untold billions, and it won’t make our streets safer.  That is not tough on crime, it is not smart on crime, it is wrong on crime.


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October 19, 2011

Feds want objective proof of language ability on citizenship applications Diversity Reporter Staff The federal government is proposing changes to how it assesses the language abilities of prospective new citizens. Under the proposed system, which was published in the Canada Gazette for public input, adult citizenship applicants would be asked to provide objective evidence of their language abilities with their applications. Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said the ability to communicate effectively in either French or English is key to the success of a new citizen in Canada. “This change will encourage applicants to ensure that they can speak English or French when they apply for citizenship, thereby improving the integrity and effectiveness of the citizenship program for Canada and for new Canadians alike.” The Citizenship Act already requires that applicants be able to communicate in one of Canada’s official languages. This proposed change would not increase the language level required, but would change the way that citizenship applicants aged 18-54 prove their language ability. Under the new system, applicants would have to provide objective evidence that they meet the language requirement when they file their application. Applicants would be able to demonstrate language ability by submitting a variety of evidence, including:

• the results of a third party test. • evidence of completion of secondary or post-secondary education in  English or French.

• education in English or French. • evidence of achieving CLB/ NCLC 4 in certain government funded language training programs. CIC currently uses the citizenship knowledge test as well as the applicant’s interaction with CIC staff to assess language ability. If it appears an applicant does not meet language requirements,

they are invited for an interview with a citizenship judge. There can be a significant time delay between the submission of the application and the subsequent hearing for language.

The government said the proposed new rule that applicants must provide objective evidence that they meet the language requirement when they file their application would give citizenship judges better evidence on which to base their decision. CIC would be able to return applications of those who do not provide evidence they meet the requirements more quickly, thus improving application processing.

Salesperson Wanted

The Quran Study Center (QSC) Society Victoria, BC Every one interested is welcome to join the study of the scripture in Arabic, English, French, Urdu, and Farsi. Regardless of faith, color, nationality, or gender. Members are welcome…contact us through our e-mail or by calling Mohamed Sadek. Contact Us: e-mail: qscsociety@gmail.com Mohamed Sadek Tel: 250-370-2705 Cell : 778-350-0420

We are looking for a sales reps. for Victoria/Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland (Vancouver/Surrey/Richmond/Burnaby) to join the ad sales team at Weekly Jang Canada and Diversity Reporter. EngIish language must. Knowledge of Punjabi/Hindi or Urdu language will be considered an asset.We are looking for someone who is passionte and high-energy. They don’t necessarily need previous sales experience. NO PHONE CALLS.. To apply send your resume to: editor@diversityreporter.com

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Diversity Reporter is seeking committed bloggers looking to increase their readership. Send you blog link to contact@diversityreporter.com

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October 19, 2011

Kabul film festival continued from page 11.

Amnesty International said on Wednesday the Afghan government and its international supporters have failed to keep many of the human rights promises they made to the Afghan people. But media freedoms are still better than in almost all the surrounding countries, according to the Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, making the Afghan capital a logical choice to host a central Asian film festival. Organisers say the festival has been years in the planning and the dates chosen were practical, not political. “This event is not related to any political issues, and we started to plan it three years ago,” said Malek Shaf’ii, the chief executive of Afghanistan Cinema Club. Biggest challenge Instead he said they fixed on the human rights theme because over 90 per cent of movies and documentaries made by Afghan independent film makers touch on human rights problems. “Human rights issues are one of the

www.diversityreporter.com biggest challenges for Afghanistan,” Shaf’ii told Reuters in the heavilyguarded French Cultural Institute in central Kabul, where many films were shown.

CAMPUS VIEW

Afghanistan struggles with desperate poverty and three decades of war that has killed thousands of civilians and maimed or traumatised tens of thousands more. There are also strict restrictions on women, who traditionally have limited rights. “The first step we can take to improve human rights is just let the people know the problems and challenges, and we are doing this to make a connection between film makers and the public audience,” Hassan Zakizadeh, a festival spokesman said. The film festival, which includes 32 Afghan movies and 18 from other countries, lasts seven days, with screenings in a downtown cinema and an auditorium at the French Cultural Centre. For Morowat, who now lives outside Afghanistan, the making of his film — which features a despairing father, an innocent son, a corrupt police system and a holy site occupied by gamblers — helped lift his sadness at the fate of his homeland. “Now I am relaxed as the experiences are transferred to my audience,” he told Reuters after the show.

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Ali Suleman Syed with his dad M.Suleman Mahtab during his graduation at Simon Fraser University. Ali has specialized in Robotics and researched at new & far safer seat belts in vehicles.

Surrey MP to host open house SURREY – Surrey-North MP Jasbir Sandhu is hosting an official grand opening of his Community Office at 13979 104th Avenue in Surrey on Saturday, October 22nd from 1 – 4 pm. The public is invited to attend the grand opening

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October 19, 2011

Pearl Jam is here to stay

Anthem Man On Sept 25, Pearl Jam brought its 20th anniversary tour to Vancouver. It was the band’s 10th show in Vancouver during the past two decades, the first going back to the days at Gastown’s Town Pump bar in 1991. Pearl Jam is one of the ‘Big Four’ Seattle grunge bands, also including Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Nirvana. The difference here is that Pearl Jam never stopped for a time or disbanded. Nirvana was done after front man Kurt Cobain took his own life in 1994. Soundgarden broke up in 1997 only to reunite last year, tour this year and is planning an album and tour next year. Alice In Chains had  a break in the mid 90’s as its lead singer dealt with heroin addiction, then reconvened for a couple of years. But in 2002, Layne Staley was found dead of a drug overdose. The band members went their own way. Jerry Cantrell, the band’s main musical contributor, continued to write and record as a solo artist. In 2009, the ban reformed with a new singer and has recorded, toured and is working on new material. Throughout all the turmoil, Pearl Jam was always a band. Drummers came and went in the 90’s, but it picked up Soundgarden’s drummer Matt Cameron upon that band’s breakup and he has been with them ever since. By 1992 the floodgates were opened and Pearl Jam got huge, fast. By the end of that year the were a main draw at that summer’s Lollapalooza show with Soundgarden and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, were being played to death on MTV

and radio, and had shot to the top of everyone’s best-of lists. So much so, that when the ‘93 release of its second album “Vs” came out, it was pre-ordered at 1,000,000 copies and continued to sell for more than a year. The band had grown wary of hype and didn’t do a video for a single on the album. No matter, people liked it and wanted more. Tours with Canadian icon Neil Young ensued, playing stadiums around the world. Pearl Jam took a strange turn with the ’94 release of “Vitalogy.” Gone were the epics, gone were many associations that had made them big. Radio rarely played them and with no new videos (and the old ones over done) much of their name recognition was missing. Ever since, Pearl Jam has played to sell out arenas but on its own terms. It’s like they’re a garage band that plays to 20,000 people every night instead of 20. It was a conscious effort no doubt. Maybe they saw too many bands cave under the weight of hype. Maybe the musicians saw what the industry does to bands that make it big. And today they have a loyal following that ain’t going anywhere. The show is much like their music, no hype, no flash, just solid focus on the music and musicians. You won’t find a laser show and props that pop out from under the stage. Watch and listen and get sucked into what Pearl Jam is doing. “Even Flow”, “Animal”, “Glorified G” were some of the classics played, but missing were “Alive”, “Jeremy” and “Betterman. Other show highlights were songs written for the Sean Penn movie “Into the Wild” and a fiery version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” I’m sure Pearl Jam will continue for years. Will probably do a 40th anniversary tour, not as a reunion, but as a celebration of a containing saga. So many great bands from the Lollapalooza generation have called it quits, but Pearl Jam remains and probably always will.

Carole James, MLA Victoria-Beacon Hill

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Skate outdoors this Christmas in Downtown Victoria

Victoria, BC: Most of us who live on temperate Vancouver Island have probably spent far more nights dreaming about the classic Canadian winter than experiencing it. This winter, for Victoria residents at least, that is about to change. The Downtown Victoria Business Association announced a new addition to the downtown Christmas schedule this morning and excitement is already beginning to build. The organization is planning an open-air, public ice rink in Downtown Victoria’s Centennial Square this holiday season. “We have been working on this project since mid-August,” said DVBA Chair, Martin Leclerc. “It has been a long process but the last few pieces of the puzzle fell into place last week and we couldn’t be more excited.” The rink will officially open on Saturday, November 26 at the annual Centennial Square Light-Up and will be operational daily until Monday, January 2. Skate rentals will be made available on site and the cost to skate will be just a twoonie. The ice is kept cold via a chiller and piping that runs under the ice sheet. “The Downtown Victoria Businesses Association has worked closely with the City of Victoria in planning this activity and we are thankful for the support we’ve received,” said Ken Kelly, DVBA General Manager. “We’re looking forward to inviting all of Greater Victoria to come and enjoy an outdoor skate this winter.”

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Renamed cancer centre honours Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins

KELOWNA - The BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior received a new name today in honour of the late MLA Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins. The BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior provides cancer patients and their families with the services they require close to home. A nurse and a lawyer, Ahluwalia Hawkins served as an MLA, as Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations, Deputy Speaker and as Minister of Health Planning. She championed for better cancer care and research throughout British Columbia before losing her sevenyear battle with acute myeloid leukemia in 2010. As a former nurse and someone who battled her own form of cancer, Ahluwalia Hawkins was sympathetic to the needs of other Interior cancer patients. She helped establish the Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Outreach Program of B.C., a first of its kind in North America. This program provides outreach clinics at

four locations outside of Vancouver to serve eligible patients who cannot conveniently travel to the Lower Mainland for appointments.

Ahluwalia Hawkins understood the economic and personal hardships cancer patients face when travelling to Vancouver for an extended period of time. As a Cabinet minister and MLA with the B.C. government, Ahluwalia Hawkins initiated a project to provide better housing options for cancer patients and their families. Now, thanks to a partnership between the Province, the Krall family and the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, leukemia/bone marrow and solid organ transplant patients needing to travel to Vancouver have access to housing services. The Patient Accommodation Pilot Project helps patients and their families find housing options for the duration of their time at Vancouver General Hospital.

Ahluwalia Hawkins, a proud Canadian who was of East Indian ethnic origin, understood the challenges that ethnic patients faced in finding a stem cell donor. She actively blogged and spoke at events throughout her illness to encourage more ethnically diverse donors to register with the national stem cell registry. She organized stem cell drives and launched the Thanks Mom drive in 2006. Ahluwalia Hawkins worked with Canadian Blood Services to initi-

ate the OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network in Canada, which matches donors to patients who require stem cell transplants. This program eliminates the need for people to travel to hospitals for a blood test, as a cheek swab can now be done from home and mailed to Canadian Blood Services. Even after she was diagnosed, Ahlu-

walia Hawkins continued her efforts to raise over $20 million dollars for B.C. cancer care and research. Cancer affects so many lives. One in three British Columbians will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s 2010 Canadian Cancer Statistics report, B.C. men and women have the lowest overall mortality rate and incidence rate for all cancers in Canada. British Columbians can be proud of our Province’s cancer prevention efforts and treatment services. B.C. is internationally recognized for the advanced developments in many types of health research, particularly in cancer research, for which Ahluwalia Hawkins advocated so hard. The BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior will be a lasting tribute to her life and legacy. This centre provides a comprehensive cancer control system for all Southern Interior residents and is part of a provincewide network providing patients with the highest quality of care.

The Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society presents the 12th annual

Japanese Cultural Fair

Benzendo at Daigoji Temple, Kyoto -Kenneth Hamm / Photo Japan

10 am - 4 pm Saturday, October 22 Esquimalt Recreation Centre 527 Fraser Street Free Admission Enjoy delicious sushi, sweet manju cakes, Japanese tea ceremony, Ikebana flower arranging demonstrations, Bonsai display, martial arts demo, children’s activity area, Taiko drumming, Koto music, Japanese calligraphy, traditional dance performances, and much more.

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Film festival comes to Kabul on war anniversary KABUL: A father desperately searches for his son, who has been sent on a suicide bomb mission. After losing everything, he ends up homeless and insane on the dusty streets of Kabul. Tragedy can seem all too common in war-torn Afghanistan, but fortunately, this time, the story of Yacoub is not true. Instead it is the centre of a movie, one of 50 screened during the first Autumn Human Rights Film Festival. The event provides a central Asian stage for directors from Afghanistan and abroad who are tackling human rights issues, and a window for the public to explore challenges many have faced themselves. “This film festival is special compared to other festivals I have attended, because it’s about human rights,” said Homayun Morowat, the Kabul-born director of the film about Yacoub, An Apple from Paradise. The festival takes place at the tenth anniversary of the start of the US military campaign in Afghanistan, a time when the human rights achievements and abuses of the last decade are in sharp focus. Continued on page 6.

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Designers Jamil and Alia Juma are the ones to watch at LG Fashion Week They’ve had their share of quarrels, as any brother and sister might. But when it comes to the cut of a dress or the flourish of a print, Jamil and Alia Juma are always on the same page. It’s that singular vision, that clarity of purpose that has the young Toronto designers achieving steady success and gathering a loyal following with their label, Juma.

Though Jamil originally focused his attention on sales and marketing, he was soon contributing equally to the creative process, says Alia. Both credit their rich childhood, filled with extensive travel, for their breadth of vision and daring attitude. That world experience has also left

“It’s tough sometimes. We do argue. We’re like any brother and sister. One thing though — we never argue over the collection, over the design,” says Alia, 31. “We have a strong relationship.” Jamil agrees. “I couldn’t imagine doing this without my sister.” Jamil, 33, had studied biosystems engineering at McGill and was between jobs in the financial sector when, “by accident,” he began working with his sister. Alia had developed a small collection that Jamil helped her market and deal with production challenges. He was recruited to help her with sales but quickly became intrigued with design. Alia was a graduate of the fashion design program at George Brown College and the siblings created their label Juma in 2003. “We just decided, ‘Let’s get serious about this.’” They’ve used their last name for the label because it is evocative of their roots. “Juma means Friday in Arabic. It is a day of peace — a day of prayer. It has a beautiful meaning.”

naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

ings provide the template for elaborate and even playful digital prints.

Jamil was fascinated by Jobs, he says. “What he was able to do is fascinating in computers and music and mobiles. He could offer technology but he always considered the esthetics.”

Shapes range from the recognizable shapes of western contemporary sportswear to the fluid drape of a Japanese kimono or the drop crotch trousers. This is their strength. When other designers appropriate ethnic looks for seasonal collections the effect can be disingenuous. But in the experienced hands of Alia and Jamil the results are subtle — hip and urban but also exotic.

It started with their parents, who instilled in their two children a love of travel. “As kids, we travelled to Africa and Russia and Europe and the United States and across Canada. We were given a global perspective. We had great exposure to different cultures. It was a progressive beginning.” The inspiration for the dramatic, colourful prints, cool urban silhouettes and ethnic-inspired drape is often steeped in culture and travel, explains Alia.

them fearless. Soon after the death of Steve Jobs last week, the siblings posted a 2005 quote of his on their website/blog in which the Apple founder waxes poetic on the subject of leading a brave and authentic life. “Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” The passage ends, “You are already

Though they use Toronto as a home base, Jamil and Alia are truly global. Toronto, she says, is home. “It’s safe and lovely. It’s a good base.” Alia spends as much as eight months in China marketing the men’s and women’s collection. Jamil pushes the brand in New York. In just a few years, Juma has become available in Canada, the U.S., Israel, China, the United Kingdom and Japan. All this worldly experience is played out in their largely unisex collections as personal photos and hand draw-

Alia is pleased Juma has a crossover appeal. “I always thought our collection would appeal to young, creative people but lots of women from hip girls to older women find something they like.” The inspiration for Spring 2012 came directly from Turkey — “nothing direct or literal,” says Alia, but a feeling you get from the gardens and colourful ceramics. The collection of draped dresses and tunics with asymmetrical lines in colourful, kaleidoscopic prints has already been previewed at an art gallery installation during fashion week in New York. The siblings will open Toronto fashion week. “We’ve always had a strong following in Toronto,” so the siblings embraced the opportunity to participate in a local runway show. (Courtesy Toronto Star)

The Wandering Falcon Review by Alice Albinia The Wandering Falcon, by Jamil Ahmad, Hamish Hamilton, RRP£16.99, 400 pages These nine tautly written stories follow the fortunes of the “wandering falcon” of the title – a Pakistani boy, Tor Baz. Beginning in the 1950s, in the Baluchistan desert, the narrative moves slowly northwards through the tribal areas that border Afghanistan, concluding some two decades later near the mountains of Chitral. Tor Baz is only a glancing presence in these pages, more narrative device than character. But the conceit works well, providing a decorous fictional veil behind which the author, Jamil

Ahmad, can focus on the themes that have affected him during a civil service career spent in this unusual landscape. His interests turn out to be in the harsher aspects of frontier life: ritual honour killings, blood feuds, the sale and prostitution of women by fathers and husbands. The book ends with Tor Baz tricking a slavemarket vendor into parting with a prize virgin cut-price, by pretending to want her as his wife. There are some fantastic stories. “The Sins of the Mother” is a devastating account of the few snatched years of domestic contentment that precede the killing of Tor Baz’s parents. “Point of Honour” describes how a group of Baluch rebels are tricked by the government into turning themselves in – only to be

thrown in jail. “The Death of Camels” shows how the creation of Pakistan, and the sealing of its border with Afghanistan, ruined the lives of the nomads who once moved their flocks freely between both countries. The dilemma of these illiterate people – bamboozled by bureaucrats and betrayed by each other – is drawn with tenderness but without sentimentality. As Tor Baz reflects, “Who but God knows what the future holds for me and for this land?” Who indeed. Ahmad’s vision is unremittingly bleak. His characters’ lives are blighted by hunger, government interference, whim and fate (and this was before the Soviets, the CIA and Osama bin Laden came on the scene). But Ahmad is a deft storyteller and his slim

volume possesses a strong allure. Alice Albinia’s ‘Empires of the Indus’ won the Somerset Maugham and Dolman Travel Prize. Her first novel ‘Leela’s Book’ is published in June (Harvill Secker)


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“The Twain Shall Meet� ..

September 7, 2011

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East-meets-West multicultural evening with award-winning Pakistani-Norwegian poet Jamshed Masroor hosted by Urdu Weekly Jang Canada & Diversity Reporter Media

Special thanks to Al-Madina Restaurant, Canada Urdu Association

& Scandinavian Cultural Society, Vancouver Woodbury University, CA

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