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OCTOBER 3-9 2010

When Hollywood Met Bollywood


JUNE 13-19 2010


JUNE 13-19 2010


OCTOBER 3-9 2010

Cover Story 18 When Hollywood Met Bollywood A look at the symbiotic relationship between the two industries

Feature 24 Our Man in Palestine Salam Fayyad is making fundamental changes in Palestinian security

Portfolio 32 A Perfect Burn Fatima Najm reports on this year’s Burning Man Festival in Nevada

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Up North & Personal 40 Salt of the Earth Zahrah Nasir on finding home

Workplace Matters

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42 Your Future, Your Responsibility Leon Menezes guides you all the way to the top

Review 36 What’s new in films and restaurants

Regulars 6 People & Parties: Out and about with beautiful people 16 Tribune Questionnaire: Marvi Memon on lying 44 Horoscope: Shelley von Strunckel on your week ahead 46 Ten Things I Hate About: Cricket fans

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Senior Sub-Editor: Nadir Hassan, Features Editor: Faiza S Khan, Sub-Editors: Batool Zehra, Hamna Zubair Creative Team: Amna Iqbal, Jamal Khurshid, Essa Malik, Anam Haleem, Tariq Alvi, S Asif Ali, Sukayna Sadik Publisher: Bilal A Lakhani. Executive Editor: Muhammad Ziauddin. Editor: Kamal Siddiqi. For feedback and submissions: magazine@tribune.com.pk Printed by: Yaqeen Art Press (Pvt.) Ltd., Karachi


JUNE 13-19 2010


PEOPLE & PARTIES

Birthday Bash

Frieha Altaf celebrated her birthday in Karachi amongst friends and people from the fashion industry. 1. Ali Adamjee, Frieha and Sabrina Dawood 2. Amir and Huma Adnan 3. Jamil Baig, Frieha Altaf and Uzma Jamil Baig 4. Sadaf Mallattere with Nasir 5. Anabel, Arif Belgaumi and Haseeb Pirzada 6. Atif, Nadia and Ali Hayat Rizvi 7. Zehra Javeri Bukhari and Ayesha Patodi 8. Shamaeel, Frieha Altaf, Shelly Pirzada and Atiya Khan 9. Ghufran 10. Feeha.

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PEOPLE & PARTIES

Picture Perfect Celebrities attended the launch of photographer Amean J’s coffee table book. 1. Ilona Yusuf 2. Sonya Battla 3. Amean J signing the book 4. Asif Raza with friends 5. Nida Azwer 6. Tapu Javeri 7. Sara Bilgrami with Saira Irshad 8. Zainab, Sohail, Vaneeza and Faraz 9. Sameera Raja 10. Maheen Karim 11. Meherbano Chinoy 12. Anoushey Ashraf 13. Kiran Aman and Aryaan 14. Izdeyar Setna, Tapu, Arif and Amean J 15. Kamila 16. Shalaley Jamil.

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“I fear not being able to fulfill commitments” PML-Q parliamentarian Marvi Memon has no heroes in fiction or real life and wishes she could live in a caravan traversing the roads of the country. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Which talent would you most like to have?

Being of some use to people.

I’d love to speak all the provincial languages.

What is your greatest fear?

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Not being able to fulfill promises and commitments.

I would want a better memory.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Impatience.

I have yet to achieve it.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Deceit.

A dove.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Where would you most like to live?

My 1996 model Prado.

In a caravan on Pakistan’s roads.

What is your current state of mind?

What is your most treasured possession?

Revolutionary.

My Blackberry.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Generosity.

Rotting envy.

On what occasion do you lie?

If you didn’t do your current job, what would you choose to do?

I prefer to remain silent and not lie when I need to protect my

An artist.

party from its past mistakes.

What do you most dislike about your appearance? My weight. Which living person do you most despise? No one. What is the quality you most like in a man? Protection without over protection. What is the quality you most like in a woman? Home maker. Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Haq. When and where were you happiest? My son’s birth in 1997.

What is your most marked characteristic? I don’t mince my words. Who is your hero of fiction? No one. Which historical figure do you most identify with? Shah Abdul Latif. Who are your heroes in real life? No one. What is your greatest regret? Not having studied law at college. What’s your favourite quote? “You are taking care of this earth for your future generations — better do it right.” a

17 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


COVER STORY

When Holly BY SAHAR KHAN

Director Baz Luhrmann, while working on an adaptation of A Midsummer’s Night Dream, happened to notice a poster for a Bollywood movie. Sufficiently intrigued, he decided to see the film. He described the experience as “high comedy, high tragedy, brother kills brother, they break out in some musical numbers, all jumbled up together in four hours of Hindi. We thought that was amazing. So our question was, ‘Could we create a cinematic form like that?’” The result was Moulin Rouge, the first unabashedly Bollywood-inspired movie, which was released in 2001. 18 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


ywood met Bollywood The movie industries of Mumbai and Los Angeles have had

symbiotic relationships, with Bollywood borrowing storylines

and now sometimes actors from Hollywood. It is in the field of fashion that India has had the most striking impact. Western celebrities have always had a fascination with Indian designs —

dating back to the 60s when wearing clothing indigenous to In-

dia was seen as a political statement, a reflection of ‘deep spirituality’ and a way to reject the consumerism of the West. From The Beatles wearing dhotis at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s retreat to the popularity of the Nehru jacket, Indian-inspired

clothing was meant to be about more than the clothes. But it just wasn’t very fashionable.

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There was one exception though: the sartorial sleekness of the

sari. Hollywood actress Goldie Hawn, herself under the influ-

ence of Eastern mysticism, was the first celebrity, back in the

1970s, to consistently sport a sari. At the time she was the only one. In the last few years, however, many celebrities, from Hol-

lywood, the music industry and even the sporting world, have been photographed at premieres, parties and events wearing the sari with style, ĂŠlan and confidence.

The story of the sari and its growing popularity in the West is

the story of India and its rise as a world power.

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As

India

experienced

unprecedented

economic

growth

throughout the 1990s and into the new century, the country OCTOBER 3-9 2010


began looking outwards. Its movie industry and fashion designers began showcasing their work abroad. Naturally, Western

designers, always on the lookout for new inspiration, began incorporating the sari into their collections. British designer Stella McCartney has been the most vociferous advocate of the

sari, saying, “In the fickle world of fashion, the sari will always endure.�

Among the Hollywood stars who have been photographed

wearing the sari are Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and even

Dame Helen Mirren. Even Julia Roberts was seen in a stunning sari, along with a bindi and payal, in her latest movie, Eat Pray Love. Tennis stars like Anna Kournikova, Maria Kirilenko and the Williams sisters have also proudly sported the stylish South

Asian garment. British model and actress Elizabeth Hurley

has been seen in a sari more than any other Western celebrity,

perhaps as a result of her marriage to Indian millionaire Arun Nayar. In addition to the sari, No Doubt vocalist Gwen Stefani

has often been seen in a bindi while Madonna favours applying

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mehndi to her hands.

Then, there is the growing power and influence of the NRIs.

Not only do fashion designers have to cater to this demographic, many are NRIs themselves. Anjula Acharia-Bath, for example, is the CEO of Desi Hits, a multimedia company that, among other things, dresses the stars. It was Bath who got music group The

Pussycat Dolls, who had just done a cover version of AR Rah-

man’s “Jai Ho”, to dress in saris. It must be said, though, that

the Dolls killed the elegance of the sari by wearing it more like bikinis. Indian-born designer Alpana Bawa, who is now settled

in New York, is known for her brightly-coloured saris and has dressed Erykah Badu, Lauren Dern and other celebrities in the garment.

India’s growing relevance on the global stage has also made

the country a must-visit for celebrities on promotional tours,

charity events and even as performers for “item” numbers in

Bollywood films. And as the saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” From Bo Derek and Beyonce to Serena and Venus Williams, all have worn the traditional Indian sari while in the country.

Even though the sari dates back to 3000 BC, it remains as

timely as ever today. With globalisation leading to new experimentation with indigenous designs, the sari will continue to

grow, evolve and be worn by even more starlets in the years and decades to come. a

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How to wear a sari 1.Thread a petticoat with elastic and tie it around the waist.

2.Tuck the inner edge of the sari in the front of the petticoat. Make sure the sari is going towards the left and it is tucked towards the right.

3.Tuck the pleats into the petticoat. Make sure the length and breadth of the pleats is even.

4.Hold the top edge of the sari and bring it round your hips to the front.

5.Place the pallav over your left shoulder.

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FEATURE On August 31, the night before President Obama’s dinner inaugurating direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, Hamas gunmen shot and killed four Jewish settlers in Hebron, the West Bank’s largest and most populous governorate. The attack — the deadliest against Israeli citizens in more than

two years — was condemned by Palestinian and Israeli officials, who said that it was meant to

thwart the upcoming negotiations. According to a Hamas spokesman, however, the shooting had a more specific purpose: to demonstrate the futility of the recent cooperation between Is-

raeli and Palestinian security forces. This cooperation has reached unprecedented levels under the quiet direction of a three-star US Army general, Keith Dayton, who has been commanding a little-publicised American mission to build up Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

Referred to by Hamas as “the Dayton forces”, the Palestinian security services are formally

under the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and chairman of Hamas’s

rival, Fatah; but they are, in practice, controlled by Salam Fayyad, the unelected prime minis-

ter, a diminutive, mild-mannered technocrat. Abbas appointed Fayyad following Hamas’s grim takeover of Gaza in June 2007 — which occurred seventeen months after the Islamist party won

the January 2006 parliamentary elections — and entrusted him with preventing Hamas from also seizing the West Bank.

Fayyad received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin and held posi-

tions at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the World Bank, and the IMF before becoming finance minister under President Yasser Arafat. His reputation as a fiscally responsible and trustworthy manager ensures the steady supply of international aid on which the Palestinian economy depends. Though he has neither a popular following nor backing from a large political

party (his Third Way list received a mere 2.4 per cent of the votes in the 2006 legislative elec-

our man in palestine tions), today he is responsible for nearly every aspect of Palestinian governance. Yet he is not participating in the negotiations over a settlement with Israel, which are the province of the

PLO (of whose leadership Fayyad is not a member) and are handled by its chairman, the seventyfive-year-old Abbas.

Fayyad is criticised at home for many of the same reasons he is lauded abroad. He has con-

demned violence against Israel as antithetical to his people’s national aspirations, stated that

Palestinian refugees could be resettled not in Israel but in a future Palestinian state, and suggested that this state would offer citizenship to Jews. He is praised in the opinion pages of The

Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, and has good relations with foreign leaders unpopular in Palestine: on Fayyad’s first visit to the Oval Office, in 2003, George W. Bush greeted him with index and pinky fingers extended to display UT Austin’s “Hook ‘em

Horns” sign. When the daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s chief of staff was mar-

ried several years ago, Fayyad sat next to Sharon at the wedding and talked with him at length. In February, Fayyad spoke before Israel’s security establishment at the annual Herzliya Con-

ference, where he was compared by Israeli President Shimon Peres to David Ben-Gurion. Much

of Fayyad’s speech concerned his ambitious plan, made public in late August 2009, to establish

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unilaterally a de facto Palestinian state by August 2011. By that time, according to Fayyad, “the OCTOBER 3-9 2010

BY NATHAN THRALL


25 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


FEATURE reality of [a Palestinian] state will impose itself on the world.” Fayyad’s plan to ‘build’ a state — he does not say he will declare one — has been endorsed by the Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russian Federation) and supported eagerly by international donors.

Some Palestinians have rejected it as too closely resembling Is-

raeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s notion of ‘economic

peace’, which proposes that development precedes independence. And a number of Israelis have expressed suspicions that

Palestine will seek UN recognition of its statehood when the plan is complete. Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister,

has warned that any unilateral steps Fayyad takes toward a state could prompt Israel to annul past agreements and annex parts of the West Bank.

Fayyad has said that his plan to build a new state “is intended

to generate pressure” on Israeli–Palestinian negotiations, and

the direct talks recently started by the two parties have a late summer 2011 deadline that coincides with Fayyad’s. Mike Herzog, former chief of staff to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak,

told me, “Ultimately, I think Fayyad calculates that political

negotiations will not succeed and his plan [to establish a state] will be the only game in town.” The danger, for Israel and the Palestinian Authority alike, is what will happen if negotiations fail and Fayyad’s plan does not produce significant concessions from Israel. “We are not going to withdraw from certain areas

just because there was a declaration or a UN resolution,” Herzog said. In that event Hamas will be able to present a persuasive argument that violence is the only means of achieving national liberation. “Fayyad sets an arbitrary date and says, ‘Okay, now all of

suspected sympathizers is intended to reduce the likelihood of

said. “What he did is very risky but also very smart.”

plausible case that he is in control and that Israel can safely with-

you break your heads if you want to avoid a catastrophe,’” Herzog

So far, Fayyad’s strategy is succeeding. His administration has

started more than one thousand development projects, which

draw from the territory.

In 2009, Palestinian and Israeli forces took part in 1,297 coor-

include paving roads, planting trees, digging wells, and con-

dinated activities, many of them against militant Palestinian

Ramallah and al-Bireh. He has reduced dependence on foreign

they have largely disbanded the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a prin-

structing new buildings, most prominently in the twin cities of aid and started to carry out plans to build new hospitals, class-

rooms, courthouses, industrial parks, housing, and even a new city, Rawabi, between Ramallah and Nablus. But “reforming

the security forces,” Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Pales-

groups, a 72 per cent increase over the previous year. Together

cipal Fatah militia; attacked Islamic Jihad cells; and all but eliminated Hamas’s social institutions, financial arrangements, and military activities in the West Bank.

According to the latest annual report of the Shin Bet, Israel’s

tinian Authority, told me, “is the main and integral part of the

FBI, “continuous [counterterrorist] activity conducted by Israel

economic growth, came as a result.”

attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to

Fayyad plan. Many of the government’s other successes, such as

To its citizens, Fayyad’s government has presented reform of

the police and other security forces as principally a matter of

providing law and order — apprehending criminal gangs, consolidating competing security services, forbidding public displays of weapons, and locating stolen cars. But its program for

“counterterrorism” — which is directed mainly against Hamas

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a West Bank takeover and, as important, helps Fayyad make a

and viewed by many Palestinians as collaboration with Israel —

is its most important element: targeting Hamas members and OCTOBER 3-9 2010

and the Palestinian security apparatuses” reduced Palestinian their lowest numbers since 2000. Today’s level of cooperation, Herzog said, “is better than before the second intifada even — it’s

excellent.” Mouna Mansour, a Hamas legislator in the Palestinian Parliament and widow of an assassinated senior leader of the

movement, told me, “The PA has succeeded more than the Israelis in crushing Hamas in the West Bank.”

At the center of the Palestinian government’s security reforms

are several “special battalions” of the National Security Forces


At its headquarters in a nineteenth-century stone building at

the US consulate in West Jerusalem, the USSC has a forty-fiveperson core staff composed primarily of American and Cana-

dian but also British and Turkish military officers. In addition, it employs twenty-eight private contractors from the Virginia-

based DynCorp International. State Department rules require the mission’s US government staff to travel only in large, heavily armoured convoys, though these restrictions do not apply to its private security contractors and foreign military officers, some of

whom are based in Ramallah. By late 2011 — a date that dovetails

with Fayyad’s deadline — the USSC plans to have supervised the training of ten NSF battalions, one for every West Bank governorate except Jerusalem.

General Dayton reports to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He

advises George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, and

has been praised by influential senators, congressmen, and Mid-

dle East analysts, who view the work of the USSC as a singular achievement. Israel has granted greater responsibility to Palestinian security forces, expanding their geographical areas of operation, sharing higher-quality intelligence with them, and lifting their midnight-to-five-AM curfews in several of the largest

West Bank cities. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Israel has also reduced the travel time between most urban centers in the West Bank by opening roads,

relaxing controls at checkpoints, lifting vehicle permit require(NSF), an eight-thousand-member gendarmerie that makes up the largest unit of the 25,000-strong Palestinian armed forces

ments, and removing physical obstacles, which are expected to be reduced in the near future to their lowest number since 2005.

Colonel Philip J Dermer, a former member of the USSC, wrote

in the West Bank. The officer in charge of the vetting, training,

in a March 2010 report circulated among senior White House

Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, the United States security co-

more progress on the ground than any other US effort in Israeli-

equipping, and strategic planning of these special battalions is ordinator (USSC) for Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In a desert town sixteen miles southeast of Amman, more

than three thousand Palestinians have completed nineteenweek military courses under Dayton’s supervision at the Jordan International Police Training Center, built with American funds

in 2003 for the instruction of Iraqi police. In Hebron, Jenin, Jericho, and Ramallah, the Dayton mission is organizing the con-

and military staff that “the USSC mission has arguably achieved Palestinian peacemaking” Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, has said, “You can send George Mitchell back

and forth to the Middle East as much as you like, but expanding what [General] Dayton is doing in the security realm to other sec-

tors of Palestinian governance and society is really the only viable model for progress.”

The first United States security coordinator, Lieutenant Gen-

struction and renovation of garrisons, training colleges, facili-

eral William “Kip” Ward, arrived in Jerusalem in March 2005.

of which, like the one I visited on a hilltop in central Hebron,

to President George W Bush, told me that Ward’s mission was

ties for the Interior Ministry, and security headquarters — some

were destroyed by Israel during the second intifada. The office of the USSC plans to build new camps in Bethlehem, Ramallah, Tubas, and Tulkarm. It offers two-month leadership courses to

senior PA officers, and has created and appointed advisers to a Strategic Planning Directorate in the Ministry of Interior. Over

the past three years, the State Department has allocated $392 mn

to the Dayton mission, with another $150 mn requested for 2011.

Elliott Abrams, formerly the deputy national security adviser

organized in response to three closely coinciding events: the reelection, in November 2004, of Bush, who wanted to rebuild Palestinian security forces as a part of his 2003 road map to Middle

East peace; the death, nine days later, of Yasser Arafat, who had resisted American attempts to reform the Palestinian security services; and the victory of America’s favored candidate, Mahmoud Abbas, in the January 2005 presidential election.

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

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FEATURE the cabinet then declared illegal. During the next year, Hamas

Many Palestinians see today’s campaigns by the security forces as an effort to suppress Hamas — the victors in free and fair elections — and also to prevent attacks against Israel. “The challenge for Fayyad and Abbas,” Ghaith al-Omari, a former foreign policy adviser to Abbas, told me, “is that for many Palestinians, violence against Israel is a nationalist, respectable endeavor.” Ward’s mission concentrated initially on security reform but

was soon limited to preparing for Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement from Gaza and four northern West Bank settle-

ments in August and September 2005. The withdrawal went

on both sides were assassinated.

Dayton, meanwhile, was overseeing the recruitment, train-

ing, and equipping of Abbas’s rapidly expanding security forces. Khaled Meshaal, chief of Hamas’s politburo, delivered a fiery speech denouncing “the security coup” as a “conspiracy” supported by “the Zionists and the Americans” — charges Fatah denied. In February 2007, on the brink of civil war, Fatah and

Hamas leaders traveled to Makkah, where they agreed to form a national unity government, a deal the US opposed because it preferred that Fatah continue to isolate Hamas. Fayyad became finance minister in the new government, despite, he says, American pressure not to join. The Peruvian diplomat Alvaro de Soto,

former UN envoy to the Quartet, wrote in a confidential “End of Mission Report” that the violence between Hamas and Fatah

could have been avoided had the US not strongly opposed Pales-

tinian reconciliation. “The US,” he wrote, “clearly pushed for a confrontation between Fateh and Hamas.”

One month before Gaza fell to Hamas in June 2007, Hamas

forces attacked USSC-trained troops at their base near Gaza’s border with Israel, killing seven and withdrawing only after three

Israeli tanks approached. Testifying before Congress the follow-

ing week, Dayton claimed that the attack had been repulsed and

denied that Hamas was on the rise — a prediction not borne out during the following weeks. “It took [Hamas] just a few days,” said Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, “to flush away a 53,000-strong PA security apparatus which was a fourteen-year Western investment.”

Though several members of the Bush administration later said

fairly smoothly for Israel, but Ward failed to prevent violence

that the entire strategy had been mistaken, the defeat of Amer-

synagogues were burned, and Palestinians began fighting one

small circle that had influence over the USSC. “We didn’t regard

on the Palestinian side. Settler greenhouses were looted, empty another for control of Gaza.

Weeks after Dayton took over from Ward at the end of 2005,

Hamas defeated Fatah in the January 2006 parliamentary elec-

ican-backed Fatah forces offered a rather different lesson to the this as proof the project wasn’t working,” Abrams said, “but rather that the project was needed.”

Gaza was lost, but in Abbas’s appointment of an emergency

tions. Overnight, Dayton’s task changed from reforming the

cabinet led by Salam Fayyad, the US felt it had “the best Pales-

trolling them. State Department lawyers sought ways to con-

Welch, a former assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern af-

security forces to preventing a Hamas-led government from continue assisting the Fatah-dominated security forces of the Palestinian Authority, which would soon be led by Hamas, a group the US had declared a terrorist organization. The solution was to

send direct aid to President Abbas, who was elected separately and could be considered detached from the incoming Hamasled government and legislature. In a reversal of its longstanding

policy of pressuring the Palestinian president to give power to the

cabinet, the US advised Abbas to issue decrees and make appointments that would limit the new government’s rule, particularly

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and Fatah engaged in a series of violent clashes in which leaders

over the security forces. Hamas reacted by establishing a security service of its own. Abbas banned the Hamas force in a decree that OCTOBER 3-9 2010

tinian Authority government in history.” So I was told by David fairs who helped oversee the Dayton mission until December 2008. The Bush administration ended its fourteen-month embargo of the PA, Israel released $500 million in withheld taxes,

Palestinian and Israeli security forces increased their coordination, and the USSC rapidly expanded its operations. In Fayyad’s first three and a half months as prime minister, from mid-June

to October 2007, the Palestinian Authority mounted a campaign

in the West Bank against charities, businesses, preachers, and civil servants affiliated with Hamas, arresting some 1,500 of the movement’s members and suspected sympathizers. “Once it became clear that Hamas had won in Gaza,” Welch said, “then the


whole thing was a lot cleaner to do in the West Bank.”

By late October 2007, the government was making an inten-

sive effort to maintain order in Nablus, one of the West Bank’s most violent cities; in Jenin the following May a special battalion trained by the USSC led the largest security operation ever

mounted by the PA. Both efforts won approval from local residents, who were grateful for improved security. But these projects were largely dependent not only on restraint by Hamas and

Islamic Jihad but also on Israel’s support, including the amnesty it offered to Fatah gunmen.

Many Palestinians see today’s campaigns by the security forces

as an effort to suppress Hamas — the victors in free and fair elections — and also to prevent attacks against Israel. “The challenge

for Fayyad and Abbas,” Ghaith al-Omari, a former foreign policy adviser to Abbas, told me, “is that for many Palestinians violence

against Israel is a nationalist, respectable endeavor.” This is a view confirmed by reactions to the most recent suicide bombing

in Israel—at a Dimona shopping center in February 2008—and the shooting one month later of eight students at a yeshiva in West Jerusalem. More than three quarters of polled Palestinians

supported the attacks, which were praised by Hamas and condemned by the PA.

Over the following year, the PA alienated itself from the public

still further and with little aid from Hamas. At an Israeli base north of Ramallah in September 2008, the Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea attended a meeting between Palestinian and Israeli

commanders. In an article later translated in the Palestinian

The most damage to the reputation of the Palestinian securi-

press, Barnea reported in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely

ty forces occurred during the Israeli war in Gaza, which began

Security Forces told the Israelis, “We have a common enemy,”

the West Bank surrounded mosques, kept young men from ap-

circulated newspaper, that the head of the Palestinian National

and the chief of Palestinian military intelligence said, “We are taking care of every Hamas institution in accordance with your instructions”

Another blow to the PA’s popularity came one and a half

months later. After Israeli forces evicted some two hundred Jews

from a contested building in Hebron, Israeli settlers in the area vandalized ambulances and mosques, set fire to cars and homes, and shot and wounded Palestinian residents. Prime Minister

Ehud Olmert said he was “ashamed at the scenes of Jews open-

ing fire at innocent Arabs,” an event he called a “pogrom.” When the riots spread to the Palestinian-controlled part of the city, He-

bron locals watched as their security forces quietly disappeared.

Both the former governor, now Abbas’s chief of staff, and the

in December 2008. In plainclothes and uniform, PA officers in proaching Israeli checkpoints, arrested protesters chanting

Hamas slogans, and dispersed demonstrators with batons, pepper spray, and tear gas. The trust between Israeli and Palestin-

ian forces was so great, Dayton said, that “a good portion of the Israeli army went off to Gaza.” Barak Ben-Zur, a former head of counterterrorism in Israeli military intelligence and later special assistant to the director of the Shin Bet, told me that “in Israeli

Arab cities there were more protests against the war than in the

West Bank,” thanks to the “total quiet kept by the Palestinian se-

curity services.” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman later said,

“Mahmoud Abbas himself called and asked us, pressured us to continue the military campaign and overthrow Hamas.”

Several months after the war in Gaza, Dayton spoke before an

NSF commander of Hebron, a Hamas stronghold, told me that Is-

influential group of politicians and analysts at the Washing-

forcing, the governor said, “humiliated and insulted” Palestin-

sion’s accomplishments: building a force that worked against

raeli soldiers regularly make incursions into PA-controlled areas,

ian troops to withdraw to their barracks. Perceptions of collabo-

ration are heightened, they added, by Israel’s frequent practice of arresting people who have just been released from Palestinian detention.

ton Institute for Near East Policy, where he boasted of his mis-

Hamas and cooperated with Israel during the war, and creating “new men” through USSC training of Palestinian troops. Israeli commanders, he said, asked him how quickly he could produce

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

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FEATURE more. His comments were not well received in Palestine, where

make arrests, but they regularly lead joint operations with Pal-

the months following the speech, the PA sent a formal complaint

by the USSC, and that have, according to Human Rights Watch

they reinforced the image of the US and Israel as puppeteers. In

to the US about Dayton’s “unacceptable declarations”; senior Pal-

estinian officials, including Fayyad, refused to attend meetings

with Dayton; and, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly, “owing to tensions in the relationship between [General] Dayton and the civilian Palestinian leadership, his role [was] scaled down.”

For Fayyad, Dayton’s speech could not have been timed more

estinian security services whose senior leaders have been trained and Palestinian human rights groups, practiced torture. A year

into Fayyad’s first term, Mamdouh al-Aker, then head of the PA’s human rights organisation, spoke of the government’s “militarization” and asserted that “a state of lawlessness had shifted to a sort of a security state, a police state.”

poorly; it followed the release of a widely publicised poll that had

found the PA’s legitimacy among West Bank residents at record

lows, and occurred just weeks after Palestinians held large dem-

onstrations protesting an alleged attempt by PA security forces to assassinate Sheikh Hamed al-Beitawi, a prominent Hamas

leader in the West Bank. Beitawi, a member of the parliament, chairman of the Palestinian Islamic Scholars Association, and a

cleric well known for his sermons at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque,

had escaped a separate attack by unidentified assailants in the

autumn of 2008. The PA banned him this summer from preaching and two of his sons have been arrested since July. Yet Beitawi

said he was confident that the Fayyad government would not

last. “Fatah and the PA are going down for two reasons,” he told me in Nablus: “corruption and coordination with the Israelis.”

Last December, when Israeli forces in Nablus, allegedly act-

ing on a tip from PA security services, killed three Palestinian militants suspected of murdering a West Bank rabbi, more than

20,000 Palestinians attended the funeral, which turned into an enormous protest against the PA’s security cooperation with Israel. Several days later, Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV broadcast a cartoon with a chorus singing, “We swear that we will not be terrorised

by Dayton.” Its central character, Balool, is a Palestinian National Security Force commander who kisses the boots of Israeli

soldiers, wears a beret bearing the insignia “Dayton,” and claims not to represent any political faction just before his pants fall to reveal underwear colored in Fatah’s yellow.

On the day the cartoon was shown on television, Abbas, who

is depicted in it as an Israeli soldier’s marionette, told an inter-

viewer, “We are not Israel’s security guards.” A week later, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Doha-based television preacher who is watched

by an audience of tens of millions, said in a sermon broadcast on Qatar TV that “if it is proven that [Abbas] incited Israel to strike

whose term expired during the war in Gaza, has been ruling

Islamists have hardly been the only critics of Dayton and the

2007, and judicial rulings are frequently ignored by the security

death.”

security forces. Last year, in an Op-Ed entitled “Jericho’s Stasi,”

Bassem Eid, head of the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring

Group, wrote, “I would like to suggest that General Dayton not just train agents in the use of weapons, beating and torture…

30

Charges of authoritarianism have intensified since. Abbas,

Gaza, he deserves not merely to be executed, but to be stoned to

but also train them how to behave among their own people.” The

National Security Forces trained by Dayton are not authorised to OCTOBER 3-9 2010

by presidential decree. There has been no legislature since June services. Fayyad, for all his commitment to accountability and transparency, has repeatedly been found in polls to have less legitimacy than the Hamas prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Hani-

yeh, and oversees a government that in a recent Global Integrity Index tied with Iraq as the sixth most corrupt in the world.

In other respects, too, the PA’s practices have come under se-


vere criticism. According to Sha’wan Jabarin, the director of the

trepreneur and advocate of civil rights, told me that the govern-

months again become routine. In polls taken since Fayyad took

ing and more comprehensive boycott is mere “window dressing”

Palestinian human rights group al-Haq, torture has in recent office, West Bank residents have consistently reported feeling

less safe than Gazans, whose lives under Hamas rule are in many respects worse. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has dictated Friday sermons to be read by imams. Palestinian journalists, according to Amnesty International, were detained and threatened

ment’s recent decision “to adopt one small element” of an existmeant to cover up “a heavy-handed security state whose prima-

ry goals are to keep Hamas and criticism of the government in check.” On August 25, when leftist and independent political parties held a rally against the direct talks with Israel that began one week later, it was violently broken up by PA security forces.

Last winter and spring, the PA prepared for July municipal

elections, which Hamas, citing political repression, announced

it would boycott. Khalil Shikaki, the most prominent Palestinian pollster, told me that the purpose of the elections was “to further weaken Hamas and bolster the government’s legitimacy.” When

Fatah’s internal divisions prevented it from agreeing on candi-

date lists, the PA canceled the elections, denying that it had done so because Fatah feared losing. But Sha’wan Jabarin told me that the government’s denial was not credible:

In May and June, we learned of tens or hundreds of cases where

Hamas followers were questioned by the security forces about the

municipal elections and asked if they want to run or not, if they want to vote or not, to whom they want to give their vote.

At his office in Ramallah, Shikaki said that because people in

Gaza feel freer to express their political views to his staff, “We get more accurate reporting on how people voted in the last election in Gaza than we do here.”

In his report circulated among senior White House and mili-

tary staff earlier this year, Colonel Dermer wrote, “While Israelis and [US] officials view recent PA successes in the field rather

myopically as a win against terror, wary Palestinians view them as new [PA] regime protection.” A shortcoming of US efforts, he

believes, “is the undefined nature of the USSC mission and its de-

sired end state. Is the aim for the PA to take on and defeat Hamas

militarily? To seek vengeance for the loss of Gaza? To maintain order on Israel’s behalf? Or is it to lay the security groundwork

for a free and independent democratic Palestinian state?” Ghandi Amin, a director at the Independent Commission for Human Rights, a PA ombudsman, told me, “I have no hope for the Fayyad

plan. I look on the ground and see only an increased role for security agencies.”

In October, Dayton will retire and be replaced by a three-star

during the Gaza war for reporting on government suppression.

Air Force general, Michael Moeller. During the next year, Moeller

has twice ranked lower in the Reporters Without Borders Press

task, as the deadlines for both the Fayyad plan and the end of Is-

The Palestinian Authority, since Fayyad became prime minister, Freedom Index than any other Arab government. And Freedom House now gives the PA the same rating for political rights that it does for civil liberties—”not free”

Fayyad has attempted to strengthen his credibility with Pales-

tinians by participating in acts of “peaceful resistance”—demonstrations against Israel’s security wall and burnings of products

made in Israeli settlements. But Sam Bahour, a Palestinian en-

is scheduled to receive the USSC’s largest ever appropriation. His

raeli–Palestinian negotiations approach, will be to advance two ir-

reconcilable goals: building a Palestinian force that can guarantee Israeli security while also lessening the perception that the US is firmly supporting what many residents of the West Bank, like the

independent politician Mustafa Barghouti, have come to describe not as one occupation but two. — New York Times Syndicated Services

a

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

31


PORTFOLIO

a perfect burn PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT: FATIMA NAJM

Burningman defies defintion. It is an audio-visual experiment that 50,000 people engaged in this year, creating a transient city

from scratch, erecting art installations that they then disman-

gifting economy — giving without expecting anything in return. Crossing over from the real world to the surreal dreamscape of

tled, leaving no trace of their revelry across Black Rock desert, 120

art installations and music, you are surrounded by thousands of

First-time “burners” brace for an assault on the senses, a festi-

side out. Every person festooned in fairy lights or multi-coloured

miles north of Reno, Nevada.

val that challenges them to embrace “radical inclusion, a gifting economy and absolute participation.”

32

anticipate needs and bring everything with you. This results in a

There is nothing to buy or sell here, which means you must

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

costumed individuals, who, like you, wear their imagination infabric, fur and feathers serves as a performance artist, a visual

offering to fellow burners. There is no dress code, but there is

purposeful dressing designed to contribute to the idiosyncratic


feel of the existence you now embrace.

a democratic ethos. The institutionalised world and all its pre-

time markers, no deadlines to anchor you to the outside world.

cratic, and interactive — you can touch it; you can climb it; and

Time loses its relevance: There are no appointments to keep, no

Your cell phone signal will disappear, leaving you free to roam, reflect and absorb the wonders that emerge as the sun disappears

from a darkening sky. Spontaneity stirs somewhere deep inside

conceived notions about art are challenged here. The art is demoif a dust storm blows in, you can shelter in it. At night the playa feels like a giant fairground built to amaze the adult mind.

Most of the offerings on the playa are music-focused, and they

your soul, buried, until that moment, by the rigours of real life.

roll around the playa playing to you — you don’t have to subject

fashioned from an old school bus stops to pick up Burners from

eye-sweep before letting you in. There are no tickets, no velvet

Your imagination explodes as a massive, pale blue alligator

the Zoo camp. To your left, a double-decker bus disguised as a

birthday cake rolls past a truck turned into a flame throwing dragon, and a car that has taken on the persona of a pirate ship.

By day this enterprise serves as a gargantuan art gallery with

yourself to the painful process of having a bouncer give you the rope, no performance times and there is definitely no seating system.

Electronica devotees will follow Robot Heart’s mobile DJ booth

as it rolls across the playa all night. Then, as the sky begins to

33 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


PORTFOLIO

lighten and slivers of the sun

steal slowly over the sands,

the mood mellows out. People gather to serenade the sun

as the light silhouettes the mountains that surround the ancient lakebed.

Days later, an effigy of a

man will burn. The next day

the 21,600 square foot Temple of Flux, which cost $180,000

and took four months to build, will be engulfed in flames.

All over the walls of this art

piece, burners are encouraged to write messages to loved

ones who have left this world

or pin letters or photos about something they want to forget or celebrate. After seven days

34 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


of sleep deprivation, a 20-year-old with dust-caked shoes gets

ready to board a flight at the Spaceport (Burning Man’s relaxed airport). As he walks toward a private jet with his backpack,

sleeping bag and yoga mat strapped to his back, “How was it?” the pilot calls out. The youth raises both arms, turns two thumbs up to the sky and answers: “A perfect burn!” a

35 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


REVIEW

featured review of the week

film cuts both ways BY FAIZA S KHAN

At last count, I’ve seen From Dusk Till Dawn 119 times. Directed and written by bosom buddies Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino respectively, FDTD was too quirky to register at the box-office, in spite of starring George Clooney at the height of his good looks, but garnered a cult following soon enough. Ostensibly a prison escape drama about convicts on the run, it segues into a blood-and-guts vampire splatter flick set in a tequila bar on the Mexican border about halfway through, making it the first film since Psycho to so effortlessly and effectively flip genre on the unsuspecting viewer. I have waited patiently this last decade for Rodriguez to hit that spot again, something he missed with Once Upon a Time in Mexico. And now, finally, it has happened. Starting life as a fake trailer in another Rodriguez film, Machete was born of popular demand, as an injoke, and retains the playfulness that this sort of genesis dictates. Starring Rodriguez staple Danny Trejo as the titular Machete, the ensemble cast consists of stars from the mainstream and, far more fun, from the cult peripheries, including Steven Seagal, Robert De Niro, Don Johnson (playing a character named Vaughn Jackson), Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Lindsey Lohan and Michelle Rodriguez. It is, I suppose, no real surprise that the only actor who was unable to bring either presence or comic timing to his role was one Robert De Niro, a man who hasn’t given a performance of any worth since Michael Mann’s Heat and whose reputation has no doubt left an entire generation wondering just what drugs their parents were on to have made a legend of this rather tedious ham. De Niro aside, the entire cast gamely plays along with the director’s giant, knowing wink at B-movies, camping it up with great gusto without crossing the line into foolish or redundant. Even Jessica Alba makes a decent go of it. The plot regards illegal Mexican immigrants, the network that supports them, the right-wing senator who ferociously opposes 36 them and the myth that comes to embody them. The plot, as was OCTOBER 3-9 2010

Don’t mess with this Mexican

Five movies packed with cameos 1. The Player (Bruce Willis and Julia Roberts) 2. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (David Bowie and Chris Isaack) 3. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (every comedian imaginable) 4. T  he Burning Train (Jeetendra and Vinod Mehra) 5. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S Thompson and Tobey Maguire)


The only actor who was unable to bring either presence or comic timing to his role was one Robert de Niro, a man whose reputation has no doubt left an entire generation wondering just what drugs their parents were on to have made a legend of this rather tedious ham.

the case in Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico is the least of one’s concerns, it is merely an excuse to show a flawed protagonist take up a crusade against a greater evil than himself. In other words, it provides the necessary frame to showcase lovingly stylised, ingenious, absurd, comical and always engaging ways to murder, maim, mutilate, have your way with beautiful naked women, decapitate, disembowel, and in one of my favourite moments, swing to freedom from a window using a human intestine as a vine. That a film can do all this without dragging, without feeling pointless, tiresome or remotely offensive, that it can still create memorable characters, get genuine belly laughs (the Steven Seagal finale had me in tears) and never let the momentum drop is the skill of a genuinely rare talent at play. There are plenty of people this year who will watch Christopher Nolan’s greatly overhyped Inception because it may make them feel clever for about two hours. For people who already know they’re clever, I recommend Machete.

37 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


REVIEW

restuarant sweet and sour BY SALEHA RIAZ

A stone’s throw from Zamzama, but without the crazy traffic and cramped one-way streets, sits Cafe 76, nestled in an upscale residential area which has sadly decided to rent out space for commercial use, thus ending an era. Surely it is now just a matter of time till the bustle of commercial Zamzama relocates itself to one of Karachi’s oldest suburbs and commercialism wipes out the last traces of a genteel old city. The garden outside makes for a pleasant view and the restaurant is cosy but cannot easily accommodate more than four people on one table except inside a room all the way inside, which is far from convenient. Don’t let the name fool you, it is not a cafe but a fully fledged restaurant with a long menu and plenty of main courses. For starters we sampled the chilli garlic shrimps served in a crispy tulip —which was far from crispy but the shrimps at least were grilled to perfection, neither hard nor slimy. The accompanying sauce, which was generously supplied, was the right amount of spicy and tangy. Their baked potato, oddly their most popular dish, is worth a try, while their mozzarella sticks are best avoided and barely qualify as either mozzarella or sticks. Having been wowed by the shrimps, feeling adventurous and confident, I decided to take a risk and order the Chef’s Special Steak, without asking what the sauce consisted of. While I usually don’t care for sweetness with my entrees, this steak hinted at sweetness without over-pronouncing it, containing balsamic vinegar and soya sauce. The mint lemonade was fresh and more of a slush than a drink, very cold and very refreshing and better than the version of this served at an established Zamzama eatery. The service is a little slow but to make up for this the waiters are friendly and polite. The ambience is conducive to intimate dinners; go with a small group of friends or your significant other. Because it’s divided into three small sections it tends to get very loud if you go during peak hours but if you are lucky enough to get the atrium 38 right inside and close the doors you can have your own private dinOCTOBER 3-9 2010

new restaurant, old locale The opening of Cafe 76 in one of Karachi’s oldest suburbs brings an era to an end ner with a mini fountain to add to the serenity. The food is a mixed bag of good, bad and so-so, and with restaurants in Karachi it is almost impossible to predict whether standards will rise or plummet. Currently, it’s most certainly worth a visit.


film pax romana BY BATOOL ZEHRA

Director Neil Marshall’s story of a group of Roman soldiers trapped behind enemy lines in an era of Roman expansionism is no Gladiator — and this is high praise. Centurion has neither the epic proportions nor the grand pretensions of Gladiator. And instead of an edifying sermon on Roman ideals, it gives you a complicated account of history without ever losing its light touch. In 117 AD, as Rome struggles to expand the boundaries of its Empire, it meets fierce resistance from the people of Northern Britain (roughly, Scotland), known as the Picts. To break the deadlock, the feared Ninth Legion of the Roman army is sent to meet the Picts with one ace up their sleeve — Etaine (Olga Kurylenko), a defector who will hunt down the Pict leader Gorlacon and so assure Rome’s supremacy. But when, in the first of many plot twists, Etaine turns out to be a double agent, the Ninth Legion is destroyed. Now, a small group of surviving soldiers, led by Quintus Dias (Micheal Fassbender), find themselves on the wrong side of the divide and must get back home. Though his initial shirtless appearance in a flurry of Scottish snow would leave you expecting otherwise, Fassbender gives an introspective performance as the centurion who leads this pack to safety and communicates that one endearingly real quality that generally seems to have eluded Roman heroes portrayed in film: self-doubt. There’s no bluster, no overreaching of ambitions here; Quintus is just a guy in a hole and he’s fighting to get out with his honour intact. It is really Fassbender’s performance that makes the movie, and gives Centurion more depth than your regular chase movie or swords-and-sandals saga. In hot pursuit is the bloodthirsty Etaine, whose family was brutally slaughtered by Romans when she was a child and who has vowed vengeance against Rome. A kind of warrior princess who excels at hunting, thankfully for us, Etaine has cleverly been portrayed as a mute so we don’t have to sit through endless monologues on her hatred for Rome. Her rage is shown in just one

swords and sandals Instead of a sermon on Roman ideals, Centurion gives a complicated account of history scream of triumph after she vanquishes a Roman general. For the most part, she inspires a chill as we root for our group of soldiers trying to throw her off their trail. As far as chase movies go, Centurion’s pacing is faultless and the cinematography brilliantly captures the breathtaking backdrop to the hunt. Above all, Centurion manages to bring home the inexorable demands of an expansionist war and how the meanings we attach to humanity change in battle. The film is laced with an atmosphere of grim brutality. The final lesson it is trying to preach might be that in war there are no rules. a 39 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


UP NORTH AND PERSONAL

salt of the earth The sickening sensation of swaying in my sleep jolted me awake! The rattle of crockery and groaning of the roof told the tale. In a split second I was out of bed, out of the house, and standing shivering in the garden along with four petrified dogs, listening to thunder rolling and sheltering from freezing rain beneath the boughs of an apple tree. Earthquake and a big one!

Earthquakes didn’t really bother me pre-October 5th 2005. They

were small disturbances, over before you knew it. 2005 changed

all of that: quakes are terrifying now, a little tremor has the possibility of exploding into a humungous disaster and this one certainly had the potential.

Quakes and storms go together. A storm usually materialises

within a few hours of the earth going into spasm. This time the

temperature plummeted and by morning the mountains across

the valley in Azad Kashmir were unseasonably dressed for winter. The quake and storm also brought an emissary from the Ma-

triarch who was still holding court in her remote northern val-

ley. Aslat Shah, the eldest of the Matriarch’s seven sons, huffed and puffed up the front steps laden down like Father Christmas. His rosy cheeks and wildman beard bristled out from the folds

of a heavy woolen chador which had obviously seen better days. Dumping his load on the kitchen floor, he shuffled out of his

highly polished chappals and headed for the sofa as is usual on his sporadic visits.

“You need to put the desi mukan in the fridge” he instructed.

“My wife made it for you and my mother has sent white honey,

20 kgs makai ka atta fresh from this season’s crop, some cheese she made and a cake which I wouldn’t mind a piece of unless you have something else handy.”

I grinned and went to the store cupboard knowing full well

what he had in mind for breakfast – a pickled egg. A delicacy he

can only get here unless he wants to make an illegal crossing into

The Old Man of the Mountain & his grandson.

if I stopped making pickled eggs, I wouldn’t put it past him!

over it and have done so since we first introduced them to the

nutiae as in “It happened when Kasim Shah was six inches long”

ers ran a hole-in-the-wall eatery up near the main road, doubling

Indian-administered Kashmir where he just might get lucky and, After relaying his family and Alai valley news in laborious mi-

meaning during the early stages of his wife’s pregnancy and reaching for his third cup of tea he came to the point, travelling round Dubai and Karachi in the process. “How was the apple crop

40

this year? Good? Have you made any chutney yet?”

These people go crazy for apple chutney. They literally drool

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

stuff more than 12 years ago. At the time, five of the seven brothas mazdoors for extra cash off-season. The food they conjured up

was the absolute best and they are sadly missed since moving

back home in the wake of the 2005 quake when reconstruction was the order of the day.

As I sliced in to the ‘cake’ — a three inch thick concoction of ma-


ther thinks you should do so too. You are part of our family and

it isn’t right that you live alone in this place. The people here are

Finding another home away from home

bad. Anyway, I’ve come to organise the move. I’ll get a couple of

TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHS BY ZAHRAH NASIR

course and the women will look after you. You won’t need to do

pick-ups for your things, you can do the packing and I want to be

back in Alai by the beginning of next week at the latest. Need to get you all settled in before winter. You’ll have your own room of a thing.”

Kindness comes when least expected but, much as I appreciat-

ed the offer, it wasn’t one I could possibly take up at this juncture.

“It is wonderful of you all to suggest this,” I explained, know-

ing the weeks, even months of joint debate that preceded the de-

cision “But it just isn’t possible for me to live in Alai. This is my home and I love it here. Also, I need electricity and a telephone for

the computer so that I can work plus, I need to be within reasonable distance of Islamabad for work too.”

“You won’t need to work in Alai,” he countered. “That’s part

of the idea. We’re going to look after you. It isn’t right for you to be working so hard all the time. You can relax with us instead.

You won’t need a computer and if you need to make a phone call there’s a wireless telephone a few kilometers away in the village.”

“I really appreciate the invitation” I carefully stressed, not

wanting to upset such kind-hearted people. “I just can’t move to Alai right now and leave this place empty and I enjoy my work.

Writing is something I need to do and I also need to stay in touch with my family overseas which I do by computer now. My parents would be heart broken if I left here.”

“They can come and visit,” he said not understanding that my

elderly parents, settled in their pretty village bungalow in the UK couldn’t handle life in Alai — no bathroom, no running water, no electricity, no central heating, no television, no chairs or tables — for more than a couple of hours at the best of times and certainly

not with media-injected images of bearded Taliban racing around inside their heads.

The only reasonable way to politely refuse was to hint “Maybe

I could consider it in another year or two but not right now, Aslat Shah. Let me think about it some more please, and thank everyone for honouring me as a family member.”

As he was readying himself for departure, hefting a dozen jars

of apple chutney and a huge one of pickled eggs over his shoulders in a loaned backpack, he remembered to tell me that he’d ki-ke-atta, desi ghee, gur and dried apricots cooked in the wood

ashes of a tandoor and heavy enough to sink a battleship — he reminisced about the very first time he took me to Alai and of how

he had decided to go the long way round, so that he could spin some very Irish tales in which everything was larger, more inter-

esting, more humourous and more real than life, and the goats produced four times more milk than a prize-winning dairy cow.

“My mother wants you to come and live with us now. My fa-

brought his father, The Old Man of the Mountain, with him for a medical check-up in Murree. The old man was hoping I had some vegetable seeds to spare for the next planting season and came to see me himself two days later, with a grandson for company, and

went with pockets full of exciting goodies to happily face the tenhour bus drive and two-hour walk home.

It is wonderful to know that, despite, or perhaps because of,

living a harsh and secluded existence, such people are still the absolute salt of the earth. a

OCTOBER 3-9 2010

41


WORKPLACE COMMENT MATTERS It used to be that employment with a company was a life-long relationship, with promotions coming at steady intervals. Time-in-job guaranteed progress, as is the case in government. Not any more. The new employment contact assures ‘marketability’ both within and outside the organisation and career development opportunities that require lateral moves to lead to upward mobility.

your future, your

responsibility Don’t rely on others for career advancement BY LEON MENEZES

There appear two distinct schools of thought at work among

the workforce: one that sits back and expects the organisation

to take care of its development needs. This lot will complain and moan about the “lack of promotions” even though they have put

in so many years in the job. The other lot takes its progress firmly in its own hands.

Some harsh realities are at work here: flatter organisations

mean no traditional hierarchy to climb and excessive focus on

costs means you cannot have non-performing assets on the

books — equipment or people. What are you, a career-minded individual, to do? Fortunately there are several things that can be done to make progress — and they all start with you.

First of all, you have to recognise that the responsibility for

your development rests with you and no one else. Period. Then you need to have a plan.

To start with, you must know the direction you want your ca-

reer to progress in; what kind of job do you see yourself doing in the next three to five years? Where do you see yourself at the

time of your retirement? If you can’t think of a particular title or position, what activities do you see yourself indulging in and

what privileges do you see yourself enjoying? Is there a person

you would like to emulate or model your career on? There is no

42

harm in making changes as you go along — in fact, course corOCTOBER 3-9 2010


rections are required. But make sure you always have a direction and that you create the momentum to get you there.

Look for a mentor, preferably one within the organisation you

are currently with. Seek his or her opinion on your goals and ambitions. Identify the attributes for performing successfully at

your current level and also at the next level. Remember, technical skills are a given at most levels of management; what organisations look for are personal attributes that determine how you will perform (based on your past performance). Organisations

would rather ‘hire for attitude and train for skill’ because your attitude will make all the difference between mediocrity and success. A mentor can help you identify areas you need to work on and polish those that you already have that can benefit you.

Organisations are looking for ‘leaders’ as opposed to tradi-

tional, old-style ‘managers’. A good leader is, almost without exception, a good communicator. Take any successful business giant — whether that person has a technical background or is

a pure ‘management’ type — you will be struck by their awesome communications abilities. Look for opportunities where

you can learn to express yourself (there will be plenty). Business executives list public speaking as one of their biggest fears. This

is your chance to excel and gain recognition. Leaders are also adept at ‘networking’. Make reading an integral part of your self-

development programme. Read all you can about your company,

Some harsh realities are at work here: flatter organisations mean no traditional hierarchy to climb and excessive focus on costs means you cannot have nonperforming assets on the books — equipment or people. What are you, a career-minded individual, to do?

its products and competitors, the discipline you are in and other management developments. There are numerous books and

magazines available to those interested and few acceptable excuses for not being abreast of things.

Career development is now synonymous with self-develop-

ment and self-development is all about self-leadership. Your future is in your hands.a

Leon Menezes is the HR General Manager of a multinational company and has over 35 years of experience in Sales, Marketing, Operations and Human Resources.

43 OCTOBER 3-9 2010


HOROSCOPE BY SHELLEY VON STRUNCKEL

Aries March 20 – April 19 You like to know exactly what you’re dealing with, so you always want the full facts. But facing re-

strictions is a very different matter. However, with both the Sun and Mercury meeting Saturn, inevitably, events will be laced with difficult issues. Battle them and you’re in for considerable aggravation. Decide, instead, that you’ll learn from each and every experience, and you’ll be wiser. And humbler.

Taurus April 20 – May 20 Initially it’s unlikely you’ll be pleased about events or, perhaps, the decisions of others that are rearranging elements of your life. Unnecessary and disruptive as Shelley von Strunckel is an internationally acclaimed astrologer who created the first horoscope column for the London Sunday Times in 1992. A frequent lecturer, she writes daily,

these seem now, your world is changing rapidly and these are

actually only updating certain rather rigid arrangements. So in-

stead of doing the minimum, explore. The more you learn, the more swiftly you’ll understand how and why you’ll benefit from them.

weekly and monthly horoscopes in publications around the world including South China Morning Post, The Gulf News, Tatler, French and Chinese Vogue and now The Express Tribune Magazine.

Gemini May 21 – June 20 There’s no questioning the excitement

triggered by your ruler Mercury’s aspects with both expansive Jupiter and Uranus. However, with Mercury also aspecting the uncompromising Pluto and Saturn, planet of discipline, all during October’s first ten days, you’ll be juggling thrilling options with

potentially restrictive arrangements. But don’t flee. Worrying as the latter are, they’re exactly what’s needed to make the best of the former.

Cancer June 21 – July 21 It isn’t sudden events that are worrying. Your instincts are telling you they’re in your best interests. It’s that everybody seems to have a different story and guarantees are

in short supply. That’s no surprise, since with so many dramat-

ic changes, each individual must have their own unique view. Therefore, forget about promises and planning and simply live one day at a time.

Leo July 22 – August 22 While you can be as amazingly disciplined, the attempt of others to impose a regime on you is distinctly unwelcome. Yet judging by today’s encounter between your ruler the Sun and Saturn, that’s exactly what you’re facing. And in the

midst of chaotic developments. Bizarrely, these arrangements

seem, they’re exactly what you’ll need to cope with this farreaching but ultimately worthwhile cycle of change.

Virgo August 23 – September 22 You’ve an orderly mind, but have been short of facts. You prefer to know where you stand

and what’s required of you, which is exactly what’s revealed by aspects by your ruler Mercury to both Saturn and the planet of truth, Pluto. This is somehow comforting, because now you can

patiently do what you know you must, conscious that soon your

44

efforts will pay off. OCTOBER 3-9 2010


Libra September 23 – October 22 Most Libras are instinctive psychologists, which is to say you probably understand why certain

individuals are thriving under the current regime of confusion

while others are struggling. You’re caught in the middle, unsure

what to do. That’s as it should be, since the Libra New Moon on the 7th is a time of review. Consider every option. But make no decisions you can’t change later.

Scorpio October 23 – November 21 You can deal with anything as

long as it’s fair. Recently you’d faced several situations which weren’t, and now you’re feeling wary. Yet there’s so much that’s promising taking place that you can’t justify real concern. Still,

developments are so far-reaching they’re shaking things up for everybody. Plus, this week’s events give you little option but to entrust certain decisions to others. You can rely on them.

Sagittarius November 22 – December 20 The thrilling events triggered by your ruler Jupiter’s encounter with Uranus have reached the talking stage. This means turning concepts into practical

ideas, something you find indescribably tedious. Yet if you opt

out of negotiations, you’ve no right to complain about the arrangements others make, many of which will profoundly influence your life. So it’s a choice. Dull discussions or facing those same tedious restrictions later.

Capricorn December 21 – January 19 If you’re facing challenging situations, it’s no surprise. Powerful aspects involving the Sun,

Mercury, your ruler Saturn and Pluto, which is positioned in Capricorn, put pressure on both existing issues and potential new ac-

tivities. Discuss what you must. But your time’s better invested in taking action. While not everything will go according to plan, experience is far more informative than any questions you could ask.

Aquarius January 20 – February 17 The continuing emphasis on potentially unsettling ideas or offers has you both intrigued and

on edge. Obviously you’d prefer to know more. But with situations themselves in transition, facts are in short supply. Illuminating as some exchanges may be, you know that ultimately a

commitment is inevitable. Your best strategy is to express strong interest while making it clear your plans will evolve as circumstances do.

Pisces February 18 – March 19 While it’s understandable others

want to make plans, there are too many uncertainties. True, Jupiter’s recent alliance with Uranus in Pisces triggered amazing events. But these two planets meet again in January, so there’s

yet more to come. Knowing that, explore options, on your own

For more information, to order personal charts and to download & listen to detailed audiocasts, visit www.shelleyvonstrunckel.com

and with others, but keep any arrangements loose. What’s good

45

now could, by early in the new year, become utterly spectacular.

OCTOBER 3-9 2010


THE HATER

10 things I hate about ...cricket fans

1 2 3 4 5

BY SABA IMTIAZ

Their over enthusiasm. It’s a match, not open-heart surgery. Relax.

Their belief that cricket equals patriotism. ‘So you

didn’t watch the match? What kind of Pakistani are you?’

The denial regarding the Pakistani cricket team is akin

to being in a abusive relationship. “He’ll never do it again … I just fell down the stairs” has been replaced by “He’ll never do it again … it’s my fault, I cursed the team during the fifth ball of the 27th over.”

Their

conspiracy

theories

about

what

goes

on

in the dressing room. Like Pakistan needs more conspiracies …

Mood swings. They become unsociable, withdrawn

and distraught during a match, instantly switch to being chatty, happy and over-eager when the Pakistani cricket team wins, and suicidal when it loses.

46 OCTOBER 3-9 2010

6 7 8 9 10

Aerial firing to celebrate winning a match rivals shots fired during a riot.

Their power to dictate loadshedding schedules.

Spontaneous dancing in the street. This isn’t an episode of “Glee”.

When losing a cricket argument, their winning spiel

invariably includes the 1992 World Cup win. What about 1999?

Their hatred for other countries’ cricket teams spills over into real life hatred of their citizens. Not cool. a


JUNE 13-19 2010


JUNE 13-19 2010


The Express Tribune Magazine - October 3