Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stop Israel

I feel compelled to share this link with everybody here, out of a sense of duty and humanity. Israel has been exposed, time and time again, but to no benefit of the innocent victims, who can't send off their men to work or their children to school, not fearing for their lives. Blood and gore have entered and raped almost every household in Palestine. This page carries raw footage, so the faint of heart are discouraged from going any further.

The strong Israeli lobby in the US is a secret to none. The US government seems to want to act when Mumbai happens, but it keeps turning a blind eye to what goes on in the Middle East, day in and day out, and in fact, perpetrates the same in Afghanistan and Iraq. They then sit back, pretent to ponder, hold elitist conferences at exotic locations, trying to find out why September 11 happened. The world, at large, keeps questioning why all "terrorists" are Muslims (I must thank them for at least acknowledging that all Muslims are not terrorists, however!).

Do you leave these people a choice?


STOP supporting Israel, for the love of God. Israel and the US remember the mass graves fed by the Nazis, but choose to forget Ariel Sharron's puppetries.

Read:

Do you find hope in this photograph? 
Barack Hussein Obama and Edward Said

P.S. I support Mr. Martillo's work here.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Friday, December 26, 2008

Beg Your Pardon

By Maryam Javaid

Beggary is a problem in the third world, but perhaps, not of the third world alone. Our streets, traffic signals, markets, parking areas and all public places are inundated with beggars of all ages. It is becoming increasingly difficult to sit and wait in the car while a friend rushes to a nearby shop to grab a video. Instantly, there are knocks on the windows. If you dare to ignore, insults are hurled. It is also no hidden fact that there are mafias in action, in our cities. They kidnap little children or bribe those from poorer families, handicap them by severing their limbs, and have demarcated areas where only their beggars can operate. Anyhow, this is a view from Lahore. Here's what a friend has to write about her experiences in Karachi. (Saadia)

Karachi

The city has been invaded! We’ve been taken over by unnatural forces and there doesn’t seem to be a way out! We are doomed! I’m talking about “the attack of the beggars” (apologies for not being politically correct).

Along with the many major changes that have been happening to the city, including the dug up roads, bad traffic, and the very expensive water fountain that works only when it wants to (sorry, but still can’t get over that), the sudden bombardment of beggars is astounding.

One of the worst things that can happen to a car owner is having to stop their car at a road side, anywhere, for any purpose. Be it to get some groceries, stepping out for dinner etc, or being stuck in traffic, there is no escaping these creatures. Men, women and children of all shapes and sizes, appear at the side of your window, out of nowhere and start their well-rehearsed monologues. Sometimes it is disheartening to see the number of people down and out, but mostly it is just plain irritating. While deciding whether to give in to their miserable stories and help them out to buy a few more trips to junkie-Ville, or to stare off into the distance in order to ignore them, its always mind-boggling to note this sudden breakout.

A relatively new trend is the washing of the cars’ windshields etc. The amount of will power required to keep one’s self from running over these people – who very nicely take it upon themselves to clean your car, whether u like it or not – is exhausting. A year ago, this was a new phenomenon executed chiefly by men only, but now there has been an onslaught of women and young children in this line of work too.

However, the tactic that I find most entertaining and interesting is what the little boys and girls of Zamzama and Khadda market are pulling. Cute little one-liners in English have been given to these children, in order to con any unsuspecting parties. Dialogues like, “what’s up nigger?” and “please baji, don’t break my heart, buy one flower” are all designed to dupe people, especially the gullible and easily amused (I plead guilty), successfully. However, whatever mechanism that is at work behind this fa├žade is very cunning. They manage to snap the people out of their reverie and get them amused enough to happily hand their money out to buy dirty flowers in even dirtier packaging.

Thus, the pessimistic view, humbly put forward, is that it seems that begging, in new forms or old, is here to stay. The attack cannot be countered as they are the masses with the weapons of our destruction – their outstretched hands. So, what is one to do? Well, I, do what most people would. I start the car, put on my shades and hum to the tune of Shahzad Roy’s “zindagi maut na ban jaaye”, making sure that my defences are in check – the bored, impassive facial expression – just in case I’m struck unexpectedly.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Missing Person, No Reward

I've been away for almost a week, and it seems, nobody missed me! But the first thing I did when I logged onto my reader today was to go through my favourite bloggers' feeds to see what I had been missing. Thankfully, the internet fiasco seems to have contained none. We struggle and we toil, but we post. It is an addiction. The blogosphere is like a junction of a happy family, every member of which, loves to have his/her two cents spoken!

December 25 does not just mean Christmas for Christians in Pakistan. It is a national holiday here because it marks the date of birth of the 'Father of the Nation', Muhammad Ali Jinnah. For me, personally, it calls for solemnity, everytime I think of my - now late - grandfather. They say, great people are born on the same day!

So, I'll just say a little about why I've been missing. If anybody here has ever wandered over to my profile, it has always been saying: "Not single, not looking. Unemployed, and looking." So yes, I have been chronically unemployed since graduation - partially owing to choice, and partially, to circumstances. However, thanks to a dear cousin (hello, Rabeea!), I've been given the chance of working on a project. It lasts for two months, but what is important is that it is! I had forgotten what organization in life was. I had forgotten the value of passing time meaningfully, and not just looking for endless ways to kill it, which, by the way, I have now excelled at, to the point of considering opening up a consultancy for the unemployed: of course, I'd advice them to stay unemployed and kill time. Killing is a human instinct - one just needs to send it sniffing in the right direction. Suggestions: time, mosquitoes, killers, poverty...

Ah, the project! I need to design a course on Microfinance for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. I've been told there's not a single one being offered on the subject at this time, in Pakistan. So it is exciting to be a part of this initiative taken by the Pakistan Microfinance Network. Has anybody here personally had any kind of experience in the area? It'd be interesting to hear you out.

And my back hurts now, after excessive hours of using the laptop with a bad posture. Aaaa-tichoo!

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Merry Christmas!

To all Christian friends!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Some Ramblings on my Italian Experience: Rome (Part I)

Rome.

Florence.

Venice.

The three cities we managed to explore in the limited time that we had. Rome is rich with history; Florence with art; and Venice, heritage. All in all, Italy is as renaissance as it is baroque! We chose to fly into Italy (via Rome) from Granada in Spain, because rail travel would have consumed a lot of time; time which we didn't want wasted.

The Roma Fiumicino Airport was a good 45 minutes to an hour's train ride from the central Termini station, and initial exposes of the city were drastic and depressing. It seemed as though the slums just wouldn't end. The views from that train ride refused to get better. I suppose that partly owes itself to the preservation of Roman history. Modern trains whizzing through the city would never do justice to its grandiosity, culture and architecture. And that is one major reason why the Romans have not been able to develop a good underground network. Everytime they try to dig through, to expand the system, they hit one artefact or the other, and that means, red lights because excavators take over immediately and it becomes a restricted area.

I had booked our Bed and Breakfast close to the Termini station, for convenient access to the transport system. The city's main bus station hugs the main train station, which came as a pleasant surprise. The area itself seemed to be a rather neglected part of the city. Maybe because there were more desi faces around - Bengalis, Indians and Pakistanis - than the locals. However, the bright side of it all was that I had the best chicken biryani there, and I've lived all my life in the sub-continent! Bengali cooks are known in the world for their culinary skills, and while I haven't travelled to Bangladesh ever, it took me a flight to Rome to be a witness to their art of cooking. For Muslims, good food is a major issue when travelling in the West. Except for sea-food, all meat needs to be either halal or kosher, so this Bengali restaurant was an amazing find. We had three dinners, and I think a couple of lunches there, without a moment's hesitation. It was as if we had struck gold.

Err...not exactly a befitting travelogue on Rome, right? Okay, so here goes. The city's treasures never end: historic sites, churches, fountains, squares... Our first stop was the obvious. The Colosseum or The Colosseo. There is a lot of car traffic around it, but that fails to steal from the splendour of the ruins.

Next. We stumbled upon the Basilica de San Giovanni, the official ecclesiastical seat of the Pope. Be prepared to stumble upon a million points of interest in Rome. There is history and heritage everywhere you look. These are memories I am beginning to treasure only now, because when I was in the city, I complained constantly. Bad, hot weather. Stuffy, congested buses (we actually missed a few bus stops we needed to get off on, because we couldn't make our way to the doors of the vehicle!). Dingy, smelly tube stations. Bad publicity for Rome? No, the net-verdict of all memories is sheer fondness and the will to return some day. Culture encapsulates. I often wonder why people love coming to Lahore again and again. Its got the same problems of weather, transport and dirt, minus the tubes. Yes, no underground networks in the country. No public transport worthy of a traveller, except for taxis. But I suppose, it is the culture and the history which leave an imprint on the mind.

Next. The Fontana de Trevi. My favourite 'pit stop' in all of Rome. We had a fun time walking through the streets of the city, a map in our hands, like thirsty nomads in search of cool, crisp water. As we seemed to be closing in on our destination, I saw images of the fountain that I had earlier picked up on the net, resonating in my head. I had memories of a considerably big structure with tons of tourists thronging it, some relaxing, some enjoying Gelatos and yet others, throwing coins, in the hope of returning to the site some day. The streets we were treading were, however, narrow and closely-knit. Confusing. And then, as if from no where, crowds began to come into view, the sound of cold water, gushing and splashing against the pool, and snap, we were there. We did it all. Sat. Relaxed. Watched people around. Saw two newly-wed couples come down from nearby churches to have their photoshoots, people cheering them on. Had gelato. But we refrained from devoting precious euro coins to the calling. The Pakistani rupee exchange rate made sure we were stingy when it came these frivolities.



Next. The Piazza de Spagna to witness Rome's famous flirting ground, the Spanish steps. For Indian cine-goers, this is the place where Raj was recently ordered, "I'm bored. Dance for me!". The Spanish Steps were plenty, but if you've done the Batu Caves in Malaysia, this shouldn't be any cause for concern. I think we were quite tired of all the walking, earlier on in the day, so we felt heavily taxed. On the top deck, sits the Trinita dei Monti, a twin-towered church, which gives a reasonable aerial view of parts of the city.


More on Rome later...


Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik



NB: Alex, the link to The Colosseum will take you to Travelistic.com. A website you might enjoy!

Happy Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah to all Jewish friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gulliver's Travels

I travelled to Mumbai last night and instantly headed towards the Taj Mahal hotel. What grandeur. I recall seeing the structure on TV when Josh, an awesome Montreal-based Pakistani-Indian fusion band, came up with the video for their song, Mahi Ve. For some strange, odd reason, I decided it looked like a Belgian building. I had obviously seen the video in bits and pieces. Unfortunately, it took the massacre on November 26 for me to discover what it was and where it was. Quite naturally, on entering Mumbai then, I was, first and foremost, drawn towards it. There were so many locals sitting around the building, just watching it, as if in awe and in shock. I hesitated, went up to them, and introduced myself as a Pakistani, not knowing what to expect. To my pleasure, they smiled and offered to click me into a postcard for Mumbai. I then went inside the hotel, where I ran into four Indian movie stars on a single table: Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan and Arjun Rampal. I had the necessary gadgets (digital camera and a volunteer photographer) to do the needful. My excitement knew no bounds. In another section of the hotel, I encountered whirling Turkish derveshis. Strange, I thought, but no complaints, for it was another lucky chance to snap away! More strange things followed. Outside a spacious room, people were switching off their mobile phones, lining up, observing pin drop silence, gradually walking into a room; a second door, leading them out. The preserved body of Mao Tse Tung lay inside. I recall casting a look at him and thinking to myself, I had visually embraced monumental history. Then, I woke up.

Dreams. What are they? I usually dream a strange cocktail of disconnected things, people and events. My sister too. She says she always walks into one house and out of another.

Signmund Freud's contribution to the area is perhaps the most significant. He introduced the world to psychoanalysis, focussing study on the subconscious human mind. His Interpretation of Dreams offers a method of free association to arrive at an interpretation of the symbolism of the images in our dreams: which wishes we want fulfilled and which inner conflicts we need resolved.

While I am obviously not urging my readers and fellow bloggers to interpret my dream for me, I think it'll be an interesting exercise if people could relate any incoherent narratives of their own. All the better if they've had any of their dreams successfully psychoanalysed the Freudian way.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dubya gets the Nobel Prize

I went under the weather last night. Seasonal flu. I hadn't read the morning paper today, nor did I have any intentions of logging on to the PC, but I got so excited with this peculiar piece of news, that I thought I just had to! Minutes ago, I came over to my parents' place and they exclaimed, "Bush is being given the Nobel Prize!"

"What? The Nobel Prize for spreading terrorism, violence and hatred in the world?"

"No, for Peace!"

"Can't be. They would have to be out of their minds."

A little corner in my mind provoked me into stupidity. It reasoned that if a saviour of humanity as great as Pakistan's Abdul Sattar Edhi couldn't so much as qualify for a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, then there was something lacking in the system, and maybe the lobbies in Washington managed to exploit a loophole. Crazy things do happen!

I was pointed towards the newspaper, and the headline read:

"Alwidai Bosa! Bush ko Baghdad mein jootay parh gaey."
(Bunny hug! Bush gets shoe-smacked in Baghdad.)

Urdu readers are encouraged to come up with better translations.

Although I realise that the journalist behaved rather indecently, but kudos, it took guts! I do think, however, that Bush deserves these kinds of accolades, after the kinds of 'face-lifts' he and his government have given the world. I suddenly feel a lot better. Do you?




Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Friday, December 12, 2008

Such is Life

I first held him in my arms, when my nephew was barely a few minutes old. Two years later, I experienced the same thrill while embracing my niece. There were nights of ecstatic sleeplessness when I'd sit on a sofa for hours, laying them face down on my chest, so that their cholic exasperations would wither away. From then on, there was hardly ever a day when I didn't get to see the two of them; any day missed was a day wasted, a night melancholic. Gradually, however, as my sister got busy with the kids' schools and household chores, gaps began to spring up. Then I got married and those gaps fanned out a little more. At times, we'd meet every day, and at times, there'd be a lull for a couple of days, when she could have been making the kids study at home for upcoming exams, preparing for a dinner party at her place or I couldn't make it to our parents' house (where we always get together). Naturally, it took time but we've all gotten accustomed to the changing facets of life and times.

A few days back, I was at my parents' and my sister called to say that she and the kids would be coming over. I waited eagerly for the little monsters. Eventually, when she arrived, my nephew was missing. He chose to stay back home to savour his latest birthday gift, Sony's Play Station 2. How mean, I reacted, with a combo of affection and disappointment. My father began reminiscing about how that is the story of every relationship. As times change, and as we grow up, we find new things to keep us busy, by choice or by compulsion, and the focal points of our lives remain each other no more. He warned that that was life. That as the 6 year old would grow up, he'd discover new hobbies and begin enjoying meeting people other than good old me!

I agreed, because it was so obvious. Industries are built on these lifestyle patterns. How our parents watch our every move, as we grow from infants and toddlers to young and independent-minded individuals, and how we fail to offer them the same kind of attention. We may respect and love them, but we gradually grow distant. Some children move away for education or livelihood, some for their marriages to survive. Or worse, that love and respect withers either in the face of utter abandonment or we try to convince our conscience by telling ourselves that old peoples' homes are better equipped to take care of them.

I feel sad. Do you? This blog entry, deserves to be read.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eid Mubarak

Eid Mubarak to all Muslims!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Bourn Supremacy

Red alert, do we have an identity crisis?

Imagine a world full of people, demonstrating identical faces, synonymous dressing senses, communicating in the same language. Heck, there wouldn't be room for any imagination! Dullness. Boredom. Monotony.

The beauty of the world lies in its diversity.

Every region across the globe, boasts its own history, heritage, culture and language. In our part of the world, the moghul empire still resonates proudly in the mind of the average sub-continental dweller (for reasons ranging from aesthetics to grandeur to unity to pluralism); our poets and writers have been the brains and blood behind reformations and revolutions; our regional dresses and the arts and crafts behold traditionally conservative values but vary in form from province to province; our languages both national and regional, have a wealth of literary works to back their profoundity.

While a lot can be said and mourned in the wake of the globalisation of more than just economies, it is our languages for which I fear extinction the most. A sad trend seems to have engulfed our schools, colleges and households. While Punjabi (the regional language of the Punjab) has since long lost its battle against the throngs of Westernization, we are now keen on annihilating the urdu language too. It is not being argued that everything West is evil-incarnate; rather, it is the sheer ignorance of valuing a beautiful culture, that is worrisome. The urdu language is a powerful one, but it is saddening to witness our toddlers being warned in school against speaking either their mother tongues or their national language. They are expected to communicate in English alone; uttering a word in Urdu warrants a punishment. And in our middle and upper classes, Punjabi is regarded as a language of the poor. People who converse in Punjabi, are derogatorily labelled paindus (roughly, villagers). These are the languages hosting sufis like Bulleh Shah and Waris Shah, sung by legends like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Jagjit Singh, weaving magic through the words of GhalibIqbal and Faiz.

It is hard to understand then, why our people prefer to speak phrases in broken English with "lofty" accents than to speak good urdu or punjabi. An inferiority complex has killed the spark that a proud nation arouses; instead we seem to want to prove our modernity through the acquisition of the English language. Its significance is now much more than being a universal mode of communication. For us, it is to make a statement: we are modern, progressive and educated.

Sadly, we end up making only one statement: we are ignorant fools. Paindus!

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Guest Post: The Singing Mullahs

Singing and musical instruments are categorically deemed prohibited by most, if not all, of the traditionalist Muslim scholars. Such vices could only be enjoyed by no less than drunken reprobates, and good Muslims, we are told, would do well to poke fingers in their ears on hearing the voice of the devil or the sound of the satanic inventions. I will not attempt a rebuttal of this position but my view is diametrically opposed to the traditional view. There is plenty of research to suggest otherwise. The concern of this post, however, is not juristic wrangling, not that I am qualified to set foot on such a terrain, but to point towards a menace that is as unsettling as it is contradictory in nature.

In most parts of the city of Lahore, and more so in less developed areas of Pakistan, one is frequently forced to hear the singing voices of mullahs emanating from mosque-speakers whose loudness and fidelity would even put Bose to shame. The content of their offerings varies from time to time but the common denominator is the beauty, sonority and musicality of their voices that can impel Ustad Bare Ghulam Ali Khan to sit up in his grave and take notice. The content with which our ears are treated includes some formulaic invocations before the Adhan (call to prayer). These invocations are used to bless the Prophet Muhammad (sws) and one school of thought in our part of the world has made them mandatory to recite before the Adhan. When Arabic words flow from the tongue of Punjabi, nay, thoroughbred Punjabi, mullahs, whose silky voices resonate with the piercing sounds of car-horns, the melody that emerges is nothing short of ethereal.

The repertoire of our pulpit-singers is not that miniscule though. Another genre that lends itself to perfect abuse is Naat (a devotional and usually rhymed poem in praise of the Prophet Muhammad). There is no specific time of the day that one can look forward to for a riveting experience of Naat recital, so if you happen to be in Lahore, you’ll have to count on your luck and most of the time, you won’t be disappointed. With a little help from destiny, you might even be amongst the “listening audience” of a Naat competition amongst children. Some of them have such an astounding vocal range that the Guinness record of six octaves would pale in front of their virtuosity. These Naat recitals assume farcical dimensions in the religious gatherings of a well-known Islamic group in Pakistan. In order to rein in the recalcitrant proclivities of its adherents, the group’s “experienced” members suggest that they adorn the Naat poetry with tunes of Bollywood songs, as if shorn of satanic content and bereft of musical accompaniments, these tunes will become “born-again” concoctions fit for consumption of the pious.

There are many who have lent their beautiful voices to the sublime words of Naat poetry and have left an indelible mark on this genre, but for taking the craft to its zenith, the credit goes to the singing mullahs!

Copyright (c) 2008 Razi Allah Lone

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Americans Don't Get Soccer

Just to lighten up the mood a little, here's a funny piece I found on the net. If you follow football, or what is known in the U.S. as soccer, hopefully, you'll find this entertaining too. This is humour in good vein. Hopefully, it'll be consumed in that spirit!


Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Monday, December 1, 2008

Believe Me

Truth be told. Honestly speaking. To be very honest. This is the truth and nothing but the truth.

Each one of us has encountered these phrases innumerable times. They serve as prologues to forthcoming statements. That they are said and heard so much, is an indication that we do not trust each other to be always telling the truth. Or in the very least, that we are so weary of being smothered with propaganda, exaggeration and lies, that we need that extra nudge to believe. Naturally, cynicism - the art of casting doubts on the intentions of the other - is a by-product we are all suffering from today.

It all starts with a few innocent lies, which one thinks, can do no harm. And due to the lack of snubbing it at the point of inception, it spreads, making it impossible to pull the plug. It is a cancer, I believe, which has infected you, me and them.

On a very personal level, we lie to ourselves when we blame others for our short-comings. If we fail to balance our professional and personal lives, we blame our spouses for not understanding, rather than trying to better the balance. Or if we see him/her trying their utter best, we frustrate ourselves all the same. If our children become too temperamental, we scold them viciously, not ready to accept that we ourselves set the wrong precedent when they were impressionable tiny tots. When financial hardship rears its ugly head, we refuse to share the pain with anyone because of our huge egos, and instead, become the terminator with misdirected anger.

As social beings, we would rather make up an excuse for not being able to attend an important function we were invited to. Why do we find it so hard to say that we were in a bad mood at the time, or that we forgot, or simply didn't feel like it. And why do we have this urge to always compliment another person on how they look or what they're wearing, even when we silently process shock over their choice of shoes. If the truth is too hurtful, why can't we simply refrain from saying anything.

Professionally, we are constantly bombarded with unethical advertisements. Unethical not just because a woman's body is used to sell everything from clothing to car tyres; but unethical also because they are misleading. When prices are quoted, there are always hidden charges. When they do claim that there are no hidden charges, there is always another catch. Maybe the deals are time-specific, maybe something else. When we look for jobs, we garnish our resumes to sell a mechanic as an engineer, or an assignment as a research project.

Political lies are unknown to nobody. Nixon rewards the American people with the Watergate, and Blair conveniently sells WMDs in Iraq to his countrymen.

So deep-rooted is dishonesty in all of us, that we do not even care to spare the spiritualities of others. Believers of one religion will look upon the believers of another in a holier-than-thou attitude. Atheists will claim superiority of reason and enlightenment, blaming the prostrating many of cruelty, inhumanity, superstition and uselessness.

But of course, not everything is as simple as black and white. Some tricky situations call for "creativity". In fact, it might even be dangerous to speak the truth in times of war and captivity. I leave you hence, with a beatiful anecdote from the life of Propher Muhammad (may God's blessings be upon him).

He was migrating from the city of Mecca to Medina, following the persecution of the Meccan leaders. With him was one companion, Abu Bakr (may God's blessings be upon him). The enemies sent out men in search for Muhammad. One of these men met with the Prophet and his companion while they still hadn't reached their destination. He asked Abu Bakr who his friend was. This was a time of war, but the servant of God chose not to lie even at this point. He replied, "He is the one who shows me the way!"

Quite beautifully, Abu Bakr answered with the truth, for Muhammad was his religious and spiritual guide. In the deserts of Arabia, however, his statement was construed - as it was hoped - as literally showing the way.

So yes, there is a path of truth and honesty, whatever the circumstances be. It is ours if we choose to tread it.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Friday, November 28, 2008

Plagiarism and two steps forward

Having just read the blog post, Readers Confess Online Sins, I was reminded about mind notes I had made some time back, to comment on a well-established industry within the internet: academic writing. 

At the very start of undergrad school, students are given special instructions on what counts as plagiarism and what doesn't. They are required to quote in parentheses or blockquotes, place footnotes and compile bibliographies. If that isn't a drift enough from high-school assignments, there are different kinds of citation styles to adapt to. Some disciplines and/or teachers demand the APA style, others the MLA, and yet others, the Chicago style of referencing.

In the past, more excruciating for the freshman was not writing the 5000 odd words, not protecting the intellectual rights of others, but doing it in the acceptable manner. Then, came online tools like the citation machine. If students were fond researchers, these facilities made life very easy.

Come the present, for many students, it is not just the citations that are a piece of cake, but the researching too. All that needs to be done is to google phrases like "buy papers", click one of the thousand results, and order your paper online. As simple as that! Google prides itself on coming up with the right kinds of ads for ad-sense but don't be surprised if the keywords for this post are spidered effectively to generate Academic Writing offers on this page (I don't endorse those!). Say goodbye to plagiarism. Our kind service providers will make sure that they write ethically correct papers for you. Yes, they are very ethical and particular about that.

And coming back to that post I was reading, of the 220 readers who took the poll:

54 percent said they've downloaded pirated content;
36 percent admitted to misrepresenting themselves online;
22 percent said they plagiarized Web content;
16 percent said they hacked into a corporate network;
6 percent said they've stolen someone's identity.

Have I ever downloaded pirated content? Yes, guilty as charged. The rest, thankfully not! What about you? And have you or your kids ever ordered academic papers?

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Charter for Compassion

Mumbai Under Attack

Terrible, terrible news from Mumbai. Terrorists strike at least eight different areas across the city. Our prayers are with you all.

Attacks of this ferocity in a major metropolitan city drive one to think of those who live in far-flung areas like the bordering towns of Pakistan. They are attacked everyday, and we have sadly grown accustomed to it all. Lives of those people are as precious as our own. So let that war be ours too.

Prayers.

Although we do not know anything about the attackers as yet, a group going by the name of the 'Deccan Mujahideen' has assumed responsibility. The common men and women on the streets, need to join hands during this time of trial. They must not fall into the terrorists' trap. A couple of pieces, concerning the on-going debate in India on 'Hindu' and 'Muslim' terror, were published in the Hindustan Times, just a couple of days back: Majority Appeasement and Our Terror, Their Terror. Do read, because India needs to focus on unity right now.

Prayers.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Relevant link: Global Voices Online

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Glimpse of the Northern Areas of Pakistan...

...on popular demand! You will have to click on the thumbnails to see larger images. The camera I had at the time of this trip, was an extremely basic point-and-shoot model, hence, the unflattering colours (and it occured to me after the uploading exercise to "photoshop" them). There are some interesting things to note in the second and the second-last pictures. 





Also, two more pictures here.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Monday, November 24, 2008

Islamophobia

Although this is being written in haste and hurt, it comes in peace.

I encountered a couple of pages here on blogspot (which I will not link to lest they invite troublemakers), and to my misfortune and hurt, discovered some contributors who love to hate Islam and Muslims. Despite my attempts to talk with reason and respect, I was bombarded with derogatory jargon and mudslinging. I couldn't be apologetic, so I quietly left.

The blame? Islam is imperialist; it promotes genocide, endorses slavery, looks down upon non-Muslims, and seeks to kill apostates; oh, but there's so much more...

Their sources? Al-Qaeda's philosophy, and "scholars" like Bernard Lewis and Salman Rushdie. Lewis is a strong reference for them because he hails from Princeton. And Rushdie is just so darn popular that Britain had to decorate him with knighthood.

I thought it my duty to at least help my own non-Muslim readers to see the other side of the coin and the other face of Islam. In "scholars" like Lewis, Muslims see a bias. Read, for instance, Scholarship or Sophistry? Bernard Lewis and the New Orientalism. As for Rushdie, his claim to fame has not been the quality and depth of his work; it has been the undue attention furious Muslims have so stupidly accorded him. Had they let him be, he would've been consumed by the seas of mediocrity. Ziauddin Sardar, in an interview with The News, has something interesting to say about him. My point is: don't look to the Osamas, the Lewis' and the Rushdies for your scoop on Islam. Look to its own scholars of calibre. Scholars like Ghamidi, who speak with reason and sense, who have their understandings and opinions grounded in primary sources, for anybody to check and verify, who do not choose to flow with the tide, who choose to steer of their own grit.

When I posted some photos from picturesque Pakistan, I was pleasantly surprised to have a fellow blogger comment, "Pakistan in a different light, and one that we never get to see, a picturesque Pakistan!" I felt the need to present Islam in a different light too. One that people don't usually get to see.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I-am-sterdam

If going down under is too much of a hassle, Western Europeans can at least experience the 'Venice of the North': the city of Amsterdam. While we were touring across a handful of countries in Europe, our first stop was the capital city of the Netherlands. Our Schengen visas required that we make it our point of entry into Europe; and I can safely bet that had that not been the case, the city would not have been on our itinerary. Mostly, when people think about heading out to the continent, the must-see's are London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Vienna, Madrid, Barcelona, but hardly ever do time-constrained travellers bring Amsterdam into the itinerary. I must confess however, that it proved to be a condition, my husband and I, both, were glad was thrust upon us. Walking out of the Centraal Station, smack in the centre of town, we instantly fell in love with the city. While the rest of Europe - save Germany, perhaps - oozes of history, lock, stock and smoking barrels, the Netherlands is a toddler still.

Its architecture, driven by tax laws at the time, dates back to the seventeenth century. An ode to a rough policy (no offence): since they were taxed based on frontal footage of their houses, homeowners stumbled upon distinctive architecture. They built their townhouses deep and tall; what they couldn't afford in lavish measurements, they made up for with almost vertically-placed staircases. Up, up and up we go, the streams running gently down below. Yes! That part about the step-sibling, Venice. Amsterdam, too, has got its water, weaving an intense web of mud-coloured canals. Like its big sister, cars aren't that popular in the city. While boats and gondolas remain the face of the Italian princess, the Dutch-ess is an impressive rival with its exuberance for bicycles and trams.


We were, admittedly a bit iffy on the accomodation. Amsterdam is quite straining on the pocket, especially if you're a budget traveller, who wants to stay in the centre of town, steps away from the station, and because you plan to abuse your Eurail Pass as often as you want to.

Since we couldn't afford the classy decors, we found ourselves walking into a hotel, hidden somewhere beneath a Samsung scaffolding, on the Damrak (arguably, the busiest road there), connecting the Centraal to the Dam Square. The entrance and the ambience of the property were more than just a tad depressing, but the clean room and the uber-friendly staff more than made up for it. People in the country - the Dutch and an ensemble of all kinds of nationalities - were among the friendliest few we came across in our entire trip. So welcoming (which should not come as a surprise, given the historic, open-armed refuge they gave to the Jews during Hitler's tirade). An Italian concierge, on finding out about our plans to visit his country in the second leg of our trip, spent 20 odd minutes with us, keenness dripping with recommendations for the best hotels, the best beaches and the best localities. Another volunteered to print some train schedules that we needed. A third made up a plan for the entire day for us. And yet another, a Pakistani, offered and later, went on to leave his jacket at the front-desk for my husband, after finding out that the notorious KLM-Alitalia combo had lost our luggage. It was cold, and we were travelling from a temperature of 40 degrees celcius back home, so our attire was screaming summer beach, while Amsterdam was cold(ddd) and Den Haag was freez(zzz)ing!


While I'm writing short of recommendations for tourists (I might mull a travelogue to delve deeper), my point is: Amsterdam is unique, it is vibrant and electric (some would say, not children-friendly), young but every-inch European, and in my experience, a most underrated destination.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik




Credits: The first image was picked from Wikipedia; the third, from http://the-q-family.blogspot.com. The middle one is from our own trip.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My New Deodorant

It has been said all too much how the internet has altered not only our lifestyles, but the way businesses are run and advertised. I have wondered how it is, that whenever I sign in to Facebook these days, I get to see some very relevant advertisements. Recently, I've been spotting an ad for a body deodorant for women. No, the companies didn't discover a stench in me! The internet is still a far cry from using (and abusing) our sense of smell. My point is: it is never an ad for a brand not available in my country, and it is never a product for men. It is always for me.

There were times - back in the seventeenth century maybe - when advertising was limited to the Classified sections in newspapers. Gradually, imaging and colour crept in to add to the intrigue factor. This impacted not only potential consumers, but resulted in the development and consequently, the boom of a new industry. We were introduced to agencies that offered specialized services in creativity and marketing.

In came World War I, and the populations were introduced to advertisements of things beyond products and services. They were introduced to monitored propaganda through advertisements. There was not just the newspaper anymore; there was the theatre and the radio. And today, when television has become a necessity for every household (no point dissuading lower-income groups), whether we like it or not, whether we are bothered or not, we are bombarded by advertisements of cereals and cell phones, internet and washing powders, schools and milk products, whitening creams and pest-killing sprays. With marketing research as our solemnized alter ego, information assymetry is no longer. We do not have the luxury that was - to view or not to view the Classifieds. There are millions of web-based ventures and projects today that survive or thrive on advertising revenues alone. Such business models beckon networking sites like Facebook.

So coming back to Facebook, advertisements there are not the run-of-the-mill pop-up adds. If you are the company, organization or a person who wants people to know about something you're selling, or maybe just a blog such as this, you can very conveniently decide a target audience. There will be no casualties on the way. Only the people you'll be looking for, will be enticed to pay any attention to you whatsoever. The rest of the world will enjoy a well-earned slumber. You will tell Facebook that you want to advertise your deodorant to women, regardless of their relationship status, aged between 14 and 55, living in Pakistan. You will be told how many profiles your ad will appear on. And walaa!

This is not where user-generated ads end. Another social networking site, MySpace, is also engaging in Behavioural Targetting. If you are a music fanatic, you're likely to see an ad from Virgin on your profile; if you are a bookworm, a new best-seller is likely to reinforce its status by coming to you rather than the other way round; and so on...

And before the bell rings, I need you to know, I don't stink, but I'm using that deodorant now! And it helps my husband to know that even if I login to Facebook 30 times a day, I will never be able to click on a shaadi.com banner, not even for the kicks of it! Unless I put up a fake status, that is.

Hmm...

Hmm...

Hmm...

After all the bickering, we've found a glitch in the system: too many fake profiles! Does it render this kind of targetted advertising ineffective?

Copyright(c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Guest post: In Praise of Nothingness

I understand that to many, philosophical ruminations are the pastime of such hopeless idealists who cannot grapple with the realities of a world fraught with practical matters. Inconsequential as it may appear to them, I cannot help rhapsodizing about philosophical subjects. If nothing else, I can atleast flaunt my vocabulary and assuage my language-complex. So my very first post here is in praise of nothingness, and I praise nothingness by saying absolutely nothing about it.

The length of the post made me shamelessly revise my decision to say nothing. Probably, writing about worlds, ideas, things and people that never were and will never be, can serve as a starting point for praising nothingness; and an ending point too! And may be dilating on the most insignificant of events that corrugate our rosy lives will help in some measure. By the way, if my English doesn't dazzle you, the word for life in French is "vie" and this is not the only word of French that I know. After this tantalizing digression, let me clamber back to the title of this post. Which "ideas" never were and will never be? The problem with answering this question is that the very act of responding will negate what I actually want to convey. What quandary! An easy way out: whatever ideas never were and will never be, my praise to thee.

"People" can be handled with less strain on the mind. My sister never was and will never be, my love to thee. My brother-in-law will never be, by the grace of God, and had he been, he would have been one lucky dude! My maternal uncle never was; an interesting relationship it would have been. There are some other fascinating possibilities that I better not dwell on lest I be charged with insensitivity. Just to give one example, my second wife never was and will...

"Things" and "worlds", I believe, are risky categories in terms of the future, but let me attempt a scenario. A world where all the knowledge and experience residing in one person's mind could be transferred to another person's mind, such a world never was and had it been, countless Motzarts and Bismillah Khans could be produced. And what about the novelty value, you may ask. Good question; go find the answer.

Coming to the insignificant events in our lives, the other day, I kept staring at the list of telephone extension numbers tacked to a board in my office. It was an updated version and I wanted to confirm if my designation was changed to reflect my superior status. It wasn't! A mild disappointment was soon drowned out by a fusillade of thoughts on matters I was supposed to attend to, but was postponing unjustifiably. Should I first pray or eat was a conundrum that occupied my mind for a short while. There is much more that is more significantly insignificant than what has been written. But I spare thee!

Copyright (c) 2008 Razi Allah Lone

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pakistan's Polio Fatwa

Last year, 24,000 children in the country were refused vaccinations on the call of the clergy, who declared the medicine un-Islamic! As a result, Pakistan is, today, one of only 4 countries in the world, where the disease in still endemic. Two of the other three, share borders with us - India and Afghanistan. While I'm not sure of the reasons behind the failing status of the latter two, I am thinking they too probably have something to do with illiteracy and the unequivocal faith resting in the equivocal characters in our societies - namely, the "ulema (clerics)", who insist on not embracing times and progression, or even common sense.

The three reasons given for opposing polio vaccines?

- They render little boys sterile, because they contain progesterone;
- They contain lard;
- They signify that we are trying to artificially combat God-willed adversities!

The second has been an all-time favourite of the clerics, and should not be dignified with a response. But the first and the third reasons cited, wreak of absolute madness. Progesterone? Why would Polio vaccinations contain progesterone, and if they would, how could a couple of drops cause sterility in little boys! Get this secret out, and that hellish gender-change industry will have a run for its money; nay, be doomed.

And that we should not try to combat difficulties (because they are a part of God's plans) is my favourite. What it essentially means is that these clerics are basically in favour of no medication at all - for prevention or cure. Because whatever the disease or ailment is, it is God's trial, and ought to be persevered with a writ so strong, that all the Pfizers, Bayers and Wyeths should shudder at the thought of Muslim domination in the world (as if we don't already have enough on our plates, thanks to these offshoots). The poor children who are suffering from Polio today, as a result of their ignorance, spark no compassion in the brady bunch. Maybe, stripping them of wool in winters this time around will.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shining India?

I'm beginning to wonder if the Indians are going way over their heads these days. I'm all for friendship, but it peeves me now to see them blowing their own trumpet, endlessly and shamelessly. For the last few years, our ears have gone dry, listening to shouts of "Shining India", despite the separatist elements, the massacres, the Mumbai slums...

Now, there's more. A few examples:

Mr. Chakravarty of the Hindustan Times (Waiting for Obama's Call) was going bonkers over an anticipated call to his PM from U.S. President-elect Obama. And what annoyance that he called Mr. Zardari and a few other leaders before he ever got through to Manmohan Singh. Bummer! He missed an important rite of passage by not calling India first. India is shining.

The Hindustan Times again, and this time, its Mr. Thappar (Obama or 'Oh bummer'?), crying fowl over Obama's expected foreign policy on Kashmir, because it seems more in line with Pakistan's demand for an intervention. But of course, if they can't let in international observers easily, how could they allow mediation. India can go it alone, because India is shining.

Now for Mr. Bachchan and his blog. On the day when the media around the world was going ecstatic over a black man in the white house, our superstar did the research and managed to make it all about India, going on to quote a not-so-ecstatic response: "So, we can be partially progressive while still following and passing regressive policies. Segregation of color in America is not abolished! India is a far fairer democracy! Here even the so called untouchables have representation. They are considered; one of them may well be Prime Minister one day ! The US still isn’t the land of the free after all…".

Then there is mention of that evening in 1969, when the first man landed on the moon. And today, so has India's spacecraft, lodging its tricolor on the moon. Instantly, he is corrected.

No sir, don't get carried away! India is shining, but its spacecraft hasn't yet landed on the moon (it was, in fact, the Moon Investigation Probe), nor is there a flag as yet.

Having the chance to take pride in one's country is something very special. But trying to rub it in harder than it warrants, takes away any shine that might have been.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh really!

When complimenting a nature painting or a piece of art, have you ever exclaimed, "Wow, this looks almost real!"?

And when in awe of nature, have you ever thought how unreal it all seems - much like a painting?

What do you think of the following?






The first two were taken during a jeep-ride between Naran and the Lulusar Lake, in the northern areas of Pakistan. The latter two, from a bus, in Andalusia, Spain.

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Paper or Online

The internet has revolutionized the domestic world in an unprecedented manner. 50 years ago, who could have imagined the connectivity and exposure it has brought to us today. Who could have thought about electronic waves. As a kid, I used to wonder how my father could churn a paper through a machine; beep-beep, and somebody in another part of the world would have instant access to its contents. Spooky!

I also remember very fondly, flipping through USA Today papers he'd have in his luggage, upon returning from a business trip. They were a prized possession. I had my hands on something my friends could only dream about!

These questions and ecstacies would never occur to a child of the 21st century. He takes it all for granted. While he potentially has a lot more to deal with - his innocence at stake - he lives in a world, knitted together with the strength of a trillion flagpoles. Try as he may, it can't be undone. 

We've all pondered over the good and bad things about the internet; and if we never planned to, our school-teachers solved that problem for us, "Write an essay!". We were the generation caught in this transition, so this ought to remain special to us. We used to hear about Wall Street and life in the fast lane. Today, that fast lane is life. Of course, it means that we've either had to give up or simply, were never given the chance for those early hours on the breakfast table - that quiet and subtle enjoyment in having been woken up from slumber, to sit with family, sip milk, eat toast and the crisp sound of the paper. Aah, the paper. It remains debatable if those fond moments at the start of the day, now alien to us, were a luxury or whether the option to click away on the internet, while in college or at work, is. Let me know...

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Found this relevant piece online today: Newsprint's Disappearing as Papers Go Online

Monday, November 10, 2008

Religion and Freedom of Expression

Freedom of speech and expression is recognised as a fundamental human right, and governments who uphold freedom in their press, media and ambits of human activity, are lauded for their efforts. It remains the cornerstone of democracy, and yet - wittingly or unwittingly - most countries follow a policy at loggerheads with the very essence of freedom, when it comes to religious practice. It is important to ask why that is.

The West has always been proud of its democratic systems of governance. Most developing countries in the world are, subconsciously, still viewed as the white man's burden. However, it seems, that here in the East, we are more open to letting people just be, when it comes to their religions. Some of us regard religion as a very personal choice; others think it is a public affair. But howsoever we view it, I know from experience and exposure that we will not raise hue and cry over anybody's religious attire and we will not question their worship rituals. At the end of the day, the rule of the law here is: To everybody, his own.

On the contrary, in the West, it is unfortunate that everything religious becomes a source of concern and antagonism for the upholders of freedom of speech and expression. Weirdly enough, this genre of freedom is seen as a threat to society and secularism (I thought it only had to do with the state, and not with individuals). Being a Muslim, it compels me to ask why it is that the French are scared of “signs and dress that conspicuously show the religious affiliation of students”, or why backlashes result, and then, are accomodated when muslim meatpackers ask for short breaks to pray and break their fast in one month alone, or how Columbia University, when inaugrating its Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, decides that Salman Rushdie, an atheist, is the man for the job, or why Richard Dawkins is free to sponsor an advertisement on London buses, saying, "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life."!

We will hear endlessly, in their media, about women suppressed and dominated in Iran, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia; but they make a million-dollar industry out of Hugh Hefner's Playboy, a brand that has only helped to - yes - glorify the fairer sex. Slavery is exotic! But then, those are free, working women, right?

And they - who object to the freedom of religious expression - argue that religion curtails freedom!

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Saturday, November 8, 2008

President of the World?


A couple of friends were wondering whether there was anything special about the victory of Obama, beyond the colour of his skin. Of course, when America votes, the world waits. But they thought people's excitement levels have been going un-checked. So in order to do justice to both sides of the argument, I thought it wise to mention the other side of the story as well. And I've found just the piece to elaborate that thought:


Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Relevant link spotted [November 21, 2008]: Let Obama be Obama

Friday, November 7, 2008

The National Outreach Programme


I was among the fortunate few to have attended one of the most prestigious grad schools in the country. I was also among the unfortunate few to have witnessed the "uprisings" of the spoilt brats, meandering the halls of the campus. Money well spent?

Come to the other side of the financial divide.

The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), in tradition of all well-reputed institutions, developed a National Outreach Programme. What this essentially does is that it encourages and facilitates bright students from the underprivileged areas of Pakistan to apply for admission, and in case of induction, offers them full financial assistance. I had the chance of working with two such boys: one from Peshawar and the other from Quetta. We were a team of 5, assisting a professor with a class of around 300. Since I was the only one who had graduated, they would keep calling me "central command". I lived in glory, thinking I was something special. I was so wrong. Once the course ended, we remained in touch for sometime, but the association proved to be a fleeting one.

Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook, I got back in touch with them, only to find my younger, much brighter colleagues, touching the skies. The boy from Peshawar is currently a grad student in Public Administration at Columbia University, and the one from Quetta is studying International Development at Harvard University. Tears to the eyes? And now, I ask you again, money well spent?

How much ingenuity is going wasted in our country?
  • Our GDP per capita, according to the CIA, was US$2400 in 2007.
  • Income disparity is very, very high.
  • The typical one year's Masters fee at Harvard costs around US$35,000, and this does not include registration, material, boarding and lodging expenses.
We have a lot of spoilt brats wasting money invested in them; and we have so many humbled children, who have the potential, but who cannot even afford to dream. Think about it. 

And now for some trivia. Barack Hussein Obama Sr. was imported to a university in Hawaii, from Kenya, on American donations. That was where he met his second wife. And look what that union produced! Barack Hussein Obama, the president.

"Barry", that "skinny guy with a funny name" (as he recalls himself), went on to study at both Columbia and Harvard.

Now put our two lads together. Moral of the story: put your money at the right place, and you'll make history, over and over again. Cheers!

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I am a millionaire because...

Oh no, wait! I think it makes sense that its not me I'm talking about. If I had such a fat bank balance, people would actually be listening to me, and my blog would be getting a lot more hits than it currently does. But now that you are here, there's no reason to be disappointed either. A few days back, I came across this blog by Singapore's youngest millionaire, Adam Khoo (readers who speak urdu are request not to chuckle, because I did!), and I thought it worth sharing with you all here.

Are You Living Like a Prostitute?

While I do not endorse miserliness, I believe we should not be driven to utter madness simply by varying M in the equation. Money is not the end. It is simply the means to our livelihood. It is only human to spoil ourselves every once in a while, but beyond that, it makes no sense to spend just for the sake of spending, and just because we can.

Also, if you succeed in ways Adam Khoo has, there is no reason to be afraid of a progressive system of taxation. The glass should always be half full. It is not wise to focus on more money going to taxation or the poor; rather, it is much more important to ask 'why'? Answer: Because you've got more! 

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama's Victory Speech

It was a well-written, well-delivered speech. Here are the links for those who missed it:



Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik

Barack Hussein Obama

Everybody who writes anything, anywhere, is at this moment, commenting on the newly elected president of the United States of America. When America votes, the world watches with keen interest and (now) fear, thanks to one Texan warlord. (Err...his congratulatory note to his successor: "What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters. You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself.'' The entertainment just doesn't end, does it!).

In the wee hours of his campaigning, I, along with so many other Pakistanis, was not too keen on endorsing Obama (never McCain - he is Republican!) given his tough rhetoric against Pakistan: against our territorial integrity. One would wonder if he too would be chanting the Bush mantra.

Thankfully, however, in his celebratory speech in Chicago (minutes ago), he did not for once utter the word "terrorism". Bush has said it all too much; it has become painfully irritating now.

I'm happy to have witnessed history being made. A black president in the White House. Please don't ask me to say 'African-American', because this is the time to say 'black'. It is beautiful that Obama doesn't use the race card, but this is the time to congratulate our dark-skinned brothers and sisters. Historically, they've seen hell on earth: in the US, in Britain, in South Africa, in Australia...hell, every which way you tread! Now to have one of them elected as the most powerful leader on earth is an achievement. Not too long ago, in 2005, a poem - nominated a winner, was circulated on the web, said to have been written by an African kid - mimicked the collective pain of the 'black'. I leave you with it:

When I born, I Black,
When I grow up, I Black,
When I go in Sun, I Black,
When I scared, I Black,
When I sick, I Black,
And when I die, I still Black…

And
you White fellow,
When you born, you Pink,
When you grow up, you White,
When you go in Sun, you Red,
When you cold, you Blue,
When you scared, you Yellow,
When you sick, you Green,
And when you die, you Gray

And you call me colored?

Copyright (c) 2008 Saadia Malik