Tagged pakistan

Gender, Mobility, & Touchy-Feely Men In Pakistan

So, tomorrow we’re leaving for Islamabad, God willin’. My husband’s stomach is all Pakistanified—he’s having the true experience, poor guy. I’m wondering if we should cancel our delayed Northern travels altogether, but he’s really keen to go.

Yesterday, after much repeated insistence, we were given enough liberty to go out around town with Dinu Bhai. Everyone’s terribly protective and feels responsible for us, so sweet as it is, it’s a bit difficult to act like an adult. Also, this idea of going out wandering without a particular purpose has limited currency here. The idea is that you (women or mixed gender groups) go out with a particular purpose. Only men seem to just hang around in public space in Hyderabad. It’s pre-feminist revolution: men own the public sphere. Even fairly overt and dramatic affection between men is tolerated in public, while even minimal affection between sexes, even spouses, is just not seen and, I’m told, not tolerated in public. This is generally accepted as an appropriate exercise of modesty. I suppose affection between women is generally alright here, but because women are generally only in public with some business, you just don’t see it.

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Dil Dil (Hyderabad) Pakistan

We’ve spent three or four days in Hyderabad now and (I’m not being facetious) it’s lovely here. It’s true that people are sick of Musharraf, but I’ve gotta say: things have improved dramatically in Hyderabad in the last ten years. The streets are cleaner, the middle class appears to be growing, we’re enjoying a freedom of movement that wasn’t at all possible during the nineties. I’m not sure that’s owing to anything Musharraf has done (aside from the general enforcement of law and order that was missing in the Nawaz Sharif-Benazir period), but whatever it is, it’s been working in noticeable ways.

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Did Benazir Bhutto know she was America’s lackey?

This post is an ongoing series posts by Zosha & Her husband Angrez. They are currently traveling through Pakistan.

Day three of “mourning.” We have such cabin fever! But my Sindhi and Urdu both improve by leaps and bounds with each day. I’m now speaking to Auntie in Sindhi and am working on reading a book by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s prison superintendent in Urdu with Angrez at night. We’re making the best of not getting out much. Auntie refers to my Sindhi “coming out” as “khush khabri”—she’s clearly pleased with my progress…I have to admit I’m a little surprised myself to be recovering so much so quickly.

There are so few women on the streets—I really think women get the worst of all of this. They’re not responsible for the drama, they aren’t burning cars or beating on thier heads for the cameras, and yet they end up stuck at home for days as a result… I’m pretty sure I could adjust to just about everything except that about Pakistan. Angrez and I talk frequently about a brain-drain reversing move, maybe to Islamabad, as we both grow increasingly frustrated with the U.S.‘s hyperpower insanity. I’m reading a fantastic book about the role of multiculturalism and tolerance in empire and fall of empire by Amy Chau. I think it’s true that the U.S. had an unprecedented opportunity to redefine the role of world leadership after the Cold War and has instead chosen the tried and true path of empire expansion.

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Letter From Karachi & Benazir Bhutto’s Death

This post is an ongoing series posts by Zosha & Her husband Angrez. They are currently traveling through Pakistan.

“We managed to arrive and have one day of seeing Karachi—we’d just had dinner with my Auntie and cousin that second night when my mum called from the States telling us to turn on the television. We’re now on the second of two days of enforced mourning for Benazir Bhutto, who is being called “shaheed,” or martyr, by the television media here. I say enforced because the common wisdom is that unless shopkeepers shut down and workplaces stay closed, PPP thugs will come around with guns.

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