Last week Foreign Policy magazine published its Failed States Index. The usual suspects took the top few places but placing Pakistan as the world’s tenth most failed state seemed a little, well, unfair. And so my Pakistani friends thought when we discussed the matter over dinner on Monday night. The misrepresentation of their country in … More 31 Favourite Things About Pakistan: Postcards from Hell
Interesting media row bubbling away in Pakistan. This week The Washington Post reports how the American embassy in Islamabad is sending corrections and clarifications to Pakistani media houses. Presumably frustrated at what officials have called “false and malicious” or “a paranoid fabrication”, they have hurtled headlong into a row I suspect they can’t win. In … More Whose Agenda is it Anyway?
Here’s what I’ve been reading: I thought General McChrystal was ‘unfireable’, says Rolling Stone writer – “I think he had been protected by other profile writers in the past, who wanted access,” Hastings said. “I am not an access journalist. That’s not my style.” Hara-kiri through interview? – “The entire episode reminds one just how … More Stanley McChrystal Links
You don’t have to live in Islamabad long to notice how Pakistani-English has its own charming variations. Some are leftovers of a bygone age. Others are infathomable. And I’m sure there are plenty more to discover… Why not? – the cheery response to any request, no matter how outlandish. Makes the heart warm Miscreant – gentle … More Minding the Language
Foreign Policy magazine presents its Failed States Index, with no surprises in the top few places. The list contains my favourite country in Africa and my least favourite, as well as my new home. Somalia – surely the only actual failed state in the list. The government controls almost none of the country, which is … More Fragile, Flawed…but Failed?
THE SLIT in the rock wall is not much to look at: A two-foot wide gap that disappears into blackness. But passing through the nondescript entrance opens up a network of caves and a small insight into the world of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas. This was once a subterranean hideout. The … More Taking on the Taliban
No-one told me about the bookshops of Islamabad. Not just Saeed Book Bank, in F7, but all the dingey little secondhand stores that lurk in the least promising corners of every one of the little shopping centres. They have pile upon pile of newspapers – everything from the local Urdu offerings to The Manchester Evening … More Rummaging in Book Shops
Was watching the US v England match last night here in Pakistan. One of my new friends said something along the lines of how he’d never stopped to think much about Africa before. But maybe after the World Cup, watching the glitz and fun, he said, he might make a visit. Great, I thought, that’s what … More Good Governance – No Chance
Press release arrives in my inbox that I thought I’d pass on: Chris Bradley, author, documentary maker and photographer, and Amelia Stewart, founder of leading specialist tour operator Simoon Travel, will share their tips for Discovering Libya at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), in London on Wednesday 9 June 2010.