On Afrighanistan

Laura Seay – better known to me as @texasinafrica –  has rightly taken issue with simplistic coverage of Mali and comparisons with other conflicts involving Islamist movements: Among the most egregious — and inaccurate — claims about the crisis to emerge is the idea that Mali could become France’s Afghanistan. Apparently based on the understanding … More On Afrighanistan

Freedom for Mali

One day I’ll make it to the Festival au Desert. Let’s hope it’s back in Mali sooner rather than later. In the meantime here’s a reminder of what it’s all about. Fantastic stuff. (Gotta love the Tuareg – fully turbaned up in the studio) UPDATE: here are a couple of things I’ve been reading or … More Freedom for Mali

Postcards from Hell: 13. Gardeners

Failed states don’t have municipal gardeners planting flowerbeds. (They were also in action early on Friday when Tahir-ul-Qadri’s followers vacated the Blue Area, tidying up verges, removing rubbish and replanting.) Postcards from Hell is my ironically titled list of things that are cool about Pakistan, my new home, or which contradict the notion that the … More Postcards from Hell: 13. Gardeners

The Container Cleric

What a bizarre week that was – even by Pakistan’s rollercoaster standards. What does it all mean? Has anything changed? Was the long march declaration merely a restating of the constitution? Who knows? Anyway, here’s my take on a very odd week for RTE’s World Report: I’ve been manhandled out of a few interviews in … More The Container Cleric

Waiting for Qadri

First things first. It’s a beautiful day for it. Predictions that cold weather and perhaps rain would keep Tahir-ul-Qadri‘s followers away from Islamabad have given way to beautiful sunshine this morning. Much of Islamabad is deserted. Police have thrown up a shipping container cordon around the Red Zone, sealing off diplomatic missions and government offices. … More Waiting for Qadri