Three Poets & A Country

An event in Chicago. Friday, July 10th @ 6 at Mess Hall. Blurb below. Hope folks can make it.


Even though Pakistan dominates the news cycle as a new front in Obama’s war, it remains a country strangely bereft of context – even history. We learn of radicalization of its population, of the march of extremism towards its cities and of its own military’s campaign against those forces. What remains occluded from us is any sense of the people of Pakistan, of their own struggles, of their own hopes and fears.

It is not told that 30 of the 62 years of Pakistan’s existence have been spend under military dictatorships – nor, that United States policy and aid was ever a staunch supporter of those dictators. It is not told that throughout these periods, brave men and women raised their voices for democracy, for justice, for equal rights for all.

We want to tell you about three such voices. These members of the “Progressive Writers” lit fires of resistance with their poetry and their deeds.

Join us, as we read a few of their poems, tell you about their lives, and speak about the history of progressive thought in Pakistan. Manan Ahmed, Atiya Khan, Shehla Arif

A Contract With The Devil

is still a binding contract. A close friend of CM (farangi) has been going through some rough times lately. He contract was unlawfully terminated by his employers. You can read the sordid details in David Moltz, So Sue Me, July 6, 2009. You can drop him a line of support here or stevemarlowe at hotmail dot com. He likes those someecards ones. He can also be contacted on FB. I love that man.

The Life and Death of Ahmad, T.

Nina Bernstein, Piecing Together an Immigrant’s Life the U.S. Refused to See, New York Times, July 5, 2009:

In the end, his body went back in a box to his native village, to be buried by his Pakistani widow and their two children, conceived on his only two trips home in a dozen years. He had always hoped to bring them all to the United States, his widow, Rafia Perveen, said in a tearful telephone interview through a translator.

“He said America is very good,” she recalled. “When it comes to the treatment of Muslims in the U.S., he had faith in the rule of law. He said, ‘In America, they don’t bother anyone just for no reason.’ ”

Also see: Immigrant Detainee Dies, and a Life Is Buried, Too, NYT, April 2 2009.