Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Night At Grant Park In Chicago

Tired as hell, in the middle of moving apartments, with strep throat on its way to wreak havoc with my sleeping schedule and two different sets of midterms to grade, the decision to make my way downtown not knowing what time I would be back was an easy one: it's not often you can be witness to history in the making.


What follows is a bunch of scattered notes and thoughts from the night of November 4, 2008.
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We (the WTB and myself) headed down to the Congress Hotel on Michigan and Congress, which is situated right opposite Grant Park. A few of my friends from U of C had a room at the hotel, from where we could get a bird's eye view of the massive throngs of people in the area. Here's a picture my friend Sarah took from the room.


You will notice people basically walking east on Congress Parkway toward Grant Park. To get a better idea of the geography of the area, here's a map.

View Larger Map


This throng of people were basically the petty commoners, who did not have official tickets to attend the event. The picture above excludes the much bigger crowd to the south, that was making its way to the "proper" event. From my understanding, the Democratic Party provided only 60,000 tickets (with invitations to bring a friend or something). Those who had the tickets got to stand in the general vicinity of Obama. Those who didn't (like us) got to stand in front of the many giant screens placed all around Grant Park. The people you see in the picture above were all, like us, petty commoners. Sans-culottes, if you will. The picture below shows the line(s) to get into the main event, again taken by my friend Sarah who actually had a ticket.


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When we made our way onto Congress Pkwy (the WTB, Lindsey, and myself) to find a good spot close to one of those big screen TVs, some breaking news was on the way. In particular, we were on the main walkway when we heard a LOUD roar. "Well, looks like they called it," I said. Sure enough, it was at that precise moment that CNN made its now-famous call. I couldn't get a great picture of the crowd in front of me, but I tried my best. It's come out a little shaky, but it'll have to do.


From the direction this picture is taken, we headed a little bit forward (i.e. east) and a little bit to the right (i.e. south) and nestled into a pretty good spot where we could watch and hear the rest of CNN's coverage for the night.
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The air was filled with, at various times, expectancy, hope, confidence, jubilation, and - of course - pot.
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A couple of commendations. First of all, to the massive crowds who had gathered for the night. There had to be around 500,000 people all told in the area. Yet everyone was well behaved, there was surprisingly little alcohol-related nonsense (to the extent that I thought, incorrectly as it turned out, that the police had forced bars and liquor stores to stop business at some pre-determined hour), and everyone was simply in good spirits (as you might expect). But good spirits can sometimes lead to widespread destruction, and the crowd didn't fall into that trap.

Second, to the city of Chicago and the law enforcement agencies. Security measures were almost non-existent, and yet no one felt unsafe. Everything was run smoothly. The CTA ran as many trains as needed (particularly important at the end of the night). Basically nothing went wrong, when there was the potential for so much to go wrong. So kudos to the city.
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There were so many feel-good moments just standing there that I cannot recall them all. I saw a woman simply breaking down and crying on her boyfriend's/husband's shoulder. I saw a single mom approach a stranger (alright, me) to ask to lift her daughter on her shoulders so the little girl could actually see the big screen TV. I saw more smiles, hugs, and random jumping and down than I've ever seen in my life. It was just an uplifting experience to be around so many people who were so happy at the same time. Again, this picture isn't perfect, but you will notice, I am sure, the couple in the center of the frame making out to their heart's content and the general euphoria the crowd feels.


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The difference in reactions to the two crowds - the one in Chicago, and the one in Phoenix - to McCain's concession speech was so telling. When McCain spoke and congratulated Obama, the crowd in Phoenix booed. "Fucking rednecks," someone (alright, me) said. The Chicago crowd, on the other hand, graciously applauded on all of McCain's applause lines.

Now, of course, that distinction had something to do with the differences in moods between the crowds. But I contend it also had something to do with the makeup of the crowds, whereby the Phoenix crowd had been trained to think (by the McCain-Palin-Schmidt campaign) that an Obama presidency was the telltale sign of the apolocalypse itself. McCain looked so pathetic trying to calm them down and be gracious. Hey, asshole...you're the one who let the dogs out. Now live with it.
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Before Obama came out, the big screens were showing shots of people in the main non-sans-culottes crowd. Oprah always got a big cheer. So did Jesse Jackson (and his crying engendered a lot of awwwws). I even saw a girl who I am sure is in the class I TA on Mondays. Seriously. Small world and all that.
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When the Man Himself came out around 11pm local time - after a soaking-up-the-moment delay marked by random patriotic songs - I turned to Lindsey and asked "What's the over/under on the number of times he has to say "thank you" to get everyone to shut up?" I went with 25, Lindsey had 14. Given that he said some variant of the words "thank you" and "thank you so much" a full thirty two times during his convention speech during the summer, I thought I was I on pretty safe ground. Except, uh, I wasn't. Dude didn't say it even once; instead, he began with the words "Hello, Chicago!" and simply dived into his speech. Unbelievable. Thanks to this Muslim Terrorist Marxist Leninist Child Rapist's ingratitude, I am now poorer by $10.
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The two loudest crowds I've ever been around have both been at cricket matches. The first was at the Pakistan-England match in Karachi during the World Cup of 1996. Chasing a smallish target, the crowd erupted every time Pakistan lost a wicket, mainly because they wanted to see local hero Javed Miandad bat in what was his swansong. Every wicket was greeted with cheers of "Ja-ved, Ja-ved!". The walls of the National Stadium shook that day.

The second outrageously loud crowd was also at Karachi, during a spell by Shoaib Akhtar against New Zealand in 2002 (for some reason, I can't find the scorecard from Cricinfo). If my memory serves me correctly, he either took for 6-12 or 6-19 in one of the most devastating spells of quick bowling you'll ever see. The crowd would rise to a crescendo as Shoaib ran in, and with the length of his run-up, it was quite the crescendo.

The point is this: the volume of the entire crowd at Grant Park when Obama walked out was to the volume of those cricket crowds what the winter in Chicago is to the winter in Karachi. I've never heard anything like it, and I'm pretty sure I'll never hear it again. Watching the same thing on YouTube simply doesn't transmit what a roaring crowd sounds like. It was such a powerful moment.

Anyway, here's a picture taken by Sarah of Obama speaking. Again, it's kind of blurry, but what're you going to do?


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While he was speaking, I turned to the WTB and asked her if we (Pakistan) would ever have someone capable of bringing out crowds like this. Of course, as soon as I asked the question, I thought of BB, who brought out 150,000 people on the streets of Karachi the day she returned to Pakistan last fall. And then I thought of her dad, who was so inspirational that he got millions of people to vote for his daughter simply based on their shared name. Though I suppose the true test of ZAB's inspirational qualities will be if he can get this dipshit elected.
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The crowd(s) streaming home:


Yes, he did.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is WTB jealous of Sarah and Lindsey?

AKS said...

Man, I am so, so jealous.

It's not enough that you witnessed a truly historic event, you got to go to one awesome party.

Anonymous, you're relentless. I can't wait for the wedding.

zeyd said...

Screw the election, I just got goosebumps remembering NSK in 96. And dude, yeah the cheers were loud every time a wicket fell, but do you remember when he came out? From the walk down the stairs, to reaching the pitch, to taking his guard, to facing his first ball, I've never heard sound quite like that before. There come the goosebumps again.

jaz said...

Guys, hi, i would really like to hear authentic Pakistani opinions on what the Obama presidency means for the people of Pakistan. Should we celebrate or duck for cover?

http://jasminefrompakistan.wordpress.com/

Ahsan said...

Anon825:

No.

AKS:

It wasn't that great a party. Just a really important historical moment.

Zeyd:

Please don't try to sell us on the fact that Javed Miandad taking guard at NSK in 96 was somehow more significant than Barack Obama winning this election. Please.

Jaz:

Both.

naqiya said...

dude you guys should have seen new york post-announcement. there was a moment were people surrounded a cop car, started dancing and chanting, and forced the cops to come out and dance with them..... the nypd was smiling. thats epic right there.

also, someone set a motercycle on fire when the first announcement was made....americans are not all that different from pakistanis are they?

i have th video of the cop car incident if you want to put them up

zeyd said...

Ahsan,

I didn't make a comparison about significance, rather it was about sound, which I'll always remember on that day.

And I'd argue that for the majority of the 40-odd thousand Pakistanis in the stadium that day, watching Javed's last innings was/is more significant than a U.S election, despite the historic nature of it.

Anonymous said...

@Zeyd

EXACTLY! All these Western slaves like Ahsan have forever turned their radar towards events on that side because nothing that happens in Pakistan is significant for them. They only attach importance to suitably Western happenings but little do they realize that they will forever be playing catch up in this game.

Anonymous said...

how any true muslim can be happy about obama being elected is beyond me - obviously i know this only applies to those that consider themselves muslim (most of pakistan).

Obama's only appointment thus far has been rahm emmanuel as his chief of staff. a hard-core zionist who as an american citizen VOLUNTEERED to serve on an israeli military base during the first gulf war (albeit as a mechanic).

Emmanuel's father incidentally was a member of Irgun - the ultra-zionist terror organisation (designated as such EVEN by the british government) reknowned for its indiscrimanate murder of palestinian farming families during the creation of israel.

historic as obama's election may be, he is simply the lesser of two evils. and rather than joy, what is really felt by me and many other pakistanis i talk to is a feeling of less relative annoyance than would have been caused had mccain been elected.

not that it makes any difference whatsoever to 95% of pakistan's population anyway - dwelling on such matters is a luxury of pakistan's rich and rich alone.

Anonymous said...

"Mr Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent about three weeks there.. staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo but also traveling to Hyderabad, in India," a report in the New York Times quoted his campaign manager as saying.

FiveRupee-istas, please go find Mr Chandoo and the home where Obama stayed. We need to know more about the Messiah!!!!111!!1!ONE!

bubs said...

Anon1039: I don't think anyone expected a sudden shift in US policy towards Israel simply because Obama was elected. If anything, Democrats have historically been more pro-Israel than Republicans. But there is more to the world than the Israel-Palestine issue and Obama is significantly better than the Republicans on most of them. If you chose to look at every thing through the narrow prism of whats good for Muslims then Obama's election isn't that big a deal. I certainly don't look at it that way and I suspect neither do the rest of the Rs 5 contributors.

Anon 352: Hasan Chandoo lives in New York but he visits Pakistan every year or so. When he's in Pakistan he can usually be found at the Karsaz Golf Club.

Ahsan said...

Zeyd:

Agreed, but minor point: wasn't Javed's last innings at Bangalore? What a sorry sight that was.

Anon1039:

I don't understand this obsession with the Israel-Palestine issue. You obviously care a lot about it, and that's your right - no one should be able to tell you what your priorities are.

However, as a Pakistani, you should be happy about the fact that both Obama and Biden have long advocated engagement with the common Pakistani in terms of schools built and infrastructure and aid to be delivered for wholly non-military purposes.

Furthermore, as Bubs intimated, not everything is about Muslims and/or Pakistanis. Obama's stance on climate change, for instance, is much needed (America consumes something like 25% of the world's oil or energy, I can't remember which). His stance on torture/Guantanamo is also important.

Again, if you don't feel joy, it's completely fine. To each his own and all that. All I'm saying is that there's life beyond Israel-Palestine.

Anonymous said...

i was responding to Jaz's comment about what this election means for pakistanis - who, you may not like to know, do judge most things through the fairly comprehensive prism of what's good for muslims and as a muslim, that is exactly how it should be.

the far narrower prism to look would be that of what benefits pakistanis most, which is the premise on which ahsan posted his reply. i may be pakistani by i identify myself as a muslim first, and having just returned from six weeks in pakistan, im glad to say so do most of the 'average/poor' pakistanis i met. of course the elite and minority that the authors of this blog are from are not representative of pakistan, thankfully so.

having said that, and contrary to ahsan's selfish assertion of 'there's life beyond israel/palestine', even if ten schools are built in pakistan at the expense of one palestinian child's life - i do not wish it. to me, as a human being and as a muslim, an innocent life is worth far more than any amount of material gain in this world.

i suppose if he offered pakistan a blank cheque and a disneyworld on the outskirts of karachi, you'd be happy for Obama to encourage a policy of occupying mecca and madinah along with jerusalem.

to see educated and well-off pakistanis such as yourselves be SO western-centric and influenced so heavily by such hypocritical principles is sad.

its as if you guys were born in pakistan, with muslim names, parents and identities but lived in a social and economic bubble devoid of everything islamic and now try and justify your elevated position in pakistan's society by pointing out how you 'made it' and how everyone else should learn. the condascending tone of many of your articles (ahsan and AKS particularly) is very indicative of this 'holier than thou' attitude which is ironically, usually based on some anti-islamic premise. this in turn leads to ludicrous comments along the lines of 'theres more to it than israel/palestine'.

astonishing. despicable. and in Ahsan's words 'Please.'

Anonymous said...

anon 522

I'm just taking a guess here, but your comment in your last post "and having just returned from six weeks in pakistan" leads me to believe that you yourself have the financial well being to afford the luxury of travel, unlike the poor of Pakistan. Yes, you too have "made it". By the way, just curious but where do you call home these days? I don't know you but I'm guessing that your proficiency in the english language would lead me to believe that you've spent some time in the western world. And dude, your use of "'holier than thou'" puts you in the US at some point in time, as that my friend is my grandmothers favorite saying (she's a texan!). The world is much more complicated and diverse than the credit you give. Muslim, Christian, Jew, Athiest, we are all one people and our fate as a people in the end will be determined by our willingness put aside our tangible differences and learn to live in peace.

NB said...

@Anonymous 1039

I don’t know how to work HTML, so Ive just divided your comment into blocks, and responded to each portion in turn.


------------------------------------------
You Stated:

"i was responding to Jaz's comment about what this election means for pakistanis - who, you may not like to know, do judge most things through the fairly comprehensive prism of what's good for muslims and as a muslim, that is exactly how it should be. "

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NB: Thats is fair enough. In this instance, one identity prism is as good as the another and how we choose to define ourselves is a personal choice. I mean that honestly, not sarcastically. Though personally I would ask you why you would stop at 'Muslim', and ask why not look at things in terms of what is good for humanity, (as you did later on in your comment).

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You Continued:

"the far narrower prism to look would be that of what benefits pakistanis most, which is the premise on which ahsan posted his reply. i may be pakistani by i identify myself as a muslim first, and having just returned from six weeks in pakistan, im glad to say so do most of the 'average/poor' pakistanis i met. of course the elite and minority that the authors of this blog are from are not representative of pakistan, thankfully so."
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NB: Fair enough again. The authors of this blog are probably not representative of Pakistan. Nor for that matter are you. These days, there probably isn’t anyone who represents Pakistan. But irrespective of that, some of the ideas we espouse have merit notwithstanding their lack of generic appeal. I would ask you to consider those arguments and articles on their own merits, rather than critiquing us instead.

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You Continued:

having said that, and contrary to ahsan's selfish assertion of 'there's life beyond israel/palestine', even if ten schools are built in pakistan at the expense of one palestinian child's life - i do not wish it. to me, as a human being and as a muslim, an innocent life is worth far more than any amount of material gain in this world.
------------------------------------------

NB: There is life beyond Israel Palestine. That is not to say that the Palestinian/Israeli issues -such as Palestinian statehood, the partition of Jerusalem, the control of Al Aqsa, the Israeli Barrier, the right of return and compensation for Palestinian Refugees, the illegal settlements, the civilian casualties on both sides and the culture of violence that has been bred within the region and between the faiths - are not important. I would challenge you to point out where that was stated. Ahsan’s point was merely to say that no one issue should decide in exclusive totality the merit of an American president, provided one were to look at the election through the prism of a human being.

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You Continued:

i suppose if he offered pakistan a blank cheque and a disneyworld on the outskirts of karachi, you'd be happy for Obama to encourage a policy of occupying mecca and madinah along with jerusalem.

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NB: I understand that you are upset by what you perceive is a sell out. But it is incorrect to give an absurd example, and pretend to yourself as though we would subscribe to it, in order to claim an imaginary moral high ground. I would urge you to re-read and reconsider what has been said before you engage in supposing hyperbolic positions on their behalf.

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You Continued:

to see educated and well-off pakistanis such as yourselves be SO western-centric and influenced so heavily by such hypocritical principles is sad.

its as if you guys were born in pakistan, with muslim names, parents and identities but lived in a social and economic bubble devoid of everything islamic and now try and justify your elevated position in pakistan's society by pointing out how you 'made it' and how everyone else should learn. the condascending tone of many of your articles (ahsan and AKS particularly) is very indicative of this 'holier than thou' attitude which is ironically, usually based on some anti-islamic premise. this in turn leads to ludicrous comments along the lines of 'theres more to it than israel/palestine'.

astonishing. despicable. and in Ahsan's words 'Please.'

------------------------------------------

NB: I hope that AKS and Ahsan do not attempt to offer a defense against this portion of your comment. We have been having too many pointless circular arguments on the blog of this nature lately.

If you are annoyed, the more productive and sincere solution might be 1) to try to really understand our positions 2) engage us if you disagree on the merits rather than launch personal attacks on what you perceive is our character.

In the spirit of the times, here is hoping you (and others like you) come around!

asfand said...

crazy anon:

I don't get one thing; what if Ahsan and co ARE western-centric? What's wrong with that? Are they betraying their Pakistani/Muslim heritage? What if they don't FEEL Pakistani?

I certainly at times wish I wasn't a Pakistani. Consider the amount of corruption and backbiting prevalent not only amongst our political elites but amongst nearly every facet of our society. Parents who'd marry off their children for gain that is solely personal, without any respect for their children. Oh, and does karo kari mean anything to you? Maybe Balochs burying women alive has also makes you proud to be a Pakistani?

Why does anyone who cannot associate themselves on a personal level with Pakistan or Pakistani society/culture or even Islam have to be berated? :S

Also, some of the lovely poor/average Pakistanis you mentioned decided to take matters in their own hands and burn a Hindu because of alleged blasphemy. Oh how I wish majoritarianism comes back in full fashion!

My point is simple, and you seem fairly erudite so it's a bit grating that you are decidely either oblivious to it or think that ignoring it is best; but life isn't simple, issues aren't simple, Pakistan isn't simple. Stop trying to - pardon the cliche - paint things in black and white.

You point out that Ahsan's assertion of 'there is life beyond Israel/Palestine' is selfish, but you yourself seem to focus solely on Israel/Palestine :S

Would you welcome 10 schools built for the cost of one jewish life?

Again, I'd really an answer to this: I didn't ask to be born in Pakistan. I didn't ask to have a muslim name. It just HAPPENED. I had NO choice in the matter. So, if during the process of growing up I decided that I didn't want anything to do with this, WHY should I be slated?

Farooq said...

Who the fuck is WTB?

Ahsan said...

Anon522:

I'm not going to get into a long-winded and never ending argument with you. But to categorically assert that 10 schools being built in Pakistan is not worth the life of even one Palestinian for a Pakistani is questionable to say the least.

The Arab-Israeli conflict is exactly that: a conflict between Arabs and Israelis. I am neither of those things. It's heartbreaking to say the least, but then so is Darfur, Congo etc etc. Why should it matter to Pakistan's national interest? If you identify with the Palestinians based on your religion, good for you. But you should know those Arabs have done nothing for you and your country. Ever. (Other than finance madrassas I guess). So while you may feel an affinity based on your shared Muslim-hood, please understand they feel no such affinity. They certainly have never showed it.

The rest of your comment is not worth my time.

karachi khatmal said...

the best part is that pakistanis who don't live here always seem to have the most narrow opinion of pakistani life.

cuontless blogs i've read young ones where people write about how in the 5 days/3 weeks/ 2 months they recently spent in pakistan brought them into contact with the common/poor/average pakistani who gave them valuable insight into how pakistanis hate musharraf/hate the usa/hate themselves.

i try and think that by answering or referring to someone on the same level as them reduces the significance of my argument. but seriously - if you live abroad, why do you get such angst over others westernization? what, how, why does that line of attack even make any sense.

still, i was around people in karachi who were crying when he spoke. considering that most of them had only heard of him a couple of months ago, it convinced me that for all the great hope obama embodies, he is a genormous celebrity/product as well...

anon1039 said...

@NB, asfand, etc

i dont have to really understand your positions because your blogs (well ahsan's and AKS's) speak for themselves. there comes a time when you stop talking about the effect and start talking about the cause.

why are their articles so self-righteous, western-centric and full of anti-islamic, america-worshipping undertones? i'm suggesting their elitist upbringing and holier-than-thou attitude in light of their so-called education makes them so. I dont have to discuss their positins because they are SO predictable - its time we discussed why so many well-educated pakistanis from wealthy backgrounds are like this.

I honestly dont care if ahsan and co are betraying their pakistani/muslim heritage or dont consider themselves muslims or pakistani anymore. thats their problem. however, after abandoning their culture and religion for a way of life they see as superior, and then writing articles about how pakistan should improve based on their priveleged experiences alone is arrogant, haughty and incredibly insolent.

i really dont need to say more because ahsan is questioning my premises of building ten schools for one palestinian child's life as a reasonable proposition for most pakistanis. maybe for the 3% of elite pakistanis he socialises with. NB's defence of his stance, if it didnt before, now looks really pathetic.

honestly to see such a stance is sickening.

NB's earlier blog on how to help those stricken people in wake of the balochistan earthquake included charities muslim aid and islamic relief. Both charities rooted in islamist origins and one of which was founded by a palestinian (islamic relief). these people do more in one day for pakistan and its people than the likes of ahsan will do in their lifetime. they actually care about human life across the board with relief programmes across the world, and to them it doesnt really matter who comes in as us president because the suffering for muslims (and humans) will continue nonetheless in pakistan and beyond.

if ahsan knew how much arabs have donated to the poor of pakistan generally based on shared muslim-hood and not just in wake of disasters (kashmir earthquake saw millions) maybe he wouldnt be so quick to open his arrogant mouth and suggest 'please understand they feel no such affinity'. his co-authors blog on muslim aid and islamic relief just days ago should have made ahsan realize how stupid his assertion is.

but to people like ahsan this does not matter, things like obama getting elected do, because it gives them an opportunity to blog utter tripe about how its good for pakistan when people like him dont really give a shit for the average people of pakistan, let alone around the world. their educations are wasted on self-righteous blogs and superficial articles of 'see, this is what should be done because im educated and have muslim name and can put sentences together because my daddy could afford to send me to the states to study and im soooo much better than those filthy people back home who dont know whats best for them'.

how hard is it to admit that 'hey, im not muslim and im not really representative of pakistan or pakistanis but this is why i think these things are important despite not really knowing or caring about the average pakistanis best interests' instead of trying to purport your polemic as some sort of enlightened muslim pakistani who gained a higher understanding of the world than everyone else in pakistan just because you go educated in the mighty USA?

like i said. its astonishing and disgusting but above all sad that it is people like that that control pakistan's wealth and power.

Anonymous said...

@ahsan

to highlight your ignorance of your country and its majority religion.

jerusalem is the third holiest site in the world for muslims and from where the prophet (pbuh) is said to have ascended to heaven.

this may have no importance for you as an agnostic/atheist or whatever. zionists like to define the occupation of jerusalem as a arab/israeli conflict as it helps remove the importance that jersualem holds for all muslims. something i see you have fallen for quite easily.

this is an important aspect of every muslims creed and hence an important aspect of over 90% of pakistanis creed. just because you have abandoned your religion, does not mean the rest of pakistan has.

this is best demonstrated by the amazing respect i still get as a pakistani from palestinians who know that pakistan donated some its most talented fighter pilots to arab air forces during the 6-day war and that some were martyred.

your ignorance and arrogance are beyond comprehension. you should get your tongue out of the wests ass and start thinking independently for once.

Farooq said...

Oh snap!



Speaking of ass-tonguing, has anybody heard from Nikhil? I haven't spoken to him for ages.

AKS said...

@ anon 1039

That would be Britain-worshiping and not "America worshiping" - the Americans wont give me a visa. Get your facts straight!

The Israel-Palestine conflict may well be of utmost importance to you but it isn't for most Pakistanis, who are simply struggling to survive.

And while you may have been well treated by Palestinians, most Pakistanis haven't met any Palestinians. Many Pakistanis however have met the Saudis, Emiratis, Omanis, Kuwaitis and Qataris, and let's just say those labour camps aren't all that fun.

Dude, seriously, you need to understand that Pakistan and its citizens are a lot more complicated and conflicted than you make them out to be. So while you may claim that you are speaking for the average Pakistani, I don't think there is any such a thing as the 'average Pakistani.' We aren't a country of Joe sixpacks!

By the way, do you also go by the pseudonym of Jack? If so, I'm still waiting for the sources on the Taliban pipeline deal, which I had been promised. If not, sorry.

P.S. Are you by any chance a university student in England? I'm guessing based somewhere in London / the South-East? You've got me all figured out so I thought I'd give it a shot.

AKS said...

By the way, I'm happy about the Obama victory because its good to see a person work hard and come from nowhere to take the biggest prize. You only see this in the movies.

I second Bubs earlier comments about Obama. I prefer Obama, because I think its best to have a man with a brain being the commander in chief of the U.S. military.

And Mr. Biden is certainly going to be a lot more helpful to Pakistan than Ms. Palin.

anon1039 said...

@AKS

no i am not Jack, but I wont deny that i do not know him - we work for very similar organisations based in london. he is still in pakistan so i would not expect a reply any time soon.

In that respect your guess is correct, but no, i am not at university here nor have ever been. i do originally hail from the other side of the atlantic.

i agree with you that average pakistanis can not be compartmentalized, but i am convinced that views of the like of ahsan are much further from and more counter-productive to pakistan and pakistanis. i may write that i am astonished at times, but really i am not. during college i met countless ahsans with exactly the same opinions, laced with the same anti-islamic rhetoric and subtle west-worship.

ironically, the people/organisations/religion they loved to hate were doing far more to help pakistan and pakistanis than they ever did in their four years of college - spent mostly drunk or high whilst the 'others' diligently raised money for pakistans poor and/or raised the plight of the average muslim/pakistani on numerous platforms.

after college, they would (and do) abuse their priveleged access to education and position in society to serve their already-inflated egos by disrespecting the very real and tangible efforts of others whilst they themselves continue to claim they know best. if they had even once actually acted selflessly out of charity, they wouldn't so quick to judge the efforts of others.

this blog for example is not a platform for ahsan to genuinely raise concerns about pakistan or pakistanis or anyone really. it is simply the self-indulgence of his ego and his articles as well as his replies to comments (or lack thereof) demonstrate this amply.

i would be ashamed of writing some of things he has, but i know he isn't because humility and shame do not seem to be values he was brought up with. and while my comments may seem to be quite palatable and/or harsh, they are directed at an author of a specific article/comment. his harshness and disregard was directed at the life of an unknown innocent palestinian child - it was quite deliberate, he knew exactly what he was writing.

for the record, i preferred the obama/biden ticket for the same reasons you did. but preference doesn't mean contentment. its all relative. like you said, most pakistanis struggle to survive - what do they care who wins an election? which was my point to begin with.

as you pointed out, many pakistanis are ill-treated in arab countries. the organisation i work for deals with exactly these kinds of issues on an international basis - including bonded labor, camel jockeys, forced marriages and a whole range of issues which come under the remit of 'slavery'.

having said that, the biggest abusers of pakistanis are pakistanis themselves. the class you belong to and the rest of the pakistan's upper echelons have abused the pakistan's populace since its inception and this is why our society is so corrupt. im not saying you are like this, but only you are in a position to change it. given the attitudes of the likes of ahsan, this is unlikely to happen. they sit comfortably in the status quo. so what's left? civil war? revolution? perhaps. whatever it is, it doesnt look good.

AKS said...

I'm not going to get into a debate with you because I think we've been there before.

I would however like to say that it is revolting for you to make the sort of presumptions that you have made about Ahsan.

Your views may be different than his, and mine, and that's okay. But it's really not okay for you to spew the kind of horse shit that seems to be coming out of your mouth.

And what people/organisations/religions are you referring to?

Professor Correa from Argentina is working hard to ensure that ordinary Pakistanis have access to medicines; Japanese NGOs are building earthquake resistant hospitals and schools in Batagram; the Parsis are renowned for their philanthropic work and have provided education to innumerable (fellow) Pakistanis.

Why the hell does every bloody thing have to revolve around religion?

And for the record I have no problems with Islamic organisations, as long as they aren't raising money for the support of fighters in Palestine, Kashmir and Chechnya.

We've funded Kashmiri militants for decades and look where that's gotten us. And even if militants do win, they generally end up being terrible on their own people.

But most importantly, funding militias (freedom fighters) isn't that effective. Hell, lobbyists in D.C. would do a better job. Anyone remember Charlie Wilson?

donthateahsan said...

@anon:

i've been reading this blog for a while now, and the one thing that has always impressed me is the respect with which the writers of the blog have engaged with/responded to people who hold opinions different from their own.

if you are (as you claim) a true muslim, you'd understand the importance of being open to understanding the point of views of others, or at least be polite and respectful when stating your differences. in that respect, the writers of the blog and ahsan are more "muslim" than you could ever be.

aggressive and narrow-minded "muslims" like you make the rest of us look bad

Nikhil said...

I'm gay