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Tag: Pakistan

A Pakistani Mela in Amsterdam

Pakistani Mela in AmsterdamBy Mohammed Amer Morgahi. In the month of June it was an unusual rainy day in Amsterdam, however a large number of enthusiast Pakistanis assembled at the ‘Pakistan Mela’. Unusual was also a significant participation of women, young and old, and children in the event. People had come not only from different parts of the Netherlands but also from the neighboring Germany and Belgium. In the gray and damp Sloterpark the smell of Pakistani food and music was covering the whole park, as were the colorful umbrellas of the participants. The word ‘Mela’ or ‘gathering’ or ‘festival’, is a Sanskrit word and it deals with the festivities or gatherings around the Sufi shrine and Hindu temples in South Asian villages. With urbanization it also got more secular usage, and among the South Asian diaspora communities it turns out to be an important cultural import. Thus you have Indian, Nepalese, Sikh and Pakistani versions in major cities of the UK and North America, and so the Pakistani Mela in Amsterdam als took shape in the last couple of years.

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Verslaving en behandeling

Door Lysander Wiering – over de nieuwe afleveringen Metropolis: ‘Verslaving,’ hoe mensen overal op de wereld worstelen met verslavingen en welke verschillende behandelingen en manieren om er van af te komen er zijn.

Afkicken aan een boom

Verslavingen komen voor in alle soorten en maten. In de uitzending ging het om de bekendste en meest voorkomende verslavingen; die van alcohol en drugs.  De uitzending opende met Nicaragua. Eens per maand trekt de politie er op uit en plukt de alcoholverslaafden van de straat. Deze worden meegenomen, kaalgeschoren en vervolgens naar een afkickkliniek gestuurd. Werkloosheid en armoede zorgt voor veel zware alcoholisten in de buitenwijken.

Maar alcoholverslaving heeft niet altijd met armoede te maken. Wie genoeg geld bezit kan zich laten behandelen in de antroposofische afkickkliniek: ‘de Witte Hull’ in Zeist. Bewoner Mark vertelt dat hij verslaafd is geraakt omdat hij drank gewoon heel erg lekker vindt.

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Road laga hay (“The road is occupied”)

By Mohammed Amer – During my recent visit I saw rapid changes in Rawalpindi – a garrison city and headquarters of Pakistan’s military, which both revealed an expansion of the military’s influence and its increased vulnerability, affecting the collective psyche of the people.

In Rawalpindi I was staying in a lower working class neighborhood near Saddar, or Cantonment, which sits alongside an important road that links the city centre with the airport. That same road leads to the adjoining city Islamabad and it is therefore frequently used by military generals, politicians and visiting officials to Pakistan. In the last five to six years the road has been totally transformed and now hosts flyovers, overhead bridges and service roads. These transformations are related to and a consequence of the so-called ‘war against terror’ and impacts upon the daily life of the people living in its surroundings in specific ways.

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60 kilometers from bin Laden

Obama on the news (by JoshMcConnell)

By Mohammed Amer The immediate reactions of Pakistanis on hearing of the murder of Osama bin Laden were divided – between those showing disbelief and condemning the Americans, and those condemning bin Laden for causing calamity for Pakistan. However as the news emerged, I did not find any emotional outburst in the neighborhood where I stayed.

On the 1st of May, it was late in the evening when me and my family returned back to our apartment after attending the wedding reception of a relative.


The Terror of the ‘War against terror’

Photo by Waseem Akbar

By Mohammad Amer It looked like a scene from a Hollywood detective film. While driving in his car in a busy street of Lahore, an American took out his weapon and fired at two young men riding on a motorbike. The attacker stopped and emerged from his car. Then, using an even bigger automatic weapon, killed his antagonists, who were already injured and had fallen to the ground. The murdered Pakistanis were carrying weapons but they did not get a chance to pick these up and use them. In the meantime, elsewhere in Lahore, a black car with ‘tinted windows’ rushed to rescue the attacker. Hurrying on the wrong side of the road it crushed a passersby. However, before it could reach the attacker, the latter was arrested by the police.


Migration and the politics of names

By Mohammad Amer It was not the first time I was asked about my ‘actual’ surname or, achternaam, as they say in Dutch. This time was during my introductory meeting with the FSW staff at the VU. I have been dealing with this question now for over a decade. Years ago my Dutch language teacher called me ‘Mohammad’ following the order of my full name ‘Mohammad Amer’. I told her that ‘I am called ‘Amer’, and if you call me ‘Mohammad’ I might not respond to you’. She said ‘that means Amer is your, roepnaam’ (meaning, in Dutch, literally the name people call you)? ‘Kind of’, I told her. Thus she noted my name as ‘Amer, Mohammad Amer’ on the attendance list. I accepted that as it sounded quite lyrical whenever she spoke it.