Tourrism not Terrorism


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              ♦ Pakistan can sustain its economy only by promoting tourism.
              ♦ Once normalcy is restored, this country has tremendous potential to become an economic hub of tourism. Its history and heritage alone are fabulously rich – to lure international tourists to this land of immense beauty.
              ♦ The electricity and gas crunches have crippled our textile industry the main source of export earnings and employment provider in this country.

 The end of January, the starting month of the year, the coldest one is ending now. A change in the air is coming. Trees will soon be loaded with fresh green. Multi colored flowers – many with a mosaic of beautiful patterns will open up to fill the airs with a sweet fragrance. The whole ambience all over the country will wear a cool, green and fresh look of spring.

Simultaneously in the months to come, the vales of Swat and the rugged mountains of federally administered areas in our tribal belt will welcome the spring with ear shattering cannon shots. In return shall come again the gun shots. The point is – who is getting killed? If a soldier of the Pakistan army or a paramilitary sepoy loses life, it is the blood of a Pakistani that is spilled on the sacred soil of Pakistan. Again if an unarmed civilian tribal from the other side is killed, it’s the blood of our own country man. Dilemma before us is that guns and the drones do not precisely differentiate between a terrorist and a peaceful civilian living nearby.

Why can’t we understand, in this modern age when technology has reached its zenith, when information revolution has taken the whole world like a storm, we in Pakistan are fighting along with the US, a war which seems to have no end. We should not overlook the very fact that a Pakistani can never be and should never be the enemy of another Pakistani? Our common enemy at the moment is terrorism. And this very enemy is working against acceptability of our country as a modern democratic entity which has endless beauty to offer to its visitors. But alas! With firing of guns, and people getting killed through bomb blasts, would a foreign guest ever think of coming to Pakistan risking his / her life!

It is the time, we as a nation should think, should ponder over the core question: how can we make this land of ours a land of peace, tranquility, a secure and a leisure-full vacationing land so that the endless touristic wonders that we have can be properly marketed to the outside world as an ideal place to visit, for a land infested with wars, extreme polarizations in political and social culture, with acute lawlessness all over, who would ever dare to enter this land just to view such touristic splendors.

 We could perhaps go a step further.  Why not initiate a nationwide dialogue amongst all stakeholders on one point agendum only: “Tourism not Terrorism” will henceforth be the creed, the philosophy and the dictum of Pakistan. Once we succeed to achieve this, we would be leaving a prideful legacy not only for our coming generations but may see happy days in our lifetime as well.

By promoting tourism, not only do we offer a wholesome environment to international guests, to see the real beauty of the country, the hospitality of its people but also succeed to wash our image as  a nation abetting terrorism. (Wrong though, unfortunately this is the image we have).

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Published in: on 31/01/2009 at 2:40 pm  Comments (5)  
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Obama: Amaze us!


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As Barack Obama has approached the helm of the American ship of state, he is facing many challenges.


Michael Carmichael


Just as she was being born at the dawn of her journey into history, the American nation is poised on the brink of a new beginning.  In those revolutionary times, America faced a roiling sea of danger, uncertainty and trepidation.  Today, after more than two centuries of venture, America moves forward beyond and away from the final and most tragic acts of the second Bush presidency.
The American journey has been filled with triumph and tragedy.  Triumph over the bonds of colonialism transformed into the tragedy of slavery, Manifest Destiny and the genocide of Native Americans followed by Civil War.  Abolition began to right the wrongs of slavery, but America careened forward into the excesses of the Gilded Age and the arrogance of her Imperialist Presidency that extended her empire to the islands of the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

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The Roosevelts expanded the American vision to encompass economic justice, environmental preservation and the duty to deliver peace beyond our borders.  At the same time, American philosophers advocated the virtue of selfishness, the goodness of greed and the siren song of supply side trickle down economic miracles, while Martin Luther King, Jr. marched to the beat of a different drummer to demand the fulfillment of civil rights for our black brothers and sisters.
In an ancient scenario, the culture of greed infiltrated the American defense establishment and commandeered the ship of state to instigate conflicts and to impose its will by force.  American power came into conflict with competing ideologies promising a better and more just society through cooperation rather than competition.  For more than three-quarters of a century, America has moved forward toward its promise of freedom for all her people:  freedom of speech; freedom of religion; freedom from want and freedom from fear.
As Barack Obama approaches the dais to take his oath of office, he is focused on delivering the four freedoms to all Americans.  Each of FDR’s four freedoms is in danger in America today.  Freedom of speech was curtailed in pursuit of solidarity against the Axis of Evil in the War on Terror.  Freedom of religion is under threat as Muslims are treated like criminals and terrorists.  Freedom from want is on its deathbed, for millions of Americans have been expelled from their homes, banished from their workplaces and shunned by their employers.  Freedom from fear has vanished, as Americans are convulsed in a paroxysm of panic apprehensive about their financial security and in fear for their very lives.
Barack Obama faces an insurmountable Himalaya of fear.  In its face, Obama brings a message of hope for change.  Obama erases fear with the promise of hope.  Now he must turn to the people of America and deliver the four freedoms they have been promised.
Obama faces anxiety over the economy. While there are differences of opinion about what must be done and what must not be done, Obama has few choices.  Obama’s errant predecessor capitulated to the demands of his capitalist coterie for massive federal bailouts of financial institutions.  With the bloated banking system now in bankruptcy, the calls for government regulation from Wall Street and the Federal Reserve will herald the beginning of state capitalism, a propagandistic oxymoron for a socialized banking system.  While the incomes of financiers, bankers and others will shrivel, the confidence of the American people will be restored.  The new American banking system will resemble a vast public utility, where salaries are strictly limited and profits are regulated.
But, the American people fear for their very lives today. Faced with the rapacious appetite for corporate profit that no population of any other industrialized nation faces, Americans spend more than twice what citizens of other democracies spend for their healthcare.  In order to restore the freedom from fear, Obama must deliver a better system for healthcare that will be nothing less than revolutionary for it must delete the profitability of illness, injury and disease from the national vocabulary.  The people of America are suffering through a stupefying crescendo of ghoulish greed that is pervasive throughout the healthcare industry.  Obama believes that healthcare is a human right that government must deliver to a free people to ensure that they do not experience fears for their own lives.

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But, Americans fear for more than their financial futures and their health, they fear for their very existence under threat from those who would destroy the fabric of our society – the terrorists.  Bush launched his War on Terror to galvanize political support for a Gotterdammerung of Islamist terrorists.  In the process, Bush triggered a massive avalanche of fear within America that has led to two immoral and counterproductive wars in Asia. America’s standing in the world has been toppled from the top of a tall column.  For the world at large, the Statue of Liberty has lost all meaning.  America’s prestige has morphed into a global loathing of the stars and stripes.  In 2008, America has become the most feared and hated nation on earth.
Like no other president before him, Obama faces a global challenge to America’s faltering leadership. To address the global challenge, Obama must replace opprobrium with trust and restore equilibrium with peace.  American Muslims must be freed from the burdens of ostracism, stereotyping and the prison of Guantanamo. But, the closure of Guantanamo is only the first step.  The American prison population has inflated beyond all sense of reason.  Alone among all other nations, America imprisons one out of every one hundred of its citizens.  For shame, more American prisoners are from the black and tan minorities rather than from the white majority.  The American prison-industrial complex has transformed the land of the free into a police state where minorities are incarcerated for misdemeanors while whites go free for felonies.  Obama must right this terrible wrong that tarnishes America’s luster in the eyes of the world.
Even more importantly, Obama must forge a new foreign policy that does not genuflect to the Pentagon and resort to military interventions and wars to enforce American power by the simplistic application of force — for force has failed America in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq.  In the Information Age, hard power is indeed outmoded, outdated, obsolete and counterproductive.  Soft power is now the only instrument available for forging ahead on the global seas of commerce, ecology and culture.

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Obama’s global challenges are manifold, but none more difficult than in the Middle East. In recent days, hard power inflicted pain and destruction in the Arab-Israeli conflict.  America’s involvement in the Middle East has not delivered peace or security of the freedom from fear to the peoples of the Middle East.  Since the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Agreement, the Middle East has devolved into conflict and crisis.  Under George W. Bush, American policy made the insufferable situation worse by launching the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and unwise favoritism in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nowhere does Obama face a more difficult challenge than in the Middle East, but in challenge therein resides opportunity – a unique opportunity to redefine America’s vision in the eyes of the world.

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On Wednesday, the 21st of January 2009, Barack Obama has entered the Oval Office where he wields the power of the American nation.  From that date onwards, the world will judge him for the priorities he engages from the very outset of his presidency.
While he has promised America that he will order the cessation of torture, the withdrawal from Iraq, the final phase of the war in Afghanistan and the restructuring of American involvement with the Arab-Israeli conflict, Obama’s global reputation will be cast in the flames of the forge.
In that moment and in the others rapidly to come, we shall learn the extent and the tenor of the change Obama will bring – not only to America but to the tiny planet where he will be the most powerful leader in world history, a leader for all peoples – for better or worse — and it is indeed quite difficult to imagine how he might be worse than George W. Bush.

President Obama, the time is now ripe.  Bring on all the changes you have promised from sea to shining sea and from nation unto nation – you must now bring peace unto all the nations of the earth.  We, Americans who summoned and supported you are waiting; the nations are gazing intently upon you.  Amaze us.

Courtesy: Globalresearch.ca
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ‘Wonders of Pakistan’. The contents of this article too are the sole responsibility of the author(s). WoP will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this post.

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Welcome Mister President


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     Barack Hussein Obama has already assumed office as the 44th President of the United States of America. Just two days in office, he has introduced some major policy shifts. He seems to prove he has a vision – contrary to shortsighted approach by George Walker Bush who mainly believed in military solutions to every problem everywhere.

     As a sequel to this major change at the White House, we are inserting two posts here. In the first post by Eric Margolis, the existing, outdated, fruitless US policy against its only Communist neighbor in the Americas is reviewed. Eric has also some suggestions for the new American president. In the second post, Michael Carmichael tracks on what Obama primarily needs to do for his fellow Americans and the world.

     These posts are being put up to enable WOP readers have some insight (with respect to US context) of the issues of immediate import for the new President. On global scale, Obama as a pragmatic young leader needs to take such steps, which can save this world from chaos that George W. Bush in collusion with his toadies like Tony Blair and Pervaiz Musharraf left as his legacy. A million dollar question, however, still remains. CAN HE DO it? The neocons who contributed towards Bush’s doctrine of New World Order are still occupying important seats both at the White House as well as the Pentagon. Only time will tell whether the statesmanship of new US president brings tangible results: that he introduces a Universal World Order instead of this so called New Word Order!

by Eric Margolis

The inauguration of Barack Obama as 44th President of the United States of America has more of the mood of a second coming than the investiture of a new president. Of course, the Bush administration, the most catastrophic in memory, is an easy act to follow.

Barack Hussein Obama brings a bounty of hope, whereas the Bush administration brought fear-mongering, wars, flirtation with fascism, and financial ruin.

Some 80% of Americans in a recent poll are strongly positive about Obama. But now that Obama has taken office, reality is going to set in and the euphoria will quickly dissipate as the young president confronts truly gargantuan problems and Washington’s powers that be assert their influence and bind him with a thousand cords.

Still, like most people, I am elated to see the departure of the sinister Bush administration and welcome the new president, a man of dignity, intelligence and strength. 20th Jan. 2009, was a majestic day for all Americans. As an American (and a Canadian) I am awfully proud. It’s been a long time since I felt good about my country.

So all best wishes to our new president. I am happy I suggested that one of his first official acts should be to immediately close the shameful Devil’s Island at Guantanamo Cuba, (which he has already ordered on the very first day of taking office). He should now further order this base, an embarrassing relic of 19th Century American imperialism, returned forthwith to Cuba. His next step should be to ask Congress to end the hypocritical, idiotic 50-year embargo of Cuba.

I am just back from Cuba, and here follows my observations on its 50th anniversary of Communist rule.

HAVANA – The 50th anniversary of Fidel Castro’s revolution has been a very modest, low key affaire, totally out of keeping with this island’s normally boisterous fiestas. Fidel remains gravely ill. He has been out of sight for the past two years, though he publishes news commentary from seclusion.

Economically stricken Cuba is hanging on by its fingernails. Life is grim and hard on this beautiful but impoverished island. Food is rationed and scarce, public transport erratic, and blackouts common. Many people living in decrepit apartment buildings must haul buckets of water up numerous flights of stairs.

In the early 1950’s (an era how seemingly as remote as Ancient Egypt), my parents used to bring me to Havana each winter, and we often joined Ernest Hemingway and his mistress Pilar for daiquiris at its fabled ‘Floridita Bar.’ He was big, vivacious man with a white beard and a rumbling laugh. I took an immediate liking to the famed writer, and he was very kind to me, telling me stories about the Spanish civil war and deep water fishing. I still have one of his books, inscribed, ‘to Eric, from his friend Ernest Hemingway, Havana, 1951.’

Eight years later, a Communist lawyer named Fidel Castro Ruiz stormed ashore with 81 men to begin a guerilla war against the US-backed Batista dictatorship. Cuba was then a virtual American colony: Americans owned 60% of Cuba’s farmland and industry. But, contrary to Communist history, the island was not a wasteland of gangsters, prostitutes and oligarchs. It was the West Indies’ most developed, prosperous island with a well-developed middle class and a living standard that was near the top of Latin America’s.

On 1 January, 1959, Castro’s guerilla fighters arrived in Havana and proclaimed a revolutionary republic. For the first time in its long history (Havana is 50-70 years older than New York City), Cuba was genuinely independent of Spanish rule and American domination.

Once Castro was in power, his comrade-in-arms, Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevera, today an icon of romantic revolution to the uninformed and juvenile, ordered the execution of over 600 ‘bourgeois.’ Che then went off to the Congo to wage revolution but found cannibalism instead of a waiting proto-Marxist proletariat and was quickly run out of the chaotic country by the CIA.

Undaunted, Che headed to Bolivia, where he got killed leading a farcically inept Marxist revolution. That nation’s dirt poor peasants rejected Che and turned him in. CIA’s famed agent, Felix Rodriguez, finished off Che. But, as Che rightly observed, ‘revolutionaries never die.’ His memory went on to live as a pop image on t-shirts and berets around the globe.

Che’s fiascos notwithstanding, in an era when America bullied and exploited Latin America, and treated its people with contempt and scorn, Castro’s revolution was a triumph. His resistance to 50 years of US efforts to overthrow or assassinate him, and a near-lethal embargo, was epic. Recall that this was the era when most of Latin American was ruled by US-backed military dictators or civilian oligarchs.

US attempts to topple Castro nearly led to nuclear war with the USSR in 1962. The Soviets rushed nuclear-tipped missiles into Cuba to thwart a planned US invasion. The US imposed a naval blockade of Cuba and massed forces for an invasion. Nuclear war was very close. I was a student at Washington’s Georgetown University at the time and vividly recall how frightened we all were.

In the end, Moscow won the confrontation, though Americans were led to believe by White House spin, their media, and Hollywood that President John Kennedy was the victor. Moscow withdrew its missiles in exchange for the US agreeing never to invade Cuba and pulling its missiles out of Italy and Turkey. Castro was saved by Moscow.

In recent years, KGB veterans of the Cuban missile crisis have claimed that Castro begged Nikita Khrushchev to fire nuclear weapons at the US mainland. Moscow refused.

The cost of maintaining Cuba’s independence and dignity was poverty, dictatorship, and quickly becoming a Soviet satellite until the USSR collapsed in 1991. Today, only oil-rich Venezuela and Canadian tourists are keeping battered Cuba afloat.

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Havana, once called ‘the naughtiest city on earth,’ is a museum of the 1950’s: decaying, melancholy, dark and depressing.

Cuba has one of Latin America’s best medical and education system, and highest literacy. But life in Cuba is punishing: food and power shortages, endless queuing, grinding poverty and constant supervision by secret policemen and Communist party informers – in short, tropical Stalinism.

Castro blames this misery on the US embargo. The US blames Castro’s failed Stalinist economics for the mess. In fact, both are responsible. Cuba has suffered fifty years of the kind of pitiless collective punishment that Gaza has been experiencing, just in slower-motion.

The US has maintained its crushing boycott under the laughable pretexts that Havana holds 200 political prisoners and is Communist. Yet the US cheerfully deals with Communist China and Vietnam, and itself holds 36,000 Iraqi political prisoners, not to mention Guantanamo. America’s ally Israel holds 10,000 Palestinian political prisoners.

It’s high time the West Indies’ largest island was welcomed back to this hemisphere and given civilized treatment. A recent poll showed that even 55% of Miami’s once fanatically anti-Castro Cubans now support ending the US embargo.

On an interesting side note, Fidel Castro used to warn black and mulatto Cubans, who are about 60% of the population, that the US was a deeply racist nation that hated blacks. The election of Barack Obama has exploded that argument. Cubans are just as agog over Obama as everyone else.

Chinese influence is moving into Cuba, and Russia is reasserting its strategic presence by rearming Cuba’s obsolete military forces. So the US has little time to lose.

First Fidel, and now Raul Castro, have been happy to keep the US at arm’s length by provoking occasional crises. An end to US-Cuban hostility could bring up to two million US tourists. The creaky Communist control system could not withstand this invasion. Nor could the Spartan tourist infrastructure.

Young Cubans are yearning for the kind of anti-Communist revolution that swept Eastern Europe. So the Party, which refuses to implement Chinese-style reforms, may keep Cuba frozen in time.

As I wrote from Havana eight years ago, there will be no major changes until Fidel Castro, whom just about all Cubans regard as their nation’s beloved ‘papa,’ finally dies.

The age of Yankee imperialism in Latin America is over. Cuba raised the banner of revolt, and paid the price. Now is the time for Cuba to rejoin the polity of Latin American democratic nations as a member in good standing. America, I hope, will by now have learned to treat Cuba with dignity, respect and economic restraint.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2009

RALLI – Blending One’s Soul & Self into a Piece of Textile


The fascinating fabric called Ralli or Rilli is a remarkable textile artwork converted into quilts, table runners and cushion covers. Thousands of women are involved mostly in Sindh, partly in some parts of Cholistan in Bahawalpur distt. of Punjab and in some areas of Balochistan.
A normal ralli whether a quilt, a cushion cover or a table runner, is a textile jewel finished with physical and spiritual labor done with hand and mind putting in almost 180 hours of an artisan woman doing this job.
Women start making ralli in early ages as part of their dowry. In other cases, the poor artisans offer these products as gifts to elite families of Sindh on occasion of marriages or births and in return get an animal like cow, buffalo or a goat (locally called as khir piyarina i.e. to provide a regular source of milk for the artisan’s family).
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THE FABULOUS WORLD OF RALLI TEXTILES

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by Nayyar Hashmey

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What’s the true sense of beauty? Does it lie in the eyes of the beholder; or is it manifest in the crafted object itself or is it a coming together of kindred spirits – that of the maker and the beholder, the magical moment when a common chord is struck across the barriers of time and space. Just such chemistry ripples through the articulated patchwork of traditional homemade products crafted by the rural feminina of Sindh in Pakistan.

This fascinating product called Ralli or Rilli is a remarkable textile artwork converted into quilts, table runners and cushion covers. Thousands of women are involved mostly in Sindh, partly in some parts of Cholistan in Bahawalpur distt. of Punjab and in some areas of Balochistan.

A normal ralli whether a quilt, a cushion cover or a table runner, is a textile jewel finished with physical and spiritual labor done with hand and mind putting in almost 180 hours of an artisan woman doing this job. Women start making ralli in early ages as part of their dowry. In other cases, the poor artisans offer these products as gifts to elite families of Sindh on occasion of marriages or births and in return get an animal like cow, buffalo or a goat (locally called as khir piyarina i.e. to provide a regular source of milk for the artisan’s family).

Ralli, the beautiful handicraft from Sindh in Pakistan exhibits the wide array of cultural beauty. Its intricate patterns show the creativity, the skill and dexterity of the Sindhi artisans which places the area among the culturally rich lands of the world.

Sindhi rallis are beautiful and colorful. They are cluster of patchwork and or embroidery. Used also as bed linen Sindhi ralli is made with multicolored pieces of cloth stitched together in attractive designs. The color combinations and unique patterns speak for the aesthetic sense of its creator. The designs vary from floral motifs, waves and images of animals or trees. Many handicrafts of great beauty like cushion covers, embroidered shirts; wall hangers and mirror worked handbags are also made in ralli style mainly in Umarkot and Tharparkar area of Sindh. (more…)

How to promote traffic of your Blog


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Since a blog owner’s main objective is to disseminate ideas, material or thoughts to as many people as possible, therefore, every blogger wants more and more readers for his blog. 
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WANT MORE BLOG TRAFFIC, TRY IT!

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 WoP research desk
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Compared to websites where site owners have 100 percent commercial interest (and, therefore, entirely cater information to these commercial enterprises’ own customers, clients etc.) blogs are mostly a free lance activity.  Being individualistic in nature, they offer platform to their readers to interact with the blogger (webmaster) or other viewers on a more personal basis.

images3Since a blog owner’s main objective is to disseminate ideas, material or thoughts to as many people as possible, therefore, every blogger wants more and more readers for his blog. On the web these days we find umpteen number of sites, blogs and search engines who promise to provide ‘secrets’ which would act like miracles and generate traffic of lakhs in a nu. But, on using their service / s; in most cases, you land into a maze of complicated registrations, followed by a heap of reading materials, junk emails and in certain cases the blogger with its emails and its viewers is traded like a commodity.

Contrary to such ‘miracle makers’ the other day I came across a site, created by a blogger himself and I found his idea quite innovative. Each blog entered on the site is displayed in a stream flickering for a few seconds. The blog name and address is displayed on top panel while a ‘pause’ button is available too. If you want to view contents of a blog of your choice, just click on the pause button and you land directly on to the home page of the blog you wish to view /read contents of.

I tried this site (alphainventions.com) and got a quick response. You too could try it. 

Disclaimer:  This post is for information only. WOP editors do not hold any responsibility, whatsoever, if a blogger may find the results otherwise.

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Published in: on 21/01/2009 at 10:55 am  Comments (3)  
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