Monday, August 17, 2009

Pakistan's 62nd Independence Day

The Civic Center Plaza on Friday evening and all day Saturday was filled by a revival meeting for Latin American Pentecostals listening to music and tales of salvation and damnation in Spanish... it was something of a relief when they were succeeded on Sunday by thousands of Muslims celebrating Pakistan's 62nd Independence Day, which was on August 14.

The day was very much a family affair...

...with lots of eating...

...and encountering old friends.

Unfortunately, poor Pakistan is a "strategic ally" of the United States which isn't exactly helping the political stability of the new nation. As David Rothkopf writes in "The World's 10 Most Dangerous Nations," a blog post at Foreign Policy:
"Pakistan is just barely a functioning state in the pieces of the country where the government has some control. As for the rest of the place? There are pieces that never bought into the idea of the Pakistani nation. So take that, add nukes, add the impact on India and Afghanistan, add al Qaeda and the Taliban, add the country as a petri dish and a symbol for radical Islam and it's still the place with the biggest potential to blow up into something very messy for the world in the next several years."

To give Rothkopf, a Henry Kissinger protege, some credit, he does name the United States as the most dangerous country in the world right now:
"I generally believe the U.S. is a force for good in the world and I am inclined to believe that is the objective of the current administration. But there is no denying that the one country who has most aggressively reached out to touch the world militarily in the past decade is the United States. Further, and more importantly, following the logic in the EU and China mentions one has more power than the United States. That means no one can do more damage with a mistake or even with inaction. Also: as in the case of China and the EU, our economic missteps punish the planet and there is very little evidence to suggest we've taken the steps we need to avoid another meltdown of the 2008-2009 variety. Ask yourself: What has harmed more people on the planet, terrorist brutality or Wall Street venality?"

All I know is that this is a culture that is unafraid of color.


DbV said...

I stumbled onto this festival by accident and happened to be wearing a Pakistan Cricket Team cap a friend had picked up in London. I was fascinated by the people at the fest -- not 'typically' muslim, in that the women seemed about as stylish as any I've ever seen. It got my interest piqued about Pakistan.
Having been at Homo a GoGo the day before, I couldn't have asked for a more diverse weekend in this awesome city.
My pics here:

Civic Center said...

Dear DbV: I love the juxtaposition of Homo a GoGo and Pakistan Independence Day. I was an illegal faux-Pakistani worker in Amsterdam at a factory for a few months in 1972 (long story) and found them to be really sweet guys.