Monday, October 20, 2014

Juma Isha Azaan Kaaba Mosque During Hajj Season

The Islamic call to prayer, Azaan, recorded during my Umrah during Hajj season, on Friday (Juma) at night prayer (Isha) time. I was able to say all 5 prayers in Mecca on this Friday. A blessed experience that remains with me for a lifetime.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pakistan's Head Case Of Maligning Malala And Denigrating Its Noble Nobel Prize Winners - IMRAN™

It boggles my mind how a once proud and capable country like Pakistan has worked extra hard to become a nation of self-loathing, miracle-waiting, pedagogue-worshipping, people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions, expect Allah to step in with a magical leader to fix the problems the people themselves cause and accept, while blaming everyone on the planet for the issues.

A majority of my fellow Pakistanis, including supposedly educated ones, are the only people who can detect things that even scanning electron microscopes or the Hubble Telescope cannot see. They see conspiracies everywhere. If there was a Nobel Prize for conspiracy theories, Pakistan would have dozens of recipients of the award. 

Sadly, Pakistan is the only country I know of that goes out of its way to malign the only two Pakistanis to win Nobel Prizes. They spit on Dr. Abdus Salam (Physics, contributing to understanding of the forces that make the universe work) because he is from a non-Muslim sect. They despise Malala because obviously she must have won the Nobel Prize (that she deserved to win solo last year even more than shared with someone this year) as a tool of the anti-Islam West and Zionist forces.

These Pakistanis come across sounding like Taliban apologists. The irony is that the first word that was spoken in The Message of God to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was “Iqra” — READ. How tragic that evil Taliban and their Al-Qaeda cohorts malign true Islam by shooting education seeking teenager girls in the head and blowing up children and schools in Pakistan. 

Even more hilarious than the funniest monologue by late Robin Williams or any standup comic in the world are the faux-rational questions people ask, or reasons they give, for why Malala won the Nobel Prize. They see a massive global conspiracy of everyone on the planet in what happened. For them, here is the absolute truth which I am certain will make perfect sense to them. 

One evening Malala and her family were sitting at dinner and said, how can we get rich and famous.

The father said, hey, why don't we arrange to have you shot in the head and it will all work out great. She said, Awesome!

They flew to Switzerland and had a meeting with the Rothschild family, which obviously leads the group of Jews that run the new world order. They got into a conference call with Benjamin Netanyahu (sadly a real life war criminal) and President Obama, who agreed to fund the project to insult Pakistan.

Then they invited every member of the Nobel Prize committee from Sweden to Switzerland for high tea, to get agreement they would give her the prize as an insult to all Muslims.

A Jewish doctor came and examined Malala’s head and pointed to the exact spot she should be shot with a gun.

She was so happy… knowing she would soon be able to make speeches, after a little bit of a headache of course!

The family then took a briefcase of Dollars from Obama (who happens to have had a Muslim father) and a gun from India’s Modi (sadly, a murderous politician in real life, responsible for a massacre of Muslims in India).  

They took out a help wanted ad in Taliban Daily Noose. They picked the applicant to shoot Malala in the head.

The rest, as they say, is (a) history (lesson).

I repeat what I have said many times before. “A nation that does not recognize its own problems, that does not take control of its own destiny, where every single individual knows, believes, and acts to do what he or she can to change and improve their part of society and their nation, is bound to continue into a death spiral. Where stood what was once a great nation all that would remain is a pile of waste, destruction, chaos and blame.”  

Until Pakistanis wake up and smell the reality, it starts with the man in the mirror, Pakistan will continue to be populated by people whose entire energy and creativity is spent on coming up with conspiracy theories that are funnier than George W. Bush’s idiotic utterances, or Joe Biden’s retarded faux pas; that are more complex than the inside of Optimus Prime in Transformers; and more creative than the “Final Unifying Theory Of The Universe." 

If these people actually believe in all their conspiracy theories, I am told there is more funding available so they can volunteer to have their teenage daughters shot in the head to become famous and rich.

My fellow Pakistanis, please stop being a head case. Stop maligning people that bring far more honor to our country and religion than the Taliban whose actions you seem to justify or the pseudo-religious and populist people you are following as leaders. Stop those who seek to destroy what opportunities we have to become the honest, responsible, educated, hard working, God-fearing but tolerant people our Prophet would smile on, and make Pakistan a country Quaide Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah would be proud of having founded. 

What are YOU going to do starting today, to be a better person, and to make your part of Pakistan a better place?

Sunday, October 05, 2014

SideWalk™ : Brandenburg Gate Germany At End Of Berlin Marathon At Dusk - IMRAN™

SideWalk™ - Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany - IMRAN™ by imrananwar on photosynth

This is one of the coolest things I have done during my travels.  I am calling creative items SideWalk™ projects. 

It was great to spend an afternoon, evening and early part of the night watch the scene, lighting, mood and crowd change at this historic spot in Germany. It is always a great experience to see this place but it was a special time of year. It was the start of Oktoberfest, the end of the Berlin Marathon, and the start of Fall.  

This magical effect was created by taking 25 photos step by step walking sideways across the width of the landmark Brandenburg Gate, without bumping into people, going around obstacles but trying to stay in a straight line. It was done soon after the race ended there, so the place was crowded and also littered by visitors who can always mess up a nice place. 

Imran Anwar© 2014 IMRAN

Friday, October 03, 2014

Can't See The (de)Forest(ation) For The Trees? - IMRAN™

I love trees. I love and grew up on and near rivers, waterways, and canals, since my late father, Chaudhry Anwar-ud-din, was in the Irrigation Department. He and my late mother, Nargis Anwar, always loved to plant trees wherever we went. We used to drive along remote parts of Punjab along private department-owned roads, with trees dotting the landscape, but never seeming to be enough for the levels of forestation the country needed.

So I was intrigued by an article written by a columnist in News International -- a newspaper that I had helped the Jang Group's owner launch almost exactly 25 years ago, on October 1, 1990 I think it was, and in which I have been published and written about many times in the past.

The writer was commenting on the trees that have had to be cut along some major roadways that now connect an ever expanding city of Lahore, catering to an ever growing population. But his slant was about criticizing the political leadership, with whom he and others may have other differences.

I am sure the political leadership, at the federal and all provincial levels, in Pakistan leave much to be desired and need to be held accountable. But complaining about trees along just one particular road may seem to be driven by people whose home values may be impacted by such trees being cut. But that is just conjecture on my part.

In my opinion, having escaped death many times on the roads of Pakistan, narrow, poorly lit road cause millions of hours of delays, health issues for people stuck daily among idling engines pouring smoke and poisonous fumes in the air, and cost hundreds of lives in traffic accidents. Those are far bigger issues than saving some trees that happened to line Canal Bank, a popular road in Lahore that is now almost a central artery. This is a road I used to go drive on after late nights in the Jang office, and it would be almost like driving on a private country road late at night. Today, you could go miles beyond what was then wilderness and not run out of homes and communities still springing up.

When I was living in Pakistan, first studying at Aitchison College in the late 1970s and later working at Jang Lahore, The Mall (Road) was narrow but wonderfully tree-lined. I did mourn the trees that had to be taken down over the years to expand that roadway. But as population and traffic increase, and a city built for a few horse carriages is now teeming with millions of vehicles, expanding roads is a sad fact of life. That applies not just in Pakistan but everywhere.

The writer mentions some activists opposed to these trees being cut. I believe the "do-gooders", as the writer calls them, would serve the nation, economy, ecology and environment of Pakistan far more by focusing on efforts to plant more trees nationwide, not just trying to protect some along a busy road that will only get busier.

Deforestation is a global problem. What Pakistan has always lacked is enough trees. I believe that with enough people working together, that is the problem that needs more attention than a particular set of trees, In My Humble Opinion.

Imran Anwar