Khush Amdeed (Welcome)

Welcome to Chowraha - crossroads!

Chowraha is the crossroads of thoughts, events, opinions and feelings...all that have been shaped by individuals living in an increasingly complex world inter-connected through various means of communications.

This blog is about the crossroads in society - whether it is those of a diaspora community, global media complicating the structure of nations and cultures, or individuals finding parallels in spaces unknown to them.

Note:
The above picture is courtesy a much-admired photographer (Ali Khurshid) whose work is a source of inspiration and reaffirms the belief in the complex beauty of this world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

| Thinking Orientalism | American Popular Culture



The first time I was introduced to Edward Said was during my undergraduate years in Mills College in a class on American Images of China and Japan by one of my favorite professors Dr. Wah Cheng. Ever since, I have been undeniably inspired by Edward Said's narratives and I have begun seeing the world the way he saw it. The same concepts spoke to me throughout undergraduate years and later in life too.

Now, at SOAS, thinking again about the role of media in society and how it contributes to shaping our thoughts, I find myself turning back to the writings of Edward Sa
id and Gramsci's concepts of hegemo
ny and Foucault's understanding of power he has related to in his work. For a class on Mediated Culture of the Middle East, I decided to work on a presentation covering Orientalism in American popular culture with regards to the ima
ges of the Middle East.
Some of you may not be aware of the term "Orientalism" or the idea of "the other" that Said turned our attention to. I have explained Edward Said's concept of
Orientalism in the presentation before moving on to the vastly pictorial presentation. But before you go to the presentation, I wou
ld like to clarify a few concepts:

What does "Mediated" mean: mediated is any thing which is not directly seen or heard by one. It has been mediated through the accounts of others, through text, images, audio, books and mass media.

Edward Said's concept of Orientalism traces mostly the roots of the concept in French and British colonialism. Towards the end of his book "Orientalism" he does however devote some time to the American emergence as the Orientalizing power. He argues that because colonial rule began to diminish and America began to emerge as the super power in the late 19th century, the role of Orientalizing the Oriental was transfered from the colonial powers on to America. This is where my interest in American popular culture's images of the Arabs, Persians, Turks and the Middle East became of interest to me.

Further, I have taken a great deal of inspiration from the exhibition arranged by UCLA on "Seducing America" a few years ago and the display collection of things that reflected Orientalism in America.

To check the video out on youtube - click here

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

First Impressions in Cairo


I've never written in a blog before so here goes nothing!
I am currently an undergraduate student and I'm studying at the American University in Washington, DC.
This year, however, I'm actually studying abroad in Cairo, Egypt at the American University in Cairo. (The 2 universities aren't affiliated)
Maybe it makes no sense to come to Cairo for a full year considering my major is in Film/Visual Media and I'm minoring in International Studies, but I've always wanted to study abroad during college. I chose Cairo because 1. I wanted to learn Arabic and 2. as a Pakistani-American Muslim, I have always wanted to know what life would be like in another Muslim country besides Pakistan. I have never visited the Middle East and I got tired of listening to what CNN, BBC, NBC, etc. had to say about the "Middle East" and how most news stations (in the US at least) treat it as if it is one country with only one kind of people, Muslims.
Of course, after being here in Cairo for a little over 2 months I realize nothing is ever what you expect it to be.

Things I Did Expect:
1. All the meat is halal, which is a huge plus as a Muslim! That one is obvious, but as a Muslim-American or any Muslim living as a minority anywhere, you learn to appreciate these small things. It's nice not having to worry about making sure there's no pepperoni on the pizza and that you order TURKEY sandwiches not HAM/BACON sandwiches.

2. The entire Muslim culture. For example, saying "Salaam" to nearly everyone you see and responding with an "Inshallah" "Alhamdulillah" and "Mashaallah" in every conversation, hearing the call to prayer echoing down the streets, etc. Islam is not just a religion or form worship for many Muslims, it's also a way of living that intertwines with the culture in almost every aspect. When a religion is blended in with the culture, it is easy to see and feel how people have such a strong faith in God. I expected this, because it's what I feel in Pakistan, but maybe in a different sense.

3. Chaos. This expectation was specific to Cairo. Especially, the traffic here is notorious throughout most of the world. What can I say, really? Egyptians like to live life on the edge and the got places to go and people to meet.

Things I Didn't Expect:
1. No one in Cairo ever seems to have any change. Or at least that's what I thought when I first arrived here. However, I have now come to the conclusion that everyone is very greedy when it comes to change.
For example, if I go to a cafe to buy some hot chocolate and I only have a 50 pound note, the cashier always asks if I have any change. I say no and he proceeds to frown and give an annoyed look. Then he sighs and pulls out a drawer filled with change in 1, 5 and 10 pound notes. To this day, I am perplexed.

2. Elderly women/aunties on the street will hiss at you if they find you to be inappropriate or indecent or even if they just don't like you. This is actually not from first hand experience. Some of my American friends who clearly look foreign have told me how on their way to the supermarket, old women have hissed at them, even though many of them take the care to cover properly and dress modestly. It's a bit odd, but it may have more to do with the age gap rather than a cultural intolerance.

There are many more differences that I have noted, but they each require an entire post. I just wanted to give a taste of life in Cairo for now.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Words and Gulfs - the World we Live in Today


A piece on today's Metro, a newspaper read by at least 2 million people in the UK everyday, caught my instant attention. At first I found it funny, but then it made me sad - sad to see how careless and in fact ridiculously childish reporters were, and media is at allowing (trash) news to appear. Trash not because of what it is reporting, but because of the "way" it is being reported, the language being used to described the news, the objectivity in the news item, and the neutrality a news item is supposed to have. The news item I am referring to was titled "Islam-obsessed girl disappears" and it went on to report that "it is feared she may have been brainwashed by hardline Muslims..."

Notice the use of the words "Islam-obsessed" in the title. It has instantly manipulated the story and even before jumping into the news item, the reader knows Islam was the cause of something bad. It doesn't matter any more that the only evidence the newspaper could give of the teenage girl's obsession with Islam was that she was "studying the Koran." Would me reading the Bible make me Christianity-obsessed, would you studying Mandarin make you Chinese-obsessed, or would someone studying Torah make them Judaism-obsessed?

The teenage girl has been missing for a month now, and it is claimed by Metro newspaper that it was after she had an argument over her studying Koran. In the short news item, there was no reference to her relationship with her parents, the personalities, characters or habits of her parents or her past relationship with them. It could have been a multitude of reasons that led her to run away but why are we only being told of her obsession with Islam? Maybe the parents were obsessed with shutting her intellect of every thing and it was not just about the Koran. Maybe it was an altogether different reason?

However, for some reason it didn't come as a shock to me that the words Islam-obsessed were used - in fact my first reaction was a laugh. Why? Perhaps because all around us media is using words like fanatics, ridiculous obsessions, fundamentalist, hard-liners, extremists, crazy lunatics, and terrorists to explain Muslims and Islam. It came as no surprise that this girl was "Islam obsessed" and that was the reason for her disappearance. Media flooding us with words that treat Muslims as the "others" in the society has succeeded in making us as readers numb and almost believing without questioning.

Edward Said writes in the introduction of his book "Covering Islam" that it is the "journalists making extravagant statements, which are instantly picked up and further dramatized by the media" that has resulted in this idea that Islam = fundamentalism or fundamentalism = Islam. He also says that "what is said about the Muslim mind, or character, or religion, or culture as a whole cannot be said in mainstream discussion about Africans, Jews, other Orientals, or Asians."

Dramatized is true! I can almost imagine hard-line Muslims recruiting this young girl as the next terrorist for a plan brewing up somewhere. "It is 'feared' she may have been 'brain-washed' by ...." says the news item on Metro this morning. It sounds like some parasite attack or a scary alien (hard-liners) that is injecting the society with its malicious infection stinging them and "brainwashing" them with an agenda that is beyond the Western world's comprehension. How much more drama are we going to get?

It is no wonder this is the country where BNP can be so popular that it can be worth considering coming on television. It is no wonder that people can be harrassed for being Muslims, and killed outside mosques because there is such fear structurally instigated by press and media in general. A newspaper which distributes over 1.5 million copies every day, no matter how open it is about its careless use of language should be more careful when instigating hatred spread by generalized words and sweeping statements. If not, then as readers, we should be more questioning before allowing our minds to be plagued by Islamophobia.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Is Fair Also Lovely? (Part 1)

Fair & Lovely is a product extremely well-known and easily available in many non-white countries of the world. I have tried to delve into what exactly is being sold here in physical terms and in ideology? I have attempted to explain why buying such a product is problematic and what can we learn about societies through this? (In Part 2, I will look into the Fair & Lovely expanding into the men's world by introducing its menz active version, and the implications of that on the world of consumerism, commodification and advertisements)

***

Living in a world of commodities, more often than not, we tend to overlook the historical context, the cultural and social implications of, the impact on mentalities, and the impact on our lives (in general) of commercial products and the marketing techniques used to sell these products. Having recently seen or rather “properly” seen (this time critically viewing) the Fair and Lovely ads on youtube, I was forced to analyze them in several ways. Continue reading here...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twitter to Boost Publicity and Sales


Many people still do not fully understand what Twitter is or how to use it. But the Twitter boom cannot be ignored. Learn how to use this secret tool for higher sales!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Dubai celebrates Twestival in Ramadan Spirit

The following article is taken from www.zawya.com

The UAE's Twitterati meet next Saturday to help raise awareness & donations for Dubai Autism Center as Dubai takes part in Twestival Local

Dubai, UAE - 07 September 2009 - Dubai will host Dubai Twestival Local, one of the 200 Twestival Local events taking place in leading cities around the world, on Saturday using the power of Twitter to support local causes. Dubai Twestival Local (@dubaitwestival on Twitter) aims to raise money and awareness for Dubai Autism Center, a non-profit organisation Founded in November 2001, set-up to help integrate children with autism into the community and raise social awareness for autism.

Dubai Twitter users, or 'tweeps' as they call themselves, will converge on The Jam Jar gallery in Al Quoz on Saturday 12 September 2009 to meet other members of the Twitter community and support Dubai Autism Center (@dubaiautism) at an informal networking event sponsored by Nokia (@nokconv), ShopandShip.com (powered by Aramex, @shopnship) and Nahel.com (@naheldotcom).

"We're delighted to have been able to organise Dubai Twestival Local during the holy month of Ramadan, since giving is at the core of the Twestival concept and is the reason that the event has been given such fantastic support from volunteers and sponsors," said Prashant K. Gulati (@pkgulati), one of the co-organisers of the Dubai Twestival. "We're proud to support Dubai Autism Centre, since, sadly, recognition for autism and understanding those that suffer from the condition and their families is still very low worldwide. We hope that the Twestival will make a worthwhile contribution to autism awareness in the Emirates."

Based around the social media service Twitter, the Twestival or Twitter-festival brings the UAE into a global community using one of the fastest growing new innovations in today's new media. Twitter is the online service that allows people to share short messages of under 140 characters.

The Emirates' Twitter community has grown rapidly since the service was unblocked by the UAE's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) last year and about 6,000 are currently estimated to use the service in the Emirates, up from just 500 Twitter users at the time of the first Dubai Twestival in February of this year! Global usage of Twitter grew by 1,460 percent over the past year and the micro-blogging platform now boasts 44.5 million users (according to Comscore, June 2009).

The Twestival is organized 100% by volunteers and 100% of the money raised by these events goes directly to charities. Twestival events are also being organised around the Middle East, with events taking place in Abu Dhabi, UAE; Amman, Jordan; Doha, Qatar; and Beirut, Lebanon.

"We hope that Twestival Local will build on the great success of February's Twestival Global networking event which helped both raise awareness for Twitter in the UAE and for Charity: Water" said Gulati. "Once again, Twestival has been entirely put together using Twitter, which goes to show how powerful 140 character messages can be."

Twitter users who wish to attend Dubai Twestival Local should follow @dubaitwestival for daily updates on the event.

-Ends-

Dubai Twestival Local
A Twestival is a global series of events organized by volunteers around the world, independently from any not-for-profit; although the organising teams do work closely with charity organisations. Twestival also sets out to identify key skills of volunteers and match these with the needs of the cause; particularly communications strategy, tech integration and social media training. Twestival Local takes place in cities around the world: 10-13 September 2009.

Dubai Twestival Local takes place on Saturday 12 September 2009, 8pm to 11pm at The Jam Jar in Al Quoz, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. For more information on Dubai Twestival Local visit http://dubai.twestival.com and follow @DubaiTwestival on Twitter.

About the Dubai Autism Centre (DAC)
The Dubai Autism Centre (DAC) is a non-profit organization providing information, support, advice and training to professionals and parents of children with Autism. Founded in November 2001 with the issuance of a decree from H.H. Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the DAC is focused on providing various services for children with Autism and their families. The Centre also works toward facilitating a better community understanding of autism, including early diagnosis and treatment methodology.

The school is functioning at full capacity providing a holistic approach to 43 students of different nationalities. The Program includes academics and therapies - psychological, speech, occupational, music, Computer literacy and prevocational training - as well as medical care with a full time nurse and a part time doctor.

A team of clinical psychologists and therapists provides full assessment and diagnosis for children within the community. The assessment and diagnostic unit is vital because the right and accurate diagnoses provides the first step towards individualized rehabilitation programs.

DAC has initiated many awareness campaigns and launched many fundraising activities to meet its obligations.

DAC mission is to alleviate the suffering of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families through our educational (therapy's) programs and integrate them into the community through our community awareness projects.

Dubai Autism Center is @dubaiautism on Twitter.

About Autism
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a lifelong neurological developmental disorder. ASD usually affects the person's verbal and social communication skills. The incidence of Autism is increasing world wide with a 400% rise in the diagnosis of Autism in the last decade.

Autism is the most common of the Pervasive Developmental Disorders, affecting an estimated 1 in 146 births. The incidence of developing autism is higher in males with the ration of 4 boys to one girl.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Guantanamo Suicide Raises Questions

Abdullah Saleh, a Guantanamo detainee is alleged to have committed suicide. Binyam Muhammad, an ex-Guantanamo detainee refutes the allegations.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The New War on Afghanistan and Brtish Opinion

More British lives have been lost in the last one month than any other month in the last seven years. But British government's propaganda for war on Afghanistan continues

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Cause

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it -- at that moment you begin to die.

And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice."

-- Mumia Abu-Jamal --

Silence

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stumbling Upon Myself...




It's always interesting to see and hear what others have to say about your work. One of the most important things for a blogger in fact is the appreciation/critique fellow-bloggers or internet users give to her work. It doesn't make a difference whether it is a word of compliment or a word of concern, the fact that your name or your blog has been referred to on someone else's blog or website shows that you are relevant enough to someone.

I was super excited to google my name recently and find several sites using my work. It's exciting - you will discover a lot more about yourself too if you just google out your name! What's more exciting in the e-world is that there are no boundaries here. My work has been translated into Spanish, French and German and I found it all on google!

French:
During Ramadan 2006, which was my first Ramadan after returning from college, I wrote an article called "Ramadan from California to Karachi" which was published in Dawn. Later the article was also published in Ohmynews and Chowk. On a site called anthropologi info the writer has talked about Ramadan in France and then connected it with how and what Ramadan is around the world. I was so encouraged to see how the writer has broken up parts of my article and copied them as reference material in the original article, giving my name and the link to my article.


Spanish:
An academic journal has taken my article on "Role of Media" and copied it there for its readers giving me my copyright credit which is why I am A-okay with it. The article was the first article I ever wrote as a citizen journalist/blogger. I published it in Ohmynews and the article remained on its homepage for over 2 months. It was widely appreciated and later I received an email from Computer Amateurist of Columbia University asking for my permission to publish this article in their journal.

Another Spanish site called hoy.com has an article by an author called Carlos Jijon who has taken quotes from my article and added his thoughts and opinions to it. This one is probably the most encouraging for me because the author has not simply copied it but actually broken it into pieces and built his article around it.

What's also interesting to me is that the articles that have been translated into Spanish use my article written on "The Role of Media." If I were to force myself to think why this particular article, it makes me wonder that the role of media, its manipulation at the hands of the social and political elite must be an important issue of concern for the Spanish speaking public around the world.

German:
My article on Dr. Afia Siddiqui has been translated into German on this website called Reader's Edition. The article was originally titled "Who is Afia Siddiqui" and has been translated word by word into this site and was first published on Ohmynews.

I used one of the free translation sites online to see what had been written. Alternatively google has an option next to every non-English link that says "Translate this page" and if u click it u see the foreign link in English. It usually works but for this German site it just wouldn't which is why I had to resort to using Yahoo Babelfish - a popular free translator site.

The cool thing is - I got a 4.8 out of 5 rating on the article too!

Blogging is changing, or some might argue, has already changed the face of the world. It is the bond between bloggers from around the world, the ability of blogging to break boundaries and surpass languages that is going to bring the world even closer. Diversity is not just celebrated here, but in fact taken for granted in the blogging world - a united tomorrow is not far away!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Obama Travels to the Middle East

President Obama will travel to Egypt tomorrow in order to improve the US image in the Middle East and to address issues that are of concern to the world.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Guantanamo Closure Justice to Ensure Peace

:Closure of Guantanamo calls for the closure of all notorious jails

“Change will come” – These words from Obama’s political campaign definitely have won him enough support to make him the most popular icon in the world today. His desire to see American troops out of Iraq and his announcement for the closure of Guantanamo Bay jail are steps allowing for his supporters to see the “change” actually materialize. Binyam’s freedom last month is testimony to the “change” after seven years of “war on terror” ordeal. This change is however only a tip of the ice-berg ready to melt.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is Taliban Going to Take Over Pakistan

The Taliban are advancing in Pakistan and weakening the government's control over the country. This brings Pakistan at the centre of concern worldwide.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who is Political Prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal

Rejected by Supreme Court, Mumia Still Awaits Justice

Mumia Abu Jamal has been locked in Philadelphia jail for over two decades awaiting his death row. His only crime, his defenders argue, is the color of his skin.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is war on terror a bad strategy?

Battle against terrorism is leading to more hatred

There are vast amount of finances being used to conduct the war on terror. However, terrorism seems to be on the rise still. Is the "war on terror" a bad strategy?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dr. Afia's Case Still Demands Justice


Binyam's evidence advances investigation into Dr. Afia's case - it is revealed that in fact Dr. Afia was imprisoned all five years of her "disappearance" in Bagram jail, Afghanistan. Her story demands cries for justice - forward and spread the word.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Guantanamo - Is it the beginning of the end?


Read my recent article that explores on whether the closure of Guantanamo Bay is the tip of the ice-berg or a remarkable step on its own. The original article is published in Suite101.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Haiti: Struggle to survive




According to a study conducted by the Inter-American Bank, there are more than 26 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean facing ever-deep poverty if food prices remain as high as they have been lately. Between the beginning of 2006 and March 2008, worldwide food prices have increased by a staggering 68 percent. As a reaction, protests and riots have broken out in countries like Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mexico.

In Haiti, the situation could hardly be worst. One of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti is undergoing major humanitarian crisis caused by prevalent food shortage, growing population, dependency on imported food, increased worldwide prices and hence, growing poverty. The recent hurricanes and storms have only hit the country's deplorable conditions harder. Over 200 people have lost their lives in the last three weeks by the hands of the hurricanes causing severe flooding. Over 600,000 people are in need of help.


John Holmes, the U.N undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs described the situation saying, "It's clear that one of the effects of the successive storms has been to wash away a lot of the efforts that were made to restore agricultural production in Haiti itself."

Haiti has largely been dependant on imported food, and the global spike in prices along with a global food shortage has been largely responsible for the country's current state. Efforts are being made by the United Nations and other aid organizations to uplift the agricultural production in Haiti so that the dependency on foreign food can be relatively relieved. The storms have caused much of these activities a major setback.

The economic and sustenance situation is further weakening Haiti's vulnerable political scenario. Poverty has a direct correlation with public frustration and the food shortage is only aggravating this mass-level dissatisfaction. This discontentment could hardly be more justified. Most people live on simply $2 a day. With the current price level, it takes half of what they earn to buy a small container of rice. Six out of 10 people in Haiti's capital city cannot even afford one square meal a day. Unfortunately, in response to riots and public dissatisfaction, governments often resort to repression too -- thus, only further aggravating the volatile situation.

When frustrated is vented out by means of violence, it obviously results in the loss of lives and breakdown of infrastructure. The poor are caught between choosing between two failed situations. They either choose to submit and remain caught in the cycle of poverty, or raise voices for the establishment to take notice further only bringing deaths to their own people. 

In early April, six Haitians and a UN peacekeeper were killed in the riots. The violent disturbances caused the ouster of the prime minister of this highly indebted country. Hedi Annabi, a special representative of the U.N Secretary General was quoted as saying, "Obviously, people who are hungry have no stake in stability... And if we cannot respond to some of their basic needs, I think all of the progress we have made in the last three years will be at great risk."

Unable to afford even one square meal a day, parents are pulling their children out of schools. Poverty is hence dragging the poor into an even more vicious cycle where a compromise is being made on the future investment of the country. UNICEF and the World Food Program are falling behind in donations, unable to keep pace with the spiraling cost of rice, which has hit $950 a ton, three times what it was at the start of 2007.

Some analysts predict that the constant spike in food prices is likely to continue until after 2009. Studying the history of Haiti, it seems that when the country opened its doors to globalization allowing imported food items and removing tariffs, the local economy lost its impetus. Cheaper goods produced at subsidized prices, even food items replaced what Haiti was producing and manufacturing locally. If Haiti is to pull out of the pitiful situation it is in, it needs to work on self-sustainability. Only can the reduced dependence on imported items bring back the local economy to its feet. 

Haiti: Struggling to Survive

According to a study conducted by the Inter-American Bank, there are more than 26 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean facing ever-deep poverty if food prices remain as high as they have been lately. Between the beginning of 2006 and March 2008, worldwide food prices have increased by a staggering 68 percent. As a reaction, protests and riots have broken out in countries like Haiti, Nicaragua, and Mexico. 

In Haiti, the situation could hardly be worst. One of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti is undergoing major humanitarian crisis caused by prevalent food shortage, growing population, dependency on imported food, increased worldwide prices and hence, growing poverty. The recent hurricanes and storms have only hit the country's deplorable conditions harder. Over 200 people have lost their lives in the last three weeks by the hands of the hurricanes causing severe flooding. Over 600,000 people are in need of help.

John Holmes, the U.N undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs described the situation saying, "It's clear that one of the effects of the successive storms has been to wash away a lot of the efforts that were made to restore agricultural production in Haiti itself." 

Haiti has largely been dependant on imported food, and the global spike in prices along with a global food shortage has been largely responsible for the country's current state. Efforts are being made by the United Nations and other aid organizations to uplift the agricultural production in Haiti so that the dependency on foreign food can be relatively relieved. The storms have caused much of these activities a major setback. 

The economic and sustenance situation is further weakening Haiti's vulnerable political scenario. Poverty has a direct correlation with public frustration and the food shortage is only aggravating this mass-level dissatisfaction. This discontentment could hardly be more justified. Most people live on simply $2 a day. With the current price level, it takes half of what they earn to buy a small container of rice. Six out of 10 people in Haiti's capital city cannot even afford one square meal a day. Unfortunately, in response to riots and public dissatisfaction, governments often resort to repression too -- thus, only further aggravating the volatile situation. 

When frustrated is vented out by means of violence, it obviously results in the loss of lives and breakdown of infrastructure. The poor are caught between choosing between two failed situations. They either choose to submit and remain caught in the cycle of poverty, or raise voices for the establishment to take notice further only bringing deaths to their own people. 
In early April, six Haitians and a UN peacekeeper were killed in the riots. The violent disturbances caused the ouster of the prime minister of this highly indebted country. Hedi Annabi, a special representative of the U.N Secretary General was quoted as saying, "Obviously, people who are hungry have no stake in stability... And if we cannot respond to some of their basic needs, I think all of the progress we have made in the last three years will be at great risk." 

Unable to afford even one square meal a day, parents are pulling their children out of schools. Poverty is hence dragging the poor into an even more vicious cycle where a compromise is being made on the future investment of the country. UNICEF and the World Food Program are falling behind in donations, unable to keep pace with the spiraling cost of rice, which has hit $950 a ton, three times what it was at the start of 2007. 

Some analysts predict that the constant spike in food prices is likely to continue until after 2009. Studying the history of Haiti, it seems that when the country opened its doors to globalization allowing imported food items and removing tariffs, the local economy lost its impetus. Cheaper goods produced at subsidized prices, even food items replaced what Haiti was producing and manufacturing locally. If Haiti is to pull out of the pitiful situation it is in, it needs to work on self-sustainability. Only can the reduced dependence on imported items bring back the local economy to its feet. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Binyam's Release Raises Questions on the Image of Various Countries


Read my recent article on Suite101 - its about Binyam's release from Guantanamo Bay jail and looks into the fears of the British government on his release. To read the article, click on the link below.

Welcoming home the terrorist - Binyam

I will be updating this blog regularly on more articles related to this topic so watch out!