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Archive for January, 2008

…and again!

7.15am.

H-jan was about to leave. ‘I’ll see you tonight, we’ll discuss the wedding and set dates’. I smiled in agreement. He’s so perfect, so understanding, so caring. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

BOOM!

“Oh shoot,” was his reply. I gasped. We both looked at each other in silence. We knew what it was. Another suicide blast. Later, i learned that it was in Taymani, near Asia Hotel. More news to follow.

Pray for the victims and their families.

Afghanistan may plunge into a “failed state,” experts warn. Insurgency-wracked Afghanistan will become a failed state if urgent steps are not taken to tackle a deteriorating security situation and lackluster reconstruction and governance efforts, experts warned in separate reports Wednesday. (AFP, 30/01/08)

On the brighter side of things. My wedding.

H-jan and i have planned to go to Dubai/Malaysia for the wedding shopping bakhayr. We might go to Dubai only or Dubai and Malaysia. I’m flexible, i’m sure dubai has what we’re looking for.

The wedding has been put forward to end of April – beginning of May. Dad’s idea.

I have my wedding notebook and noted EVERYTHING! Wedding procession, Henna night, schedules, layouts, you name it.

Trip to Australia has been delayed til July (i’m going for F’s wedding!). Also going to show H around… in September, we’re due for the States.

That’s the plan for now.

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

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In tears and in pain

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This is how a blog scan defined my blog:

Rejuvenation of an Afghan Soul – Atash Parcha explores the personal side of living in Kabul—from the car bombs that only sometimes frighten her to the very joyous event of her recent engagement.

😀

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Ask anyone in Kabul who Tulsi is and you’re sure to see eyes light up. “Tulsi? Of course! She’s the victim. Her daughter-in-law hates her and her two-timing husband has a younger woman. She was right to leave home with her three kids,” people will tell you with a huge grin of satisfaction. Then passersby will get dragged in as the discussion shifts to the latest episodes of Afghanistan’s best-loved TV serial.

It’s the latest trend in Afghan popular culture: Indian serials dubbed into Dari with Pashto subtitles.

Its flagship is Tulsi’s epic tear-jerker, starring an attractive Hindu actress from Mumbai who mesmerizes Afghan viewers with her curve-enhancing costumes and babyish complexion. Close behind, and in a similar vein, are “The Story of Every House” and “The Trial of Life.” The storylines are a classic mix of star-crossed lovers, betrayals and running away from home, garnished with kisses, tears, silicone-enhanced figures and song-and-dance routines.

In the land of burqas, child slavery, captive women, furtive sex with adolescents, and high-walled homes as impenetrable as medieval manors, Tulsi is revolutionary.

All this freedom is too much for the self-appointed custodians of tradition. The gauntlet has been thrown down and, earlier this month, a group of prominent experts in the Quran, all influential members of the Islamic Council of Scholars, gained the support of part of Hamid Karzai’s government to censor the “sinful” programs. The move followed several months of intensive campaigning against privately owned TV stations and films imported from the world of “worshippers of graven idols,” as Hindus are known in these parts.

The Afghan minister for information and culture has written to the directors of the new TV channels threatening them with immediate closure if the programs are not modified. “It’s a severe blow for the broadcasters. These 15-minute episodes every day are excellent tools for attracting advertising,” says Amir Shah, dean of Kabul’s press corps. It comes as no surprise that this time Karzai has declined to take on the Islamic Council directly. To the contrary, he is more or less openly backing it.

For more than a year, police officers have had orders to confiscate alcoholic beverages sold on the street, and the days when Chinese brothels operated openly in the city centre are no more.

Only two months ago, a couple of dozen red-light establishments were shut down and about 300 Chinese prostitutes expelled from Afghanistan. (Source: World Politics Review, 01/19/2008, By Lorenzo Cremonesi)

I fully agree. Bollywood is washing the minds of many afghans. Afghanistan is becoming too Indian, families are following the dramas so closely that it’s ‘leaking’ into their own family home. Following the ‘Indian’ way of life. Hmmph!

Yes, i agree that the Afghans also need entertainment. But why Bollywood dramas with Hindu rituals? Pakistan has just as good dramas with religion and culture similar to ours.

Never been a fan of Bollywood.

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Ashura- 10th Muharram

Black flags wave in mourning. Ya hussein printed in Arabic. It’s the Holy Day for Muslims. It was the day Hassan and Hussein passed away. Although I’m not a Shiite, i still respect their faith and will not judge them. I believe Muslims need to unite under one flag, not point out their differences. Once a Muslim recites the kalima (Bear witness that there’s not God and Mohd is the last messenger) the rest is between him/her and God.

 So what’s Ashura all about?

On this day Shi’a are in remembrance, mourning attire is worn; they refrain from music, the reason being naturally in Islam when death has occurred music is considered impolite. It is a time for sorrow and respect of the person’s passing and it is also a time for self reflection. Basically committing yourself to the mourning of the Imam Hussein completely. Weddings and parties are also never planned on this date by Shias. Shias also express mourning by crying and listening to poems about the tragedy. They also listen to sermons on how Hussein and his family were martyred. This is intended to connect them with Hussein’s suffering and martyrdom, and the sacrifices he made to keep Islam alive. Hussein’s martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi’a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression

As suffering and cutting the body with knives or chains (matam) have been prohibited by many Shi’a marjas like Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran,[4], some Shi’a observe mourning with blood donation which is called “Qame Zani” [5] and flailing[6].

Certain rituals like the traditional flagellation ritual called zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam, involving the use of a zanjeer (a chain) are also performed[7]. These are popularly done for the sake of Imam Hussain and his family.

Most Muslims, particularly Sunnis, believe that the Shia practice of mätam constitutes “Bidat” (innovation) and goes against the Quran and Islam.

For full article, click here.

My weekend was good, went to Paghman. Played snowfights, also visited Ustaad Sayaaf’s house. My God, his house is on a mountain. His daughter had returned from Haj and so we visited her to congratulate her on her pilgrimage. She bought a small bottle of zam zam water, a prayer mat and Tasbeh.

It was my first time visiting his house, it’s a nice house. i could tell he’s not very conservative (oddly enough). He’s reasonable. The view from their house was stunning, you can see most of Paghman, the frozen lakes and glistening snow in the moonlight.

Just before we left, U.Sayaafs wife gave my sister and I a pair of salwar kameez each because of my engagement and because of my sisters wedding. Isn’t she nice?

I don’t find him as an efficient leader. But as a person, an individual and as a public speaker i find him very intelligent. His wife and family are very down to earth.

Went to Nova yesterday. My favourite place!

H-jan was over last night. We had no electricity so we couldn’t watch a movie. Instead, we stayed up with my sister, her hubby and my bro and played cards. It was great fun.

On Friday night my little sisters put H and myself to the test. We played Battle of the Sexes. I won, of course.

It’s Monday and i’m back at work. Feels NORMAL to start the working week on a Monday and not on a Sunday (which is the norm here).

Ba omideh deedaar, khuda negahdaar.

PS. My mother in law fell ill a few days ago, she has a liver problem. Please remember her in your prayers.

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Kabul in snow

I’m actually proud of me for taking such good pics, don’t you think it’s nice? Especially the first one!

Or maybe it’s the camera.. ehehe

By the way, these pics were taken when we visited my grandads grave.

Speaking of my grandad, i dreamt of him for the first time. We were sitting in the room, he entered. Broad and tall, filling the doorway. Sitting on the floor, i look up at him and find him smiling down at us. Dad was also in the room. Grandad came and sat on the floor, on the tooshak with his walking stick beside him, wearing his checkered vest over his peraan tombaan it was the first time since his death that i dreamt about him. I’m glad it was a good dream, hamdulillah 🙂

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Afghanistan has banned the film on the grounds that it could incite violence. Before the movie debut, the studio behind the film, Paramount Vantage, had to get its three young stars out of Afghanistan (their homeland) to protect them from a possible backlash.

Not fair! I was waiting to get this on DVD. Hmmph!

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