Sunday, July 3, 2011

Alert Update: US Boat To Gaza


July 3, 2011 - 6 pm NY time

Athens: the 8 people who were fasting in front of the U.S. Embassy have been arrested then released. They are Ken Mayers, Carol Murry, Medea Benjamin, Paki Wieland, Ray McGovern, Brad Taylor, Kit Kitteridge and Kathy Kelly. We will not have any more news until the morning. 

In the meantime, keep the pressure on Washington. They need to pressure the Greek government to release our captain, our boat and now these 8 people as well! Let them sail to Gaza!

Throughout this country people have responded to our call to contact the U.S. State Department to demand that they take the steps necessary to ensure that the Greek authorities immediately release the captain and let our boat sail to Gaza. 

There has been such a strong response that their voice mailboxes are full! That's great, but of course frustrating for those of you trying to make those calls.

Here are some other phone numbers and email addresses to try:
  • State Department general number: 202-647-4000 - ask for the Overseas U.S. Citizen Services Duty Officer and you'll get a live State Dept. official who has to hear you out.
  • The voicemail for Kim Richter - also at the State Dept. - says she's out of the office for several days, and that callers with urgent issues should contact a colleague at 202-647-4578.
  • If you can place an international phone call, the number for the U.S. Embassy in Athens is 011-30-210-721-2951.

Please try to call, fax or email your members of Congress as well.

EMAIL: nycons@greekembassy.org
  • Consulate General - Chicago
  • 650 North St. Clair Street
  • Chicago , IL 60611
  • Telephone: 312.335.3915
  • Fax: 312.335.3958
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/chicago/
  • E-mail: chicago@greekembassy.org
  •  
  •  
  • Consulate General - San Francisco
  • 2441 Gough Street
  • San Francisco, CA 94123
  • Telephone: 415.775.2102
  • Fax: 415.776.6815
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/sanfrancisco/
  • E-mail: sfgr@greekembassy.org
  •  
  •  
  • Consulate General - Los Angeles
  • 12424 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
  • Los Angeles, CA 90025
  • Telephone: 310.826.5555
  • Fax: 310.826.8670
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/losangeles/
  • E-mail: lagr@greekembassy.org
  •  
  •  
  • Consulate General - Tampa
  • 601 Bayshore Blvd., Suite 800
  • Tampa, FL 33606
  • Telephone: 813.865.0200
  • Fax: 813.865.0206
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/tampa
  • E-mail: grgencon.tam@mfa.gr
  •  
  •  
  • Consulate - Atlanta
  • Tower Place, Suite 1670 3340, Peachtree Rd., N.E.
  • Atlanta, GA 30326
  • Telephone: 404.261.3313
  • Fax: 404.262.2798
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/atlanta/
  • E-mail: atlanta@greekembassy.org
  •  
  •  
  • Consulate - Houston
  • 520 Post Oak Blvd., Suite 450
  • Houston , TX 77027
  • Telephone: 713.840.7522
  • Fax: 713.840.0614
  • Web Address: http://www.greekembassy.org/houston/
  • E-mail: houston@greekembassy.org

Help us keep the pressure up!!





Saturday, July 2, 2011

US Boat To Gaza: Update: Greece



After a two hour stand off at sea, the U.S. Boat to Gaza - The Audacity of Hope - was seized by the Greek Coast Guard and forced to return to the port of Piraeus under military escort. The boat's captain has been put in jail, charged with disturbing sea traffic--which includes endangering the lives of those on the ships-- and disobeying a police order to remain at dock. 

The crew is being detained on the boat, which is being held at a military dock just outside Athens. Most of the 36 passengers remain on the ship in solidarity with the captain and crew.

Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army Colonel, responded strongly to the arrest of the American captain of the U.S. Boat to Gaza. "I think it's outrageous what the Greek government is doing to our captain who was taking a group of Americans to challenge the illegal Israeli blockade. We call on the Greek government to release our Captain and dismiss all charges."

Yonatan Shapira, a crew member on The Audacity of Hope and former Israeli Air Force captain, said the captain of the U.S. Boat should be praised, not condemned for his actions. "The captain acted out of concern for the safety of the passengers and boat by taking us away from the Greek port where other flotilla boats are being sabotaged," Shapira said.

After five days of stalling, the Greek authorities produced the results of the inspection of the boat, which took place on Monday, June 27. 

The Greek government inspected the boat on the basis of an anonymous complaint alleging that the boat is not seaworthy. The anonymous complaint later turned out to have been filed by the Israel Law Center. 

The list of infractions cited on the inspection report included such things as technical details regarding the construction material of the hull and the fact that the private inspection report emailed to the authorities was unsigned. 

"None of these alleged infractions are actually regulations that boats are required to meet," said group's Greek lawyer Emmanuel Stephanakis. "It's obvious that these are politically motivated, baseless charges calculated to stop the U.S. Boat to Gaza from sailing."

"This shameful chapter in Greek history is symbolized by Prime Minister Netanyahu thanking his Greek counterpart Prime MInister Papandreou for his cooperation in helping thwart the flotilla, and by the fully-armed and masked Greek commandos at sea, pointing their guns at unarmed American civilians singing "We are a gentle, loving people," says passenger Medea Benjamin.

The other boats in the flotilla that are docked in Greece have been denied permission to sail due to a variety of bureaucratic obstacles the Greek authorities have thrown in their way. 

Greece's Civil Protection Authority confirmed Saturday the ban on departures of ships "with Greek and foreign flags from Greek ports to the maritime area of Gaza" was in place until further notice. 

Two of the boats have had physical damage done to them as well. All vow to pressure the Greek government to grant them permission to sail, and have activated their international networks. 

In the United States, the phones at the Greek Embassy and Consulates were so busy that callers could not get through.

While deeply disappointed that they have not yet been able to sail to Gaza, the passengers feel they have been successful at exposing the ongoing plight of the people of Gaza and the inhumanity of the Israeli government. 

"The success of the flotilla is shown by the huge expenditure of financial and personnel resources by the Israeli government to counter 10 civilian, unarmed ships with 300 citizen activists who simply want to sail to Gaza out of concern for the people of Gaza," says jazz musician and passenger Richard Lopez.

http://twitter.com/usboattogaza  
 



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Updates from Greece: Freedom Flotilla II: The Tahrir: Canada



The departure of ships with any flag from Greek ports to Gaza has been officially prohibited under the orders of the Greek government.

An hour ago, a Greek MP held a press conference in support of CBG and FF2 in front of the Tahrir at the port of Agios Nikolaos on the island of Crete (near the eastern end.)

All the delegates of Tahrir, from all countries, are well, free (no one has been arrested or detained) and in high spirits, each and every one of them

For coverage of what happened on the Tahrir yesterday: http://livenews.thestar.com/Event/Aboard_the_Gaza_flotilla

For the media:

 
Greece:

 
David Heap: +30 (697) 837 9887
Dylan Penner: +30 (699) 663 6796
Sandra Ruch: +30 (698) 030 1711
 

Canada:
 
Ehab Lotayef: 514.941.9792

lotayef@gmail.com
Wendy Goldsmith: 519.619.6766 wendygoldsmith21@gmail.com


Please keep the letters and calls to the Greek and Israeli authorities and the Canadian government going strong. We know that it makes a difference.


EVENTS

Let us know if you are planning an event or activity. We’ll help get the word out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgcCuqILdeU
http://www.origami-instructions.com/easy-origami-boat.html


MONTREAL

1. July 2, Saturday, 4:00 PM, at the entrance of the Montreal Jazz Festival 
(Bleury / Président Kennedy.)

We will rally to show solidarity with the Canada Boat, the Tahrir, we will have banners and distribute material. We will call on the Greek government to the Flotilla sail.

2. July 4, Monday. 11h30 AM, in front of the Greek Consulate (1002 Sherbrooke W.) We will deliver letters to the Greek Consulate, demanding they let the Tahrir sail.


OTTAWA

1.  July 2, Saturday, 12:00 noon, Vigil at the Greek Embassy, 76-80 McLaren Street (near Cartier.)

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=177987668927794

2.  July 3, Sunday, 1:00-3:00 PM, at the Human Rights Monument (Elgin St./Lisgar St) Ottawa Symbolic launch, all welcome.

 
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156111541128152


TORONTO

1. July 2, Saturday, 3pm, Location: Greek Consulate, 365 Bloor Street East


VANCOUVER

1. July 2, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 PM, In front of CBC headquarters at corner of Georgia & Hamilton.
 

VICTORIA

1. Sunday, July 3, 2:00pm, Beside the Tourist Information Centre, Wharf at Government St., Inner Harbour Rally.
 

WINDSOR, ON

1. July 2, Saturday, 11:00 AM – noon, Corner of Ottawa and Monmouth (across from Market Square.)

Windsor Peace Coalition

 
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=233175653373617


WINNIPEG

1. July 2, Saturday, 1:00 p.m. Corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street in Winnipeg.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=219730754734154



Together we can end the siege of Gaza!




               
Witness Gaza
 
 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Gaza Blockades: Canadian "Tahrir" and US "Audacity of Hope": Freedom Flotilla II



July 1, 2011

The blockade of Gaza reaches the shores of Greece!

As it attempts to sail, the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the Tahrir, blockaded in Greece

Greek coast guard are now on board the Tahrir attempting to arrest Sandra Rush, Jewish Canadian member of the Canada boat to Gaza Steering Committee, who is refusing to surrender boat's registration papers.

Efforts to stop Freedom Flotilla 2 - Stay Human from sailing have included diplomatic pressure and manipulation, economic blackmail, bureaucratic obstacles, baseless and slanderous allegations against the flotilla and the delegates, and sabotage of at least two vessels.

"The world watched as an intensive campaign to prevent the Tahrir and the entire Freedom flotilla II from sailing was underway.  We have been unjustly and duplicitously treated." said Irene MacInnes of the Tahrir organizing committee. "The government of Israel, shamefully with the tacit support of the Harper government, is doing everything in its power to maintain the blockade. 



Today, as a result of the concerted efforts of the 4th largest military power in the world and its backers, we have been prevented from sailing to Gaza. Yet we will persevere in our attempts till the blockade is lifted."

"Israel has in effect extended the illegal blockade of Gaza to Greek ports, using the Greece's economic difficulties to influence the government's position", said David Heap of the organizing committee.

"We remain absolutely clear that the Canadian Boat to Gaza has not been, is not, and has no intention of, breaking any laws. It is the blockade of Gaza that is illegal under international law. 



We have a legal and moral obligation to challenge the blockade, given the failure of the international community to act", said Dylan Penner of the organizing committee. "This is why we must continue our attempts to sail to Gaza: to challenge the illegal and immoral blockade and to equally challenge the Canadian federal government's support for it."

Meanwhile the US boat to Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, is at a standoff with the Greek Navy boats, refusing orders to return to shore.


For biographies of delegates aboard the Tahrir visit:  


Contacts in Greece:
David Heap: +30 (697) 837 9887
Dylan Penner: +30 (699) 663 6796
Sandra Ruch: +30 (698) 030 1711
Contacts in Canada:
Ehab Lotayef: 514.941.9792 - lotayef@gmail.com
Wendy Goldsmith: 519.619.6766 - wendygoldsmith21@gmail.com


-----------------
français  ---------------


Pour diffusion immédiate

Le 1er juillet 2011

Le blocus de Gaza s’étend jusqu’aux côtes grecques!

Alors qu’il tente de prendre la mer, le Bateau canadien pour Gaza, le Tahrir, est retenu en Grèce


La garde côtière grecque a arraisonné le Tahrir et tente d’arrêter Sandra Rush, une citoyenne canadienne de confession juive et membre du comité de pilotage du Bateau canadien pour Gaza, qui refuse de céder les documents d’enregistrement du bateau.

On a pratiquement tout fait pour empêcher la Flottille pour la Liberté II – Rester humain, de prendre la mer : pressions et manipulations diplomatiques, chantage économique, obstacles bureaucratiques, allégations sans fondement et diffamatoires à l’endroit de la flottille et des délégués, sabotage d’au moins deux navires, etc.

«Le monde entier a pu voir à l’œuvre la campagne intensive pour empêcher le Tahrir et la Flottille de la liberté de partir. Nous sommes victimes d’injustice et de duplicité» a dit Irene MacInnes, du comité de pilotage du Tahrir. «Le gouvernement israélien, avec l’appui tacite et honteux du gouvernement Harper, fait tout en son pouvoir pour maintenir le blocus. Aujourd’hui, en raison des efforts concertés de la 4e puissance militaire au monde – et de ses supporteurs – nous avons été empêchés de mettre le cap sur Gaza. Mais nous allons persévérer et multiplier nos efforts jusqu’à ce que le blocus soit levé.»

«Dans les faits, Israël a étendu son blocus de Gaza jusqu’aux ports grecs. Au fond, Israël s’est servi des difficultés  économiques de la Grèce pour influencer la position du gouvernement grec» a dit David Heap du comité de pilotage.

«Soyons parfaitement clairs: le Bateau canadien pour Gaza n’a jamais enfreint la moindre loi. Nous sommes en tout point en conformité avec le droit. C’est au contraire le blocus de Gaza qui enfreint le droit international. Étant donné l’inaction de la communauté internationale, nous avons l’obligation légale et morale de contester le blocus» a dit Dylan Penner du comité de pilotage. «C’est pourquoi nous devons continuer nos efforts pour nous rendre à Gaza : pour contester le blocus illégal et immoral ainsi que l’appui que lui donne le gouvernement canadien.»

Pendant ce temps, le bateau américain pour Gaza, The Audacity of Hope, n’a pu s’éloigner que de quelques mètres des côtes grecques, étant bloqué par des navires de la marine grecque. Le bateau américain répond négativement aux ordres de regagner le rivage.


Pour la biographie des délégués à bord du Tahrir :
http://www.tahrir.ca/fr/content/d%C3%A9l%C3%A9gation-%C3%A0-bord-du-tahrir

-30-

Info en Grèce
Stéphan Corriveau: +44 7715 055 541
David Heap: +30 (697) 837 9887

Info au Canada
Lorraine Guay: 514.746.8453lorraineguay@videotron.ca
Denis Kosseim: 514.923.5594 - denis.tahrir@gmail.com



 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

UN: Office of the High Commissioner: Human rights / Counter terrorism





30 June 2011

Human rights / Counter terrorism: 

The new UN listing regimes for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda


 
Statement by the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter terrorism,
 Martin Scheinin


GENEVA – On 17 June 2011, the Security Council adopted two landmark resolutions that result in a major reform of the Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorist sanctions regime. The listing of terrorist individuals and entities by a Committee of the Security Council, and the duty of all states to subject anyone on the list to a freezing of assets and a travel ban has grown from Resolution 1267 (1999). That resolution was limited in time and space, as it merely targeted the then Taliban regime of Afghanistan, to put pressure upon it to hand over terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. 

Due to the threat posed to international peace and security by the Taliban harboring bin Laden, the resolution was a proper measure under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

A highly problematic step was taken through resolution 1390 (2002) which, under Chapter VII of the Charter, converted the Taliban list into a global consolidated list of Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists, without any temporal or geographic limitations. Coupled with the permanent, or at least indefinite, duration of the resulting sanctions, these features led the Special Rapporteur to conclude that the Security Council is acting ultra vires, beyond its powers, by maintaining under Chapter VII its consolidated list of Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorists.

The terrorist blacklist has been subject to consistent and growing criticism, including by certain judicial bodies and the Human Rights Committee, for its human rights shortcomings. Issues of fair trial and due process, right to privacy, freedom of movement and right to property have been raised and litigated.

The Security Council has proven to be responsive to criticism. A series of reforms have been decided to remedy at least some of the shortcomings and to bring elements of due process into the terrorist listing. Prior to the June 17 resolutions, Resolution 1904 (2009) was the most important of the reforms, establishing the office of a Delisting Ombudsperson and a tight time frame for the consideration of delisting requests.

Despite the reforms, the Special Rapporteur has maintained the position that the procedures for terrorist listing and delisting by the 1267 Committee of the Security Council do not meet international human rights standards concerning due process or fair trial. 

Therefore he takes the view that as long as proper due process is not guaranteed at the United Nations level when listing individuals or entities as terrorists, national (or European Union) courts will need to exercise judicial review over the national (or European) measures implementing the sanctions.

The Special Rapporteur’s assessment of the new Resolutions 1988 and 1989 is the following:

 
The two resolutions separate the Taliban and Al Qaeda sanctions regimes from each other. The 1267 regime, originally created for the Taliban, is converted into a global Al Qaida terrorist listing regime. The Taliban will be covered by the new Resolution 1988 which is based on a territorial limitation, the identification of the situation in Afghanistan constituting a threat to international peace and security.

While the new Taliban sanctions regime under Resolution 1988 is easier to reconcile with Security Council powers under Chapter VII of the UN Charter than the preceding global Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorist listing regime, it is a retrogressive step in relation to the human rights concerns expressed and the reforms already undertaken within it. In particular:

 
  • The grounds for delisting (paragrah 18) are openly political.  They cover “individuals that meet the reconciliation conditions agreed to by the Government of Afghanistan and the international community”, which include “respect for the Afghan Constitution”.
  •  
  • The Delisting Ombudsperson, introduced through Resolution 1904 (2009) as a dimension of independent review in relation to the consolidated Taliban and Al Qaida terrorist list, will have no role in the new Taliban sanctions regime.

In relation to the modified 1267 sanctions regime, that under Resolution 1989 now relates only to persons or entities associated with Al Qaeda, the reverse observations apply:

 
  • The Special Rapporteur remains critical of the view that the criminal terrorist network generally known as the Al Qaeda would, without geographical or temporal limitations, constitute a permanent threat to international peace and security in the meaning of Article 39 of the United Nations Charter and hence trigger the powers of the Security Council to introduce under Chapter VII of the UN Charter mandatory measures, legally binding upon all Member States.
  •  
  • The Special Rapporteur commends Resolution 1989 for the important measure of removing the consensus requirement from delisting decisions. Under Resolution 1989, the Delisting Ombudsperson or the designating State can de facto exercise delisting powers by default, unless the 1267 Sanctions Committee by consensus decides to retain the listing. 
  •  
  • However, this important improvement is compromised by the possibility of any member of the Security Council to refer a delisting recommendation by the Ombudsperson or by the designating State to the full Security Council, where its normal decision-making rules will apply. This means that delisting will require the votes of nine out of the 15 members of the Security Council and can be blocked by the veto of any of the five permanent members.

In the assessment of the Special Rapporteur, the Al Qaeda sanctions regime under Resolution 1989 does not, judged by the letter of the resolution, remedy the human rights shortcomings expressed in relation to the earlier Consolidated List. Judicial challenges at national and European levels are likely to continue. 

Due to the unsatisfactory level of due process guarantees such as disclosure of information and a right to an effective remedy, the strengthened role of the Ombudsperson is unlikely to satisfy national or European courts that the safeguards at the United Nations level are sufficient, so that these courts could allow deference instead of exercising their jurisdiction over the national or European measures for the implementation of the sanctions.

However, if it turns out that Security Council members are prepared to secure all the following conditions, the assessment may change:

 
  • any listing proposal requires the submission of the full set of information that is used as the substantive basis for the listing proposal;
  •  
  • the person or entity subjected to the listing proposal has the right and practical means to effectively challenge the proposal;
  •  
  • the Delisting Ombudsperson has access to the full set of information used for the listing; 
  •  
  • the delisting recommendations by the Ombudsperson or delisting proposals by the designating State are in practice respected, so that they are not overturned through a consensus decision by the 1267 Committee or referred to the full Security Council.

If these conditions are met in the implementation of Resolution 1989, the Special Rapporteur finds it likely that national or European courts will require listed individuals or entities to exhaust the delisting procedure of the Ombudsperson before exercising their jurisdiction in relation to the national or European implementing measures.”

ENDS

Martin Scheinin was appointed Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism, by the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights in August 2005.  His six years of service as Special Rapporteur will come to an end on 31 July 2011. 


The mandate was renewed by the Human Rights Council in October 2010.  As Special Rapporteur, he is independent from any Government and serves in his individual capacity. He is Professor of Public International Law at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy.

As Special Rapporteur he has addressed the issue of terrorist listings on a number of occasions, including by appearing before the 1267 Sanctions Committee, as part of his country visits and in several of his thematic reports, including:
 



    UN Global Counter-terrorism Strategy 




    Information/media requests: 

    Nikolaus Schultz

     
    UN Human Rights:




    Monday, June 27, 2011

    Gaza, We Are Coming: Greek officials attempt to block U.S. Boat to Gaza


    On Saturday, 25 June, the French boat, Dignity / Karama, left the port of l'ile Rousse in Corsica, France, to meet up with at least nine other vessels sailing to Gaza to challenge Israel's illegal blockade. 

    Israel's best efforts to stop the boats at port, including pressure on governments, threats against insurance and communications companies, intimidation of human rights defenders, frivolous lawsuits and other underhanded tactics, have thus far failed. 

    The Freedom Flotilla has set sail. In the coming days the rest of the vessels in the flotilla, two cargo ships and seven other passenger boats, will leave from various ports to a meeting point in international waters from which the boats will sail all together towards Gaza. They will carry nearly three thousand tons of aid and hundreds of civilians from dozens of countries, including members of parliament, politicians, writers, artists, journalists and sports figures, as well as representatives of indigenous peoples and various faith groups. 

    Some of the vessels are facing delays admittedly initiated by bogus complaints from the Israel Law Center, attempted sabotage of some boats, as well as administrative obstacles created by the Greek government in response to Israeli pressure. 

    There is no question that Israel's near hermetic closure of the Gaza Strip is illegal; this has been affirmed again and again by numerous international human rights bodies including the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  When prompted by the flotilla effort, international consensus has been unequivocal in the demand for the Israeli siege to end. 

    There is no question that Israel's closure policy has had a devastating effect on the occupied people of Gaza. This has also been well documented. The only question is why does the international community of states allow Israel to keep violating the law and rights of the Palestinian people with impunity? 

    Recent steps taken by Israel to address the concerns raised in the public eye by the Freedom Flotilla II - Stay Human initiative, including last week's announcement of authorization for construction materials for 1,200 homes and 18 schools in Gaza, prove that flotillas work. However, this is not enough, as our effort is not simply about increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza. It is about freedom for Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. 

    Calls by some world leaders for flotilla organizers to use "established channels" to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza show a fundamental disregard for Palestinian human rights. The Palestinian people do not want handouts from the international community; rather they demand liberation - a call we must all support. 

    Therefore, despite intimidation, pressure, and threats of violence from the Israeli government, which is not ashamed to boast that it will use snipers and attack dogs against unarmed civilians, we will sail. 

    We call on our governments to do their utmost to protect their citizens as we take to the sea, without weapons, protection or threat of force, in defense of freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. 


    What You Can Do: 

    Call upon the Greek government not to become complicit in Israel's illegal actions by succumbing to this pressure, and to join France in standing unopposed to the flotilla.


    • Call:
    • Huwaida Arraf, Athens +30-694-781-5798
      Greta Berlin, Athens +33 607 374 512 
    • Email: Greek Embassy in DC, asking them not to cave in to any Israeli or US pressure not to let the US Boat sail. at  ambassador@greekembassy.org   









    Gaza, we are coming.  

     

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    Pakistan: A New Perspective 3D




    Click the links in bold below for a 3D experience of Pakistan



    “Let us trust each other,” roared the Governor-general designate and added; “Let us judge by results, not by theories. With the help of every section –I see that every class is represented in this huge gathering –let us work in double shift if necessary to make the Sovereign State of Pakistan really happy, 
    really united and really powerful.” 

    Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Speech at a Dinner Party given by the late Mr. Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah at the Karachi Club on 9th August, 1947.



    In a span of over two years, based on interviews, heated and tolerant discussions, my own research, speaking and writing about and with Pakistan; I have come to know a nation through the eyes and voices of Pakistanis. I revert to the vision Jinnah had of Pakistan. I understand politically and historically why his idealism never flourished; yet I find insurmountable beauty through landscapes, culture, architecture, history, artists, activists and people of Pakistan.


    The world is ablaze. People are born while simultaneously dying. Nations are revolting. I have witnessed and experienced in many nations, grave religious and cultural intolerance, lack of education [although educated on a collegiate level], mass media propaganda, ignorance and apathy.  In a world of negative, how many focus on the positive?


    Pakistan equals the combined land areas of France and the UK. It is the 36th largest nation by area with a coastline along the Arabian Sea. Land borders include: Afghanistan, China, India and Iran. Pakistan means Land of [the] Pure in Urdu [national language] and Persian.


    Ethnic groups consist mainly of: Punjabis, Pashtuns,Sindhis, Muhajirs, and Balochs. Pakistan is home to refugees from Afghanistan, India, Iran and Africa, as well as cultures that reside in Pakistan from other nations causing Pakistan to be a country abundant in diverse faith, language, music, art and literature.



    Experience a 3D positive perspective of Pakistan.





    Pakistan is the 2nd most populous Muslim majority nation, consisting mainly of Sunni and Shi’a sects of faith, as well as: Sufism, Hinduism, Christianity, Ahmadi, Sikhism, Parsi, and Buddhism. Pakistan is multilingual with more than 60 languages spoken, most prevalent are: Urdu, Pashto, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, and English.





    Pakistan claims some of the tallest mountain peaks in the world. This nation is home to Mughal architecture and archaeological remains in The Indus Valley to the empire of Alexander the Great. Landscapes in Pakistan allow for variety of trees and plants to flourish. The animal life in Pakistan reflects the varied climates of the land.





    Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan is not utilized as a building block nor guiding
    force by the current government of Pakistan, its leaders nor its foreign affiliates.  Jinnah’s idealism is alive in the passion of the youth of Pakistan. I have witnessed youth [ranging from ages 16-28] over extending themselves during emergent and dangerous situations [all current, unsolved and ongoing] such as:



    • Amina Masood Janjua and Missing Persons
    • Solidarity with Kashmir
    • Palestinian Solidarity
    • The IDF Mavi Marmara Attack
    • The Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui
    • U.S. Drone Attacks
    • The Margalla Crash
    • 2010 Pakistan Floods
    • Death of Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti [regarding blasphemy law]
    • Unrelenting bombing within Pakistan [specifically Karachi and Peshawar]
    • Solidarity with the Arab Uprising
    • Justice for The Sialkot Brothers
    • PNS Mehran
    • Emergency Education
    • Solidarity with Physicians
    • Death of Osama Bin Laden
    • Death of investigative journalist Saleem Shahzad [one of many]
    • Death of Sarfaraz Shah in Karachi



    Tragedy has become an “expected” part of existence in Pakistan.






    My view of the people of Pakistan is one of immense strength, perseverance and tolerance for occurrences that should never be tolerated. My experience is a direct result of speaking to journalists, political activists, social media, youth organizations, and adults who are there to guide youth. As a journalist and a human being, it is incomprehensible to fathom existing in a nation where the wrong rights are utilized and the right rights are ignored.


    Pakistan, A New Perspective, cannot be realized without ideological tolerance, proper education, control of foreign powers, and consensual rights and equality for all people. I have immense respect for people who do speak, protest, work, exist and survive in a land I view as culturally diverse, rich in history, agriculture, literature, art, journalism. language, faith and courage.





    “I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline we will not only remain the fifth largest State in the world but will compare with any nation of the world….You must make up your mind now. We must sink individualism and petty jealousies and make up our minds to serve the people with honesty and faithfulness. We are passing through a period of fear, danger and menace. We must have faith, unity and discipline.”

    - Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Reply to North Western Railway Officers
    welcome address, Karachi, 28 December 1947.