Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The Costs of Luxury

I’m quite relieved. Finally, I’m getting a few pangs of homesickness. I’m not miserable, especially as the homesickness is more likely travel envy. A few of the coworkers are finalizing their plans to go home. I’m still in limbo (more on that when I actually have more on that, in the mean time I’ll just curse bureaucracy as I flit around purgatory).

This post is largely cause I haven’t posted in a while. Not much to write about as I’ve been quite busy at work, and it’s all editing and reviewing reports, so I’m quite reluctant to jump back on the keyboard in the evenings.

But there have been a few things I’ve wanted to throw up on here, pertaining to a lot of the less personal aspects about life here. For starters, while in India I had a few chats about ’47 and the separation. So a sample size of 2 is way below that required to be statistically sound, but it seems like folks there are a lot more open to even discussing the topic, and hypothetical reunification. Folks there, in India, compared to folks in Pakistan. How that is relevant to Afghanistan is probably fairly obvious, in that everything that happened over the past 50 years would have been dramatically different. But more importantly, it touches into the current plays of power going on in this region. India, it seems, recognizes the obvious necessity of stabilizing Afghanistan to help their own national security interests, at least while Kashmir is still the tipping point here.

Pakistan, realizes this two, but not so much for the same reasons, i.e. not external threats, but internal threats to the ruling/entrenched elite. This country, and the NWFP is the dumping ground, and keeping this country in turmoil provides some distraction to the black hatters. When the costs will become too high, even for those in the gated houses of Lahore, maybe things will change. Well, so much for a post on that...except for talking about how the current US administration still isn’t doing what it needs to do to truly help stabilize this area. What that would be, I have no good suggestions. But hopefully Bush in India will help. Though I fear that the US will still try to keep India at a certain arms length and not let them dominate this region.

The other topic was what the US will be doing here if things in Iraq really do go down the drain. Lord have mercy. When the cartoon protests were going on, our security chief was worried that things here could really explode and emergency evacuations would be necessary. I, as respectfully as possible, as he carries a sidearm at all times, told him that was absurd. I fear that what is going on in Iraq may actually have some spillover here though, and the emergency actions may be necessary. I think I may finally register to vote, that is if Buchanan is in the next running, and he promises to throw up big razor wire fences along the US borders and sells off Alaska and Hawaii.

I may be getting some more pictures of the trip to Goa from VP shortly. I’ll throw those up as soon as I get them.

P.S. I got the two books mentioned here a few weeks ago. I’ll be finishing up the current read soon. So if anyone wants to do a discussion group for Negri’s “Empire,” tell me. And a confession regarding that: it seems like the folks I work for weren’t too happy about DHLing two books and a few chocolate bars half way across the world. (Though, those chocolate bars were really appreciated by my office-mates and I...thank you A, and J.) They imposed a new “inventory control” system. My officemates blame me, though one person in the home office reassured me that the new policy wasn’t my fault. It may be true, but I sure didn’t help. So if anyone else was thinking of sending me (not so needed luxury) stuff via an exorbitantly expensive shipping means, forget it.


Vasco Pyjama said...

Pffft... Surely you have every right to have the two books and chocolate bars sent over? I mean, care pack couriering is part of your contract, no?

When I was working for a large Australian development contractor, we used to courier care packages up EVERY WEEK. Like Australia newspapers ('sif you couldn't just simply check the web)... and other goodies. And given how much money is being made... pffffft.

Have you read Midnight's Children - Rushdie?

I have had many thoughts on Partition over the years. BBC World had a special recently, but it was showing while I was somewhere en route (ie, 'on root')back to Kabul, I think. Should look it up.

Elizabeth said...

Ooooh, Midnight's Children- a must read. Though annoying at parts.

I have to say, the Pakistanis I know here are more interested in the reunification of Afghanistan with Pakistan. Hah!

Craig said...

I thought you were reading the other H&N book?

NegativeMode said...

Guess I won't be shipping you Steak n' Eggs. Your fault, not mine.

Q. A. Shah said...

Exactly. That supposed hardship pay doesn't cover not getting books and chocolate, shipped to me that is. It should really only cover the fact that I dont have central heating or AC in our house and have to use a wall mount electrical air heater and a radiator.
Never read Midnight's Children...like I would read a blasphemous ass like Rushdie...

A.S. recently had to educate me on the Durand line. And don't forget that a lot of pakistanis talke about getting back Rajisthan or all of Punjab.

I can start w/ either, but I was thinking of going chrono, and starting w/ the foundational work.

I don't think DHL woulda sent a bio-hazard anyway.