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“There is a fantasy of a feudal lord as an exotic, tall, dark and handsome man, with flashing eyes and traces of quick-tempered gypsy blood. Images of him parrying thrusts with the fiercest od swordsmen and riding off into the sunset on his black steed set the pubescent heart aflutter. He is seen as a passionate ladies’ man and something of a rough diamond, the archetypal male chauvinist who forces a woman to love him despite hei treatment of her. But the fantasy is far from reality, and my country of Pakistan must face up to reality if it is ever to grow and prosper. When I decided to write this book, I was aware of the perils of exposing the details of my private life to a male-dominated Muslim society. But I had to cast aside my personal consideration in favor of the greater good. There is a deep rooted deficiency in the feudal value system; it must be diagnosed before it is treated.”

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“Although the book came to a ‘kind’ of conclusion, I realized that I had chosen a nation to write about…and nations don’t end. Therefore the story could also not end on the last page of ‘Happy Things in Sorrow Times’. It would have to be the first part of a sequel. There would have to be another part, and another…until one day Afghanistan would live and the book would die…of old age. After 9/11, during the US bombardment of Afghanistan, I traveled to Kandahar to see and hear for myself what had actually become of the landscape and the people I was writing about. The thirty-eight water colours that illustrate the story as authentically as was possible for me, were done in Kandahar, Turkham & Chaman.’

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The Muslim world split across it’s entirety into two distinctly separate unity’s, the rulers and guardians of official Islam based on ‘mans interpretation’, and the Muslim peoples, driven into submission before enforced religious oppression established as the meaning of the Islamic Faith. These two identities of the very vocal minority and the silent majority, further divided under a million different brands of Islam, each bound by the power of the Holy Book but each opposed to a consensus on its meaning. Engulfed in ritual and dogma, instead of ‘intent’ and ‘essence’, the entire Muslim world plunged knife-sharp contradictions into the root of the Islamic faith. Into the heart of Islam. In the Muslim family, under the same roof, men moved forward while women moved back. Two divided genders, one in darkness one in light, one exposed one concealed, one weak one strong, one with the might of every right, one hostage to enforced religious, economic and social bondage. Surrounded by guns loaded, imprisoned in ‘mans interpretation’ with all issues branded ‘domestic’, over half the ‘Umat’ of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Muslim women, were converted into the most oppressed sector of the human race.

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In my address at the Mayor of Milan’s reception for Mr. Abdul Satar Edhi, Pakistan’s social reformer, (referred to by many as the twenty-first century Gandhi, and as St. Francisco by Madam Ciampi, the wife of Italy’s president.) Mr. Edhi received the over 100 thousand $ Balzan peace award in November 2000, and I expressed a very serious concern for world peace. The fact that Islam’s heroes were all militants, suicide bombings were to be expected. Confrontation unto death was their most popular slogan. Holy wars were fashionable. The Muslim multitudes were hungry, angry, unread, direction-less and armed. Liberals and intellectuals were not united, Muslim immigrations were countless and conversions to Islam were at their peak. I stressed that as the Muslim world can no longer be fought, it has to be integrated. I explained that Mr. Edhi as a role model for the Muslim world could steer the Muslim people away from Militant Jihad to humanitarian Jihad. But, only IF the Muslim people had that choice. The mayor of Milan presented me an award for that statement…and corrected me by emphasizing that Mr. Edhi is a role model for the entire world not just for the Muslims.

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Coming Soon
A coffee Table Book of Paintings & Poetry

“Many forms of expression are required to break out of the multiple confines that imprison the soul. Writing and Painting are just two of them.”