Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Living in Karachi, watching the news every day and trying not to spend too much time dwelling on the possibility of watching this city-or country-imploding is exhausting. Trying to quieten the noise in my head, sometimes I feel as if I might collapse along with this bleeding metropolis.

It makes me wonder how you break a city, a state. Does the world break cities the way it breaks men? Is it a violent tearing to shreds, or is it a slow erosion? Or is it all in my head? Perhaps it's just the buzz in my brain. It confuses me.

What is it about this city, this country, which leaves us so unhinged by its grief? A friend from another country asked me once why I want to go back home, why I don't try to make a difference to another country, another people. I told her the truth: because it's home. She didn't understand.

You can hear the dying pulse of this country, like a soundtrack from a bad hospital-based soap opera. You can put your finger on it and it feel it throb slowly, feel its heart struggling to keep pumping blood. You can wonder why you have such a visceral attachment to a set of borders you profess not to believe in. You can wonder why you believe it is important to live and die in a place just because you're told it's your own. You can wonder why people who leave continue to follow its politics obsessively and donate to it generously.

You can wonder.
But you can't get away.