INGULFED

(Notes for the Abu Dhabi Bar Mitzvah)

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The Poster-Makers — صناع الملصقات

The martyr's grip.


Taher flipped a perfectly browned panacake onto my plate. “Perfetto!” He propped up his iPad on its stand so I could see and flipped through the morning’s Facebook photos. His friends had posted second-story shots of a narrow street crowded with protestors and Bahraini flags, typical for a Friday morning but charged today with the power of a new and tragic martyr: Seventy year-old Ali Hasen al-Dehi was brutally attacked by police on Wednesday night; hours later, he was found dead in his home. The Ministry of Health announced that he “died of natural causes.”

It would have been just the latest entry in the history of police killings that number around 40 since the uprising began on the 14th of February (in late March, the Interior Minister confirmed 24 deaths; in April, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights reported 31.) But Ali was in name and symbol more than an innocent participant — he was the father of Hussein al-Dehi, vice chairman of Bahrain’s largest political party, a Shi’ite organization. The protestors on Taher’s iPad had found a way around the road blocks to join together and scream against injustice.

Taher explained this to me rather matter-of-factly. In eight months, the pre-emptive crackdowns and the demonstrations and the resulting crackdowns had become a weekend standard — one that left some locals numb, expats mildly frustrated, and the rest of us tingling with faint hope, sadness, and guilty excitement.

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أفضل نزهة في آسيا الوسطى — The Best Picnic in Central Asia

Afghanistan: Part Four

[The following are adapted excerpts from an article that has been submitted elsewhere. To read the full story with a blow-by-blow of the drive from the central Afghan hub of Bamiyan to the perhaps the most beautiful lakes in the whole Caucasus, send an email to INGULFED at GMAIL dot COM with a sentence including the words “picnic”, “caucasus”, and “dragon”.]

If you’re not doing anything later, you might like to check out Band-e Amir, Afghanistan’s one and only national park. Six sapphire-blue lakes 10,000 feet up in the Hindu Kush Mountains provide what may be Central Asia’s Number One picnic spot. Entry costs fifty afghanis (one dollar).

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