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Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time [Paperback]

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Item description for Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time by Ethan Casey...

An in-depth investigation, based on observations and personal interviews, examines Pakistan's culture and history, as well as the issues and struggles of Pakistan and its people as the war on terror unfolds. Original.

Publishers Description
Drawing on observations from the streets and university classrooms and from personal interviews with lawyers, journalists, politicians, and military personnel, this riveting investigation examines the most compelling aspects of Pakistan's culture and history. Written by an American journalist living in Pakistan, the issues and struggles of Pakistan and its people as the United States's war on terror unfolds are addressed. This powerful report offers vivid descriptions of life in Lahore and humanizes the nation's struggles by delving into every dimension of the Pakistani experience, including domestic politics; ethnic, regional, and sectarian fault lines; anti-Western and anti-Indian sentiments; and the border issues between Kashmir and Afghanistan. An engaging work, the findings connect this volatile nation to its precarious place in the international realm.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   280
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2005
Publisher   Vision
ISBN  1904132480  
ISBN13  9781904132486  

Availability  0 units.

More About Ethan Casey

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ethan Casey is a journalist who currently writes a weekly column in the "Lahore Daily Times" in Pakistan. He is editor in chief of, which he cofounded in 1999. He has written for the "Financial Times," "The Globe and Mail," "Guardian," "Observer News Service," "South China Morning Post," and "U.S. News & World Report," He is the editor of "09/11 8: 48 a.m.: Documenting America's Greatest Tragedy," "Dispatches from a Wounded World," and "Peace Fire" and is coauthor of "Queen of Diamonds,"

Ethan Casey was born in 1965.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Asia > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Asia > Pakistan
3Books > Subjects > History > World > General
4Books > Subjects > Travel > Asia > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Alive and Well in Pakistan: A Human Journey in a Dangerous Time?

A Great Account of Life in Pakistan  Feb 21, 2005
An excellent account of the journey of a journalist in Pakistan. Not only will you be learning a lot of how life is in Pakistan for people from all walks of life but also you will have an enjoyable time reading the book. Very intriguing and thought provoking. A book well worth reading!!
In the dust of Paskistan  Feb 15, 2005
At first, "A human journey in a dangerous time" sounded a rather dull title but ultimately it was what I was going to learn about: the human journey of a journalist that metamorphosed into a writer.

It all started differently. "For me, journalism had started out as the next best thing to Writing. As teenager, I wanted to be William Faulkner" wrote Casey and most of the first part of the book is about Ethan's aspiration: a literary journey through Pakistan and Kashmir seen through the eyes of his muse, V.S. Naipaul. Casey visits Pakistan with An Area of Darkness as guidebook and Naipaul's memories and characters for tour guide.

It is a dry journey in search for the place visited by Naipaul - the Dal Lake, the Hotel Leeward and the people who Naipaul's met. Then, Ethan seems remote from what is going on around him, his main concern is "... to create [his] own virtual versions of [Naipaul] settings". In this first journey, he will meet the notable of the time, Amir Khan commander of a pro-Pakistan militant group, Abdul Qayum Khan, prime minister of Azad Kashmir and as a journalist will dutifully visit a refugee camp and dutifully but wryly take notes.

There is little here for those eager to discover Pakistan, its society, people, customs and little is provided that would help understanding the origin and evolution of the Kashmir conflict. But it would be unfair to say that Casey was completely unaware of what was happening around him. In that that he is a well travelled person and could relate to his American origin and past, and "As an American, [he] appreciated the pathos of a country trying, and usually failing, to live up to an ideal".

Casey shows a rare understanding not sahred with many travel writers who are "only passing through". "I spent a lot of time on the ground in Kashmir with Kashmiris, then later stepped back and looked at it again from afar". Often they consider that after a few weeks in a foreign country, they know everything that needs or is worth knowing about it and believe to have the expertise to write and lecture about it. Fortunately Casey does not fall for it because he knows that story telling "that are plausible are built not from guesses but from facts, painstakingly gleaned one by one"

At the end of this first journey to Pakistan, Ethan "would move [...] and life and death would go on in Kashmir as before. This was their life [...] I had no right to claim Kashmir [...]. I was not suffering and dying [...]. On the contrary I was literally making money from other people's suffering."

The would-be Pulitzer journo goes back to wire editing. A few years later, enters the writers

Invited by Isa Daudpota, oddly characterised as a Pakistani intellectual, Ethan will teach International Journalism at a new university launched by the Beaconhouse School system. Here he will meet some of the Pakistan "elite. His mission is unclear to him, but this time, Naipaul would not be part of it.

This time Ethan is re-discovering Pakistan for himself through tennis - played with a retired army major and film producer, a game of cricket - literally surrounded by village boys and a ride on a motorbike shared with 2 other people. He will notice the small things he didn't see during his first journey, drinking a glass of fresh lime with pepper or "A coke, in a glass bottle with a straw, as cokes are always drunk in the subcontinent".

Ethan will meet the real people of Pakistan, his students, their wealthy family but also the less well-endowed family running his guest house, the rich and poor, the powerful and the pariah such as Christian Pakistani essential part of the society as street cleaners. Through his numerous encounters he will expose the contradiction of a society with a politically exacerbated cultural protectionism. For example if there is only one Indian movie a day, it is because "they only spread sex, they have no morality", no matter that broadcaster screen Friends and the Fear Factor. Likewise, there is no contradiction in showing girls in bathing suits said Zarina Sadek from Beaconhouse, "They are not Pakistani so it's all right". A distinction is made between the barbarians and the civilised, but through the looking glass, the barbarians are the American girls fighting in bikinis for money.

During his journey through Pakistan and Kashmir, Ethan experiences how foreigners can be a source of admiration but can also crystallise all the hatred our western world generate. Ethan had sometimes to pretend that he is English and hide is American legacy in a country where many see Bush as a new Hitler.

It is in this second part that the writer really shows up, that the characters come to life, the atmosphere breathes out of the pages and that the human journey through troubled times is born into reality. He is here to find something different, probably prompted by his reading of Naipaul, but he quickly concluded that Islam is not different from Christianity or Indian secularism or the American way of life.

"Through the looking glass" chapter contains some of the best pages where Ethan allows himself to talk about his feeling. Ethan's recollection of his teaching provides some of the funniest parts of the book: the discussion following the screening of "The quiet American" to his student exposes, that being part of the "elite" does not extend to forcibly include the intellectual elite. Nothing new here, it is neither a specificity of Pakistan or of a Muslim country.

Ultimately, it is a book for two different public. For those who know about Pakistan or lived or have lived in a Muslim country it will conjure memories. For the others it will lift a veil that needs to be open individually and may tempt them to go there because there nothing better than the sniff of the ground.

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