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Daily Bloggerback
Friday, January 20, 2006

From the left, the right, the in-between: we include the political,
the social, the cultural and the undefinable.

 

 

Featured Blog I: Paris Waits
Garcon, s'il vous plait

[On the torments and pleasures of waiters who take their surliness seriously.]

I live just above a fairly typical Parisian Brasserie, those restaurants/cafés/bars that are open throughout the day for the various needs of the day - the coffee in the morning, lunch, dinner in the evening, and snacks, drinks or light food throughout the day. It is staffed by the archetypal Parisians garçons - men, of all ages but rarely very young, in their black and white livery, and their amazing ability to speedily carry all sorts of things in their hands and on their arms throughout the day, and their selective approach to clients (more on that later). For us, the place is very convenient, being downstairs from home [...]. It also helped that they serve excellent meat and very decent wines, as well as a wide variety of other dishes.Tourists often complain about the surly, unfriendly treatment they get in Paris restaurants or brasseries. The important thing to know is that this is not just true of tourists - it applies to everybody, foreigner or French, tourist or Parisian. The only thing that matters is whether you are recognised as a regular or not. Read the full post...

 

Featured Blogger II: Sideshow in Pakistan
The Damadola Outrage

[Last week American warplanes bombed the village of Damadola in remote northwest Pakistan , ostensibly to kill al-Qaeda’s No. 2 man. The raid missed. Eighteen civilians were killed, most of them women and children. On Wednesday, the Pakistani government claimed two senior al-Qaeda members were killed in the raid, as well as other operatives. The claim was made without bodies being recovered or proof provided. Pakistani civilians have been outraged by the attack. The American public has been as unmoved by the American government. Kamran Shafi, author of the following post, is a retired Pakistani officer, author and freelance columnist. His blog post on the Damadola bombing also appeared in the Pakistan Daily Times. The opening italics are in the original.]

While it was comic seeing the reaction of our brilliant FO falling over itself and “vehemently” denying the mere suggestion that our ambassador to the US was being recalled — a recognised diplomatic manoeuvre made by self-respecting countries against others that might have offended it — it is tragic to see Shaukat Aziz jet off to the United States so soon after the outrage

Many moons ago, 19 actually, I had written in this very space that the governments of the “tight” buddies Dubya and the Big General were as one when it came to stupidity and foolishness and doing exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. The title of the piece was ‘Allah millaee joree’, explained thus in English: A pair made in heaven: well suited to each other — one as bad as the other. I had gone on: “While America the country is eons ahead of Pakistan the country according to every indicator; while the Americans reached the moon almost thirty-five years ago, and a very large majority of Pakistanis cannot read or write even today; while America is the most powerful and one of the richest countries in the world and Pakistan is a very poor example of a ‘developing country’, aren’t the government of the Land of the Pure, and its tight friend and ‘Coalition Partner’ the government of Amreeka Bahadur as incompetent, inept, cretinous... I could go on and on... as each other? I mean, look at them both go about their respective business and see what a complete mess they are making.” Read the full post...

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