I’m not much for petitions. A pure formality, at best. I’m far more impressed by more creative forms of communication. But given the speed at which events are unfolding, all I’ve found to do concerning the actual crisis in Pakistan is to sign this petition my colleague Jean Biagini suggested to me yeasterday: End the Emergency. For I’ve just learned via Jean that the former director of the National College of Arts in Lahore has been arrested in connection with the crackdown on so-called extremists. While I, like many in the west probably, can easily imagine there is indeed some fire behind all that smoke, it is clear that arresting artists and intellectuals has nothing to do with fighting terrorism and everything to do with consolidating power. I don’t pretend to understand very much about the complexity of internal politics in Pakistan, but I do understand that distinction.
The NCA is a wonderful place, and ever since my workshop there in 2000, I’ve been wanting to return. Perhaps I should work on getting that goal back onto my radar.