Sabeen

Sabeen Mahmud. Assassinated.

This is what she did:

She worked so hard to bring out the best in Karachi. She was the rare idealist who lived out her ideals, knowing full well that it made her unpopular in many circles.

I don’t know how, but I met her and T2F right at the beginning, and saw her occasionally ever since. She never budged an inch from her ideals, despite much pushback, occasional offers to sellout, and bitter cynicism and criticism from so many.

Yet first they laughed at her, then tried to shut her down, and finally they killed her.

So many empty platitudes in this country. Say rest in peace and move on? Its exactly the opposite of what Sabeen did with T2F.

Her pitch for your money is below – donate money now, for they will need it to continue:

Dear Friends,

Seven years ago, defying common sense and rationality, I abandoned my comfort zone and willfully walked away from everything I knew how to do. I had been constructing an alternative reality in my head for several months and the time had come to build it, in the real world.

I wanted to create a public space; a platform for creative expression, an incubator for emerging talent, and a community space for dialogue. I had all these grandiose ideas and unhealthy levels of naiveté and adrenaline. One room on the second floor of a filthy, nondescript office building was all I could manage with funds from family and fools, multiple credit cards, and a smattering of pixie dust.

Seven years later, the platform has been built. T2F is real. However, the path to living the dream, while rewarding beyond measure, has been one of extreme financial adversity. Like well designed software that protects its users from what goes on behind the scenes, it is our job to deliver a seamless user experience. Committed to that ideal, I have never really spoken about the operating system that powers the platform because I was shy and the timing never felt right.

Since 2007, we have delivered a steady stream of liberal arts programming without fuss and fanfare. We have enabled the creative fantasies of umpteen artists, actors, musicians, comedians, poets, and writers. We have been generous with our space and our time. We have remained fiercely independent.

We have come a long way, quietly. However, our operating system is now in dire need of maintenance and a massive upgrade. The easy way out is to fire a few people, switch off the air-conditioners, stop paying taxes, raise prices, ticket everything, and put an end to the honor code. An even easier way out would be to succumb to the lure of the almighty dollar. But the easy way out spells S.E.L.L.O.U.T.

So, we are reaching out to you, the community that powers T2F, to come together and help us with this year’s operating system maintenance and upgrades. If a lot of people contribute just a little, we can keep the dream alive and we are confident that we will get by with a little help from our friends.

Sabeen Mahmud
Founder, T2F

Links

The VICE guide to Karachi

Added without comment, to be watched later. A scene report from the VICE dudes on the ground. It’s in five parts, all up on youtube and embedded below:

VICE Guide to Karachi: Pakistan’s Most Violent City (Part 1/5)

Vice, true to their name, sticks to all the vices of wherever they go, forgoing everything else, but that said, Karachi is changing from a city with a seamy underbelly to a seamy underbelly with huge slums and a urban jungle of a city hanging on for dear life.

Continue reading The VICE guide to Karachi

How to create a really twisted ruling class, the golf course edition

People are generally good, and it takes quite a bit of effort to turn them into monsters. You have to start at a young age as that’s when people are most impressionable. One method is to send them to a madrassah, where they grow up mentally stunted and fed mental poison for years, with their star pupils turning into suicide bombers and assassins, amongst other achievements.

That’s one type of twisted, but to rule a country, other skills come into play. How do the children of the ruling class turn into monsters, and go on to wreck havoc on the country? Well, they too get trained in the art of becoming a self centered monster at a young age, and though they might not attend madrassa’s, or the school of how to steal more money than your neighbour, but they do have many institutions in their lives to strip them of their humanity. One is the nanny, and omnipresent servants, but thats a story for another day. Today’s story is about teaching children that it’s ok to hurt people.

Continue reading How to create a really twisted ruling class, the golf course edition