More street violence in Karachi

There are times when nothing else exists. You know there are rebels in Libya and refugees fleeing Syria, and today, Yemen has seen the resurrection of a dead president. You know these things.

And your day has been mundane at best. You spent it in your bedroom—hours relocating from the bed to the couch to the floor as, sentence by excruciating sentence, droplet by droplet, you squeezed out a research-heavy first draft of a 2,000 word article about Karachi’s art deco buildings. Tomorrow you will get to scrap half of it.

When you felt like you really needed a table, you went to the whole foods café, because in the afternoon it’s quieter than the artsy coffee shop, which teems with teens on summer break. And that one guy who brings his keyboard and rehearses Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of the Angels” with that one girl singing, unselfconsciously, that same song over and over and over again. For hours. Don’t they realize it’s a funeral song? Plus, it’s just bad.

You ordered an Americano and a white chocolate chip gluten-free organic cupcake.

Later you went to a friend’s for dinner and a movie, only you had to leave after dinner, because the roads will be closed soon. Not in YOUR neighborhood, of course, nothing ever happens in your neighborhood. But in the driver’s neighborhood. Because there’s been a bit of unrest recently. Just a few gunmen on buses, only about 10 or so wage-workers dead and 20 injured—Pakistanis who can’t afford cars or even motorbikes, shot on their morning commute. Just a few days, it’s been maybe 72 hours or so, and 69 people dead of gunshot wounds.

Some of them are party members. Some of them aren’t. Some are refugees from a different sort of war—the kind where your children are hungry and the stores are shut, so you can’t go out to buy food, and the secular political parties are slaughtering each other and your neighbors, too, even as they rail against the bloodthirsty fundos. And the Chief Minister issues a “shoot on sight” order, which means that anyone in an open space is fair game. Except that your children are hungry, and your neighbors are dying, and you’re scared. So you risk it. You step into the open—but only long enough to flee. What’s that saying about a moving target?

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