a few exciting things that have happened since last time.
number one - I have become obsessed with Iman Ali, the model. Her billboards are everywhere. She is larger than life; her lips are big, juicy and pink - the rest of her lies back in glorious anemic proportions. Her shoulders are bare and pale, and her arms are delicately thin. There is a slightly drugged look in her eyes and she is draped in some high end lawn. She, in a nutshell, ought to be a delectable piece o' flesh. Oddly, she isn't.
She is the epitome of the consumerist Karachi woman. A woman, who Rosa below, calls parasites on the parasites. She adds no value to society, and is plainly a rabid consumer of clothes and accessories. She is narcissistic, and seems to love herself. But, really, she despises herself because she sees herself as a commodity - and hence the sense of alienation in those slightly drugged eyes, the look of being trapped in foundation cream. She is really just a lost soul waiting to be rescued from the endless drudgery of obligatory sex with her spouse who owns a textile mill and exploits his workers. She is more like the workers - really, except she wears Prada and rides in a Prado, and she doesn't remember ever seeing her eyes because they are blocked by huge ass sunglasses.
number 2 - As you may know from a petition floating around - many of the employees of the Pearl Continental Hotel are on strike.
Two hundred of them have occupied the PC basement for about 14 days, and are demanding that the hotel take back 4 workers it has wrongly dismissed, and come to the negotiating table.
Imagine a match of good and evil of fictional proportions.
Hashwani, the man whose hotel got bombed and who probably collected a lump sum of insurance money, is the villain. He apparently dislikes unions, and likes to keep workers underpaid, while probably maintaining a lavish lifestyle of golf vacations, secluded Thai beaches, and daiquiris himself. Now, Mr Hashwani pays employees who have worked for fourteen years, a mere $100 a month, if that, while a room in the hotel costs about $200 a night. And so a major chunk of that extra money goes not just to his lavish vacations, but (probably) also to the lavish blow dries and the senseless spending of the other men and women of the Hashwani.
But consumerism aside - there is the capitalism's suicidal need to grow - to sustain itself in unsustainable greed. While cutting down employee provident funds by millions and claiming losses the hotel has bought land worth millions in Gwador, and has set aside much more for its organization, the Hashoo Group.
Although, this is a much bigger fight than one person, I like how workers have personalized it against Hashwani. He is not budging. He has friends in high places. He is too powerful. He controls the media. He won't give in even if it comes down to losing the hotel. It has become matter of false honor for him.
By some records, he is the fifth richest man in Pakistan and worth $1.1. billion.
Have you ever wondered why people like him are so afraid of unions? Because unions bring workers together, and Hashwani can not risk a non subjugated working class, who will ask for what is fairly due to them, in numbers - numbers he can't ignore. A living wage.
The battle continues, and I feel like a showdown is impending...or an anti-climactic end to a brave resistance by these 200 men..
If only we could get Iman Ali to be brand ambassador for the PC workers unions.