The Alive and Well in Pakistan project provides independent reporting from and about Pakistan, humanizing Pakistanis for a global audience and giving Pakistanis worldwide an honest, sympathetic portrayal of their situation in the contemporary world that goes beyond the headlines and cliches, in film, print and other media such as short videos, still photography, and audio.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back and blogging

Pete Sabo and I arrived back in Seattle on Saturday, and we're currently recovering from jet lag and catching up on correspondence and other work. Our six-week trip through India and Pakistan, from Mumbai to Karachi entirely overland, was chock-full of fascinating if sometimes exhausting encounters both planned and serendipitous, and I've only just begun processing it all.

My plans to write a fully-fledged sequel to Alive and Well in Pakistan - a first-person travelogue of which this six-week trip will be the narrative spine, but covering the action-packed past five years (2004-09) of Pakistan's history - are now firm. I'm exploring several options for publishing it in book form, hopefully sometime in mid-2010.

But in the meantime, the nature of the project itself as well as changes in both the possibilities and the economics of media compel me to start telling the story of the trip - and by extension reporting on the themes and topics of contemporary Pakistan and its place in the world - now. I'll be doing that, at least once a week, in written form on this blog starting next week, drawing on two full notebooks' worth of notes and many hours of audio recordings that I'm starting to transcribe. Pete took about 6000 photographs during the trip, and we'll also be presenting some of those here and elsewhere online, as well as in the in-person presentations I'll be giving around the US starting next month.

I also am hoping to relaunch the column that I used to write weekly for the Pakistani newspapers Daily Times and The News. I'm approaching contacts at both of those papers and at the leading daily Dawn, but if you can help make any relevant connections to help me begin publishing regularly again in the Pakistani English-language press, please email me at ethan@ethancasey.com. Similarly, I'd welcome any opportunity to write for newspapers or magazines in India.

On May 5, 2009 I'll be presenting the slide show and report from this trip for the first time, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Vancouver, Washington. Later in May we have presentations scheduled in Seattle, Portland, San Jose, and hopefully Vancouver, British Columbia - stay tuned for full details on those and other dates, and by all means let me know if you'd like me to come to your city.

There are about 190 copies of my first book, Alive and Well in Pakistan, currently available in North America. I've just purchased most of these and will be offering them for sale online and at speaking engagements. I'm happy to sell them at the normal retail price, since a printing is in the works. Because availability is limited until then, though, and because this project needs support, priority will go to anyone who contributes $100 or more online (via the ChipIn widget on this site) or by check. So if you don't yet have a copy of the book Ahmed Rashid calls "magnificent" and Edwidge Danticat calls "wonderful ... so worldly yet personal," get yours today!

You also can support the Alive and Well in Pakistan book-and-blog project by telling others about it, urging them to join our mailing list (by emailing aliveandwellinpakistan@gmail.com), and inviting us to speak to your congregation, civic group, or university or high school class. If you're in Pakistan or India and would like a copy of the first book, you can also write to that address and we'll do our best to make arrangements for you to get one.

I'll be back next week with the first proper post-trip blog entry. The photo is of a visit we made to a Human Development Foundation school outside Lahore with HDF board member Dr. Shahnaz Khan, April 4, 2009.