By Noreen Haider
In the flier being widely
distributed by the Lal Masjid administration, announcing the
Nifaaz-e-Shariat-o-Azmat-e-Jihad Conference to be held in Lal Masjid Islamabad
on April 7 as well as a three day Aitekaf invitation for students of all
Madaris, the list of demands has changed dramatically.
The language of the
announcement and the demands themselves speak volumes about the growing
confidence of the Masjid administration in the movement it is all set to
The list of the four demands
reads as: Immediate reconstruction of the demolished mosques in Islamabad;
immediate declaration of Islamic Shariat in Pakistan by the government;
immediate promulgation of Quran and Sunnah in the courts of law and removal of
the unIslamic clauses of the Women Protection Bill; immediate discontinuation
to declaring Jihad as Terrorism by the government as it is the great sacred
religious duty of Muslims.
The invitees have been given
instructions to bring along books and printed material related to Jihad and
their teachers told to consistently and emphatically stress on the urgent need
of Jihad during their travel to the Lal Masjid. The flier asks them to come in
large congregations and, if prevented at any point by the police, should stay
in the nearest mosques, initiate their Aitekaf and do whatever they must to
influence the local neighbourhood for the promulgation of Islamic Shariah in
Pakistan and preparation for Jihad.
The flier also informs that
the baton-holding madaris students have started their rounds in Islamabad
markets and accelerated their movement against video shop owners. Many of the
video shop owners have already agreed to closing down their shops for good,
Talking to TNS on the list of
demands and how they have evolved into a student's movement Ghazi Abdur Rashid
khatib Lal Masjid said: "Somebody had to do it.If the government has
failed to cleanse the society then it's up to us. Vulgarity and obscenity is
destroying the fabric of our society but nobody had the guts to get up and do
When asked if kidnapping
women from the alleged brothel was justified, he said: "By all means. If
the police was not doing anything, we decided to do it ourselves. This woman
was running a brothel since 1992 and hundreds of people went there every
day." The khatib of Lal Masjid, however, failed to answer why it took them
fifteen years to take any reformative action against Auntie Shamim, owner of
the brothel when -- at the reported rate -- thousands of people must have been
affected from her evil doings.
When asked about the
justification for encroachment, Rashid said: "According to the Islamic law
of Haq Shufa (law of preemption) we had the first right to buy the land next to
the mosque. When we wanted to buy it the Capital Development Authority (CDA)
did not allow us so we had no choice but to grab it. It is our right." He
did not give a satisfactory answer to how could a Haq Shufa or any such claim
be made on a government-owned mosque which is the property of the Auqaf
It is interesting to note
that both the Khatibs Maulana Abdul Aziz and Ghazi Abdur Rashid were government
employees in the mosque and they were both sacked by the government (Auqaf
department to be precise) one and a half years ago. Going by rules, a
government employee can not claim private ownership on a building owned by the
government. Yet, in contrast, the suspended Imams of the Lal Masjid are not
only adamant to possess the land, rather they are eager to extend its area by
encroaching on the land owned by other government departments like the ministry
Madrasa Hafsa built adjacent
to the Lal Masjid is still under construction. Not only is the land illegally
grabbed, the building design too has not been approved by any authority. The
present tiff started when the madrasa authorities started building the third
and forth storey. The madrasa is one of its kind with more than a thousand
girls living there as residents. The rest of the students are day-scholars. The
madrasa has its own curricula and its own faculty largely drawn from the pool
of old students.
The total area encroached in
the name of Jamia Hafsa stands at 7439 sq yards -- out of which 3389 sq yards
belong to Gymnasium plot, 450 sq yards belong to the Children Library, 400 sq
yards belong to the Author's corner and 3200 sq yards belong to the CDA.
According to a very conservative estimate, the total worth of the land
encroached by the madrasa authorities is Rs 400 million.
Operating very much on its
own, the madrasa administration is answerable to no authority. There is no
audit of its accounts done by any of the government agencies. Ghazi Abdur
Rashid told that they get upto Rs.10 million a month in funds from various
sources for the madaris but he did not disclose the exact sources, saying it
comes mainly through philanthropy. "We receive funds from people who give
out of their own volition but we do not take conditional money. As a rule we
decide how that money is going to be spent. We also have audits done but we
cannot share its report," said Ghazi Abdur Rashid.
When asked about the
government directive to sack the two brothers, Rashid said: "The
government has no authority to sack us. We don't accept that. We are Ulema and
not ordinary government employees." But how did they land in Lal Masjid in
the first place if not as government employees? "Yes we were getting
salaries and were government servants but still as khatibs of Lal Masjid we
have extra powers and a very different status. They cannot fire us even if they
Ghazi Abdur Rashid also said
they would be declaring the promulgation of Islamic Shariah in the country very
It seems the initial demand
of the rebuilding of the demolished mosques has clearly paled with the
emergence of new demands. The situation is more like a standoff with the
government -- with armed burqa-clad students standing in and around Lal Masjid.
Clearly a test of nerves and strategic planning on the part of government which
sees it as a delicate issue.
"They are using the
female students as human shields and exploiting the name of Islam for their own
vested interests. It is not difficult to carry out an operation for the
demolition of the illegally built structure but we respect the presence of
girls in the premises and do not want any harm to come to them," said I.G.
police Iftikhar Chaudhry talking to TNS.
"The Lal Masjid people
are aware of the national and international political developments and are
exploiting the situation. Everybody knows they are raising these demands
because the government stopped the illegal construction of their madrasa,"
said Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao.
Other than Lal Masjid, Khatib
Abdul Aziz is also running Madrasa Faridia in E/7 as well as 18 other madaris
all built on encroached land in and around Islamabad, according to CDA member
Estate Brig. Asad. These include, Jamia Saida Samia G-7/3, Madrasa Fatima I
9/4, Madrasa Umme-Kulsum Bara Kahu, Madrasa Ruqayya Banni Gala, Madrasa Qabtia
Chak Shehzad, Madrasa Khatija, Madrasa Hajra, Madrasa Khola Golra for the women
and Jamia Faridia E/7, Madrasa Zaid Bin Sabit Lal Masjid, Madrasa Saidna Umer
Masjid Muzzamil, St 94 G/11-3, Madrasa RehmatullilAalamin Loi Bhair PWD
Islamabad, Madrasa Usman Bin Affan, Madrasa Syedna Talha Bin Abdulla, Siri
Chowk Bara Kahu, Madrasa Muaaz bin Jabal Bara Kahu, Madrasa Syedna Saddiq Akbar
Bani Gala for boys. These and some of the other affiliated madaris are built on
state owned land worth billions of rupees
The problem is not new and so
is the phenomenon of land grabbing. It happened a long time before the present
government assumed office. But it has certainly mutated to a point where we are
seeing the emergence of powerful mafias in the premises of government-owned
mosques who have declared themselves authorised to interpret and implement
their brand of Shariah.
In the particular case of Lal
Masjid, it is interesting to note that they have no support from the
Wafaq-ul-Madaras or any other religious group in the country. They also have no
support from political parties like Jamiat Ulemae Islam or Jamaat Islami.
All eyes are now waiting for
the final verdict from the government side. Would it buckle under pressure or
the writ of the state re-established remains to be seen.
As per CDA records...
According to CDA records Lal
Masjid is the oldest mosque built in Islamabad .The land for Lal Masjid was
allotted some time in the 1960s and it was a 260'x 260' plot which is 8377.78
sq yards. The mosque was constructed by CDA. The construction was funded by the
Finance Ministry and the mosque belongs to the Auqaf Department. The Imam and
Moazzan quarters were further added in 1979. The Imam quarters are built on 400
yards and the Moazzan quarters were built on 111 yards. (Late) Maulana Abdullah
was appointed the first Imam of Lal Masjid.
In August 1981 on the
directive of President Zia-ul-Haq No 833, PC-I a grand restructuring of the Lal
Masjid was done at the cost of Rs 7.255 million. General Zia was greatly
interested in the expansion and renovation of the mosque so that large
congregations could be held there until such time that the Faisal Mosque was
ready. Funding was provided to the mosque in 1982 and again in 1984 for further
On December 12, 1988 an area
of 15'x 40' (66.67 sq yards) was allotted for the Girls' Madrasa by the
government. On the recommendation of the the Auqaf department additional area
of 25'x50' was given for the madrasa in May 1994. The total allotted area of
the Lal Masjid to date is 9094.45 sq yards which is 1.88 acres.
But in March 2001 the madrasa
started encroaching on a 3389 sq yards plot adjacent to the mosque which was
already allotted and earmarked for a Gymnasium. Several verbal notices were
issued to the madrasa authorities and the khatib of Lal Masjid but to no avail.
The first written notice was issued to them in 2002 which again failed to
produce any result. In 2004 further encroachments were made and the 450 sq
yards of plot allotted to Ministry of Education for the building of a public
library was occupied by the madrasa. Another notice was served by CDA on
9-12-2004 but to no avail. As the inevitable next option an operation was
planned by the CDA for the demolition of the illegally built building but they
failed to do so because the ICT did not provide them with adequate police
Further notices were issues
in Dec 2005, April 2006, and January 2007 without producing any results.
Capital Development Authority
Ordinance 1960, clause 49C says: "If any building, structure, work or land
is erected or constructed in contravention of the provisions of this ordinance
or any rules, regulation or order the DC or any person empowered on his behalf
may by order in writing, require the owner, occupier or person in control to
remove, alter or demolish the building."
Responding to a question as
to why did the CDA authorities fail to demolish the illegally constructed
structure when it was under construction, CDA member Estate Brig Asad said:
"At that time administration's anti-encroachment [wing] had only 25
people. There were no weapons, no equipment and no way to carry out an
operation without the help of ICT (Islamabad Capital territory) chief
commissioner and IG Islamabad. They provide the necessary support through the
magistrate and police for any demolition operation.
"Because of the fact
that this particular madrasa has female students the authorities were always
apprehensive of taking any extreme action against them. The madrasa authorities
exploited this situation to the maximum. An operation was planned for
9-12-2004, the CDA authorities were ready for it but the necessary backup was
not there so it was called off."
-- N. Haider
'Burqavaganza', a recent Ajoka
production, attempted to comically tackle a social issue
By Sarwat Ali
First it was the scarf, now
it is the veil. The refusal of some of the Muslim women in Britain especially
of Pakistani and Indian heritage to unveil themselves has suddenly catapulted
the veil or the burqa as a potent reminder of the clash of civilisations. This
issue was handled comically in the recent Ajoka production 'Burqavaganza',
written and directed by Shahid Mehmood Nadeem at the Alhamra, Lahore.
To veil and protect the women
-- your women -- was one of the fundamentals of the civilised, especially those
living in the heartland of Indian Muslims i.e. Awadh, Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan,
Madhiya Pradesh, Hyderabad Deccan. But with the onset of colonial rule it was
seen to be a cultural practice meant to keep the women away from the man's
world, and hence in the modern context perceived as a retrogressive cultural
practice. There has been unease and a sense of guilt about all this among the
male dominated society at large and many other forms and styles of covering the
body -- the scarf, the chaddar, an abridged burqa and long coat have been
consistently experimented with to assuage that guilt.
This obvious indicator of
modernisation was stopped in its track by the crisis of identity, which the
Muslims faced all over the world. The clash of civilisations paradigm pitted
them against the West and the limited consensus arrived at in response to
contemporary challenges is being eroded in the wake of questions of identity.
The Iranians had done that in their own country 28 years ago, but when the
women living in Britain started to assert their cultural identity
multiculturalism started being stretched to the limits.
This has been a contentious
issue and it seemed to have been laid to rest with the women working side by
side with men but due to the changes in the world political scenario this has
again become a live issue and obvious yielding itself to satire dipped in acid
by writers, painters, musicians and dramatists.
Ajoka has staged plays which
have been topical and thus have had the leverage of drawing a quick response
from the audience. The topicality of the issue establishes a bond between the
play and the audience. All the characters in the play were veiled, they
appeared in a burqa. The plot was thin but it was made colourful and effusive
by the singing and dancing as well as the use of the multimedia facilities like
video clippings on screen. Actually the play was in the form of skits, strung
together by a vague storyline, or a hint of a storyline, and it seemed that the
storyline pointed towards some sinister plot that was working under cover to
disrupt the social order or to push society towards an obscurantist end.
In the last scene of the play
when all the hooded or veiled or 'burqaed' characters appeared on stage and
began to dance, throwing off their veils to reveal their masks of well-known
national and international figures, it pointed to some conspiratorial
underpinning. It took some of the fun away from the play because the situations
within the paradigm were quite hilarious and the butt of much lampooning and
slapstick. The play should have rested at that and the effort to bind it a
serious purpose looked a little limp.
Such issues like the purdah
have enough gun powder to blow off a citadel. And the motives for the debate
and the sides which are taken in the debate and conflict are not engineered
from abroad or the strings are not being pulled from the outside but the
explosions lie barely hidden, tucked away in a corner.
This issue which was
basically a social one has now become political with the assertion that one has
witnessed in Islamabad. And internationally it is causing disruption within
western societies, the cringing of which is affecting the general relationship
with the West. At one level it is an act of courage to tackle such issues and
one knows that Ajoka has never shied away for the fear of conflict. The video
clippings were hilarious and added variety to the production while most of the
songs , some even sung live were parodies and some sung in such a manner
that they appeared incongruous to their original intent. Usually one has been
critical of the quality of singing and musical input of the plays in the past
but in this production as the purpose of the singing was to stretch the net of
irony it served its purpose adequately. The cast of the play consisted of
Sarfaraz Ansari, Iqbal Naqvi, Imranul Haq, Nosheen Sheikh, Raza Abbas, Khola
Qureshi, Asif Japani, Azaan Malik, Usman Zia, Shahzad, Yaqoob Masih, Nadeem
Abbas, Waseem Luka, Meena, Razia Malik and Vicky.
Though many of the members of
Ajoka have been associated with the group for years, the necessity to build up
a second level of performers and theatre skilled personnel cannot be over
emphasised. Recently Ajoka Women Day presentation of plays, short plays, skits
-- call it what you may, were handled by the second string and the outcome was
rather indifferent. The advantages of having greater depth of initiated talent
in the field is essential. Some of the persons like Sarfaraz Ansari and Malik
Aslam who have consistently worked for the theatre group should be adequately
prepared to handle both the creative and the managerial sides.
In the last 20 odd years
Ajoka has mothered theatre and many a split in the family have subsequently
resulted in more groups being formed. The consistency is quite commendable. The
key word can be no other than keep at it.
Work of F. E. Chaudhry, the
grandfather of Pakistani photo-journalism, is archived by NCA, which held an
exhibition to celebrate the man and his work
By Bilal Tanweer
If we go by Joseph Conrad's
definition of art, wherein he referred to it as 'a single-minded attempt to
render the highest kind of justice to the visible universe', then F. E.
Chaudhry's work may appear paradoxical, for it fits and negates Conrad's claim
at the same time.
I say this because of the
possible levels of interpretation of Chaudhry's work. At the most banal, it is
photo-journalism from basics to its best: images are starkly clear in what they
convey without a hint of ambiguity in the image, stating the meaning and the
message unmistakably. At the same time, they are aesthetically qualified: the
proportions, subjects and light, all find their balance in Chaudhry's camera,
and in all the photos exhibited, there was no uncertainty about who was the
subject and for what reason.
Broadly speaking, Chaudhry's
work which was exhibited at NCA gallery last week could be divided into two
crude categories. One is the official and political photography, wherein
Chaudhry captures the political history of Pakistan through images. Scenes from
the Muslim League meetings and conferences were the highlight of this category.
What was especially noteworthy was a clear tilt towards the overwhelming
presence of Jinnah's photos at various occasions ranging from casual tea
parties, playing golf and billiards, to his addresses to huge gatherings. This
was a choice of the exhibitionists and not a preference, says Nadeem Omar who
was one of the people who were instrumental in getting F. E. Chaudhry's work to
the NCA archives. "I don't think there is any particular slant in his
photography. Jinnah's was his first picture, and partition happened during his
early career. [When archiving] we had categorised his photographs into several
categories, from photojournalism on different political subjects to the visual
chronology of Pakistan Times -- including Faiz's imprisonment and release
If this is true, then the
exhibition was a rather inappropriate representation of his work, because
judging by the exhibition itself, the purview of Chaudhry's subjects does not
seem to go beyond Jinnah, Bhutto and Lahore -- and hence, fail to do 'the
highest justice to the visible world.'
However, the other category
was of 'some wonderful exceptions.' These were the ordinary subjects of
Chaudhry's photos: scenes from cockfights, ceramics pottery, straw-cap weavers,
cloth market, and evening view of the Government College Lahore. These were
done in the trademark clarity visible in the previous works, but they were also
fused with a sense of compassion and humanity, and moreover, they were
aesthetically pleasing. Indeed, it is no mean achievement, in any form of art,
to render the ordinary as extraordinary which holds one's attention and arouses
a sense of wonder. Indeed, it was here where Chaudhry seemed to fulfil Conrad's
One of the most fascinating
dimensions of Chaudhry's work is the time they span. His work is a
photo-history of Pakistan starting from the Pakistan movement itself. His first
snapped photo of Jinnah dates back to 1936, where Quaid stands addressing a
gathering a Muslim League gathering; he then weaves important historical
moments in turns of his camera roll: the migration of 1947, protesting Hindus
against the creation of Pakistan, scenes from the Walton refugee camp, 1958
flood, last photo of Z.A. Bhutto before execution, etc. Curiously, there were
no photographs after the 1980s (except for one where Chaudhry is receiving a
Pride of Performance award from Zia ul Haq, dated 1987); this marked absence
also seemed to be a rather strange preference by the exhibitionists.
As for F. E. Chaudhry the
man, he is considered a living legend for many reasons other than his
contribution to photo-journalism in Pakistan. He stands at 98 now with a
working memory, and according to Nadeem Omar, "he has managed to get
himself acknowledged by the state, despite being a Christian he was able to
survive vicissitudes of political drama... His artistic endeavours are worthy
enough to fetch a prize in any international photography fair, which as you may
know, he actually managed to get, even quite earlier on in his career."
As an appendix, one must
mention the valuable step taken by the National College of Arts for archiving
F. E. Chaudhry's work. They have done it meticulously and quite wonderfully.
Even the larger prints at the exhibition were well-produced. However, it is not
a recommended exercise for an ordinary person to access those archives; but
that is a different story altogether.
Limits of Cubism
The recent solo exhibition of Mansur Rahi is a continuation of his lifelong romance with Cubism
By Quddus Mirza
Once asked what he was thinking while painting Cubist works, Pablo Picasso replied that while working, he and his fellow painter Georges Braque did not know that they were doing Cubist paintings. This statement, like many of his other comments, appears to be a joke, but it unfolds the process of art and reveals the mind of an artist. When a creative person is on the verge of inventing or doing something new, in most cases he is not aware of its uniqueness, and it is only afterwards (and in most cases by the critics) that the newness of his creative outputs is realised.
It also implies that if an artist decides to discover a new style or way of working, it is not a natural phenomenon, but often an imposed quest. On the other hand, sometimes the new movements and schools of thought emerge without prior planning and normally these are discovered after a certain time has passed. However in our art scene, many artists assume a style and start producing works under that specific technique of image-making. In that respect their artistic production is not a process of creative inquiry, but merely a means of acquiring some distinct method.
This approach can be well observed in the recent works of Mansur Rahi, shown in his solo exhibition at Native Art Gallery, Lahore. The exhibition (inaugurated on March 27, 2007 and held for a week) comprised of his oil paintings and charcoal drawings. Most of his works were based upon human bodies, along with a few small surfaces with bulls and heads of charging horses. All of these images were drawn in the Cubist scheme, with parts of figures dissected into simple geometric shapes.
Rahi's romance with Cubism is not new; in fact its presence can be traced in his previous works -- since the 1970s (to be precise). Earlier, cubist forms and circular lines were used to construct lyrical surfaces in subtle colours and delicate shades. In those paintings, one could glimpse a recognisable imagery, but it was subdued and merged with the background through textures and tones. The artist, being trained in the Bengali tradition of watercolours, utilised the experience of water colour painting in order to build his oil canvases with layers of transparent colours and sharply defined lines.
What he created and continued for years is now emerging as a sad scenario. The earlier surfaces with the painterly sensibilities are substituted with works about female figures and faces. In his latest paintings, the artist has focused on representing some kind of mythological characters with odd proportions. The human bodies were drawn through a network of lines and blocks in a distorted manner. Yet this distortion was meant to communicate the strength of the figures and to convey beauty of the limbs. At the same instance in several works, female (and some male too) faces were painted (in intersecting geometric shapes and lines), enhancing their beauty and bestowing them an importance by adding crowns and jewellery.
In these works, human rather female body was depicted with strong muscles, stretched due to the moving postures. Along with their exaggerated contours, a number of those women were accompanied by tiny birds. Those birds were perched on the hands of faceless, yet fully formed female figures. Looking at the motif of woman and bird in Rahi's work, one could not help recalling the fascination of our painters with female and bird. Probably it all began with Shakir Ali's work (if not inspired from the Rajput and Pehari miniatures!) in which nude women were painted with birds. The combination of birds and women has continued in our art. It appears that this subject or set of imagery is quite popular among the painters, viewers and collectors.
There can be many reasons for the success of this theme, but probably for a painter, putting a bird next to female figure is an attempt to induce some depth in an ordinary academic figure study.But on the other hand, some artists -- actually the initial explorers of this subject -- tried to locate the element of beauty in both, the bird and nude. For them bird, besides being a sign of freedom, was also a symbol of the man (the artist).
However, the art has a strange tendency to predict the future, without any planning on the part of painters. Thus the earlier makers of woman and bird, in an unconscious way, foresaw the later situation of women in our society. Mainly because, the way the concept of cage is associated with the bird; the Islamic Republic became known for restricting her female population. Thus one could read an analogy between bird and woman, as both were put behind bars.
But the recent works of Mansur Rahi or other perpetrators of bird-woman theme do not suggest this kind of interpretation. For these painters the beauty of female form is best suited with a bird, since the two can be painted in inexhaustible numbers for aesthetic purposes. This frame of mind was evident in his show, in which two works with identical objects and same composition were rendered in two different hues. It not only implied that the subject matter was chosen as a decorative element, but that the artist's attitude was not dissimilar to a fabric designer, who prepares a pattern in its multiple colour variations.
A stage in the history of art that altered the course of European painting and introduced multiple views in a single work now has been reduced to merely a formula for our painter. And naturally, once the intellectual content is not needed, the geometric shapes and distortion of forms serve to concoct typical art pieces. An activity that Rahi proudly pronounces as Cubical fractionism, Analytic Cubism, Cubical rayonistic formalism, Neo-cubo-precisionism and Neo-cubical Romanticism in the catalogue of his exhibition. Terms that are pompous, pretentious and do not mean much yet signify the limits of Cubism -- both for Picasso, who abandoned it after some years, and for our painter, who has taken it for its surface value, if it has a value anymore.
We recently had a brief stopover in Dubai, and I am still musing over the strange sense of unreality that the place inspires in me.
The shiny skyscrapers, broad streets, gliding flyovers, the sense of space yet congestion...It all reminds me of two TV shows from my childhood: the cityscape reminds me of the ambience of the city in the 'futuristic' cartoons 'The Jetsons', while the impersonality and strangeness of it makes me feel like Captain Kirk's team beaming down from the Starship Enterprise on to an unknown and orderly planet.
Everything looks clean and shiny but the number of vehicles on the road is a little daunting. Just getting out of the airport seems to take ages and then along the broad motorways you have time to gape in wonder at the high-rise landscape.
Many of the beautiful hotels combine traditional architectural elements with modern design to create a sense of identity and history. But despite this the place reminds me of another beautiful and fake place -- Sun City in South Africa. Sun City is a spectacularly beautiful place but its architecture evokes all sorts of histories (Roman, Mayan, African, generic ancient) that never existed there! In Dubai, they have recreated a clean and sanitised version of a souk (bazaar), which seems a contradiction in terms anyway! The shiny, clean and tourist oriented facade just adds to the sense of unreality and the impersonal air of the place.
This is the desert city that has an indoor ski slope and the world's largest water park and which will soon have an adventure park (Dubai Land) 'larger than Singapore'... which is all amazing but it does make you feel as if you have stepped into a theme park rather than a city with people, history and character...
I suppose with all its efficiency, Dubai is aiming to be like what Beirut was in the 1960s when it was known as 'the Paris of the Middle East'. With all the investment and tourism the place seems to be booming, but I still find it somewhat surreal. Human Rights Watch has documented the human cost at which the high rises are going up, where the labour (mostly from South Asian countries) is not given proper medical care or compensation, and often not paid as promised, but we rarely think of this as we use the glossy facilities of the city.
On our way to the airport to fly out, we were caught in the evening rush hour traffic. That is also the time when most of the construction labourers are bussed home. My young daughter saw a group of them lining up to board their bus and was astonished by the sight of these scrawny men in a long queue who, rather ironically were wearing orange jumpsuits. Since her only point of reference was Guantanamo Bay prisoners in orange jumpsuits, she exclaimed in confusion, "who are those people, are they prisoners?". Anyhow, we almost missed our flight because of that traffic jam for more than two hours. And that was when I really kept wishing that I could just call the Enterprise and tell Scottie to 'beam us up.'