Portraits of Pakistan

My friend Omar Mullick is in the process of finishing the making of what is shaping up to be a fantastic film. “These Birds Walk” is a “portrait of contemporary Pakistan is created through the eyes of an ambulance driver and a runaway boy who call a dying humanitarian and his struggling organization home.”

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A Seat at the Table: a Twitter-ful list of women crucial to foreign policy

Elmira Bayrasli gave “Levo her (expansive) list of women who are deeply ingrained in critical foreign policy issues, and how to follow their travails and their progress.” Among the women in that list, you will find some (if not most) of my all-time favorite lady tweeters: @texasinafrica, @scarlettlion, @meowtree, @bonniekoenig, @saundra_s, @nancymbirdsall….

That Elmira included in me in her list is such an honor; I’m truly grateful for that “tip of the hat” from her, and really pleased to be associated – if only through this list – with some of today’s leading female thinkers, journalists, politicians, artists, activists and generally awesome women.

You can find the full list here, on the Levo League website, or click the image below

Côte d’Ivoire: Le couple Gbagbo inculpé de “crimes économiques”

This post was originally published on UN Dispatch. C’est le premier billet en français que l’éditeur m’a commandité, donc c’est un essai. Amis francophones, j’aimerai beaucoup savoir ce que vous en pensez.

C’est un premier pas pour la justice en Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent et Simone Gbagbo – assignés à résidence dans le nord du pays depuis leur capture dramatique et médiatisée du 11 avril dernier – ont été inculpés hier par le procureur de la République d’Abidjan. L’inculpation porte sur les “crimes économiques” commis par l’ancien président et sa femme. Le procureur a annoncé le jeudi 18 août lors d’une conférence de presse que les chefs d’inculpation contre Mr. Gbagbo concernaient notamment “vol aggravé, atteinte à l’économie nationale, détournement de deniers publics, pillage.

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Sachal Studios is amazing

Listening to The Strand on late night BBC world last week, I heard a segment about Lahore-based Sachal Studios orchestra. These guys are mind blowing. This Pakistani jazz orchestra recorded jazz classics with traditional Pakistani instruments and flavor. The final product is seriously awesome. The Washington Post writes:

Stop what you’re doing and listen.

Sachal Orchestra, a new jazz supergroup made up of Pakistan’s master musicians and the brainchild of U.K.-based investor, philanthropist and jazz fan Izzat Majeed, has just recorded the album of year.

Sachal Jazz: Interpretations of Jazz Standards & Bossa Nova,” is the first album by Sachal Orchestra and is already No. 1 on iTunes in the jazz genre.

The group has a video for “Take Five”, the Dave Brubeck masterpiece:

I downloaded their album, and I’m listening to their take “This Guy’s In Love With You” on repeat.

The Little Peacekeeper

The Little Peacekeeper - photo by Sebastian Rommair

On a recent trip to New York, I was introduced to The Little Peacekeeper. Created by Sebastian Rottmair, The Little Peacekeeper “believes that we live in a world that needs a lot of small and big peacekeepers.” TLP goes around the world, taking photos of his various adventures, raises awareness about issues such as malaria or landmines, and symbolizes the efforts of peacekeepers around the world. He’s a small, endearing character. Sebastian says that he does not have any particular intentions with this project, but I think it would be a fun tool to educate young children about peacekeeping. While TLP doesn’t carry out actual peacekeeper duties (and doesn’t officially represent UN Peacekeeping), I find his simplified, poetic manners engaging. There’s something charming about this little fella, who travels to faraway places, reminding us of the role and importance of peacekeepers, with both gravitas and a good dose of lightheartedness.

You can follow him on Twitter/Facebook – he’s a very “web 2.0” peacekeeper.

I particularly love this video of him training: