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Nuclear pride displayed in Chicago Mela

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    Nuclear pride displayed in Chicago Mela,FF.html


    By Evan Osnos
    Tribune Staff Writer
    August 14, 2000
    With an old garbage can, some green plastic wrap and a bright red cardboard cone to represent an atomic warhead, Pakistani college student Syed Ahmed brought one gust of a geo-political squall to West Rogers Park on Sunday.

    Half a world from the political fault lines separating Pakistan and India--but just hours after the latest bloody clash between militants in the disputed Himalayan territory of Kashmir--Ahmed arrived at Chicago's Pakistan Independence Day Parade with the mock missile strapped to the roof of his car.

    "It's just saying that we're powerful too," said Ahmed, 22, of Lincolnwood, not an official member of the parade but one of at least two revelers who mounted cardboard bombs on their cars and cruised, horns blaring, through the North Side's Indian and Pakistani neighborhoods. "We're not making a fight here, but the world needs to be aware."

    Watching from across Devon Avenue, though, Mehdi Kahn fumed.

    "That has no place here. No good," said Kahn, 32, who emigrated from India five years ago. "That's for nothing but to make conflict."

    More than two years after their two countries added nuclear arms to their decades-old territorial feud, Chicago's Indian and Pakistani communities still thrive together happily, working and living side by side with little visible friction. As in past years, Sunday's parade to celebrate the 1947 partition of the two countries drew supporters from both sides.

    But amid a summer of mounting global tension over long-disputed Kashmir, which has been racked by separatist violence since 1989, some in Chicago's Pakistani community took Sunday's festival as a chance to voice their politics.

    "The [model] missiles are not to scare anybody, but to tell everybody that we are now a nuclear power," said Razah Don, 32, a Pakistani cabdriver who wrapped himself in a flag proclaiming, "Allah is great."

    Parade organizers said they intended no political message this year but understood if residents used the celebration to express theirviews.

    "Here we are, thousands of miles away, but our hearts still beat with Pakistan," said Javid Kahn of the parade committee.

    Above the festival bandstand at Warren Park, where people gathered after snaking along Devon and Western Avenues, a single new portrait had been added this year to the pantheon of Pakistani leaders showcased in years past. Between portraits of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the nation's founder, and celebrated poet Muhammad Iqbal, sat the picture of A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's chief scientist credited with producing its nuclear arms.

    "For us, he is as much a national hero as the other two," said the parade committee's Kahn. "It is not about politics."

    In the parade itself, there were only scattered flashes of international politics between the waving politicians and floats.

    Looking little different than the adjoining floats for a gastroenterologist and a travel agent, the brightly festooned entry from the Kashmir Solidarity Front was covered with smiling children and their parents.

    They waved and passed out fliers: "Kashmir--Happy Valley, Valley of Death."

    "This is a free country. We are making our voices known to the world on this important issue," said Nazir Mirza, 60, as he distributed a flier urging Muslims to boycott Indian merchants.

    Just up the road, though, many younger revelers scoffed at the politics. That's nothing but the grist of old hatreds, they said.

    "It's doesn't matter to us--here we're all mixed together," said Indian-American A.J. Kahn, 17. Kahn and four Indian friends hooted joyously and pulled their car onto Devon Avenue, with Pakistani flags in hand overhead.

    what they do not mention is that there were about five different fights between Indians and Pakistanis. I was there the whole time.

    unity, faith, discipline
    Pakistan Zindabad


      Originally posted by proudpakistani:
      what they do not mention is that there were about five different fights between Indians and Pakistanis. I was there the whole time.
      proud Pakistani,tell us more about the 4 fights.When i was in school i loved to see a fight & skipped class to see one.

      You should remember indian in usa are more than Pakistanis & wider spread than Pakistani But due to similar lamguage &in the eyes of othersNOT MUCH DIFFERENCE,NO ONE treats you differently.


        Originally posted by proudpakistani:
        what they do not mention is that there were about five different fights between Indians and Pakistanis. I was there the whole time.

        well i saw one of da fights but it was basically due to the fault of those two guys who jumped in between atleast 50 Pakistanis with an Indian flag....well if ur gonna do dat ...emotions r gonna run high and ur gonna get beaten up....

        A bend in da road is not da end of da road

        [This message has been edited by AMMARS (edited August 22, 2000).]


          Not only two Indians jumped in the road but they were trying to get the Ghauri off his car. Then the person from the car came dow, took Indian flag from his hand and put it under his feet. Then the two Indians called their friends (which were mixed Indians and Pakistani's) and then the whole group got beaten as there were about fifty cars over there with Pakistani flags. Then the fun got spoiled when police came.
          Actually the two Indians that came consider themselves to be gangsters.

          Then the same group got together and were about to beat up a Pakistani(as he was driving a Corvette) and then police came and arrested two of them. Later on the same group blocked teh road hit that person with a baseball bat and ran away with the corvette. (These high school kids are so stupid) Later five of them got arrested.

          Then on last night the same group beat up an African American boy as he said something bad about Pakistani's and Indians. Then he called his friends and they came to Devoon and then there was shooting.

          Actually its mostly one group that spoils every thing. This group that messed up everything is mixed Indian and Pakistani.

          One thing that I hated the most was that when police came an officer said that you guys are killing each other back home and are now doing the same here.

          That was about it. The mela at the Warren park was really boring.

          unity, faith, discipline
          Pakistan Zindabad