Synopses & Reviews
Awais Reza is a shopkeeper in Lahore's Anarkali Bazaar the largest open market in South Asia whose labyrinthine streets teem with shoppers, rickshaws, and cacophonous music.
But Anarkali's exuberant hubbub cannot conceal the fact that Pakistan is a country at the edge of a precipice. In recent years, the easy sociability that had once made up this vibrant community has been replaced with doubt and fear. Old-timers like Awais, who inherited his shop from his father and hopes one day to pass it on to his son, are being shouldered aside by easy money, discount stores, heroin peddlers, and the tyranny of fundamentalists.
Every night before Awais goes to bed, he plugs in his cell phone and hopes. He hopes that the city will not be plunged into a blackout, that the night will remain calm, that the following morning will bring affluent and happy customers to his shop and, most of all, that his three sons will safely return home. Each of the boys, though, has a very different vision of their, and Pakistans, future.
The Bargain from the Bazaar the product of eight years of field research is an intimate window onto ordinary middle-class lives caught in the maelstrom of a nation falling to pieces. Its an absolutely compelling portrait of a family at risk from a violently changing world on the outside and a growing terror from within.
"In his first book, Ullah intimately examines the effects of America's War on Terror on the everyday people of Pakistan through the story of one family living and working in Lahore. Meet the Reza family: Awais, his wife Shez, and their three boys: Salman, Daniyal, and Kamran. A middle-class family whose livelihood comes from a shop located in Anarkali Bazaar, opened by Awais's father. We follow the evolution of everyday life for the Rezas during increasingly turbulent times in Pakistan, from the boys' marriage arrangements to navigating a city with police checkpoints. Over the years Daniyal becomes radicalized. We watch his family worry as he trains for a suicide bombing and when Awais is arrested and questioned, he recalls his time in a POW camp during the civil war that broke up the country. Using a sharp journalistic eye, Ullah brings the bustle of Lahore and its market to life. He manages to quietly convey America's role in the conditions facing this long-troubled country without becoming preachy or needlessly partisan. Ullah is more interested in the common Pakistani experience and he makes these moments shine: the family watching the news or the moments in Kamran's classes. These instances powerfully demystify Pakistan for western audiences. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The story of one struggling middle-class Pakistani family, compellingly narrated by a young scholar and diplomat who has observed the traumas of the region firsthand.
As a young boy, Awais Reza's family moved from Indian Kashmir to Lahore in Pakistan after Partition. Now middle-aged, Awais is a shopkeeper in the Anarkali Bazaar. Married, with three sons, he looks back on his journey from idealistic young nationalist to increasingly watchful and anxious member of the mercantile class at the heart of Pakistani life. Awais's eldest son has drifted, but returned to help his father run the shop; the middle one is involved in radical Islamist politics; and the youngest is a law student who believes that a secular future is Pakistan's last and only hope. Their lives unfold against an increasingly turbulent and violent background as suicide bombers enter the life of urban Lahore with devastating consequences.
Haroon K. Ullah's portrait of a middle class family oppressed by a state falling apart around them is a remarkable piece of storytelling. Radical Islam is confronted not only in distant mountain passes by the armed forces, but most personally and tellingly across the kitchen table as families like the Rezas debate their future.
A lively, up-to-date investigation of the expanding influence of social media in the Islamic world
The role of social media in the events of the Arab Spring and its aftermath in the Muslim world has stimulated much debate, yet little in the way of useful insight. Now Haroon Ullah, a scholar and diplomat with deep knowledge of politics and societies in the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, draws the first clear picture of the unprecedented impact of Twitter, Facebook, and other means of online communication on the recent revolutions that blazed across Muslim nations.
The author carefully analyzes the growth of social media throughout the Muslim world, tracing how various organizations learned to employ such digital tools to grow networks, recruit volunteers, and disseminate messages. In Egypt, where young people rose against the regime; in Pakistan, where the youth fought against the intelligence and military establishments; and in Syria, where underground Islamists had to switch alliances, digital communications played key roles. Ullah demonstrates how social media have profoundly changed relationships between regimes and voters, though not always for the better. Looking forward he identifies trends across the Muslim world and the implications of these for regional and international politics.
About the Author
Haroon K. Ullah is an American scholar, diplomat, and field researcher specializing in South Asia and the Middle East. He grew up in a farming community in Washington state and was trained at Harvard Universityand#8217;s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he served as a senior fellow and completed his MPA and PhD. He was a William J. Fulbright Fellow, a Harvard University Presidential Scholar, and a National Security Education Program Fellow. Haroon served on the staffs of Richard Holbrooke and Secretary John Kerry and is currently a Senior Advisor at the U.S. State Department, where he focuses on public diplomacy and countering violent extremism.