A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

window-shopping the want ads

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 21, 2009

Most days I love my current job – just like I love each and every pair of shoes in my closet. But just like with my beloved shoes, I’m always on the lookout for a new pair of heels – er, job – to love.

Hence I eagerly scroll through the job postings that AME Info sends my way. I’ve never seen a job that I would actually 1) qualify for and 2) be interested in, but I do love reading the descriptions.

The latest featured position – that of general manager of a Saudi Arabian radio station – caught my eye at once:

Our Client in KSA is urgently looking for a General Manager for their radio station. The general manager would be reporting directly to the CEO of the Media Group. Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate.

“Salary will not be a bar for the right candidate”? Since when did radio become such a lucrative field?

At least with that job, the applicant knows the industry. Here’s a more mysterious want ad:

Location : Kabul – Afghanistan
Salary:  $100,000 – $150,000 per year
Applicants should have over 15 years experience and be prepared to be based in Afghanistan. This is a challenging yet rewarding role for a senior candidate.

“Challenging yet rewarding” – I bet. Challenge number one: identifying just what you will be the CEO of.

Finally, I took a peek at all the jobs currently listed with a “Lebanon” location. There were three:

Finance Analyst – Dubai

Senior Business Planning Analyst – Dubai

Human Resources Manager – Lebanon.

Um. Just to recap: I chose the “narrow by location” option and selected “Lebanon”. Guess the sour economy hasn’t soured the Lebanese on the Emirati exodus.


Posted in advertising, Afghanistan, Arab world, Dubai, economics, Lebanon, radio | Leave a Comment »

books around the world, one flight at a time (iv)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on February 23, 2007

Serendipity enters one’s life when one least expects it.

Yesterday I took advantage of a long layover at Heathrow to wander slowly through Borders’ aisles. Many books called my name, but only one found its way into my carry-on bag: Tahir Shah’s The Caliph’s House.


In the tradition of A Year in Provence and other similar books, The Caliph’s House tells of Shah’s experience relocating to Morocco, buying an old riad in Casablanca, and restoring it – or at least restoring it to inhabitability.

I began reading with the assumption that Shah was a British subject of Indian (Muslim) heritage, based largely on his name (Tahir means “pure” in Arabic) and his wife’s (Rachana, an Indian Hindu name and one, incidentally, shared by one of my favorite college professors.

Soon, however, Shah disclosed that he was Afghani British, not Indian. Hmm, I thought.

He mentioned his father’s regret at having raised his children in a quiet English town rather than in the Hindu Kush, where he had spent his own childhood. Interesting, I thought. Sounds a bit familiar.

Finally, he noted that Morocco held particular fascination for him because his father’s father had moved their after the death of his wife, a Scottish aristocrat known as Bobo. Ahaaaa, I thought. I know who you are!

Tahir Shah is the brother of Saira Shah, whose book The Storyteller’s Daughter started my books around the world posts.

The book was good on its own – a well crafted read and a thoughtful narrative made all the more interesting by the fact that Shah was neither a total newcomer to Morocco nor a complete outsider (he might not be Arab, or Berber, but as a Muslim and a sayyid he is certainly within the community of the faithful).

My reading of The Caliph’s House drew extra richness from all I had learned about the Shahs’ family from The Storyteller’s Daughter. I love literary families – the way individual family members’ memories resonate with one another’s, even when they do not agree. (For example, I think no one should read Edward Said’s Out of Place without also reading his sister Jean Said Makdisi’s Mother, Teta, and Me.)

I read The Caliph’s House all in one gulp, bookended by two venti Starbucks teas, as my layover flew by.

Posted in Afghanistan, Americans, books, home, India, London, Morocco, mosque, religion, time, travel, women, words | 4 Comments »

books around the world, one flight at a time (i)

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on January 14, 2007

My travels have continued, and with them my reading. Last week I read two enchanting books, each heads and shoulders above their peers in the journalist-memoir field.

Saira Shah’s The Storyteller’s Daughter was a lyrical, meditative reflection that interwove three moments in her life: her childhood in suburban England as the daughter of a well-born Afghan refugee, her days as a young journalist in Soviet Afghanistan, and her return to Afghanistan in the Taliban era of the late 1990s and the just-post-Taliban era of 2001-2001. She blends Sufi tales and ruminations from her childhood with her long years of experience in the country – and the result is not only beautiful but deeply introspective.


Posted in Afghanistan, books, Islam, media, politics, religion, travel, women | 2 Comments »