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Majorelle Marrakech

Towering minarets against deep blue skies immediately spring to my mind whenever I think of Marrakech, known as the Red City thanks to the vividness of distinctive hue of the thick walls surrounding the old city. For decades Marrakech has been a popular tourist destination, attracting everyone from the Beatles to Yves Saint Laurent.

Vigorous and bustling Jemaa el Fnaa is a whirlwind of colour and noise, where concourse of people braid between packed stalls exhibiting brightly coloured spices, dry fruits and a thousand other goods, in the evening the square is packed with fire-eaters, acrobats, astrologers, and other characters of street entertainers.

Only a 20 minute walk from the Jemaa el Fnaa is one of the most evocative places in Marrakech, a tranquil garden Jardin Majorelle. As I enter the garden it seems hard to believe that only half an hour ago I was walking through the bustling crowds of Jemaa El Fnaa square. Inside the Majorelle gardens the atmosphere is totally tranquil, sky high bamboos, palm trees and the complex arrangement of cacti and flora has left me in an overwhelming feeling of reverence. The flows and pools filled with water lilies and lotus flowers, delicate sound of dribbling water accompanies the song of the nightingale in the gardens, the rustling of leaves and the chirping of numerous exotic birds who come here to take refuge.

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Set up by the expatriate French painter Jacques Majorelle in 1920s.The son of well-known furniture designer Louis Majorelle, was born in 1886 in Nancy. After studying art in Paris, Majorelle visited Morocco, whose colours and light mesmerized him. Moving to Marrakech in 1919 with his wife, he bought four acres of land in 1923 where he built his Moorish-style villa. His greatest art work is supposed to be the Majorelle Garden, which he created in 1924. A special colour of blue, which he practiced extensively in the garden, is named after him – Majorelle Blue. During his travels, he brought home plants from all over the world, corresponded with fellow passionate gardeners worldwide, and amassed a total of 10 acres to have more distance. It took him forty years of love and dedication to create the enchanting garden in the heart of the Marrakech. The more he travelled, the more he enjoyed gardening, he began to bring plants from around the globe and to communicate internationally with people who shared his passion for botany. He took on hundreds of rare varieties of trees and plants.

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Majorelle opened it to the public in 1947. Sadly, after his 1956 divorce, he was pressured to sell off the property piece by piece. After a serious car accident, he went for medical treatment in the last year of his life to Paris, where he died in 1962. The garden was deserted after his death.

Since 1980 the garden has been owned by French Fashion Designer Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge. After preserving the garden and villa from demolition for a new hotel, Saint Laurent bought them in 1980 with his partner Pierre Berge.

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Saint Laurent increased its number of plant species to 300 from 135, and installed automatic irrigation systems pegged to certain times and the demands of each plant. He and Berge lived in the villa, renamed Villa Oasis, which they decorated as an Orientalist fantasy, and turned Majorelle’s studio into a museum of Islamic artwork.

After Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) died in 2008, in the presence of numerous personalities and friends, Yves Saint Laurent’s ashes were scattered at Villa Oasis, his private residence in Majorelle Garden.

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Saint-Laurent praised the garden as a “constant source of divine guidance,” saying he even dreamed about its vibrant colours. We were seduced by this oasis where the colours of Matisse were mixed with those of nature.

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Whore of Babylon

Several terms are becoming derogatory and indecent as human race is moving forward. In Oct 2010 President Barack Obama signed a legislation requiring the federal government to replace the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in many areas of government.
Prostitution has been practiced throughout ancient and modern cultures. Prostitution has been described as the world’s oldest profession, and despite consistent attempts at regulation, it continues nearly unchanged.
Prostitution was commonplace in ancient Israel. There are a number of references to prostitution in the Hebrew Bible. The Biblical story of Judah and Tamar provides a depiction of prostitution being practiced in that time period. Prostitution in Ancient Rome was legal and licensed. In Ancient Rome, even Roman men of the highest social status were free to engage prostitutes of either sex without incurring moral disapproval. At the same time, the prostitutes themselves were considered shameful. Most prostitutes were slaves or freedwomen, and it is difficult to determine the balance of voluntary to forced prostitution. Because slaves were considered property under Roman law, it was legal for an owner to employ them as prostitutes. During the Middle Ages prostitution was commonly found in urban contexts. Although all forms of sexual activity outside of marriage were regarded as sinful by the Roman Catholic Church, prostitution was tolerated because it helped prevent the greater evils of rape. However, sexual slavery was not considered prostitution and was very common during the Arab slave trade during the Middle Ages and early modern period. Women and girls from the Caucasus, Africa, Central Asia and Europe were captured and served as concubines in the harems of the Arab World.

Hooker, whore, and prostitute, call girl, hooker, harlot, slut, etc. etc.
At least to me I find all the above terms derogatory and disrespectful. Have we given any term to the men who pay these sex workers for their time? Why do they deserve any respect if women sex worker can’t?
Why are we judgemental towards the women sex workers?
Don’t you think men visiting brothels are prostitutes not women?
What’s a polite and respectful name for a prostitute?
Ask yourself this question honestly?

Like mother like daughters

Every day is women’s day.

The International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been coming about for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

This day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. The General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be remarked on any day of the year by Member States.

Obsession is, the domination of one’s thoughts or impressions by a persistent idea, image, or desire. Since I met with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, I am obsessed with her fearlessness, her vision for democracy, her views on human rights and freedom of speech. Today Pakistan is celebrating the International Women’s day, I would like to share not a pleasant incident, but it is linked to her bravery.

On Nov 27 1991 a friend of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Farhana Veena Hayat was assaulted by five gunmen at her residence in Karachi. Ms Farhana Veena Hayat was the daughter of Sardar Shaukat Hayat, a prominent member of the All India Muslim League and granddaughter of Sir Sikander Hayat, chief minister of united Punjab.

She accused the province’s home affairs adviser, Irfanullah Marwat, a son-in-law of the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, of having ordered the violation. She claimed the rape was politically motivated because of her friendship with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. There were two other cases set out the limelight because of Farhana Hayat’s case, Khursheed Begum and Rahila Tiwana, a Pakistan Peoples Party student activist. All three women were connected with PPP.

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She was raped to send me a message. This is the worst sort of male prejudice, male chauvinism to send a message to a woman political leader by raping her friend, her supporters: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto led her Pakistan People’s Party, chanting “Fascists,” in an unprecedented walkout from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s ceremonial address to a session of Parliament. Firing tear-gas canisters and swinging batons, police later drove 2,000 Bhutto supporters away from the heavily guarded Parliament House. Ghulam Ishaq Khan denied any official complicity. He told the reporters that the charges against Irfan Ullah Marwat are nothing more than fabrication.

Initially, the Sindh. The government tried to sink off the case as one of audacity and assault. The police even refused to lodge an FIR. Benazir Bhutto, along with several political parties and women’s organizations, established a countrywide campaign demanding the arrest of the offenders but no arrests were made. Protests over the rape of Farhana Hayat reached a peak on 12 December 1991 when rallies were called in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi

On Dec 12 1991 the Sindh government formed a one-man tribunal consisting of Abdul Rahim Qazi of the Sindh High Court to test the case. The tribunal’s report, presented to the Sindh government two weeks later and made public. The tribunal cleared Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat of any engagement in the rape and also concluded there was no political motive behind the rope.

Mr Irfan ullah Marwat remained highly controversial during the term of office of all powerful Sindh Chief ministers, the late Jam Sadiq Ali. The two, along with the former DIG CIA, Samiullah Marwat, were blamed by Benazir Bhutto for unleashing a reign of terror on the PPP leaders and workers, which reminded her of the days of the late General Ziaul Haq.

Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat, who was elected from the PS-114 constituency on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ticket, met Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari on 24TH February 2017 at the Bilawal House and announced joining the party. I just got blanked when I heard this news, couldn’t understand how to respond.

While I was in shock BB’s daughter came to the deliverance;

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All faiths and all societies have given parents an honourable status. From a purely material standpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, I am sure it must have been very difficult for Miss Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto to show their disagreement publicly, but it was the training of their brave mother who taught her children how to show your disagreement without being rude. Our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it in full. Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto you are an inspiration for millions this year and years to come. I hope you always will stand strong for the women of Pakistan.