News Workshop Report

Migration Reports from Karachi #1: Who Cares?

Sanctuary TV producer Yaminay Nasir Chaudhri is reporting regularly from Pakistan, where she is staying with family while developing a new documentary project.  This, the first of her visual narratives of life as a migrant in cities she calls home, focuses on a worrisome phone call she received days before embarking on her journey…

“An incident that brought the unstable political situation in Pakistan uncomfortably close to home occurred on September 19 when a car bomb exploded a mere kilometer from my family’s home in Karachi, Pakistan.

I was at work at The Sanctuary for Independent Media near Albany, New York, several hours after the blast occurred when a series of phone conversations over skype revealed that the bomb had killed eight people onsite and had even managed to break the windows of my house in a quiet suburb of the city.  I was immediately alert and afraid while my family sounded casually recovered and unaffected.

This video is the first in a series of portraits of daily life in the crazy city of Karachi where bombs explode so often that people learn to adjust and move on instead of being terrified or angry at their lives being hijacked by extremism.

I am a Pakistani artist who has lived in America for the past 14 years. I was on my way home to make work about migration in Pakistan when this incident reminded me of the distance that has grown between ‘here and there’–my two homes over the last decade. While I preserved my notion of home via a plethora of communication devices, the actual experience of home has been hijacked by decaying memories and tidbits of news processed for fatigued audiences.

I try to hold on to what I remember of my street, my house and my room in Karachi; the smell of the city which embraces me with pungent disdain every time I return; the people who used to form the landscape of my life and who now occupy pages on Facebook. Over a period of two months, I want to create a series of entries about my dislocation in the Pakistani home I have longed for from a distance in the United States.”

This video is directed and produced by Yaminay Nasir Chaudhri with special thanks to Branda Miller at The Sanctuary for Independent Media. More work by the artist can be seen on her website: