Delaware Valley

Nasim Hassan - Hockessin, DE. USA

August, 2000, The summer season is gradually fading away. The month of August in Delaware Valley is the last stand of summer. A number of activities by the Pakistani community were organized this summer. The notable among them were community picnics in Pennsylvania and Delaware and fund raising for drought victims in Baluchistan and Sind. In addition, there were a number of marriage ceremonies in the tri-state area. The Pakistani Americans living in New Jersey and New York also raised funds for this cause. This drought was not given sufficient coverage by news media in this country for obvious reasons. The conditions have to be disastrous before American news media will focus its attention. The untold story of severe drought in Afghanistan received very little coverage.

The summer in Delaware valley is generally hot and humid. This can not be compared to oppressive summer in Pakistan. There are large clusters of state parks and natural streams in this area. The State Parks have trees, lakes, streams and camping areas. The temperature in summers ranges between 70 to 90 0 F. In this area, high temperatures for one week are generally followed by torrential rains and it cools down. This is in my opinion due to the preservation of trees and parks. The environmental movement in the USA is very strong. The development lobby and environmentalists are constantly competing. The beaches in Delaware, New Jersey are crowded in summer. For the Americans it is ritual to go to the beach in summer. Some people go the mountains for hiking but beaches are the main attractions. The winter season here is reserved for going to the mountains for skiing.

Pakistani American in this area come in various shades. There is a small group that is ultra liberal and keeps itself aloof from all Pakistani activities. At the same time, there is another group that is very religious. These people are perhaps more religious than even Pakistanis back home. A large group is in the middle that is modern in outlook but conservative in thinking. The common problems of drug abuse and dropping out of schools are emerging among children of less educated people. Their children are at most risk. So far there is no community effort to reach out to these families. The people certainly help one another on a personal level.

A convention of Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) was held in Baltimore Convention Center. The Muslims from the Eastern United States attended the convention. A number of speakers came over from India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh and the USA. The majority of speakers were directly connected with Jamaat Islami of Pakistan. The convention was very well attended. ICNA even had a Mushaira starting at mid night. Quazi Hussain Ahmed was one of the featured speaker. As a head of Jamaat Islami, he has toned down his rhetoric. This has been a pleasant surprise to hear him say that he does not favor Taliban kind of Islam. ICNA has a very dedicated group of people working for their organization. However, they have not touched the main stream of Muslim population in America.
The Pakistan Independence Day Celebrations have already started in New York. The programs have been planned on the East Coast throughout August and September. A number of Pakistani singers and artists are here these days. Pakistan Day parade in New York and Independence Day celebration in Washington DC are two major event in this area.
I wish all Pakistanis a very happy Independence Day.