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January 27, 2010 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2010-01-27

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8B The Statement Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Last year, while home in Pakistan
during winter break, I stopped
by my high school to visit old
teachers and friends. I talked with
some of the seniors there, just as they
were preparing to finish the semester,
almost ready to start a break of their
own. They were preoccupied with
many of the same concerns I'd had the
year before - examinations, college
applications, how they were going to
spend their winter vacations.
Seeing the familiar place, just as it
had been while I was a student there,
I. couldn't help but be overcome by a
pang of nostalgia. I thought about the
amazing moments I'd had, but, like
any time I think back to high school,
my thoughts drifted to the night of
December 27, 2007, when Benazir
Bhutto, the first female prime minis-
ter of Pakistan, was assassinated.
The walls of the gated community
in Karachi, where I grew up, stand
SECURITY, From Page 4B
Joking aside, Raiford says the job
has put a strain on some of his rela-
"Your friends will call you when
they're doing something and you
find you can't go because you have
to get up at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to go to
Weekends, too, often pose a con-
flict for Raiford because he works
Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
His days off are Tuesday and
Thursday. "It can be a little lonely
at times," Raiford admits. "That's
when things like Netflix, the Play-
station and the television come in
For Raiford - who considers him-
self a "relatively social person- the
most interesting part of his job is
the residents he encounters. Many
stop to chat with patrolling hous-
ing security officers but others are
reluctant, instantly tensing up at the
sight of a police officer.
"A sort of hesitant nervousness
comes about them because they
don't realize our job isn't to prevent
them from havingfun," Raiford says.
But he says he can understand
the feeling. "I have been the person
playing the music too loud at 3 a.m.,"

between the residents and the reality
that lingers outside the constructed
dividers. We desperately erect arti-
ficial barriers to give ourselves some
sense of security, hoping that any
mayhem will pass us by, leaving us
unscathed as pandemonium rages
outside. Having never really believed
in the concept of gated communities,
I've always frowned at the synthetic
sense of security that comes with
them. One may then excuse my slight
amusement when this sham belief
broke down the night Bhutto was
allegedly assassinated by militants,j
and the city of Karachi witnessed a
complete collapse of law and order
despite its constructed borders meant
to protect against just such an occur-
When the news of the assassi-
nation reached us, the community
administration decided to turn off
the streetlights, preferring to rely
he recalls.
Other times, he jokes, "I feel like
a Tyrannosaurus Rex. People think
if they keep quiet, I might not notice
Raiford says he can relate to resi-
dents, especially freshmen adjusting
to life in college.
"While they are making this tran-
sition, I'm also in a similar phase,
making the step from college life
into the workforce," he says. "It
hasn't been that long since I was in
college and I know what it was like
back then."
But for Raiford, his role in the
community extends beyond the con-
ventional; description of a patrolling
"I try to make myself available
for the students," he explains. "On
occasion, some will stop by my office
and talk to me about life and how
they're coping with their newfound
When the normally bustling cor-
ridors empty over school breaks,
Raiford admits the job gets a little
less interesting and the buildings
start to feel "creepy."
"But when there's nobody around
to hear you," he laughs, "you can
sing. out loud without worrying
about disturbing anyone." E

on darkness rather than the walls to
stay safe, hoping against hope that
the rioters creating havoc just out-
side the city borders wouldn't notice
that beyond the walls lay more fodder
for their Honda and Toyota bonfires,
more windows to smash and more
property to loot.
"I went outside with my
grandfather to inspect th
smoldering shell of the fa
car from the night before.
Early the next morning, as I went
outside with my grandfather to
inspect the smoldering shell of the
family car from the night before, the
fumes still hung heavy in the air.
Every electric pole was covered with
BAGELS,_From Page 4B
Holmes supplies bagels for all the
University residence hall cafeterias,
and inside the Mary Markley Resi-
dence Hall he encounters his first
human interaction since he departed
the bagel shop's parking lot hours ear-
Setting his bags on a cold cement
floor, Holmes surrounds them with
red crates to alert the collectors of
their location and prevent them from
being mistaken as trash. While he
does this, a woman peeks out of a set
of double doors to say hello.
Holmes doesn't see many peo-
ple during his shift, but he says
"everybody (I encounter) is friendly
JANITOR, From Page 5B
"There's a lot of liquor served," he
The University ballrooms often

banners of Bhutto's political party -
the Pakistan Peoples Party - and the
road was scorched where rioters had
burned cars and rubber tires.
The cool morning wind provided
a feeling of serenity as if to heal the
city from the horrors of the night
before. And as I stood there, fearful
of how the next few days would play.
out in the wake of the assassination,
an odd thought crept into my head.
I couldn't help but worry about the
fast-approaching deadlines for college
The seemingly trivial concerns
about finalizing my application essays
made an awkward contrast with
thoughts of what the following weeks
would hold for my
But that is how I,
and many others from
le my country, have had
i' to function. We per-
severe in the face of
adversity, refusing to
'llet the situation we
find ourselves in bog us
down. We move ahead and tackle the
trivial issues in a nontrivial environ-
ment. School would commence a few
days later and I would soon be back to
the usual business of homework and
tests, college applications and essays.
because you're all on third shift," he
- says. Third shift is another term for
the midnight shift, which, at Barry
Bagels, lasts from about 11 p.m. until
7 a.m.
As the early morning wears on,
more of the deliveries are collected in
person, and Holmes has a short chat
with each recipient. The most person-
al interaction occurs at Washtenaw
"The Washtenaw Dairy is sort of a
i throwback store. It's my favorite place
to deliver," he says.
The sales manager there, Dave Hal-
man, used to be a police officer and
sympathizes with Holmes and other
midnight shift workers because, Hal-
man says, he has had many midnight
serve as venues for faculty parties,
weddings and bar mitzvahs, and the
custodians frequentlyhave theirhands
full cleaning up after these events.
Beyond the occasional party or

While I was back home last year,
I decided to meet with the school
librarian, Mr. Azeem. After the initial
pleasantries, our conversation quickly
turned toward the political situation,
as it so often does in Pakistan. When
our bitter rants were finished, Mr.
Azeem sighed and simply said, "Life
goes on."
This is not an attempt to put on
a sheepish grin and downplay the
troubles of Pakistan when the head-
lines sauntering across the news
ticker mention a bomb that went off
two miles from your house, or when
you've had one of your cars stolen and
burned during political violence.
This is simply an attempt to show
that reality for most of us in Pakistan
is not the chaos that surrounds brief
moments of normalcy, but rather,
the normalcy that encircles sporadic
tumult. If violence has forced its way
into our lives over the past few years
at the behest of a tiny minority stub-
born in its desire to make a statement
of hate and bigotry, then the hundreds
of millions who go about their daily
lives are also making a statement -
one of resilience and determination in
the face of hardship. U
- Faisal Masood is a
Business sophomore.
rounds himself
"I think there's sort of a connec-
tion (between us) because he starts
(his day) when I'm wrapping up. He's
been a cop so he knows what we go
through," Holmes says.
Though Holmes' daily schedule
is busy and serves as an obstacle to a
normal social life and sleep cycle, he
says he finds companionship with
other third shift workers. His buddies
at the store, various delivery recipi-
ents and late night radio keep him
motivated, but it's the routine that has
made the work bearable.
"I'm a creature of habit," he says. "I
sleep for about two hours and then I
go to class. It took a little while but it's
set now." f
stranded animal, however, Copp
says the day-to-day cleaning of
University buildings isn't the most
exciting job.
"It really is a no thrill," Copp said.E

The Statement is taking suggestions for its first ever Bucket List issue.
Tell us what you'd put on your bucket list. Send your suggestions to calero@

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