28th July 2007
We are confined to essential travelling about only, on Red Cross and UN advice here in Islamabad. Our timing is not ideal. Two weeks ago the storming of the Red Mosque in Islamabad caused riots and yesterday a bombing in a market area a couple of km from where we are staying. The city was put on red alert on Friday.
People used to say that Islamabad was 10 miles outside Pakistan as it was the city that kept its head when all about it were losing theirs. 13 have died in this bombing. We are not allowed to go out and paint the town red as people in Islamabad have been doing this literally. The Mosque was refurbished after the storming of two weeks ago and, in true council style, it was re-finished not in red, but in magnolia. A demonstration convened yesterday as it reopened for the first time and part of the rebellion and protest included people putting red paint back onto the external walls. Watching the scene from the guest house on the cable news channels we all agreed: the paint was very clearly pink. Participants in the short notice flash-painting had not had their pantone chart to hand.
In the papers this morning it seemed that cooler heads and warmer colours had prevailed, with a little RGB tweaking in photoshop providing a more vibrant shade of near red in the front-page splashes.