아래에 ACHR(Asian Coalition for Housing Rights;아시아주거협의회)에서 온 원문 소식을 함께 올립니다.



Dear friends, 

We have just received the terrible news that our old friend, the extraordinary Perween Rahman, the director of OPP- RTI, has been killed. News reports tell us that she was intercepted in Orangi Town by masked gunmen on a motorcycle and shot in her car, on her way home from work on Wednesday afternoon. Her driver, Wali Dad, rushed her to the nearest hospital, but she wasn't able to survive. 

One of the many online newspaper reports about her death included this brief bio: "Perween, who was 56 years old, was a well-known and beloved figure in Karachi, known for her work in impoverished neighborhoods and with the independent organization she directed, the Orangi Pilot Project, which won a UN-Habitat award in 2001. ... Perween was born in Dhaka and moved to Karachi as a teenager. She had given most of her life to the people of Orangi, where she has been working for the past 30 years. She had turned her back on a lucrative career in architecture to work in Orangi, which was then one of the largest squatter settlements in the world. Inspired by the work of the renowned social scientist Dr. Akhtar Hameed Khan, she worked on helping people construct low-cost sewerage lines in the area. Among her mentors were the architect and city planner Arif Hasan, who was not only her teacher but also a colleague for many years in Orangi...." 

Perween was able to join us in Bangkok, in January 2011, for the ACHR regional meeting, where she offered us these wise words: "The situation in Pakistan is indeed very tough - the Taliban, the bombs, the violence, the disasters. Yet everywhere we look, there are signs of hope. And we need to see these signs of hope with eyes of respect, to support them, to link them, to make them strong, and to see what new can be done. The links that we make with each other are a powerful way to do that." 

Perween was with us again, just two short weeks ago, for another ACHR regional meeting in Bangkok, where she and her colleagues made a delightful and inspiring presentation about the maps they have been making and using for the last 32 years. "We're all mappers," she told us, in that voice of hers that was like a flute. "We love maps! We are the Ninja Turtles of mapping! Maps are to our work what x-rays are to a doctor's: they tell us where the problem is and how to resolve it." 

The maps the OPP-RTI helped residents of the urban "goth" villages in Karachi make, for example, showed that there were actually more than 2,000 of these settlements, where the government's data had showed only 400. In 2010, these maps helped convince the government to issue land titles to over half of those communities. "The maps did it. Maps help to build relationships," she said, "The maps tell us what to do, where to go, who to lobby. They help professionals to understand the reality and have the courage to accept it. They help government to understand the reality and accept it too, because they are no longer the only ones that have that information. The people have this information now, and the NGOs and media have it too." Most of these

maps of the goth settlements have now been accepted as official government maps. "We love it when other organizations claim the maps we help communities to make," Perween went on. "On all these maps, we don't put our own names - it is the community youth who actually do the mapping. We only help train them, and then take a back seat, become invisible." 

Perween brought her presentation to a close with these eerily prescient words: "Today Karachi is in flames, and one of the aspects of the violence in the city is the politics of land and who gets title to it. Getting land title for these goth settlers, who have lived there since long before partition in 1947, has been a very powerful step forward for the peace and the political balance of Karachi. We were just saying amongst ourselves that if we die today, we will die so happily, because we have done it." 

I'm attaching with this message a photo of Perween at the lectern in Bangkok, taken by Sut as she said those words. I'm also attaching another photo of Perween - the one that many of the newspaper reports are using to illustrate the story of her death. I find it so touching - even miraculous - that the one photo of her that is being beamed around the world on the internet shows Perween in front of one of her Ninja maps. 

More soon, 
yours, 
TOM 


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KOCO(해외주민운동 한국위원회)

KOCO (해외주민운동 한국위원회) Korean Committee For Overseas Community Organization

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