I believe it was seven in the morning when I received a phone call from Madiha, one of my close friends and a fellow-volunteer at WSF ( World Social Forum ) Secretariat, and when I had barely been asleep because of a cousinâ€™s mehndi the previous night. So well, Madiha told me that we were going to paint murals outside the City Sports Complex for which she wanted me to come and it was just another two days to go before WSF 2006 would begin in Karachi .
As obliging a friend as I am, I took my classes and ran off in a packed-up Sheeraz Coach to the site where another friend was waiting and eventually by 5 in the evening, it was 6 of us painting the walls of the City Sports Complex. Asma Shabab and Madiha Waris, graduates of IBA, Fatima Zehra and myself, graduates of the University of Karachi, Saad Jamal, a student of Sir Syed University and Shahjahan Bhutto, an Indus Valley design student comprised the squad that filled the bare Kashmir Road with vibrant colours. Asma and Saad had arrived with the required ammunition that included paints, brushes, oil and other related things and then it took us about 7-8 hours to complete the work which included covering a long series of horribly textured bare walls, despite the baking heat and the scorching sun of Karachi.
The murals and graffiti that the group produced comprised of a variety of slogans, maxims and symbols representing the key themes for WSF, namely peace, democracy, equality and love. The illustrations mainly encouraged opposition and dissent from all that is cruel and wrong in the world: imperialism, totalitarianism, and the so-called wars against terrorism. Signs of peace, doves, a deteriorating earth trying to save itself, a wall saying in blood-red paint â€œImperialists, Youâ€™re Fired!â€ â€“ the shouting walls as well as the young troupe attracted the attention of most of the passersby many of whom began to enquire about the forum. Two little girls visiting the Sports Complex with their father excitedly applied a few strokes while their smiling father sat in the car watching them. A salesman was rather mesmerized by the young painted people engrossed in their work to their very bones. He stayed there, on his motorcycle till someone called him.