Book Review: The Boy In The River (2012)

In the name of Blood. With an extreme sign of no mercy. Speaking blague over Bible and hunting (or you may say haunting) a human flesh to heal others. An implausible ritual tracing from Africa and landing in Europe.


The boy in the river! Hmmm the title itself is the junkyard of a confound investigation. Exactly 10 days after 9/11, a mutilated torso is found floating beside Tower Bridge in London. The body is unidentified with no traces and no witnesses. Scotland Yard jumps in and the murder squad works on this brutal murder. The investigation team seeks the help of the author Dr. Richard Hoskins who is a young professor of Theology with a profound understanding of African tribal ritual and religion at Bath Spa University.


Being involved and case studying the murder, the author corners back to his grief-ing past when he traveled to Congo attaching his newly married life with Sue to the existence of politically disturbed rigid environment from 1986-1992 when he was in his 20s.

In those times, Congo was ruled by the corrupted dictator with a leopard skin toque, Mobutu Sese Seko. Under him, Congo suffered a kleptocratic era during his 32-year presidency. The country was economically disturbed with extremely high inflation and human rights violation. 

Life of newly married Hoskins and Sue laid under the tribal areas and villages that supported Mobutu. Slowly with the passage of time, the couple adjusted and learned their Lingala language and culture. But they also confronted their tribal rituals and religions which later on turned in their life to be a dramatic heartbreaking account.

It took years to solve the murder mystery. But step-by-step, with years of investigation gesticulating, they come to understand a nexus from Africa to Europe about the tribal rituals followed by many thousands of Africans on both the continents. 

The major plus of reading this book is by literally reading a murder mystery, you actually come to know Africa’s traditions that involve crime. The book speaks about Muti, a Zulu word used for traditional medicine widely known in Southern Africa but the disaster to the nature of Muti is that it is known as a medicine murder and deals in Muti Killings which commands a human sacrifice or spilling of blood in order to excise body parts for incorporation as ingredients into medicine and concoctions used in witchcraft. 


Dr. Hoskin also explains Kindoki. Kindoki is a powerful belief of being black magic or witchcraft by evil spirits which abandons child and ritually abuse them beyond the limit. Nganga is a spiritual healer dealing in Kindoki in West Africa, especially in Congo. There is another specific term ‘Yoruba‘ which Hoskins doubted to be involved in the murder. Yoruba is a religion followed by people from Southwest Nigeria and Southern Benin in West Africa that deals in spiritual practices. 

It really surprises me that people migrating from Africa to other continents to develop a better life mostly stuck to their blague traditions and still follow the practices which cost lives of their own kins. Hoskins brings the practices into the realistic limelight to show how for many years or decades, the African children were getting abused and murdered. Quite a shocking account!


Crafting from Caribbean Glory

And green supporters were enraged of their disgusting performance in recently concluded ICC Champions Trophy. It was so horrible for the whole squad that when they were departing from their hotel in London, their supporters chanted on them sisterfuckers. Pakistan was without any doubt the worst team of the tournament with biggest fan following in the games.


Way back to Pakistan, newly elected PCB ‘temporary’ chairman become Najam Sethi, a famous political journalist who has no specialty in sports. Things were expected to be in a profounding dilemma. Chief selector Iqbal Qasim, who was the most hated rubefacient on all the supporters, selected the ODI and T20 squads one last time for their next tour to Caribbean Islands and left his post for good.

So on pub-lick demand, their out-of-form supernatural hero Shahid Afridi made his 2nd comeback in a year along with his favorite on-screen companion Ahmad Shahzad. Dropped were the obvious 3 senior basket-tears Shoaib Malik, Imran Farhat and Kamran Akmal. Young bloods like all-rounder Hammad Azam, middle-order batsman Haris Sohail and fast bowler Asad Ali were included.

Before the start of series, we had a proud achievement of not losing to West Indies in ODI series at their home since 1991. Pakistan suffered 0-5 back in 1987. This series went exciting and led Pakistan to a much needed series-victory by 3-1. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq’s equanimity led Pakistan batting stance in stronghold.

The green army won 3 matches in series, and all 3 matches witnessed 3 different comeback forms of 3 different players. In first game at Guyana, Shahid Afridi made the comeback with the best all-round figures in ODI history by making 76 runs and grabbing 7 wickets. In 4th game at Gros Islet, out of form Mohammad Hafeez made a demanding 50 and led Pakistan to a very important victory and the series deciding final game at very same ground saw Ahmad Shahzad scoring an important 50 after non-impressive batting in the whole series.

Pakistan’s fielding department was far impressive than the past assignments. One thing which Pakistan succeeded in doing fairly well was Target-Chasing. They smartly chased the targets in last 2 very important games. Batting has always been Pakistan’s biggest issue and it was again. Slow starts, hiccups in partnership building, bizarre misunderstanding in running between wickets, wicked game-plan, funny collapses was exposed all again.

A smart move what Misbah did was introducing new names like testing Asad Ali and Haris Sohail. It is the need of time to prepare a team for the next World Cup and you have to remove the faces with no performances on their back. Asad Shafiq was tested again and failed again. Umar Akmal was tested as keeper-batsman and succeeded the keeping tradition of Akmals with the impression of his aggressive batting which is a major plus point.

Misbah is now the leading runs-scorer in ODIs this calendar year and his amazing consistency has eased the pressure as a vigilant batsman to stay on wicket and build a partnership. All what Pakistan need are decent totals on card to put pressure on opponents and test their batsmen’s skills.

After T20 series, Pakistan face South Africa in U.A.E. in Oct-Nov. Later on they will tour Zimbabwe. Now what plans Pakistan need to frame for cricketing betterment:

A. PCB Elections shall be done precisely with the elected person holding experience in administration.

B. Ensure security to restore International cricket in Pakistan as soon as possible.

C. How to bring International cricket back in Pakistan? Who will accept our invitation? The best answer is Afghanistan. The  team who recently signed 2-year deal with PCB for their cricket development will surely not reject the invitation. The guests can even play at Karachi and Peshawar.



Coach and Captain should remain Whatmore and Misbah till 2015 World Cup. Umar Akmal as keeper/batsman is a good move but temporary situation until they get a genuine wicket-keeping all-rounder. In batting, Nasir Jamshed-Mohammad Hafeez is a better pair with Ahmad Shahzad as third opener in squad. With Misbah and Umar Akmal in the middle, Pakistan must concentrate on both lefty boys Umar Amin and Haris Sohail. Lefty batsman in middle order is like blessing to teams like Yuvraj/Raina in India, Shakibul Hasan in Bangladesh, Eoin Morgan in England, and Sangakkara/Thirmanne in Sri Lanka.

With all-rounders, having comeback king like Shahid Afridi, u need a medium all-rounder and time to concentrate on Hammad Azam who can very easily replace disastrous Wahab Riaz. With Saeed Ajmal, now you do need to motivate Raza Hasan from now, so he can adjust in the format until Ajmal retires after World Cup and confidently takes his place.

With Umar Gul gashing serious knee injury, time to settle Ehsan Adil or Anwar Ali now. Asad Ali didn’t impress due to lack of pace and peculiar length but Asad and Anwar both are quick and wicket-taking bowlers enough to assist Junaid and lanky Irfan. If things go this particular way, then in every sense there is chance to compete with best teams in the world and look forward for world title in a country where we achieved that glory. 

Book Review: The Laundrymen (1995)

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the bills I have to pay – Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single penny left for me – That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a wealthy man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball…

Money, money, money.. Must be funny
In the rich man’s world
Money, money, money.. Always sunny
In the rich man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little money
It’s a rich man’s world

Yes Yes you were so true in your wisdom Frida!! Money is indeed so funny in a rich man’s world. Whereas for the poor, it is a gateway to coronate all evils as Mark Twain once said:

‘The lack of money is the root of all evil’

Anyway, it took me almost 11 non-serious months to seriously squander my thrustful desire of reading a thought-provoking book “The Laundrymen“. It is written by international bestselling American author, Jeffery Robinson, who famously wrote an acclaimed biography of former Saudi Oil Minister, Ahmed Zaki Yamani

Written in 1995, the 16-chapters and 300-pages book is the inside story of the dirty world of money laundering. It reveals many a secret and undresses various politicians, lawyers, bankers, bureaucrats, and tycoons who chessed the money transaction and accoladed their efforts. Robinson also pens how the underworld under-whirls the money and hides the true nature of money.


The book starts with the Watergate scandal and ends with Agha Hasan Abedi‘s BCCI. Between the two unfairy tales lie many controversial moments when money was washed and business was done peculiarly. There are Borodianskys, there are Shakarchis, there are Schaffers. The games were played in the 20th century and laws were made/changed by the peacekeepers. The book also deals with the bloodiest of drug trafficking organized ravishingly in South America, especially in Colombia. So when I say black money of Colombia, then expect the stories of crime daddies like Pablo Escobar and the Orejuelas.

The book is too good in sketching Swiss Secrecy Laws and the nexus of Swiss accounts to criminology. A few historic scandals like the Iran-Contra affair in Ronald Reagan‘s era and the de-functioning of Roberto Calvi‘s Banco Ambrosiano are worth reading.

Robinson wrote it in 1995 but the truth is that history has no age or period. This remarkable masterpiece insists on the fate of illness to prolong a vanquished desire for money-making. The blood circulation of dirty money will abide you to gimmick the filth under a subtle way whereas the trojan game of “Catch Me If You Can” will limit to those who will graduate as ‘Laundryman’.

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