In this photo taken Sunday, June 21, 2009, a Myanmar girl looks on from her home in Nyaungdon, 50 kilometers (31 miles) west of Yangon, Myanmar. Khin Maung Win/AP
Tibetan school children play with a paper cup tied to another with a string at a science exhibition under the Tibetan Monastic Science Initiative which began in 2000 at the request of the Dalai Lama, in Dharmsala, India, Tuesday, June 23, 2009. 50 Buddhist monks have been undergoing training in western science under the initiative. Ashwini Bhatia/AP
President Barack Obama smiles as he listens to a question during a news conference at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Ron Edmonds/AP
The celebrated Rafi Peer troupe got featured at this year's Lahore literary festival, after surviving Islamist bomb attacks. But civil society and free expression in Pakistan may still be measured as one step forward and two back.
The stage lights are coming on in the main hall of the modernist Alhamra Arts Center. It is the last night of the Lahore Literary Festival and the venue is packed with people sitting in the aisles and standing at the rear. Hundreds more are pressed together outside at a large screen, waiting for this Sufi-inspired music, drama and dance spectacular.