This letter is in response to the article written by Baynard Woods ("Exile on Charles Street," Feature, March 4) about Qayum Karzai and his family.
The first half of the article was focused on the history of the family and the successful restaurants they have established in Baltimore City.
My concern is that later in the article there were allegations suggesting that Qayum may be a behind-the-scene, unethical manipulator in his native country, Afghanistan. The source for this description was a recent book which made various unsubstantiated allegations. Unless this information is verified, I suggest that it is irresponsible for a journalist to repeat it.
For the past almost 15 years I have had a business relationship with Qayum and his family. They have operated Tapas Teatro, adjacent to the Charles Theatre. All of our dealings with them have been direct and positive and I consider myself a friend and a great admirer.
The Karzais have contributed a great deal of time, effort, and money in Baltimore City and their contribution has enhanced the ambience of the city that we all enjoy.
We should all thank this honorable and hard working family.
I am writing in reference to your recent article on the Karzai family and their restaurants. As a longstanding friend of the Karzai family (they catered my daughter's wedding) and fan of their restaurants, I generally applaud the piece. It certainly captures their skill as restaurateurs. It salutes their closeness as a family. And the writer seems to appreciate a superb dish of rabbit and pumpkin in the Afghan style.
Where the piece, and the writer, falls dreadfully apart is his "reporting" on Qayum Karzai and Afghanistan, and a lot of hearsay and innuendo from book author Sarah Chayse [sic]. Your reporter is at least honest enough to admit she has no proof for any of her charges. So why did you print any of them?
(My bone fides in this is a 16-year tenure as Editor of Baltimore Magazine, where we won the National Magazine Award for News Reporting, and, prior to that, one those founding "The Paper," Baltimore's first free paper, and work at the Baltimore News American. So I know something about reporting. In 1973-1975 I lived and worked in Kabul as a Fulbright Professor, and after 2001, worked on the board of Afghans for Civil Society helping Qayum Karzai and his wife Pat bring development to Southern Afghanistan. So I know something about Afghanistan and Qayum Karzai.)
Sarah Chayse, quoted at exhaustive length in the article, who is promoting her latest book, worked for Afghans for Civil Society, to decidedly mixed results. I am very familiar with Ms. Chayse, as I had to fly to Boston, where she and her sister had set up an office for Afghans for Civil Society, and I was accompanied by Qayum Karzai and another board member who is a former assistant treasurer of a Fortune 500 company. After we viewed the financial chaos run by Ms. Chayse and her sister, we wrested control of the books and the bank accounts from them and their cronies. I became the signatory on the bank account to prevent any further shenanigans.
Ms. Chayse's "career" in Afghanistan under ACS is checkered to say the least. She continues to peddle conspiracy theories about Qayum Karzai, although, as your article points out, with no concrete evidence. She also is demonstrably delusional about facts, in just one example, she continues to insist that Afghans for Civil Society was incorporated in Delaware, which it was not. I know, I was on the board, she was not.
It is a shame an otherwise terrific article about the Karzai family was blemished with Ms. Chayse's self-promotion.
Anyway, the food part and the family history was great!
Gloria Steinem could have saved herself a lot of time if she just came out and said what she really believes: Every problem in this world is because of men.
Some of us were here in the 1980s and have very good memories of the insanity that was the city jail. No, we don't want it back. The city government can't be trusted with the jail. (The state is unqualified to run it either, for that matter)
Oh ... for the love of God! I thought that running Baltimore City was enough of a song and dance show!?
If she wants to sing and dance let her do it, after her term as mayor is over. We have too many issues in this city for her to play broadway star on the city's dime.
When she gets done shimmying can she start getting the shitty ass roads taken care of?
This is real? This can't be real. Please tell me you made this up. The audio quality is awfully good for having recorded it backstage.....
I guess next she'll be on dancing with the stars...
Get off that stage immediately and get these pot holes fixed. Have you been over the Hanover St bridge?
Tough to shovel snow in that dress.
Sigh! She really needs to stop trying to make herself relevant and stop trying to create this image of being this normal down to earth person. Everybody who lives here knows that ain't even true.
She should practice how to be a Mayor instead of trying to star in a musical smh.. she looks pretty though.
I love her she's fabulous
They've already served our country, it's only fair to cut them some slack.
Let's not forget about the public safety retirees. After serving for more than 36 years, I retired from the law enforcement field about a year ago, and I'm waiting for my wife to retire in 2 years before we make a final decision about moving. We've given serious consideration to selling our home and taking the proceeds south to a more tax-friendly state like Tennessee or Florida. All will be dependant upon what the state legislature finally decides to do, but we'll also be taking both of our pensions with us, not to mention our lifetime savings. Wake up Maryland. If this becomes a sour grapes issue, Maryland will not only lose some of its most dedicated residents, but the revenue we put back into the community as well.
You're a wanker with anger issues. Why do you live in Baltimore? No one even knows where that is anymore.
This is some fucked up shit man.......the poor librarian I hope she sued for millions of dollars