Monday, January 30, 2006

A lonely little tree in Hawar


I saw this tree in Hawar and I was fascinated by the way it looked so dignified by standing the way it did. However, there was a problem. There were lot of distracting elements around the tree that, somehow, marred the view. But I clicked the picture anyway because of the tree and decided that I had to hire the services of the ever faithful Adobe Photoshop to restore the tree to my perception. So I decided to clone out the distracting elements, convert to black and white, increase the contrast a little bit and voila, I got my tree just the way I wanted it to be.

Those of you who don't know what Hawar is... well, it's a group of islands just off the southern coast of Bahrain and close to Qatar. Bahrain had a long running dispute with Qatar over these islands and the matter was even taken to the International Court of Justice but, a few years ago, after patiently hearing both sides of the argument the wisemen at the ICJ decided Bahrain had the rightful sovereignity over these islands.

Currently, only a small strip of this archipelago is accessible to the general public and it is in this area that the Hawar Resort has been constructed. The Bahrain Defence Force has authority over major parts of the island while a huge stretch of the islands are a no-go area because of environmental and nature conservation reasons.

Hawar might be one of the few unspoilt islands in Bahrain (and even Gulf, for that matter) because of the presence of extensive and rare flora and fauna. I saw gazelles in the wild over there and I am told that numerous migratory birds stop at one of the Hawar islands. I hope the islands stay this way and that some of these animals and birds won't suffer any disturbance in their habitat.

There is already a huge construction boom that is re-drawing the map of the region and creating concrete monsters everywhere. Now these buildings may have their benefits but I hope they do not encroach upon Hawar and spoil its natural wonders.

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