Did the biased media coverage of the US elections ensure Trump’s victory?

On April 6, 1994, a missile shot down an airplane carrying Hutu leaders Juvenal Habyarimana and Cyprian Ntayamira in Rwanda, unleashing the ethnic majority Hutus against the minority Tutsis on a campaign of mass murder. As the atrocity spread, the world debated the nuances of the word ‘genocide’. Three months and at least half a million deaths later proved that, yes, it was genocide. Semantics matter. During the 2016 US election, mainstream media’s refusal to correctly identify bigotry, while perhaps not as egregious as mislabelling ethnic cleansing, has contributed to Donald Trump’s victory. Semantics matter. Trump’s detractors, and count me ...

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Donald Trump ran a clickbait campaign to the White House and we fell for it

Build A Wall and Mexico Will Pay For It. Ban All Muslims From Entering America. Obama Was Not Born in America. Grab Her by the P****. The Election Is Rigged. Unless you just woke up from a two-year coma, you know exactly who made these bold statements. But did the Donald ever provide details as to how he will actually make these claims happen? No, it’s pure click-bait. Once you get past the attention-grabbing headlines, there’s no real substance to back them up. It’s exactly like the click-bait that dominates the internet these days. See Selena Gomez NSFW Photos Now. Lose Weight With this One, Weird Tip. The Aging Secret Dermatologists Don’t Want You ...

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Why do we consider regular e-commerce stores to be startups?

For the past couple of years, new startups are popping up everywhere in Pakistan. Everyone seems to know someone who has recently started a new ‘e-commerce’ store which will revolutionise the industry in Pakistan. To be honest, I’m starting to get fed up with this constant stream of ‘entrepreneurs’ who set up a website, put some products on it and call it a startup and Pakistan’s best online shopping store. I mean how far can we be from reality? Why do we think starting a regular e-commerce store with WooCommerce or OpenCart, without anything different from the thousand other competitors, should still be considered a startup? Yes, ...

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Will America be able to bounce back from such a venomous presidential campaign?

Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America, now has to make ‘America Great Again’. The ‘what’ is clear, the ‘how’ has yet to come and much hinges on his ability to “bind the wounds” as he said in his victory speech. Speaking in Manchester, New Hampshire on November 6th, Hillary Clinton had already said that Americans must choose between “division and unity”. On November 8th, The Daily Telegraph called it the “…most divisive election in history” and The Guardian the “… most divisive campaign in memory.” So now the winner has just over two months to ensure ...

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Five of my uncles were shot in the Nazimabad attacks

You never think it’s going to happen to you… until it does. Just over a week ago, I was in a queue with my four-year-old son. We were waiting for a train ride around the park near my parents’ house when I received a phone call from my mum. It was the phone call that nobody ever wants to receive; the phone call that informs you of tragedy at home. Five of my maternal uncles had been shot in Nazimabad, Pakistan. We weren’t sure who was alive at that point, but as we took to Twitter, the true reality of the horror was ...

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Let’s face it, our need to network trumps true friendships

Of the myriad toxic habits incorporated by the modern day people, there’s one that is so rampant in practice and seemingly innocuous in nature that people hardly notice they’re doing it. That habit, my friends, is the habit of hoarding virtual friendships in our lives. Yes, the usage of the word ‘hoarding’ is intentional and, before you go off on a tirade about how I’m objectifying people, let me explain why. Consider the modern day practice of socialising. We meet someone, somewhere (or virtually), establish communication, strike a mental connection (though most people tend to skip this step altogether), determine ...

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I had an affair with Fawad Khan and I refuse to hide it

Now that I have your attention – maybe a bit too much of it – you will find out soon enough that this piece has nothing to do with the headline. It is so far off from what you thought it would be that it gives me the perfect opportunity to convey my point. These headlines are click-bait, a strategy media outlets are now using to gather pace on social media, since that is where most traffic originates from. Relatively unknown ‘news’ organisations, such as FHM, Brands Magazine, ProPakistani, and others within the Pakistani landscape, are proving to be quite ...

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Why are places like Espresso and Dolmen Mall so averse to live music?

I’m standing at Alexanderplatz in Berlin, hearing music from three different directions coming from street artists who have set up their hats. One plays under a bridge, another next to a shopping district and a third outside a beer hall. I’m not sure which one to listen to when I get an urgent e-mail from Marium Kamal. Marium is an artist and a fine arts teacher who, in her free time, manages Shikari; a small indie duo who play only original Urdu and English songs in Karachi. I met her and the band quite cosmically at a coffee shop on my ...

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Sorry Bilawal, Pakistan’s misogyny will always confuse sensitivity with femininity

“Aur tu aur Billo Rani bheebol rahi hai. Asif Zardari sahib, itna haram kamaia aap ne, thora sa Bilawal per lagain aur us ka technical masla theek karain.” (Now even Billo Rani is speaking. Asif Zardari, please devote some of your illegal wealth towards rectifying Bilawal’s technical problem). “Mein ne siyasat mein naheen aana, kyon ke Sheikh Rashid mujhe har roz gandy gandy messages karta hai.” (I don’t want to come into politics because Sheikh Rashid sends me dirty texts every day. The first of the above is an excerpt from Sheikh Rasheed’s speech in 2014, and the latter is one of the Facebook memes I ...

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Why is Pakistan alienated by the global literati?

Arundhati Roy once said: “[…] Writing is an incredible act of individualism, producing your language, and yet to use it from the heart of a crowd as opposed to as an individual performance is a conflicting thing.” Roy, like many other authors of Indian descent has won a multitude of literary prizes, including the esteemed Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Which is why when India wasn’t nominated this year, it came as a blow to the world. This consternation, in my opinion, represented something far deeper for Pakistan: the alienation we face from the global literati, a sentiment the writers from ...

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