Stories about Burma

Rangoon is an example of how a gifted director is wasting his talent

There’s a line in the film where Saif Ali Khan tells a British officer, “We’re actors; we know how to convince people.” I am sorry to burst your bubble here Chote Nawab, but regrettably your statement falls completely flat on its face if the said performers are asked to work with a wearingly long and complicatedly patchy screenplay. Saif Ali Khan in Rangoon (2017)Photo: IMDb At 167 minutes, Vishal Bharadwaj’s Rangoon isn’t just a drag but also tediously stuffed with a hotchpotch of multiple storylines. Rangoon takes us back to 1940s Hindustan, against the backdrop of contrasting independence ideologies of dovish Mahatma Gandhi and hawkish Subhash Chandra ...

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Is the killing of Rohingya ‘ethnic cleansing’ or Muslim genocide?

A campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslims is being carried out by Burmese authorities in the western state of Arakan. The Burmese troops have slaughtered children, raped women, as well as killed and shot men. They have burned and looted houses. They have forced people to cross the river into Bangladesh, which is one of Burma’s neighbouring countries. The Rohingya group, numbering about 1.1 million people, is seen as one of the world’s most persecuted minorities. A huge number of people from the community have poured across the border for several years to seek asylum in one of the refugee camps near Cox’s Bazar. Moreover, ...

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Will China’s military overhaul be able to compete with the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division?

The size of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA), its past  performance and the Republic’s economic super power status have periodically got Washington’s knickers in a twist, much to the glee of the United States’ military-industrial sector. The South China Morning Post’s report of a prospective overhaul of China’s land troops to acquire a rapidly deployable force on the lines of the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division (101st) promises as much. The plan also involuntarily activates latent Sinophobia – even though the ambitious project is obviously a very long haul – with success hanging on China’s crucial choice between conscription and professionalism. Milton Friedman (1912-2006), Nobel laureate ...

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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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In Saudi Arabia, oil will always be thicker than blood

It was the year 2000 and I was a young man studying in Canada. Having spent a majority of my life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for a change, I was enjoying the atmosphere of a country where people weren’t treated with disdain simply because of their nationality. Alas, even in Canada, it was difficult to escape Saudi mentality. I was socialising with a group of Middle Eastern students at a food court where we were all getting to know each other. When asked, I told them I was a Pakistani who had grown up in Saudi Arabia. While ...

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Saudi Arabia: No country for Pakistani brides

The untoward behaviour from the Saudi government of reportedly laying off 30,000 illegal Pakistani workers hit yet another ebb when Saudi men were recently banned from bringing brides from four nationalities including Pakistan that is amongst the relegated list. Other countries languishing in this ill-famed category are Bangladesh, Burma and Chad. A cursory glance at the names of aforementioned countries makes me wonder how insignificant Pakistan has become in the greater scheme of things. It reduces Information Minister Pervez Rasheed’s recent claim, during a conference held to discuss Gaza, about Pakistan being the world’s sixth largest force to reckon with to a mere ...

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Mong Chow: Karachi gets a taste of Burma

Burma is a culture-rich country nestled between India, China, Bangladesh, Laos and Thailand. Their cuisine is as rich as their culture and I have had the pleasure of enjoying some staples and delicacies during my growing years, mainly because my grandmother is Burmese. The key components of Burmese cuisine have been greatly influenced by the neighbouring country’s eating habits, the most notable being India, China and Thailand. That being said, Burmese cuisine is notably different from any others you might have come across, be it the sublime taste or the rich colourful presentation. A single bite can be hot and sweet, salty ...

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How much do you hate Pakistan’s media?

Keeping lists of all aspects of Pakistani activity on Facebook is a manic hobby of mine. I consider myself the tracker of the totality of our online diaspora, which is best represented on Facebook (8 million Pakistanis and growing fast). One list that has been very consistently growing and producing content is my (rather plainly dubbed) Pakistan Media Haters list. Over the last two years I have been diligently adding pages that spew hate (i.e. irrational, cherry-picked critique with dollops of venom, lies, incitement to violence and racism) against the local media. I have also tried to decipher where these pages ...

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Your choice: Top blog posts of 2012

The blog posts below were selected based on the number of visits to individual articles, representing what visitors to the Tribune Blogs considered vital reads for 2012. Over 200,000 views Social media is lying to you about Burma’s Muslim ‘cleansing’ – Faraz Ahmed The post that got Tribune Blogs temporarily banned in India and single-handedly challenged an online propaganda campaign. Over 100,000 views Nudity, Niqab and the illusion of ‘free choice’ – Bina Shah 364 comments later, the niqab debate rages on. Over 50,000 views An open letter to Maya Khan – Mehreen Kasana An online campaign, a real-world change – the internet emerges as the Pakistan’s media ...

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Burma killings: Think before you point fingers

I have always thought of Buddhists as being the wisest, most religious and peace loving of all people. Hence, their recent atrocities in Burma were shocking on many levels. Burmese Buddhists are carrying out a ‘cleansing’ and have (reportedly) killed many Muslims over the past two months.  To answer the ‘why’, let’s examine a bit of history first for that is where most of the answers lie. Burma/Myanmar is situated next to Bangladesh and Muslims started arriving there in the early 20th Century. Memons and Shias also migrated in large numbers – that is also the origin of ‘Khao Suey’ we so enjoy today ...

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