Stories about France

As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil

I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face. My entire family is puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil. It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens ...

Read Full Post

Banning Pakistani actors or Indian movies won’t stop me from dancing to Kar Gayi Chul

Art is art. Art does not know a nationality or a region or a religion. Does a German heart move more than a non-German heart while listening to Beethoven’s symphonies? What if nobody outside France ever saw the Mona Lisa, or the Starry night was only seen by Dutch eyes? Art and artists belong to the world. Art is a reflection of the human condition, feelings shared by all of us universally. We all feel love, we all feel sadness, and we all feel loss. The world was moved by the picture of a dead Syrian toddler washed up on a Turkish shore. Statuses mourning the loss ...

Read Full Post

The EU multi-ethnic European military force will only be effective on paper

The European Union (EU) seems set for another cul-de-sac of quarrels over the hastily tossed military salad of EU battle groups with rotating battalions and leadership. Accordingly, Hungary and the Czech Republic have openly called for the creation of an EU army, strongly opposed by the United Kingdom. On this issue, the Council of Europe would be well advised to define policy, delegate the business to France, and sit back. Four issues have made a re-evaluation of the need and role of European direct military intervention an imperative of defence and security which only French expertise can ensure. Firstly, acts of terrorism on European soil have diverted the ...

Read Full Post

How can France assume the basis of our choices?

The dupatta has been around in our part of the world for thousands of years. The word itself is of Sanskrit origin, ‘du’ meaning ‘two’ and ‘patta’ referring to a strip of cloth. In ancient times it was worn as a symbol of modesty as part of an outfit that was comprised of three pieces and, as centuries passed, it became part of the cultural, religious norms in this region – not just for Muslims but also Hindus and Sikhs who cover their heads when walking into a religious building. These days it is worn by many young girls as ...

Read Full Post

The terrorist label: When does an attack become a ‘terrorist’ attack?

Last week, Zakaria Bulhan, a British Somalian teenager, armed with a knife, allegedly killed one person and injured four others in a central London square as passers-by were out enjoying the evening. An ordinary scene of urban serenity was disrupted and panic ensued. However, the British authorities have so far refused to label the incident as a terrorist attack stating that the attack was “spontaneous” and triggered by mental health issues. The labelling of a “terrorist” is a delicate task. It is a deliberate decision taken by those in positions of authority rather than induced by the observations of members ...

Read Full Post

The demons of Delhi

The more things change, the more they remain the same. It was 2012 and Delhi was in the midst of a round of massive protests. The gang rape of the young woman Nirbhaya, who came to be remembered as the fearless one, in a moving bus, finally got the jaded citizens of the city on to the streets, as women demanded their basic right, safety. Soon after, legislations were amended, new laws were brought in, and politicians finally seemed to have heard the pulse of a frustrated nation. Yet in the last one week alone, a tourist was gang raped as ...

Read Full Post

Wham bam, thanks but no thanks Sam!

Love him or loathe him, Sam Allardyce aka Big Sam is never far from the headlines. This after all is the same guy who bizarrely had designs on conquering the sport with his unique (read Neanderthal) style of football. “I’m not suited to Bolton or Blackburn, I would be more suited to Inter or Real Madrid. It wouldn’t be a problem to me to go and manage those clubs because I would win the double or the league every time. Give me Manchester United or Chelsea and I would do the same, it wouldn’t be a problem.” ...

Read Full Post

The year of Cristiano Ronaldo; Champion of Europe for both club and country

Unanticipated, unpredictable and unexpected are a few of many analogous adjectives that have been used to describe the recently concluded football spectacle, Euro 2016. It was indeed a tournament which saw several unheralded outcomes: – The spirited Icelandic ‘sons’ stomped over a perplexed and dumbfounded English 11 in the round-of-16. Iceland celebrates a goal during Euro 2016.Photo: Twitter England suffered 2-1 upset loss to Iceland in Euro 2016 round.Photo: Headline News – A united Welsh outfit sailed through to the semi-finals in what was their first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. [caption ...

Read Full Post

Portugal’s victory in Euro 2016 proved that the whole is greater than the one!

The final of the European Championships took place in Paris, France, with Ronaldo’s Portugal against a resolute French team that had thumped Iceland in the quarter finals and edged past Germany in the semis. France were the absolute favourites to win the cup; indeed, it hadn’t been expected that Portugal would even reach the final. History was on Didier Deschamp’s side as Portugal had never beaten France in a major tournament and had only beaten France five times in 24 meetings, with a massive defeats-total of 19 games. However, the Portuguese were slightly more rested than the hosts, and would ...

Read Full Post

Will China ever allow India to be part of the Nuclear Suppliers Group?

Before the start of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) plenary session in Seoul on June 24, 2016, the word was out that China would not be supporting India’s membership into the NSG. China had exhibited a similar reluctance towards India’s bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. Although China managed to stonewall India’s application, what came as a total surprise to them was that out of 48 countries, 44 countries openly supported its membership; evidence of India being recognised as an emerging global power. In fact, the Chinese negotiator was pulled up because of the unprecedented support India received at the meeting. Those who have been following ...

Read Full Post