Stories about Iran

Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

Read Full Post

A Kabaddi World Cup without Pakistan is like a football world cup without Brazil

And here we go again.  Or not go, to be precise in this particular case. The Kabaddi World Cup was just a couple of days away from kickstarting and yesterday the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announced that Pakistan has been barred from competing in the event. Do I need to mention the reason? Well, for those living on Mars and completely oblivious to what is happening in their neighbouring planet, the on-going escalation in the tension between the Asian neighbours, Pakistan and India, has resulted in this unfortunate exclusion of our national team. A major event for the sport, the World Cup ...

Read Full Post

Is Brahamdagh Bugti right in applying for asylum in India?

It’s popularly said that times change and so do people, but sometimes after years of changes, a lot does not change at all. In classical warfare, the shrewd commander would keep a force at the front as a façade and keep a surprise for his enemy. The surprise could be an ambush from the side, moats prepared to drown the infantry, a fire hazard to cut one part of the infantry from the other and create a kill zone and so on. Modern warfare introduced more brazen tactics such Hitler’s blitzkrieg, which caused massive damage to the Allied forces. It also gave us the ...

Read Full Post

Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well. India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan. Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) ...

Read Full Post

The onus to end the Syrian crisis now lies on Russia and the US

The Syrian crisis is becoming increasingly complex and intractable due to the civil war – which was triggered by a repressive government led by Bashar al Assad – who let loose a reign of terror on protesters fighting for civil liberties and democratic reforms. Eventually it escalated into an armed conflict, one that was subsequently upstaged by two powerful superpowers – Russia and the United States. The whole narrative of the civil war changed when Russia helped out their ally, Assad, (who was facing defeat at the hands of the rebels) by supplying him with artillery, tanks and strike aircraft. Iran, on the other hand, sent Hezbollah fighters to augment the Syrian ...

Read Full Post

India must remember that Balochistan is not Bangladesh

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day Speech on August 15, 2016 raised the issue of Pakistan’s human rights violations in Balochistan. This has brought a new excitement in New Delhi, particularly among the right wing commentators as if India has finally found a solution to the Kashmir issue. Since the death of a charismatic militant Burhan Wani in the hands of the security agencies on July 8, 2016, Kashmir is witnessing unprecedented violent protest. Modi and his advisors hope that Kashmir unrest will come to an end if India starts spreading the fire in Balochistan. If Modi and his advisors really believe that the Balochistan threat will dissuade Pakistani ...

Read Full Post

Pakistan’s eventual decision on Afghan refugees will have global consequences

Encouraged by the precedent of its next-door neighbour, Iran, the government of Pakistan (GOP) seems set to pre-empt Donald Trump and his Grand Old Party (GOP) by requiring its three million Afghan refugees to leave, apparently unaware of the far-reaching consequences of a decision that risks compromising tomorrow for the day after. The ‘request’ – for now – creates a case study for refugee situations elsewhere and has not provoked the international shock and horror that a European country would, were it to take a similar decision. Iran’s handling of its own three million Afghan refugees estimated by its interior ministry offers Pakistan a precedent that ...

Read Full Post

Abbas Kiarostami: The moment of truth

1979 was the year that marked the beginning of a new era for Iran. It was the year when Ayatollah Khomeini came into power and the Islamic Revolution was going to pave a new way for Iran. Many Iranians were unsure what to make of it or what the future of Iranian Art was going to turn out to be. Some artists and filmmakers decided to flee the country, while others felt they might lose their identity if they were to bloom anywhere else other than on Iranian soil. Abbas Kiarostami was one of those artists who decided to stay back and ...

Read Full Post

Taste of Cherry is to the post-ISIS generation what The Stranger was to the post-World War generation

Meursault is numb to the news of his mother’s death. It arrives to the central character of Albert Camus’ The Stranger via telegram and the information written on the piece of paper doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers us as readers. The absurdity of the situation pinches you, makes you look for some sort of resolution to this wildly unreasonable situation, until you realise that there isn’t one. What Meursault is looking for is not the absurd, he himself is the absurd. Similarly, in Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry, the elegant Iranian man Mr Badii drives around the outskirts of Tehran, looking ...

Read Full Post

Killing patriarchy, one headscarf at a time

Every once in a while, I come across news that fills me with hope that patriarchy will indeed perish someday, and that all is not lost in vain. And the news about Iranian men donning hijabs, in solidarity with their wives was one of those rare moments. For the past few days, several men have been posting pictures of themselves wearing the hijab – and some even wearing the full burqa – to not only show solidarity with their wives, who have been forced to cover up in accordance with the strict ‘modesty’ rules of the country, but also to protest ...

Read Full Post