samar.esapzai

Samar Esapzai

The author is a mommy, writer, visual artist and academic. Her areas of interest include gender relations, women's empowerment, maternal mental health, and anything and everything related to her people, the Pashtuns. She blogs at sesapzai.wordpress.com and tweets at @sesapzai (twitter.com/SesapZai)

The problem isn’t good cop, bad cop, the problem is the systematic racism in US police

Over the past several years, there appears to be a rise in the instances of horrid brutalities, and murders, carried out by police officers, in the name of justice and safety enforcement, where Americans – mainly African-American and other people of colour – have been targeted, terrorised, and treated with much disdain and disrespect. And most, if not all, of these victims have not only been innocent of the crimes that they had been accused of, but they were also unarmed. Nevertheless, the latest of such staggering police brutality occurred last Friday, where police officers arrived at the Craig Ranch Community ...

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How social media is saving lives in Nepal

It wasn’t too long ago that Kathmandu, Nepal was viewed as one of the most beautiful, and most historical, tourist destinations in the entire world, only to see it suddenly and very tragically crumble in a mere blink of an eye, as one of world’s most deadliest earthquakes rampaged the country this past Saturday. Millions of lives were affected, by the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake, with many trying to find ways to flee the nation, as the death toll rose close to 5000, with several thousand injured. Although Nepal is no stranger to natural disasters, an earthquake of this ...

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What happened when 20 men in Afghanistan wore burqas?

Yesterday, March 8th marked the 104th anniversary of International Women’s Day as people all over the world found unique and creative ways to raise awareness about the rights, or lack thereof, of women, calling for gender equality and celebrating the achievements of women worldwide. These were done through social media, local and international events, educational seminars, political functions, etcetera. When it comes to commemorating global events like International Women’s Day, the sky is the limit.  However, the event that stood out the most for me, and even made headlines last week, was that of a group of 20 Afghan men, fully clad in blue shuttlecock burqas, marching ...

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I stand in solidarity with Patricia Arquette

I am not a huge fan of the Oscars because nothing interesting happens during it. It’s the same old show, but recycled every year. And the only reason I’d ever watch the Oscars is because of the pretty dresses showcased by celebrities on the red carpet. I love pretty dresses.   However, this past Sunday, the Oscars took a different turn; they actually became interesting. More and more celebrities were seen talking about rights; civil rights, women rights, immigrant rights, etcetera. From John Legend’s powerful speech on the fact that there are far more black men under correctional control today than they were under slavery in 1850 to Alejandro Gonzalez’s speech which,  after ...

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The well-remembered Gandhi, but the oft-forgotten Bacha Khan

When we look back at our history, almost every country in the world has experienced some form of foreign occupation, colonisation, massive violence and bloodshed simply based on either regional, religious, ethnic, or racial conflict. And while most of the leaders, who’ve led such warfare and occupations, have been violent and tyrannical, there have also been a few, very few, leaders who have gone against the status quo, and only believed in and promoted non-violence. These exceptional leaders have hailed from all over the world, of which some prominent examples include Baha’u’llah from Persia, Martin Luther King Jr from America, the Dalai Lama from Tibet, Nelson Mandela from ...

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Reham Khan versus ex-husband: Who is the saint and the sinner?

Over the past couple weeks, countless blogs and articles have been written about Imran Khan’s recent marriage to British journalist Reham Khan, where focus has been placed more on criticising Mr Khan’s choice, rather than the congratulatory aspect of the marriage itself. When it comes to celebrities, prominent public figures and politicians, matters pertaining to marriage are no longer private; everyone wants to get a piece of that hot pie; the bigger the pie, the better. And Imran’s marriage to Reham has indeed been a hot topic of discussion, with much criticism I must add, as of late. Much of that disparagement has especially been directed ...

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An ‘Islamic Halloween costume’? Really, Walmart?

Dear Walmart, I liked you. I really did. Your prices are decent and I occasionally made a run to you when other stores in the area were closed, because of your late hours of operation. You were convenient and I really liked that about you. However, it came to my attention a couple of days ago that you tried to sell a Halloween costume depicting an ‘old Pashtun Papa’, full with a beige-coloured parthog and kameez, turban and a long fake, grey beard. Photo: Walmart.com Really, Walmart? Tasteless much? I’ve realised that you have now taken down that ‘costume’, apologised, and tried to ...

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Can a woman in Pakistan play sports without being sexually harassed?

One of the biggest impediments to women participating, or being allowed to participate, in any form of sports in Pakistan is that of sexual harassment. Just yesterday, we all learned about the tragic demise of Haleema Rafiq, the young and talented 17-year-old cricketer. She was one of five girls who had the courage to raise her voice by accusing the Multan Cricket Ground of several instances of sexual harassment that took place last year. However, rather than taking her accusations seriously and wasting no time in conducting a serious investigation, Rafiq’s cry for help fell upon deaf ears. Her case ...

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For the last time, Germany did not “rape” Brazil!

The whole world watched with a mixture of great shock, glee, anticipation and disappointment as Germany beat Brazil by an impressive 7-1 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup semi-final. As a long-time fan of Brazil, I too was quite appalled. However, my dismay wasn’t because Brazil lost (it’s only a game after all, and countries win and lose all the time; it’s nothing new), it was more so due to the reaction elicited among many fans, especially over social media. They went so far as to state the most despicable of all metaphors in existence, ‘Germany raped Brazil’. This inappropriate metaphor was especially ubiquitous over Twitter, ...

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Aerial firing: “If Shahid Afridi’s brother can do it, so can I!”

After an indubitably glorious victory against India in the Asia Cup this past Sunday, ardent Pakistani fans, all across the world, have indeed found various ways to celebrate this euphoric occasion. While some celebrations are fun and safe, others are not. I am referring to the infamous aerial firing or, in other words, firing bullets into the air, which is a common practice in many places and cultures around the world within South and Central Asia, the Middle East and South America. While aerial firing is a widespread practice throughout Pakistan, it is particularly customary in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) region where gun ...

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