Erum Haider

A recent graduate from the University of Chicago, where she got an MA in Social Sciences. She is currently based in Karachi.

Blasphemy: Intellectualising murder

A brilliant investigative reporter recently deduced that 94% of blasphemy cases have been filed against Muslims. Congratulations on your ability to do simple fractions. The blasphemy laws have indeed been used to target Muslims, Christians and Hindus. What is your point? According to this gentleman, a paltry 130 people are languishing in jail under the blasphemy laws. Only 130? I mean, come on! More people die of hunger everyday in Palestine. Down with liberal America-lovers who don’t care about Palestine! Moving on. “Now, let’s have a look at the status of these eight Christians. Again the official data shows that only three are on ...

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‘I don’t like being called irrelevant’

If you haven’t read Malcolm Gladwell’s article in the New Yorker, on how Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are “lazy activism,” then you’re missing out on the biggest existential crisis of the Internet in, like, forever. Gladwell’s concluding statement is as follows: (Social networking is) a form of organizing which favors the weak-tie connections that give us access to information over the strong-tie connections that help us persevere in the face of danger. It shifts our energies from organizations that promote strategic and disciplined activity and toward those which promote resilience and adaptability. It makes it easier for ...

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The mathematics of disaster

Can anyone – anyone at all – in this country do some simple math? The Pakistani premier, Yusuf Raza Gilani (whom I imagine all those wonderfully enlightened Zardari-bashers will vote for in the next election, given how badly they wanted someone on the ground, overlooking the relief efforts… what’s that? You don’t vote at all?) has said that 132,000 square kilometers of Pakistani territory has been affected by these floods. According to Wikipedia, Pakistan’s total territory cover 803,940 km-sq. Sixteen percent of our total landmass is currently inundated with water. And that’s just KP and Punjab. By the time that flood hits ...

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