Farheen Hussain

A development activist based in Lahore. She is also training to become a documentary filmmaker.

10 travel tips for the desi explorer

There are two ways to travel – like an invited guest, you can ring the doorbell, enter through the front door and have your host guide you to the prized room of the house while they serve you in their finest china, make small talk and control your experience of the place – or, you can enter through the back door, through the kitchen, see what’s cooking on the stove, set the table, make tea and find your own comfort zone to enjoy the experience at will. The former is a tourist, the latter an explorer and mastering the ...

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What Al Jazeera did right: This revolution was televised

My friend, a fellow news junkie, asked me, “What’s the difference between CNN and Al Jazeera?” Answer: “CNN shows the missiles taking off, Al Jazeera shows them landing.” If any amongst us had doubts about this subtle difference, they were most certainly removed after following the Egyptian revolution unfold on Al Jazeera and its sanitised coverage on other mainstream western news networks. To further substantiate Al Jazeera’s credentials as the peoples’ news network that brings forth the people’s perspective devoid of an imperialist agenda, I can tell you this; Donald Rumsfeld condemned it, George Bush allegedly said he wanted to bomb it ...

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Lessons from Britain: Where Pakistan’s ‘right’ goes wrong

Over a year ago, I was part of one the most exhilarating experiences ever – one of those transformational experiences that you keep learning from and growing through, well after they are over. If any of you have visited England recently you must be familiar with the rising surge of the anti-Muslim sentiment and the popularity of right wing parties there. Though the swing to the right is a global phenomenon, the resurgence of blatantly racist parties like the British National Party (BNP) in a country like Britain, with a heavy immigrant population, is particularly disturbing. In the current climate of ...

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Love in a time of rishta aunties

I am strongly resisting the temptation to make sweeping statements, but as a general rule I find nowhere else in the world is individuality and free thinking penalised as it is in the land of the pure. From school when the teacher frowned at your blatant use of ‘imagination’, to the fear inducing lessons with maulvi sahib, to adulthood when society already has your course of life charted out and heaven’s forbid if you should dare to deviate. Yes, I cannot think of a society that has a more perverted notion of life; fervently abiding to religious practise whilst ignoring the ...

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Bursting the ex-patriate bubble

Over the past week having endured the endless hate rants against President Zardari followed by an even more nauseatingly futile rant on the plight of the country’s poor and marginalised by the Pakistani diaspora, I was inspired if not irked into embarking on a bit of a rant myself. At the outset let me clarify, that this is not piece in defence of the President nor a piece attacking those amongst us who constitute the intellectual cream of the nation and are now residing in greener pastures abroad; sipping their Starbucks, flaunting their Gucci’s and uploading pictures of all their ...

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