Azam Gill

Azam Gill

The author is a novelist, analyst and retired Lecturer from Toulouse University. He served in the French Foreign Legion, French Navy and the Punjab Regiment. He has authored nine books. He blogs at writegill.com/

When public monuments sprinkle salt on another community’s wounds

The constant struggle to control the past and the future by dominating the present took a new turn in Charlottesville, Virginia, over Robert Edward Lee’s statue. Now, public monuments are becoming polemical in Australia. Erecting and pulling down public monuments in democracies during peacetime provides a new battlefield, in stark contrast to the acts of armed men drunk on victory. In 2003, when the Americans bludgeoned their way into Iraq, they gleefully helped Iraqi citizens pull down Saddam Hussein’s statue while much of the world cheered. When the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan Buddhas, most of the world wept. Karl Marx and Joseph Stalin’s statues received applause ...

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Are the German election results and the Catalonia referendum a wake up call for the EU?

Major political decisions of Spain’s Catalonia region and Germany’s former Prussia, (lately East Germany), are influenced by their history despite their distinct means and objectives. Both are trying to shape a future perceived to be compatible with the historical perspective of their self-image. While many Catalonians seek independence from Spain, Germany happily reunited in 1990 and is now seeing its political power balance imperceptibly mutating. In the long-term, both can stoke a crisis of unity within sovereign member states and the European Union (EU). Catalonian demands for independence will encourage simmering independence movements in Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, France and ...

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Destroy what destroys you: While blood feuds flourish, justice takes a back seat in Pakistan

Suffering in a living hell due to the state’s failure to deliver justice, widows, orphans, bereft parents, brothers and sisters are the living victims of Pakistan’s blood feuds. Regrettably, blood that is shed to fulfil a primeval need for justice when it is late or denied does not inspire organised outrage. It is lethal vigilantism dressed in chivalric semantics that would leave the ghost in Hamlet decrying “murder most foul”. The unending bloodshed is perceived as murder rather than a murder condoning cultural practice worth challenging. Tragedies languish in solitude in the absence of a dedicated social movement. Prisons are filled with self-righteous murderers upholding ...

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How can China fight for climate change but completely disregard human rights?

Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, China’s most prominent dissident, died of liver cancer on July 13th while serving an 11-year prison term for ‘inciting subversion of state power’. His imprisonment and subsequent death illustrates China’s total disregard of world opinion on human rights, sitting oddly with the volume of its morally correct rhetoric on climate change. Neither Xiaobo’s international stature nor Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi could protect them. Xiaobo’s 2009 conviction earned him an 11-year prison sentence and the Nobel Peace Prize, which strengthened the determination of China’s dissidents to obtain multi-party rule. Six years after Xiaobo’s imprisonment, this movement had started alarming China’s leadership. Accordingly, China’s ...

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Marine Le Pen vs Emmanuel Macron: Who will win le melee?

With the second and final round of the French presidential elections due on May 7, 2017, both finalists are clawing to encroach on each other’s weathered enclaves while fiercely defending their own. The winner in the second and final round of a scandal-ridden, 11-candidate presidential campaign could affect the global power balance. Le Canard Enchainé, France’s leading satirical weekly’s investigative reporting had ensured a breathless ride by raking up the private dealings of two of the major contenders—François Fillon, a former Prime Minister under Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, and the Front National leader, Marine Le Pen. “Fake news”, the new, hotly contested semantic battleground, has crossed the ...

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Monsieur Trudeau and Trump played their cards well

Monsieur Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada and Mr Donald Trump, president of the United States of America, met face-to-face in Washington on February 13, 2017. This meeting affirmed that their nations’ bilateral relationship would be unaffected by different policy positions. President Trump said: “America is deeply fortunate to have a neighbour like Canada.” Prime Minister Trudeau confidently stated: “No neighbours in the entire world are as fundamentally linked as we are.” Monsieur Trudeau publicly declared the steadiness of the Anglosphere applecart club which comprises of the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand. Club rules recognise complete domestic sovereignty with “fundamentally” interlinked, interdependent foreign policies led, though not dictated, by the United States. Common ...

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Why do Pakistan and India always have their daggers drawn?

Pakistan and India are locked in the conviction that each one wants the other’s destruction. Repeating the incantation is patriotic, questioning it, borderline seditious. Each country believes that its violence is only a defensive response to the other’s malevolent initiative. Both nations have separate historical markers to support their points of view and risk engaging in what each believes would be a just war. This smouldering fire is kept alight by the capability theory of judging intent by capability assessment. US General Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded the 1990 First Iraq War coalition, believes that, “… You … judge your enemy based upon capabilities, not intent, you have to look at ...

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Can Pakistan ever be a minority-friendly country?

Both January 11th news items were almost conjoined. Or like reading the mirror-written ecnalubma (mirror image of the word ‘ambulance’ written in front of ambulances) and getting it right as ambulance in the rear-view mirror. The Guardian carried a report, titled ‘Christians in India increasingly under attack, study shows’, in which Pakistan ranks fourth on the list of the 50 countries where persecution is worst for Christians. APP reported that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached out to minorities in a speech at the sacred 900-year-old Katas Raj Hindu temples in Pakistan where he said: “The day is not far when Pakistan ...

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Why have we forgotten the long lost glory of the Punjabi language?

The thorny issue of “Pakistan’s regional languages face looming extinction” has been projected to the forefront in an AFP report carried, among others, by The Express Tribune and Dawn. ‘“There is not a single newspaper or magazine published in Punjabi for the 60 million-plus Punjabi speakers,” wrote journalist Abbas Zaidi in an essay, despite it being the language of the nationally revered Sufi poet Bulleh Shah and the native-tongue of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.’ The historical relegation of the Punjabi language comes from the cloud overshadowing the Punjabi stance in the 1857 War of Independence, paving the way for Urdu’s ascendance. The Punjabis meekly ceded the high ground moving house ...

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Why can’t Muslims celebrate Christmas?

Moderating BBC Asian Network phone-ins, the DJ’s energetic voice brusquely interrupted my overlapping memories of Christmas and Eid. Coarse cotton straight from the forty-yard tha’an bolt. Shimmering saris, suits, and achkans. Coriander, jasmine and mustard seed hair oil. Old spice, khas attar, and shalimar. Narcissus and roses surrounding individually wrapped fruits in da’ali gift baskets. Desi ghee from mithais scintillating with gold and silver leaves. Gota, glitter, and glitz. Teeth shining from a walnut bark rub, lips red, eyes sparkling. Cakes decorated with ‘Happy Christmas’, ‘Happy Eid’, ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Eid Mubarak’. And then British Asians hyper-ventilating on BBC with their glottal stops and vowel shifts in top gear, breathing hard over ...

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