Stories published in January, 2015

The line between ‘expression’ and ‘hate’

Undeniably, it’s everywhere; you’ll find some Charlie Hebdos at your dinner table – some who never want to be Charlie, and then some who, like me, are stuck in the sticky web of internal debate. Since Charlie Hebdo and its counterparts made headlines, my mind has been whizzing with questions of determining where I stand on the issue. It’s clear that I appreciate the limitless power of the pen but I’m certain I also respect the sentiments of those who read my words. The question I have stopped dead at is plain: is the freedom to write whatever I want my right or a ...

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#OscarSoWhite: The dark truth of a white Academy

Many in Hollywood and on social media were deeply offended by the lack of racial diversity present in this year’s Oscar nominees. This is the first time since 1998 that no person of colour, Hispanic or Asian, was nominated for the Academy Awards in the acting categories. This comes across as a surprise considering both the country’s president and the president of the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences are African-American. While it is important to note that, in the past two decades, a large number of African-American, Hispanic and Asian actors and directors have been recognised by the ...

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Saudi Arabia: Holy hypocrites

I was born in Saudi Arabia and am very closely accustomed to the grossly odd laws that exist within the nation, namely, and perhaps most famously, that women are not allowed to drive, that women have to don the black abaya when in public and that there is strict segregation between men and women most stringently enforced by the muttawas or religious police.  I distinctly remember a muttawa once giving my mother a religious lecture over how she should contain her eight-year-old daughter and stop her from running around in case she attracted men. A complete absurdity indeed but my mother ...

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12 similarities between Pakistan’s 1992 and 2015 World Cup squad that will blow your mind!

Here are some of the similarities between Pakistan’s 1992 and 2015 World Cup squad that most of us are not aware of: 1. Venue 1992: Australia- New Zealand 2015: Australia- New Zealand 2. Captain Imran Khan Niazi of Mianwali (1992) Misbahul Haq Niazi of Mianwali (2015) 3. Captain’s injury In 1992, Pakistan’s captain, Imran Khan entered the tournament with an injury. In 2015, Misbahul Haq has also sustained an injury just before the World Cup. 4. Surprise all-rounder Ijaz Ahmed (1992) Haris Sohail (2015) 5. Opener who can also bowl Amir Sohail (1992) Mohammad Hafeez (2015) 6. Two leg-spinners in the squad Mushtaq Ahmed and Iqbal Sikander (1992) Shahid Afridi and Yasir Shah (2015) 7. Middle-order batsman  Inzamamul Haq, ...

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Learning from the Peshawar attack, taking lessons from the children

Like every other day, the school bell rang and I sat in the school van, travelling home with a wide smile on my face. The reason was quite evident; the next day I was going to Peshawar to attend a family wedding! I live in Karachi but I was going back home and I was excited. As I entered the lounge in my house, I saw my mom weeping in front of the television. I couldn’t, for the life of me, understand why. Then I paid more attention to the news blaring in the background and for those few moments, I ...

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A month later, helping the survivors of the #PeshawarAttack

December 16, 2014, left the Pakistani nation with horrible memories. This nation is resilient; it has faced many tragedies but manages to survive every time. But how can the people directly affected by such attacks start living their lives normally? We all cried for those innocent children who left us. Yes, it was big loss for a country that already lacks in basic education facilities, as compared to the rest of the world. But what about those children who experienced the attack and survived? What will happen to those hundreds of prodigies? Will they be able to perform the way society ...

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Black should not be our colour

Black is for grief, Black is for mourning.   Black is for the little men, Who returned in little coffins.   Black is for the gloomy night, That lost its stars, Young and bright.   Black is for the lost children, And the parents’ miserable plight.   Black is for the darkness, In rooms with empty beds   Black is for the ink, Before it went all red.   Black is for the shoes, Before they drenched in blood.   Black is for the corridors, Where the kids once shouted Recess! Now they echo with the bell of bullets, Heralding the dance of death.   Black is for the ashes, Of teachers burnt alive.   Black is for the fear, In the eyes that watched it live.   Black is for the ...

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As a student in grade 9, I pledge my future to Pakistan – do you?

On December 16th, around 10am, a group of heavily armed men belonging to the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) stormed the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar. These men opened fire and took several students hostage in the main auditorium of the school. The number of casualties is officially reported to be over 140 and more than 180 injured. TTP has claimed this attack to be in retaliation to Pakistan’s military offensive known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb, which started in June, 2014, in North Waziristan. This school was attacked in an attempt to kill the future military potential of Pakistan, in the hopes of ...

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If you limit freedom of expression, is it still a freedom?

Pope Francis is a man to be admired. Since taking the Papacy in March 2013 and shedding the traditional gold, the Argentinian pope has won hearts across the globe with his wisdom, humbleness and what seems to be an earnest attempt to create a better understanding between cultures and religions.    As the face of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has often released prudent statements after controversial events that, at the very least, are received with quiet acceptance. Such is the pragmatic nature of Pope Francis that one can imagine that even those chastised by him take a moment to ...

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Security measures that every parent wants to see installed in Pakistani schools

The massacre at Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar changed our way of life, our approach towards educational institutes and our concern for the safety of our kids. The events of December 16, 2014 left some really ugly scars on the minds of our youth which will probably take decades to heal. Such incidents provide a new dimension in terms of planning for personal safety and providing a safe future for the newer generation. By giving the duty of ‘chaperone’ to a sizable number of law enforcement officers to placate the rich, elite and VIPs of our country, our government has ...

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