Stories published in November, 2015

#ParisAttacks: How social media took to anti-Muslim bigotry

Friday the 13th is considered to be the unluckiest day of the year, according to western superstitious beliefs, and this belief couldn’t have been more accurate, as the world bore witness to one of the most horrific terrorist attacks that mercilessly swathed the capital city of Paris, in France, last night. The horrific attacks consisted of a series of shootings, suicide bombings, and explosions, killing over 120 people (thus far) in six distinct locations throughout the city, which included a theatre, concert hall, shopping mall and a sports stadium. And while it is yet to be confirmed whether the attackers were in fact ...

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Where will the (illegal) money collected from the ‘licensing Karachi’ campaign go?

Recently, the Karachi traffic police started a campaign, on the orders of the provincial government, against those drivers who don’t carry driving licences. According to the provincial government, this campaign is a part of the on-going process to enforce the law and order situation in the city. The driving licence is a very important public document and in many countries it is used as an identity card. The campaign was initiated with the announcement of a 15-day deadline, which was previously extended to one month but has now been extended to three months. Since the process has already started, there have been many ...

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Today, we take solace in the hope that #PorteOuverte has offered us

When a calamity strikes, be it an earthquake, a flood, or a terrorist attack, headlines are made all over the world, a certain meta-narrative grips us all. We are told that a certain number of people died, a certain amount of damage was done, a certain type of people was responsible. We become transfixed with questions like ‘what happened?’, ‘why did it happen?’ and ‘who did it?’ We become consumed with the pathology of violence. They answers we seek are what we call ‘primary’ pellets of empirical information that are intertwined to form a story that conforms to the framework of ...

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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo: A 90’s romance doused in today’s predictable colours

Although Salman Khan has always starred in movies with a strong plot which end up becoming box office hits, his latest movie, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (PRDP), could only manage to achieve the latter. The plot is not cohesive nor can it be categorised as a typical Sallu movie.  Khan plays a double role in PRDP as Prem Dilwala and Yuvraj Vijay Singh, the latter being the Prince of Pritampur and the former being a stage actor. However, they have one common interest – Rajkumari Maithili Devi, played by Sonam Kapoor. Although Vijay is engaged to Maithili, he cannot keep out of trouble because of his temper issues. ...

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Is it terrorism itself or the cities where terror strikes that is more appalling?

The country’s capital was rocked by the deadliest terror attack it has seen in over 20 years. Dozens have been reported dead with some calling it a “satanic attack” and the world has not shed a tear. Yes, you have not posted or tweeted about it. You did not come up with any hashtags or express any condemnation. You just, perhaps, accepted it as a harsh reality and moved on because the capital was Beirut not Paris. The night before Paris was attacked, Beirut lost more than 40 lives and you moved on. You are not just the common Twitterati, you are the international ...

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#ParisAttacks: Blaming the refugees for the attacks on France is like blaming the victim for escaping the abuser

As I write this, there are over 150 dead across Paris in one of the most revolting terrorist attacks in the history of France. Scenes are described as pure carnage. Reportedly, the attackers indiscriminately chopped (gunned) down innocent civilians with gunfire and explosives to horrific effect. One witness inside the Bataclan simply said, “It was a bloodbath.” Another stated, “They were shooting at us like we were birds.” The Telegraph shared some stories of the lucky Parisians who escaped the theatre. “Everyone got onto the ground. From that moment, instinct kicked in. With each volley you try to get as far away as possible from ...

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Living in a world of ‘delivered’ and ‘read’, and not uncertainty

“What did you do at school today?” I asked my tired little one, expecting no meaningful response. “We wrote a letter,” came the unexpected reply. “A letter?!” exclaimed the twins, as though she’d actually laid an egg in school. “And who did you write to?” I asked gently, ignoring her siblings’ shock and horror. “We wrote it to our grandparents,” and with that, she left the table, obviously wanting no more of the conversation. Something about the topic brought back a flood of heart-warming memories. It was not so long ago that I would sit and write letters to friends and family, and yet it ...

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My journey as a Pakistani-Hindu

When I went to the United States for a semester abroad, I was frequently asked a rather bothersome question, “How are you treated, being a minority in your country?” My answer has always been very simply, I am treated just like anyone else; one of their own. But if one were to believe the media, then we are victims of discrimination, brutal killings and part of the largest migration in human history. For the last four years, I have been living with a Muslim family as a paying guest and I have never felt discriminated on the basis of my religion, or any other basis for that matter, ...

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What if Allama Iqbal had remained an Ahmadi?

Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah Khan was one of the leading founding fathers of Pakistan. You know, the Pakistan Resolution that our national struggle was based on? He drafted it. He was the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He was known for his eloquent representation of Pakistan at the United Nations and is the only Pakistani to have served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly, and that of the International Court of Justice in Hague. While working in international diplomacy, Sir Zafarullah Khan’s tireless advocacy for the freedom of Arab states and for the resolution of the Kashmir ...

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Being dishonest about ugliness

Adults often tangle themselves in knots when discussing physical appearance with children. We try to iron out differences by insisting they don’t matter, attribute a greater moral fortitude to the plain or leap in defensively when someone is described as not conventionally attractive, or — worse — ugly or fat. After all, there are better, kinder words to use, or other characteristics to focus on. The Australian author Robert Hoge, who describes himself as “the ugliest person you’ve never met”, thinks we get it all wrong when we tell children looks don’t matter: “They know perfectly well they do.” A former ...

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