Stories published in February, 2016

Is the Nazi scare tactic being used against refugees in Europe?

Warning: The images in the post may not be suitable for audiences under the age of 18 years.  Billing itself as a ‘brave young Polish weekly’, W Sieci wasn’t particularly brave in their choice of cover: a blonde woman wearing the European Union flag as a toga, being groped by meaty, hairy arms. W Sieci’s cover story was titled ‘Islam’s rape of Europe’. Photo: Twitter It wasn’t too youthful, either. The title references Roman myth — Jupiter’s rape of princess Europa. But the creepy image of swarthy hands defiling a fair white maiden is a 20th-century scare tactic. The United ...

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Visiting Jaipur changed my impression of India

Sometimes the best things are unplanned. I had almost stopped waiting for my visa for India to arrive and then, just two days before the conference, I had it in my hands. Being my usual, spontaneous self, I immediately rushed to the travel agency to book my flight only to be informed that I was too late to get a hold of any direct flight to Delhi that week. Adding to my disappointment, other flights were costly and booked as well. After hours of sheer persistence, my friend and I managed to secure a connecting flight with three stopovers; Doha, Abu ...

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This is how Pakistan fights terrorism everyday

It is a given that life and everything that pertains to it is in a constant state of change. Furthermore, it silently urges all the material and immaterial to be subject to that change. As individuals, with every second and experience, we adapt and find ourselves ever evolving just the same. With this notion in perspective, it is equally evident that the aesthetic of art has evolved as well, for what once was associated with the beautiful, is now just as closely tied to the disturbing and the chaotic. But how and why has that sensibility evolved? ‘Aesthetic’ is anything that ...

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My massive love affair with these mini quiches

When I was hosting some friends over for an afternoon tea, I had already thought of having scones and a chocolate tart. I needed one more dish! Growing up, it was always important to make sure that there was enough food to feed all your guests and more; always more, than less. Since it wasn’t a lunch or dinner, I wanted to have little bits that people could pick on while hanging out. Dips, chips and all of that is the easy part. I needed something else that I could make over the weekend and freeze easily since I would have had to make ...

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Depression cannot be cured by eating spinach, Zubaida apa!

In Pakistan, issues related to mental health are often stigmatised. Often ridiculed and frequently dismissed, conditions such as clinical depression are rarely addressed with the sensitivity and respect they rightfully deserve. This cavalier attitude is perhaps most obvious in the manner with which our media tackles the issue of mental health. Case in point; a recent episode of the Nadia Khan Show aimed to shed some light on the emotional and physical wellbeing of married women. In line with the pattern of most morning shows, Nadia Khan invited a few guests to discuss the topic at hand. Amongst those invited was Zubaida Tariq, fondly referred ...

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Five players who lit up Pakistan’s U19 World Cup and could be our future hope!

The Under 19 World Cup (U19) held in Bangladesh yielded positive and negative results for Pakistan. An impressive run was cut short as a motivated Pakistan team led by Gauhar Hafeez, lost to West Indies and crashed out of the tournament. While the end result was indeed a disappointment, the road towards the semis produced magical moments and introduced the cricketing world to the following future stars of Pakistan cricket. 1. Zeeshan Malik The Chakwal based batsman gave dominant performances with the bat to finish his tournament with 132 runs from four matches including an impressive unbeaten 89 against Canada. Zeeshan Malik possesses the skills and potential. ...

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One month after the Bacha Khan University attack and we are still stuck in selective empathy

Just a year after the Army Public School attack which shook the entire country to its core, prompting collective declarations of #NeverAgain, we are staring into the abyss yet again. It has been one month since another educational institution, Bacha Khan University was brutally targeted and another 21 precious lives were extinguished. The state vows to bring the perpetrators to justice. Once again, our resilience is extolled as the nation’s highest virtue and we slowly begin to pick ourselves up one more time. We may soon recover; perhaps even find ourselves celebrating a successful military response to the enemy one day, signalling a brighter ...

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Why has it become so acceptable to know English but not know Urdu?

“Humne Urdu k saath sautanon wala sulook kara hai aur almiya ye k ye samjhanay k liye bhi aik dusri zubaan ka sahara lena parega.” (We have always treated Urdu as a step-child and the worst part is, in order to fully understand our native language, we seek help from a foreign one.) It hits hard, doesn’t it? Sadly, what we never realise is that language is an art that breathes with those who breathe it. It matters not which language you speak, neither does is matter what your prowess is in the language, but what does matter is the respect any and all languages command. ...

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My life as “chota”

“Chotay! Sab kaam chhor, sahab ke liye chai la!” (Junior! Leave everything else, bring tea for sir) “Chotay! Ustad ki bike pe kapra maar jaldi!” (Junior! Quickly clean your master’s bike) “Chotay! Abay chotay! Kisi kaam ka nahi hai tu, nikammay!” (Junior! You are good for nothing, you nincompoop!) My life revolves around these few phrases. Phrase that pierce through my 11-year-old heart. Did I choose this life? Did I wish to be in this position, where I am often looked at with sympathetic eyes and silent tongues? No. But I am thankful to God for giving me this life. This auto-mechanic garage is my home away from home. My safe ...

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Is prayer a better way to deal with depression than treatment from a mental health professional?

I’d like you to take a moment to imagine two people. Both follow the same religious scripture, with equal regularity yet one interprets the passages as peaceful instructions on life, while the other sees them as commands to violently confront anyone who disagrees with certain worldviews. The disparity is drastic. They read the same words, yet the comprehension is as different as a chalk or cheese. When we speak of the religious extremism that plagues the world and its driving factors we rightly mention political unrest, education, socioeconomic backgrounds, violent text, the mullah culture, and more, but what we fail to talk about ...

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