Stories published in July, 2017

Nabra Hassanen’s murder doesn’t come out of nowhere; it is embedded into the structure of American society

In the early hours of June 18th, Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old black Egyptian Muslim girl was kidnapped, beaten with a bat, and dumped into a pond. The Virginia police ruled out the incident as ‘road rage’. However, it’s incredibly difficult to believe any instance of road rage involves the premeditated forethought of kidnapping a girl, dragging her into a car, and covering up the evidence by submerging what’s left of her into a body of water. The murder sparked a fresh wave of fear for Muslims in America, who have lived in terror of hate crimes since 9/11. Muslims now struggle with the possibility of being ...

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Will this year’s Wimbledon be the same old four, winning the same old matches?

Aw yes. It’s that time of the year again. It’ll take a fortnight to initiate another year’s waiting, but the memories of players dressed up in pristine whites, playing on the meticulously cut grass will remain etched till that time. One year of intense drama, ups and downs, stories of decline and two fables of renaissance all boil down to this. When 128 players kick off the 131st Championships at the All England Tennis Club at Wimbledon on Monday, for the next two weeks, we will see tennis the way it was meant to be seen. The original grass courts will be open ...

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I think, pray and speak in English, so why should I speak to my children in Urdu?

My twins are almost three-years-old and they can’t speak Urdu, my ‘mother tongue’. They hear it being spoken around the house, and occasionally I may try to converse with them in Urdu but truth be told, it doesn’t come naturally. As first-time parents, we did get the infamous lecture that we should only speak to our children in Urdu or else they will never be able to speak the language. People would say, “Don’t worry, they will learn English at school but you must speak to them in Urdu.” The common fear is that our children will drift away from their cultural heritage. Most people believe that language is what will keep our ...

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Pakistan issued its first third gender passport – but giving respect to the transgender community is asking for too much

As a part of Pakistan’s minority group who seems to care about our country’s transgender community, watching this video was disturbing to say the least. Shortly after the holy month of Ramazan was over and Eid was being celebrated, a group of Pakistani men of all ages thought it was amusing and entertaining to publicly harass a group of transgender people in Murree. The video itself left viewers, including myself, completely taken aback and disappointed. It was a stark reminder of how pathetic people can be. I couldn’t help but wonder how much time it would take for people of this country to become responsible and empathetic citizens. ...

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She was never little miss sunshine

She sat there staring outside her balcony, watching the heavy, thunderous downpour tear its way through the dark clouds and fall to the ground, like it was the last time it was falling. She realised how it was a metaphor of her own life – a life so full of passion and rigour, but slowly dying down – phasing out into the everyday nothingness. It’s not like she suffered through depression or some mental disorder or experienced anxiety attacks every now and then. She was an average, 30-year-old struggling to get by, just like many other 30-year-olds who had started off with big hopes and dreams to fulfil and life ...

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Please let Pakistan’s national anthem be as it is – powerful and poignant

In 2011, while attending the opening ceremony of a Model United Nations (MUN) conference in Karachi, I came to an odd yet poignant moment. Before the ceremony officially began, it was announced that the national anthem was to be played and hence everyone should arise from our seats to show respect. Everyone did so accordingly. However, when the anthem was played, it was nothing like the powerful melody we have all been brought up listening to. Firstly, it was a guitar version of the anthem, without the robust drums which made the tune so colourful and lively. Secondly, it did not have lyrics. Both these things made the ...

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Be it Parachinar or Quetta, when blood starts flowing like rain water down our drains, it is time to reflect

He could smell burning flesh. He looked down in horror to see deep lacerations on his legs. Ears ringing, he struggled to get up. The piercing pain in his legs made him scream and he slipped back onto the pavement. There was chaos all around him. He looked around scouting for a familiar face but the air was thick with smoke. He tried shouting for help but nothing came out. He felt something cold trickling down his side. Surprised, he looked down at his abdomen. With the warm gushes of blood, there flowed a steady stream of green chutney, leaking from the ...

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Lack of emotion and recycled jokes fail to elevate Despicable Me 3 from a cartoon to an animated film

Despicable Me 3 is the latest entry in the hugely successful Despicable Me franchise. And although the last two prequels have done well in regards to delivering good humour, fun characters and enjoyable set-pieces, the latest release falls short of being even slightly good. The latest film follows the now-reformed Gru (Steve Carell), who still works for the Anti-Villain League. His failure to apprehend the new baddie, Balthazar Brat (voiced by South Park’s Trey Parker) – a child star from the 80s who is seeking world domination because of the pre-mature cancellation of his show – leads to him being fired from the Anti-Villain league. Furthermore, ...

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The Bahawalpur inferno victims were not reckless jahils, but simply desperate citizens of Pakistan

The aftermath of disaster is often pervaded by catharsis, and as human nature would always have it, the pressing propensity to find appropriate scapegoats and pass the blame. As I write this merely days after the heinous tragedy of the oil spill on KLP road, it is instantly plain that those who perished in the incident are the ones being held unanimously responsible for the same. But why? Because even as an oil tanker carrying 40,000 litres of fuel overturned whilst making a sharp turn on Sunday morning, it did not immediately unleash the inferno that followed. First, the inhabitants of the nearby village of Ramzanpur ...

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