Stories published in April, 2018

I do not deserve to be a mother

Mathieu knew a country without a capital is no country. He knew my capital was my son, that the happiness in his eyes was why I was alive. He knew what being stabbed in the chest felt like. He had felt it after all. If he still sought to do this to me and his own blood, then fine. But I’m disappointed in him, and most of all I’m disappointed in myself; I don’t look forth to God’s mercy anymore. I don’t ask myself to wait for the right time or to look for the light at the end of the ...

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You reap what you sow: The irony of advocating #deleteFacebook on Facebook itself

Many years ago, I read an interview by then Google CEO, Eric Schmidt. The question posed to him was about what Google was doing to protect the privacy of its users. Unlike other executives who go off on philosophical tangents when talking about customer privacy, Schmidt said: “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” In the wake of the data scandal at Facebook, this maxim holds as true today as it did when social media was born. The likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon have become part of our daily lives. We willingly ...

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#JusticeforAsifa: Has India discarded its moral compass?

What is at play in India today is a systematic dehumanisation of its Muslim community by the ruling establishment in Delhi. The ruling Hindu nationalist government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has empowered extremist forces trying to further entrench the country’s religious fault lines. With the rise of Modi and his ilk, a political echo system has emerged in India, where Muslims are treated or looked at in the same way as Jews were seen by the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The tragedy in Kathua is the by-product of that mindset. Located some 550 kilometres north of ...

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With its suffocating silence, ‘A Quiet Place’ is one of the best thrillers to come along in a while

It’s the 89th day of a monster invasion that has ravaged the world. Fierce armoured beasts that hunt by sound have decimated the human population on the planet and are now picking off the remaining survivors. Anyone who makes the slightest sound is immediately snatched by a lethal monster. You have to stay silent to stay alive. That is the premise of A Quiet Place, a little horror thriller that has unexpectedly become the most talked about film of the moment. The story follows the Abbot family – father Lee (John Krasinski, who also directed and co-wrote the movie), mother Evelyn (Krasinski’s real ...

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“Safe” public transport for women: He kept whispering his sexual fantasies to me as he masturbated

I am a big advocate for public transport, which is not only an environment-friendly and cost-effective way of transportation, but also the best choice if you don’t want the hassle of driving yourself. However, another caveat of being a woman in Pakistan is the lack of security you feel every time you travel alone.   I happened to travel to Lahore last month for a meeting, and as I usually do, I chose a Daewoo bus for the commute. While I was at the terminal waiting for the bus, I noticed a young man sitting opposite my chair and blatantly staring ...

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Cristiano Ronaldo: How Madeira’s ‘little bee’ turned into the greatest player of all time

Visualisation of a dream is considerably easier than actually turning it into a reality. One can associate a lot of attributes with the realisation of this process but three key elements behind it are optimism, persistence and hard work. The perfect embodiment of these traits can be found amongst many successful individuals, and one such name in that prestigious list is Cristiano Ronaldo. We can all talk at length, with great detail and assurance, about how great a footballer Ronaldo is due to the benefit of hindsight. Yet this by no means will surpass the confidence of a 15-year-old Ronaldo ...

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In the war against the Taliban, why are we okay with children always being collateral damage?

Who in this world heeds the cries of children? A week filled with images of Syrian children gasping for life, after yet another chemical attack launched by their own leader, making this the world’s bloodiest conflict in recent memory. Even Afghanistan, and the long war once waged by the US, has now faded in memory in comparison. Thus, the murder of young children, among the more than 70 lives razed to dust by air strikes in Kunduz, Afghanistan, did not penetrate the American news cycle, at a time when we are dealing with our own collateral of a presidency in near free fall. Al Jazeera reports that the madrassa, ...

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Is Veronica really the scariest horror movie ever made?

More often than not, some of the best films go unseen or get swept under the rug simply because they aren’t in English or don’t have the budget or marketing of big studio blockbusters to reach a large enough audience. These films instead have to rely solely on the buzz they generate to be successful, and while that’s a sad reality, it’s at least comforting to know that such films reach the right audiences who actually make an effort to seek them out. Such is definitely the case for the film in question – Veronica, the Spanish supernatural-horror flick that has ...

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Diplomatic immunity: How to get away with murder in Pakistan

This weekend, the country suffered yet another blow in its already shaky relationship with the United States of America. Colonel Joseph Emanuel Hall, a diplomat serving at the American Embassy as the defence and air attaché, ran a red light and hit a young Pakistani man on a motorcycle, killing him. Before any official reaction could occur, the CCTV footage of a speeding Land Cruiser striking a biker started making rounds on all social and digital platforms. It also came to light that the driver was apprehended by the local police, but had to be let go due to his ...

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Why your husband might be gay

Allow me to get straight to the point. Homosexuality exists, and contrary to the mass media being dominated by heterosexual affairs, the ubiquity of same-gender attraction cannot be ignored. Yes, we need to talk about this. It’s difficult to say what percentage of the population is gay, because ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ are not distinct demographics. About 2.5% of the population may be exclusively gay, but realistically speaking, every person lies somewhere on the spectrum. For a long time, we’ve relied on what is known as the ‘Kinsey Scale’ – rating a person on a scale of one to six, with one being ‘attracted ...

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