Stories about america

We, the survivors of Osama

It has been almost a decade since 9/11 and now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, politicians will have meetings, intelligence services will brief each other, armies will re-strategise – but what will the rest of us do? We, the survivors of terrorism, the people who mourn loved ones on a daily basis and the people who live alongside drone attacks and bomb blasts – do we rejoice or do we look back over the last ten years and try to remember a world before all of this? My heart feels heavy – because even as I write this I know ...

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An American perspective: Osama’s death is not Obama’s victory

When Osama bin Laden was killed, I was at a dinner party given by an award-winning author, munching on sweetbread and chatting up brilliant filmmaker, writer and activist types. Though I’m in the country where Bin Laden was tracked and killed, for me the news ironically came from America. I read about his death in an email from Mississippi shortly after waking. My American friends are bombarding my Facebook wall – “What’s it like to be there right now?” Honestly, I feel happy, scared and fairly apathetic. As I rode to work,  I watched Defense pass outside my window—the mosque, the ...

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Laal: Fighting fundamentalism with Sufi thought

Clad in black, the darwaish twirls and twirls on his bare feet, so enthralled, so totally immersed as if he was about to whirl himself to a parallel dimension. A child in rags stands nearby, eyeing him gleefully. His eyes shine: he wants to join in. A group of women gather around, clapping, singing, laughing, almost in a trance themselves. The shrine of their patron Saint lurks in the background: the perfect catharsis for the wretched, the refuge of the forsaken! Filmed not long before the bomb-blast at the Pakpattan shrine, Laal’s latest video “Fareeda” pays homage to the Sufi ...

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Pakistan’s ‘Johnny Bravo’ returns

Pervez Musharraf recently announced his intention to return to Pakistan and actively take part in politics. He still seems to enjoy strong support among the Pakistani elite and urban middle class, business community and some political stakeholders. There are expectations that he will bring back the policies of his era which will lead to peace and economic prosperity. The following is intended as an analysis of his policies and reforms and the regions they benefited most. Economy Pakistan’s significant economic gains since 2002, which the Musharraf government takes credit for, were due to the impact of international post 9/11 developments. After 9/11, Pakistan was granted ...

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What Dr Aafia protests mean for Muslims

The conviction of Pakistani neuroscientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui should be seen through the prism of the dark plot hatched by certain elements in the West against Islam and its adherents. How else can one explain the 86-year sentence on seven counts that Dr Aafia received? The West knows that the sentence given to Dr Aafia will cause massive disappointment in the Muslim world. There will be protests, there will be riots and much more ‘spice’ which the western media is looking for. The US has saved itself from a universal insult and the tag of hypocrisy by sentencing Dr Aafia. Had ...

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A reason to remember 9/11

Ever since I saw the movie V For Vendetta, I have a small ritual of sorts. Every year, on September 11, I keep my status for the whole day, “Remember, remember, the 11th of September, for I see no reason why it should be forgot.” It’s my way of paying tribute to the innocent men and women and yes, believe it or not, Muslims that perished no that tragic day. This year, a friend commented asking what it meant, and I gave her the cliff notes version of the original rhyme, explaining it was my way of commemorating the tragic ...

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Hakimullah on-demand: Value Added Terror!

A team from Voice of Fidayeen* (VOF) is sent to an undisclosed location. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan leader, Hakimullah Mehsud wants to record a message and it is urgent. Two men with guns receive the team. Cables are laid, camera mounted on the tripod. The men with the gun stand in front of a black backdrop, and Hakimullah arrives. He is looking pale and gloomy; the VOF team looks at each other, nods are exchanged, audio levels adjusted, but a sound of an explosion ruptures the silence. The technician yells. Hakimullah gives a disapproving look, audio-levels readjusted and camera starts filming. The men ...

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The final battle of Afghanistan: Not yet

Let us forget for a moment what happened with the imperialist forces in the past centuries of their adventurous planned invasions in this region, and their outcomes. The longest war has apparently come to its much awaited conclusion as expected. Until today, 70 per cent of Afghanistan is still under the control of the militants who are ethically, morally, and religiously motivated to defend themselves from invaders, while only 29 districts are under the Karzai government, which is also not 100 per cent secure. For the Afghans it is not the first time that they are brutally kicking out the ...

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Command of the military

The ease with which General Stanley McChrystal was sacked should not allow us to shrug off the implications of his rebellion. McChrystal’s criticism of US civilian leadership is another cost of the Afghan war that America has to face- a clash between the military and the executive. Unfortunately, a clash between these institutions is inevitable in the face of a security threat that has few tangible solutions. As commander of US forces in Afghanistan McChrystal undoubtedly understood the conflict’s ground realities better than civilian leaders. But the resources needed to wage the war McChrystal-style were not at his disposal. The ...

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Gaffe McChrystal

All of us have at one time or another thought ill of a colleague but we wouldn’t say so aloud – certainly not in front of a journalist. But General Stanley Mc Chrystal did. Perhaps he was caught up in the tricky world of the media. Or maybe he just got carried away in his devotion to his mission in Afghanistan as top US military commander. Whether or not he really wanted to say what he did about the US civilian administration in that revealing article in Rolling Stone magazine he changed the way we view US policy. While President ...

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