Stories about america

Osama bin Laden: What now?

While euphoric crowds in Washington and New York celebrated the death of Osama Bin Laden soon after US forces raided his house in Abbottabad, the mood in Pakistan remained solemn – thick, razor-edged with unease. Not in mourning and not in grief, but rather in apprehension. What now? The question looms large. For Pakistanis, Laden’s death was an anti-climatic moment. Ever since 9/11 and subsequently the United State’s ‘war on terror’ which went full throttle with the fall of the twin towers, national security has been shot to pieces in Pakistan. The life of the average Pakistani has been severely affected: oscillating ...

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Charsadda blast: How many more will die?

The events that have taken place in Charsadda are the first of what will be many horrific testimonies to that night in Abbottabad. The people of Charsadda and Pakistan have many sleepless nights ahead of them while Barack Obama can rest easy knowing he has taken out America’s poster boy for terrorism. I remember the moment Barack Obama became the President of the United States of America. I was working at Geo at the time on the US Election transmission, and like countless other Pakistani people, I dared to hope and believe things could change. After the bomb explosion in Charsadda, ...

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With or without Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden may have died on May 2, 2011, but his relevance to global jihad and war against terror had ceased the day al Qaeda got its first recruits. Today, not only the graduates of religious seminaries, but also the urban middle class youth in Pakistan and most Middle Eastern countries is steeped in radical ideas and us-against-them thinking. This, more than the hunt for Osama, should have been the cause of concern for the Coalition of the willing. With Osama gone, they’ll have Ayman al Zawahiri and after him, someone else. The top slots on their list of most-wanted men ...

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I will not dance on Osama bin Laden’s grave

I have been in the US for the past two years and in this time I have felt culture shock twice – the first, when I first arrived, and then again on the night of May 2, 2011. Any supporter of peace would feel nothing but hatred for Bin Laden and his organisation, and I do hate him or I thought I did. But, Sunday night when everyone was out on the streets celebrating, chanting “USA” and firing fireworks, I felt like an outsider. I couldn’t join in – partly because it still felt wrong and partly because I realised instantly that ...

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Osama’s death: Good for you, President Obama

Common sense dictates that we in Pakistan should feel an enormous sense of relief following Osama’s death. The mood however, has been sombre due to a number of reasons: – The fact that he was found in a secured compound not far from a military academy in Abbotabad – The fact that Pakistan is slowly being torn to pieces by the American media – The fact that we cannot turn to our military and security establishment for honest answers – A very real fear of what the future may hold Everyone is bracing themselves for a spike in bombings and attacks. Too much blood ...

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Bin Laden is dead, but I want more

Osama Bin Laden is dead, but you knew that already. You’ve heard about it a million times by now and probably swapped inane conspiracy theories back and forth. It seems like a great moment in history doesn’t it? The most wanted man in the world, a six feet plus Arab who evaded and dodged the world’s most powerful military and intelligence sources for over a decade has finally been hunted down like a common criminal and eliminated once and for all. Pakistan awoke to the news with surprise. It seemed so surreal, so theatrically staged. Obama proclaimed the news with ...

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Media madness: Revisiting Osama’s ‘fortress mansion’

As details come pouring in about the OBL raid and the secret hideaway readers and viewers around the world are getting increasingly baffled. ‘How is it possible that the Pakistani government was unaware of this massive mansion with fortress-like walls?’ ask puzzled writers, bloggers and heads of state. ‘Pakistan has a lot of explaining to do!’ And that, too, in a garrison area close to the country’s version of a ‘Sandhurst’-like military academy, as London’s entertaining The Daily Mail puts it. It’s time we helped out the international media with some background information, before public perception of Pakistanis falls to ‘big, ...

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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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