Stories about america

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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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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