Stories about Arab

My life with the fire-tipped devil

At what point does one call oneself a non-smoker? I myself have been guilty of premature declaration. I was told that I must publicise my attempts to quit smoking, thereby putting my reputation at stake. My ego would then kick in and do the needful. So I was told. That’s why, the last 14 times I tried to quit, I told the world about it – initially via email. And then, as social media took over our lives, I posted and tweeted my way into shame and ignominy. However, this time feels different; because it is different. Today, I reach my thousandth un-smoked ...

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Dubai: Look beyond the glitter to see the sorrow of migrant workers

Dubai has undergone a massive transformation, from a fishing and pearl diving centre on the shores of the gulf, to an ultra-modern city-state of today in a matter of just a few decades. Modern Dubai is a cosmopolitan society with a wide range of attractions. Its architecture is entering the realms of impossible construction and the sort of life of great opulence and grandeur it offers seems almost unrivaled. Dubai wished to undertake extremely interesting and intriguing projects in the past couple of years: Dubai Land – a vast landscape of leisure; Hydropolis – an underwater hotel; The Cloud – a city built ...

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When Ramazan became Ramadan: Our infatuation with Arab culture

Come the sighting of the moon and my inbox, cell phone and social media feed is inundated with greetings of ‘Ramadan Kareem Mubarak’. It’s a common phenomenon and I am not the only one to experience this but it does make me think. What has happened in the past couple of decades that we have made the shift from Urdu words to decidedly Arabic ones? If the change was in language as a whole it would make some measure of sense. Languages are of course organic and new words come in but in this case it is not a natural ...

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Egyptian leader’s gaffes called out

Pakistani academics were probably not paying close attention when Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi delivered his gaffe-riddled speech at the National University of Science and Technology’s convocation earlier this week. Had they been listening, they might have caught on to a series of grave factual errors made in the speech, which were pointed out a day later by an Egyptian expert on Arab heritage and medical history, Youssef Zeidan. Fortunately, a majority of readers in Pakistan remained unaware of the errors, because members of the local press corps were too focused on the bilateral relations between Egypt and Pakistan. Mursi, it turns ...

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Calls for peace in Palestine but not Syria?

In December 2010, a man in Tunisia self-immolated to protest against the treatment he received from the police. The incident served as a catalyst and what followed was an extraordinary year, which saw pro-democracy rebellions erupting across the Middle East. The wave of popular unrest sweeping the Arab world came late to Syria, but since the first protests in March 2011 in the city of Deraa, at least 40,000 Syrians are thought to have been killed. It is difficult to see a clear winner emerging from the ever-bloodier civil war in Syria. After thousands of casualties, however, the question is, “Is the Arab spring still ...

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Why I fell in love with Saudi Arabia

Moving to Saudi Arabia was such an incredible culture shock. Having been accustomed to a really open way of life in Barcelona, I just did not know what to think. I kept telling myself not to panic and that in time, I would adjust… Eventually I did. Aside from the restrictions I had many wonderful experiences. Saudis are such friendly, hospitable and generous people. I was constantly being thanked for coming to their country and educating their people. I remember one man in particular saying, “I would like to thank you on behalf of our people for coming here and educating us. We need ...

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Why Pakistan needs Israel

Hatred towards Israel and the refusal to recognise or establish diplomatic relations with this country is no new phenomenon to Muslim countries in Asia. This abomination is based on feelings of Islamic solidarity with Arab countries and a sense of religious belonging to the global Islamic community. In recent decades, Muslim countries have experienced an increase in radical thinking. A major factor for this emerging trend is the belief that Jews, Zionism, and Israel are anti-Islam, anti-Arab and pro-American. Radical Islamic circles exert pressure on their respective government to become involved in worldwide Islamic issues – above all, they want attention ...

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Losing our dignity, one drone at a time

I still haven’t forgotten a story that my father told me about eight years ago. We were sitting outside one late night, revelling in the midst of family and friends, smoking the traditional hookah and dining the night away. I don’t remember how we reached this topic but suddenly I found myself listening to my father reminiscing about the days when he first flew to Saudi Arabia in the 1960s. He spoke of that time with great admiration and fondness, recalling how, when he first mixed in with the locals, the first question they asked him was where he was from. And ...

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Religion or science: That is not the question

The argument begins with this question: why should science and religion be kept separate? The answer depends on what you believe; however, let me present my case in favour of the separation of science and religion. Science is the study of nature and how it functions. The beauty of science is that when a theory is presented, scientists of that field do not immediately agree with the theoretical claims. Rather, they put the theory to intensive criticism and tests. In many cases, the theories are disproved on the basis of counter evidence or errors that are deduced. If the ...

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Will Israel go to war?

From operations like the 1948 War of Independence to the Suez Crisis, from its great victory in Six Day War in 1967, to legendary action in Sinai during the Yom Kippur War, the Israelis have proved that they are the best at their job. The country has shown time and again that it is capable of doing the impossible for the security of their citizens. One more thing which we observe is that for national security, the Israelis can even make sacrificial lambs of their allies. During the 1967 War with Egypt and Syria, the Israeli Air Force knowingly bombed ...

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