Stories about Britain

Remembering Pakistan’s sacrifices for securing Europe’s freedom

In the November of 1989, ordinary Germans began physically tearing down the Berlin Wall whilst the soldiers of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) stood by doing nothing. Throughout Europe, communist regimes that had been imposed on largely non-consenting populations were falling. The global media remarked that all of this happened without a shot being fired, the exception being Romania where two shots were fired — one into the head of the dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, and one into that of his wife. However, this seemingly neat and tidy story of how communism fell in Europe is rather illusory, because throughout the 1980s, there was ...

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292 mass shootings in 220 days – is gun violence the new normal in the US?

Given the frequency at which mass shootings take place in the United States (US), one might think that it is a normal phenomenon. But there is nothing normal about a person opening fire in a crowded location. If there is ever a scenario that most closely resembles judgement day, this is probably it, evidenced by the gut-wrenching videos of these shootings that emerge online. Such incidents wreak havoc on a nation’s psyche, making individuals fearful of going to public places, including schools, malls and places of worship. This past week saw two shooting incidents, yet again, in the US. A shooter ...

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Can Boris Johnson be Britain’s saviour?

Boris Johnson’s election to the premiership of the United Kingdom (UK) is a very peculiar exercise in democracy. Not only does the Conservative Party not command a solid majority in the House of Commons, but the electorate which appointed Johnson as prime minister consists of over 90,000 Conservative Party members that are far to the right of the average UK citizen. To add to this furore, we had Sir Alan Duncan pre-resigning from Johnson’s government and one can only expect a swathe of further resignations to come, further cutting the Conservative’s majority in parliament. Thank you all for the incredible ...

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Ashamed of being ‘too Pakistani,’ is Sajid Javid ‘British enough’ to become the PM?

Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Sajid Javid, son of a Pakistani bus driver, has reached the top of the financial and political world. His life truly does make for an inspiring story.  Javid has modelled himself around the idea of a ‘British Dream,’ where if you work hard, anyone can make it. However, the greatest irony of his ascent is that he has continuously alienated the community that he was born into. Throughout his political career, he has become the mouthpiece of the right wing to legitimise their protestation against migrants, the working class and a whole host of progressive international causes. In ...

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What does Theresa May’s resignation mean for Brexit and the UK?

Theresa May’s resignation has prompted a mixed reaction. There are those who suddenly feel sympathy for a woman they were berating just days earlier, and there are those who remain steadfast in their criticism. I, for one, don’t feel sorry for her, nor do I harbour any anger about her handling of the Brexit deal. The simple fact is that no one could have done this impossible task any better. May was elected leader of the Conservative (Tory) Party on a campaign of uncompromising, understated competence. That was her appeal and it made her stand out from the barrage of ...

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Will Blinded by the Light make us fall in love with Bruce Springsteen all over again?

Of late, the international film industry seems very enamoured with projects based on the lives, music, and/or impact of some of the world’s greatest musicians. The (otherwise disappointing) Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody just won Rami Malek an Oscar earlier this year. The Elton John biographical musical Rocketman is set to arrive in cinemas soon. Yesterday – the Danny Boyle directed comedy about a musician who proceeds to take credit for The Beatles’ songs after finding himself in a world where he is the only one who remembers the Fab Four – is also awaiting its summer release. Also inspired by the world of music is Blinded ...

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Smooth criminal: After Leaving Neverland, MJ’s legacy ‘isn’t the same anymore’

After a long, busy day yesterday, I finally sat down to watch Leaving Neverland. As I was just out of nursery school during Michael Jackson’s prime – scribbling away pencil drawings in a primary classroom – I wasn’t much of a Jackson fan growing up. I was thus not particularly anticipating watching the documentary, and the prospect of watching two abuse victims reiterating their story made a part of me dread the prospect. The documentary narrates the story of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, on how they were sexually abused by Jackson during the 80’s while they were ...

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Are forced marriages a form of modern-day slavery?

In one of the old dictionaries I’ve been using since my school days, the definition for ‘forced marriage’ is: “A marriage in which one or both of the parties is married without his or her consent or against his or her will.” Growing up in Britain and in an Asian community, I’ve heard countless stories of young girls – at the young age of 16, even before they’ve received their exam results – being taken abroad for a ‘family holiday’, only to discover one evening that the very next day was their wedding. It even happened to one girl I ...

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Is Trump pulling out of the Iran deal a blessing in disguise for Pakistan?

US President Donald Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal – also known as the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – did not surprise many. However, the way in which this announcement was made was more dramatic than expected; especially how Trump simply announced the date of the decision in a tweet, creating suspense and leaving behind an air of doubt. I will be announcing my decision on the Iran Deal tomorrow from the White House at 2:00pm. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018 The Iran Deal is defective at its core. If we do nothing, ...

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With blatant hatemongering like ‘Punish a Muslim Day’, Brexit has changed Britain for the worse

Ever since Britain’s exasperated populace announced its wish to leave the European Union (EU), there seems to have been a blanket approval given to racists to harass, intimidate and scare Muslims and other ethnic minorities in an attempt to put ‘Britain first’. A sizeable increase in attacks against Muslims was reported soon after Brexit occurred, and this increase seems to show no signs of abating anytime soon.  The latest hate-fuelled incident involves a highly offensive and problematic letter put through the letterboxes of individuals in various communities of the country, calling for a “Punish a Muslim Day”. The main ethos of the letter is to instil fear ...

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