Stories about Cold war

Revisiting Manto’s biting ‘Letters to Uncle Sam’ – Part 2

In this two part series, Raza Naeem translates passages from Manto’s nine Letters to Uncle Sam and discusses their enduring legacy. Read Part 1 here.  ~ Fifth letter In his fifth letter, Manto brilliantly exposes America’s pretensions about maintaining world peace even after acquiring the capability to make hydrogen bombs: “I have heard that you have made the hydrogen bomb just so that there should be absolute world peace. Although God knows better, but I am sure of what you say because I have eaten your wheat and, after all, I’m your nephew. Although the young should readily obey the elderly, but I ask ...

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Revisiting Manto’s biting ‘Letters to Uncle Sam’ – Part 1

In this two part series, Raza Naeem translates passages from Manto’s nine Letters to Uncle Sam and discusses their enduring legacy. Read Part 2 here. ~ Saadat Hasan Manto passed away on a foggy morning today, 65 years ago in my native city of Lahore. A few months shy of his 43rd birthday, his frail body had been consumed by alcohol and his spirit was exhausted by the many battles he fought in independent Pakistan against the state’s courts and critics, who shunned, marginalised and victimised him. Among the victims of his acerbic pen in his final years were Uncle Sam and the ...

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Is Marvel another tool for the US to project its power?

One major pop culture phenomenon taking over the world today is the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Based on comic books created by Stan Lee in 1961, the MCU has come out with several movies, TV shows, short films and digital series since 2008, with its films alone generating revenue of over $17 billion worldwide. I have been an absolute fan of both the comics and the movies for almost seven years now, primarily because the MCU combines action, drama, science fiction, romance, friendship, history, diversity, extra-terrestrial life forms and politics in a single platform. That being said, I am also a ...

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Remembering Ibne Insha: The man who wanted ordinary people to bring a revolution

The great poet, humourist and travel-writer Ibne Insha passed into literary immortality 41 years ago. While writing in this space on the occasion of his 90th birthday, I had noted that he was not only a literary craftsman who had imbibed the art of creating natural, effortless humour out of the ordinary, but that his travelling had also exposed him to the Cold War machinations of the newly departed colonial powers, especially in the Middle East. Even before Insha was struck by the disastrous Arab defeat to Israel in 1967, he travelled the Middle East. Whatever tragedy he saw unfolding ...

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The phoenix of history: Nothing captured my heart like Berlin did

From the moment I stepped out of the Berlin Tegel airport on to the city that possesses one of the richest histories in the world, the air around me transformed. Compared to the noisy Karachi streets where each nook and corner is densely populated, streets in Berlin seem fairly less crowded. The very air reeked of its past, almost as if it is haunted by the disputes once started on this very land. When I entered my apartment in West Berlin, I was unaware of the significance of my position, its only days later when I realised that the East-West ...

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Nightmare come true: Is Trump preparing Syria to be the battlefield of WWIII?

The Trump administration is more confrontational toward Russia than Barack Obama was, Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani wrote in The Intercept recently. There is certainly some truth to the statement, despite the fact Donald Trump has been regularly portrayed as an agent of Vladimir Putin, even before he was elected at the end of 2016. Never mind, for example, that Trump’s nominee to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed that, “A couple hundred Russians were killed by US forces in Syria earlier this year.” Pompeo wasn’t merely stating the blunt truth about an incident in February, in which US ...

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With classics that stand the test of time, Stanley Kubrick’s odyssey is still shining

Stanley Kubrick still stands, timelessly, as one of Hollywood’s most revered and celebrated filmmakers. His almost maniacal obsession with perfection, symmetry, scale and discipline singles him out as the pioneer of film and cinematography. Kubrick’s genius lies perhaps predominantly in his seamless foray into nearly every genre of film, where he emerges more victorious with every venture. From a dystopian crime drama (A Clockwork Orange) to what I feel is his magnum opus (2001: A Space Odyssey), every genre Kubrick delves into, he handles with extreme precision. What distinguishes him from his contemporaries is his remarkable ability to choose a ...

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Is Trump’s secret relationship with Putin the only thing preventing another Cold War?

The world order these days feels more like a throwback to the Cold War era, as the UK and its allies take diplomatic action against Russia for its alleged role in the nerve toxin poisoning of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. The UK’s western allies – especially the European Union (EU), the US, and members of NATO – have shown solidarity with London, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats. Skripal, a former Russian spy, was accused of selling Russian secrets to Britain, and was hence jailed. It was in 2010 that he, along with his daughter, went to ...

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Today’s India presents a very sorry figure as it stands in isolation

When Narendra Modi started his innings as India’s prime minister four springs ago in 2014, he declared ‘neighbourhood first’ as the core of his foreign policy goal. He invited the heads of state of all the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to witness the inauguration of his regime, and the entire atmosphere spelled out some hope for a peaceful future in a tense region. This would not last long. Four years down the line, this policy remains a great non-starter – just more empty rhetoric from a politician who wants to win elections. New Delhi’s relationship ...

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The Syrian conflict approaches its seventh year, but the inhumanity is endless

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows that the war is over. Everybody knows that the good guys lost.” – Leonard Cohen, Everybody knows 1988 As Syria labels its latest escalation with Washington DC a ‘war crime’, an obscene irony in a civil war fast devolved into a brutal proxy war, on the threshold of its seven year anniversary, the world’s most violent proxy war is fast spinning out of orbit. The developments are dizzying. NATO’s two largest armies, in a tense face-off, now stand on opposite sides of the conflict. In the cross hairs aimed at one another, the Kurdish forces – the Pershmaga, astonishing ...

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