Stories about europe

Palestine, behind the Osama smokescreen

The Bin Laden killing has gripped the global media and has been a source of relief, as well as misery, for many people around the world. Nevertheless, the practical impact of his killing on international terrorist activities and the war against terror is yet to be seen. This event, however, has inadvertently served as a smoke screen for more substantive events in the Middle East, specifically Palestine. Recently, Fatah and Hamas, the two groups representing the Palestinians, came together in an agreement to end the tensions between them and to formulate a plan for government formation. The history of these two ...

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Muslim immigrants: A cold shoulder for a bad reputation

After the great Messina, another tsunami has embarked on the shores of Italy. But this time, it is not water that is causing problems. 26,000 immigrants belonging mainly to Tunisia and Libya have arrived on the island of Lampedusa – a number larger than the total population of the island. Earlier, Italy had taken responsibility for 20,000 immigrants. As the immigrants keep pouring onto the shores of Italy, it is looking towards neighbouring Schengen countries to lend a helping hand. The Italian government has decided to issue a six month Schengen visa to these immigrants, a move that has given jitters to the ...

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Qingqis: What Karachi and Paris don’t have in common

Earlier this week government officials in Paris announced plans to ban Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and diesel fueled vehicles from entering the city centre. The move reminds me of an attempt to introduce CNG buses in Karachi. This was perhaps one of the first times that Pakistan made a serious move to address the increasing threat of urban congestion. However, CNG itself is a natural resource and should be preserved otherwise the whole world will be working on NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles) instead of EVs (Electric Vehicles). As far as environment friendly transport goes ‘qingqis’ small electric vehicles, are the ideal mode ...

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Will Israelis call West Bank ‘home’ someday?

I was enjoying a great day in the sun in New Zealand, far away from the guns and dead of Karachi, reading an article by Robert Fisk about his memories in Lebanon on the Independent’s website. While I rolled a cigarette for myself, a 12-year-old Maori (New Zealand native) kid asked if he could have one too. I told him to bugger off, and he skated away angrily, mumbling racial slurs. This seemingly trivial moment made my heart sink, the way it does when I hear very bad news, but it wasn’t because of the racial slurs or the poor condition ...

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“Using a bazooka to kill a fly”: anti-Islam measures in Europe

When an assignment deadline is just round the corner, a reposeful Saturday morning transforms into a feverish study routine. On one such morning, I was heading towards the bus stop to catch the 9:00 am double-decker to my university, when the eerie sound of a vuvuzela stopped me dead in my tracks. A large group of English Defence League ‘hooligans’ were marching forth in my direction and it was not the annoying vuvuzelas which scared the hell out of me, it was the repugnant message on their placards, which read “All Muslims are terrorists.” As a Muslim, I could only ...

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Nobel peace prize hijacked by the West

This Nobel for Peace has all the ingredients of war. A minority, handful of Western countries, enjoying media supremacy, ganged up on a rising non-Western power, while the world’s majority nations—Russia, Brazil, Latin America, Turkey, Pakistan, the Middle East, and even India, which fancies itself as counterweight to China, all ignored the politicised award. Nobody had heard before about Liu Xiaobo, the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace. In 1989, he was one of dozens others jailed for organising so-called ‘pro-democracy’ demonstrations. At the time, China’s burgeoning population needed jobs, healthcare, housing and schooling. Had the demos succeeded, China ...

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Guess who’s coming to dinner

If you are dragged feet first to a dinner your intuition is warning you against, what are the chances of it actually turning out to be a fun evening? Zilch. Especially if you’re coaxed to go not because of your scintillating company, but just to make up the numbers. One lone Pakistani woman at a restaurant table in a Pakistani joint should be chaperoned by another female desi, especially with the other diners being men. In case you’re thinking that these men must be in the league of Brad Pitt/Johnny Depp or even Ali Zafar, please disabuse yourself of that delicious notion. ...

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The great Burqa debate

Finally, French legislators have passed the bill banning the female veil in public, which covers the whole face and body. If passed by the Senate in September it will become a law. The breaking of this law will result in a fine and if men force their wives to wear full veils they will face up to one year in prison and a fine. As expected the proposed law has sparked ‘the great burqa debate’ among Muslim and non-Muslims circles all over again. Many Muslims, especially those living in France term it a violation of their basic civil rights. It ...

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Left-wing zealots

Of all the ancient adages, I have often considered the one by Descartes “I think, therefore I am” to be one of the most powerful definitions of human potential — but I am not so sure it applies in Pakistan. Most Pakistanis consider ‘critical thinking’ to be an unnecessary appendage to their existence. I have lost count of how many times I have heard so-called ‘educated’ people express pedantic opinions by completely disregarding the need to add any counterweight to their claims. Take Pakistan’s relationship with the US, many would not pause for a second before blaming the latter for all ...

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Definitions of Vuvuzela: The farangi dictionary!

vu·vu·zela –noun 1.  An object whose potential noise experience at the FIFA World Cup 2010 will always be missed by David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Michael Ballack, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Essien. 2. A stadium horn devised to produce ultrasonic waves as well as shock waves which shall now be the national election symbol of all African politicians. 3.  A gift which every European is destined to present to his African friend, on the next Thanksgiving Day! 4. The cure for healing hearing disorders and choked ears, produced as a result of an extensive African teen-age medical research! *Not to forget the complaints from Europe and others During ...

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