Stories about Facebook

Omran thought it was just a game…

Perhaps they were playing the Street Sniper game. It was all the rage among the kids in Aleppo. Or they could have been playing the Hand Grenade Saga. He must have understood the game in bits and pieces, following his older siblings around the house. Maybe he hid under the sink or behind the door on the terrace. He must have covered his ears, anticipating the sound that his brother made while imitating a bomb blast. But the sound that came next…..was not the fake sound. It was so real, it shattered all windows on impact. Somewhere inside the house, he hid behind the door ...

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The English language is dying and we are the ones slitting its throat

Language shapes the way we think. It’s a system of investigation of reality, and control of reality. Today, so many of us live for language. It is our mode of communication, words are how we express what we mean, want, and desire. Actions do not speak louder. Words are direct, and distinct. But what happens when they aren’t anymore? What happens when words begin to diminish into abbreviations and sentences into acronyms? People blame the millennials, they always do. But this hasn’t solely plagued our generation. I was re-reading George Orwell’s 1984 for a class last semester. I realised that in the world of ...

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Big Brother is watching

Nowadays recording devices, hidden cameras, satellites, and web giants like Facebook and Google collect all sorts of information on tech-users. But, historically, a state of surveillance has always existed. Long before CCTV cameras, bugging devices, and online data collection became the century’s norm, societies were dealing with purloined letters opened before delivery, spies from foreign lands, and good ol’ fashioned eavesdroppers behind closed doors. Historian David Kahn, writing on human privacy (or the lack thereof), notes how, “…centuries ago, people in England, France and German states fought for the right to send letters without their being opened by the ‘black chambers’ ...

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Before Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Reddit, Pakistan had bathroom walls

Long before Pakistanis vented their frustrations out on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp, there was another social networking platform where they would speak their minds; the walls of public bathrooms. You may have a brief sojourn at your favourite motorway stop, a loo in a college or one of those rare public rest-rooms that your rulers kindly allowed you to have. All you needed to do was have a look at the wall and there they were: the hopes and the fears, the laughs and the hatred, the good and the bad of a society constantly ruminating over their existential woes in the most ...

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Guys, we can no longer have an opinion on chicken handi

Liberals in Pakistan watched with envy as Hamza Ali Abbasi pretended his account got banned every time he wanted attention to further his political career. It is undeniable that Mark Zuckerberg personally stalks Hamza Ali Abbasi on Facebook. A fact further corroborated by life sized posters of Hamza Ali Abbasi at the Facebook headquarters. It is rumoured that Mr Zuckerberg created Facebook only to obtain semi-nude pictures of Hamza Ali Abbasi from his Moulin Rouge days.   The time for conservative propaganda is over kyunkay naya zamana aya aur saath cybercrime bill laya (a new era has arrived, and it has brought the cybercrime bill with it). The government ...

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Why are these members of authority and celebrities silent over the Kashmir issue?

We had been seeing pictures of kids as young as four being admitted in hospitals, their faces mutilated with pellets. Young Kashmiris, some sportsman and some students losing their dreams as their vision was taken away with what the Indian forces described as ‘non-lethal weapons.’ On top of that, Facebook had the audacity to censor these stories in the name of ‘Community Standards.’ We wanted to do a campaign against the use of pellets. Narendra Modi was an obvious choice as he is the prime minister. Sonia Gandhi was chosen because her ally, Omar Abdullah, sanctioned the use of these guns in 2010. It ...

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Dear Facebook, stop censoring Kashmir

As a Pakistani writer of Kashmiri descent, it may not be entirely possible for me to speak without prejudice; but what’s one humble blogger’s bias against an iron curtain drawn over Kashmir by powers barely within my comprehension? If you’re outside Pakistan, and not politically motivated to draw your attention towards the gruesome events unfolding in Indian-administered Kashmir, it’s likely that you’re unaware of the gravity of this matter. And you’re not entirely to blame for your ignorance. You could be a hearing-impaired, computer-illiterate villager in Irkutsk, Russia, and you haven’t managed to keep yourself from finding out about a deadly rampage ...

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When honour lies in what happens between the legs of women

Qandeel Baloch is dead. Seems like the woman had earned the ire of way too many men. In Pakistan, the ire of one man is enough to claim your life or at least ruin your face forever with a splash of some acid. First, it was Maulana Abdul Qavi, followed by her husband’s revelations. Finally, her brother came for her life. One woman against three mighty vicegerents of God? Boy, she needed to be put back in her skin and reminded of her auqaat (place) as a woman. Let’s fragment her experiences with the mentioned three men. Qavi The then Ruet-e-Hilal Committee member got embroiled ...

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I am sorry I didn’t beat cancer

Yep, sorry, my apologies, with a diagnosis of metastasis four months ago, I didn’t beat cancer. Every one said, “You are going to beat it” Some said, “If anyone can, you can!!” They cheered me on as I endured one treatment after another and I kept fighting “like a girl”. I was told I will kick cancer’s a** and will show cancer who is the boss. I rode the wave of positivity and determination. I believed that I will beat it too. I thrived on the fantasy of the cancer submitting to my will and strength. Songs, inspirational quotes, memes, greeting cards ...

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The dreaded moment: My first Eid with the in-laws!

Nothing manages to get us desis as excited (read overenthusiastic, obsessive, neurotic etc.) as Eid. It’s like Christmas, New Years, July 4th, Memorial Day and Labour Day all rolled into one shiny, glittery package. For those of us dreading the cheesy greetings, air kisses and chai making rituals which are part and parcel of practically any get-together in Pakistan, I assure you that the horror show continues and in fact becomes worse, as the first Eid after marriage looms ahead. Personally, I have a handy checklist of things that I need to do on Eid – Go out on chaand raat with friends (check) – Sleep in late as ...

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