Stories about France

Don’t blame Islam for terrorism

We immigrated to Canada fourteen years ago. It was the year that affected world peace in the worst way possible; it was the year 9/11 happened. A bunch of suicide bombers claiming to be “Muslims” hijacked a plane that eventually crashed into the Twin Towers. Hundreds of people lost their precious lives and many families were left to live with a hole in their hearts without their loved ones. There have been many conspiracy theories about this incident, some claiming it to be an inside job, however what emerged as a result of the horrific incident is a term, ...

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Making sense of terror attacks anthropologically

On the evening of November 13, 2015, Paris suffered the worst terrorist attack in modern European history, killing over 120 people. The scale and sheer barbarity of the attacks is unprecedented. The French society is in trauma. The world is in shock. Paris, still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly Charlie Hebdo attack earlier this year, will no longer be the same city. From holding vigils to changing Facebook display pictures in French flag colours, the attacks have prompted an exceptional display of solidarity with the victims by the global community. The western leaders have been quick in showing support for Paris, calling it ...

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#ParisAttacks: Blaming the refugees for the attacks on France is like blaming the victim for escaping the abuser

As I write this, there are over 150 dead across Paris in one of the most revolting terrorist attacks in the history of France. Scenes are described as pure carnage. Reportedly, the attackers indiscriminately chopped (gunned) down innocent civilians with gunfire and explosives to horrific effect. One witness inside the Bataclan simply said, “It was a bloodbath.” Another stated, “They were shooting at us like we were birds.” The Telegraph shared some stories of the lucky Parisians who escaped the theatre. “Everyone got onto the ground. From that moment, instinct kicked in. With each volley you try to get as far away as possible from ...

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Why Uber should stay far away from Pakistan

Uber, a company worth around $50 billion has decided to launch its operations in Pakistan – wonderful news for our developing nation, is it not? Well, in actuality, not really. Uber is a controversial private taxi service currently based in over 60 countries, and is notorious for the numerous legal, safety, regulatory as well as privacy issues it faces. Before I expand on these risks and issues, let me first brief the readers on what Uber is and how it operates. Uber is a web-based service through which you can ask strangers in your vicinity to arrive at your destination and give you a ...

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68th Independence Day: Liberation from the prejudices of the past

This weekend, India and Pakistan celebrate their 68th Independence Day as two independent nations. Such a solemn occasion is also a time for one to reflect upon and evaluate the journey taken so far. One wonders whether the fury, rage and bloody madness that gripped the countries prior to the independence were justified? Were the killings in the name of religion perpetrated by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs justified? You cannot avoid these piercing questions. History would not allow us to forget the guilt and living in guilt is an unbearable pain. It is time to reflect upon how much damage the collective guilt and refusal ...

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10 lessons Pakistan can learn from the 2015 Turkish General Elections

The 24th general elections of the Republic of Turkey were held on June 7, 2015, to elect 550 members of the Grand National Assembly. The election left many surprised as it resulted in the first hung parliament in Turkey since 1999. However, from a purely Pakistani perspective, there are many lessons to draw, some which have been mentioned here: 1) The ruling party should not be over-confident The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has governed Turkey since 2002 and won its fourth consecutive election this time. However, it lost its parliamentary majority as its total seats dropped from 311 to 258. Thus AKP, despite winning the elections failed miserably to meet President Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitious target of getting 400 ...

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All the light we cannot see – a novel that blends beauty and pain

The year that produced surreal and absorbing books by American literary titans such as Marilynn Robinson and Joyce Carol Oates, what turned out to be the best read of the year was the brisk and spellbinding World War II novel ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by a relatively obscure author, Anthony Doerr. Doerr’s sprawling and riveting novel has emerged as the astonishing bestselling smash hit of the year. Soon after being published, it was instantly hailed by critics and triumphantly made its place in the best seller lists by storm. It was also chosen as one of the 10 best ...

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Planning to study in France? You can’t if you wear long skirts

Recently, Sarah, a 15-year-old French Muslim student, was suspended twice from class for wearing a long black skirt because it was seen as a violation of the ban on religious symbols in public schools in France. Due to this, France is facing a severe backlash against its so-called strict secular policy after the event took place. The justification provided was that if Muslim girls start wearing long skirts in a conspicuous effort to show their faith, then some will argue that is a breach of the secular law. The ban on religious symbols in school was implemented in 2004 but the updated version of the French Constitution ...

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How much Indian civilian nuclear activity is safe?

Once again, democracy is open for renovation, and frosty relations are back on track after prolonged negotiations. Earlier, only Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) signatories and the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) were allowed to carry out nuclear trade. As a student of nuclear and strategic studies, I feel India has been able to strike a nuclear deal without abiding by the rules set out for other countries by the international non-proliferation regime. While democracy remains but a show, and power but a spectacle for the people to behold but not wield, this nation will remain handcuffed by favouritism. The Harrods sale of ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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