Stories about holocaust

How the Kamila Shamsie incident reflects Germany’s growing Israel problem

Last week, in a bizarre turn of events, the British-Pakistani author Kamila Shamsie was informed that she would no longer receive the Nelly Sachs Prize on account of the fact that Shamsie supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) movement. The withdrawal of the prize, which has been welcomed by some and was initially conferred upon Shamsie by the German city of Dortmund, speaks more about the lingering fault-lines which remain entrenched in Germany than it does about Shamsie’s personal politics.   But before one dives into this particular incident and how it is representative of a wider ...

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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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The Zookeeper’s Wife may not be the most forceful World War II film, but it is heart-breaking and poignant

While Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were busy writing the most harrowing chapter in modern history, several heroic people were risking their lives to save their fellow human beings from brutal extermination during the Holocaust in World War II. The Zookeeper’s Wife is the tale of one such family. Based on real events, the story begins in Poland in 1939 at the Warsaw Zoo, where Antonina Żabińska (Jessica Chastain) helps her husband, Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh), take care of the animals in a beautiful menagerie. But their idyllic lives are turned upside down when German forces invade Poland. An airstrike ruins their ...

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In the event of a terrorist attack, why are Muslims in the West forced to assure the world that they are “good” Muslims?

We witnessed yet another terrible and senseless attack against innocent people in London, in which seven people were been killed and some 50 injured. And it was only a week back when a suicide bomber of Libyan origin killed 23 innocent people at a concert in Manchester. Muslims from the local community are equally outraged and several joined hands with the local community to help. Muslim doctors at local hospitals worked side by side with other colleagues for long hours to assist incoming casualties. However, this is not enough. Whenever a terrorist strikes anywhere, but more so in a western capital, Muslims all over the world are asked to make ...

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Remembering the ones we lost too soon

It seems like the year 2016 just started a while back, but here we are, just a few days shy from welcoming 2017. A lot happened last year which took us by surprise and shocked us. But even amidst such unpredictability, we were not prepared to see some of the deaths that came our way. Some were lost to old age, some to disease and some to murder. But regardless, they were all taken too soon. Here are some of those names, in no particular order. Peter Vaughan Photo: IMDb Even though he had a career spanning 75 years, ...

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Do we need to bribe our way out of Pakistan and Kazakhstan?

A recent article was brought to my attention about Kazakhstan airport officials refusing to accept the existence of New Zealand, instead insisting that it was in fact a state in Australia and thus detaining one of their nationals overnight. Map of Australia and New Zealand. Photo: Google Maps   The story has the sort of happy ending that all Pakistanis are used to: “Yaar, bas mein ne usey haath milaney key bahaney 1000 ka note pakra diya, aur us ney mujhey janey diya.” (I shook his hand as an excuse to hand him a 1000 rupee note and he let me go.) Of ...

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Son of Saul: A new light to the Holocaust

Son of Saul (2015) is the tale of a Hungarian Jewish prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. He is forced to work as a ‘Sonderkommando’ in disposing the bodies of Jewish prisoners in gas chambers. Upon discovering a body of a young Jewish boy, Saul realises that this might be his son and from then on, searches for a Rabbi to give his ‘son’ a proper Jewish burial. The film is the feature directing debut of László Nemes and stars Géza Röhrig as the lead. Son of Saul won the Academy Award this year for Best Foreign Film and has ...

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What if the Holocaust and Palestinian genocide had not happened?

Some 11 million lives, six million Jews and five million non-Jews would have lived, World War II would never have taken place, Israeli settlements in Palestine, the consequent Palestinian genocide would have been averted and perhaps 9/11 would not have happened, had one man been vocal on time. The only man besides Hitler in a position to alter the course of history was Pope Pius XII of the Vatican, who chose not to utter a single word of condemnation for Hitler’s war, although he reportedly publically lamented the cruelty of war and loss of millions of lives. When Hitler and ...

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Atonement for Aylan: In refusing to witness suffering, we dehumanise ourselves

As the old year gives into the new, one image comes to my mind. His shoes had been carefully buckled. The rubber-soled sandals matched. Somehow in all the upheaval, Aylan’s mother had kept them safe in the thousands of miles trek from their Syrian home to these shores. Tonight, they must leave – the people-smugglers who would bring them to Europe now readied the boat to freedom. She coaxed him to sit still as she fastened them tight. The boat would be cold. Her son must be warm. His feet must not slip in the wet. Smoothing his hair into place, ...

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Facebook’s #PrayForParis filters and Hamza Abbasi’s selective humanity

The recent attack in Paris was a day that represented humanity’s darkest side. It shook France, it shook Europe and it shook the world. While there was an outbreak of grief and support for the victims, our very own Facebook enigma, Hamza Ali Abbasi, opened up his usual can of hate mongering with the following status update: No one denies that people have vested interests, and in matters of geo-politics, there will always be some form of selectivism. No one also denies that the selectivism in question needs to be highlighted. But is it necessary to take up an anti-western stance in times like these? Is ...

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