Stories about hope

Come back to me, my lost flame

Hi Old Friend!  It’s been a while seen we’ve spoken, No? It seems like a multitude of eons, all rolled into one. Where were you all this time? Did the fire burning inside you suddenly fade away? Did the lust you once felt for me suddenly die away into oblivion? It’s sad what happened, really. How soon people forget the days of sunshine, and start dwelling upon when clouds were grey. Do you remember the moments we spent together, embraced in countless starlit nights of love? I sincerely hope you do, for your sake. I’m not selfish. It just saddens me to see someone filled with ...

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The serendipitous serenity of Swat Valley

Swat was a land alien to me, until I got the chance of visiting the beautiful valley with my brother and a friend. We decided to take a bus to Mingora and then travel on our own from there. The image I had in mind of the valley was a Kashmir-ish land, in internal turmoil, as the people struggle to keep their cool with the military and radical presence. I was prepared for an unwelcoming vibe from the locals. However, while we bargained with a local Hi-Ace driver, Abdul Rashid, to give us a short tour of the land, his demeanour and polite behaviour made ...

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The psyche of a Pakistani cricket fan and the shameless vanity of passion

To understand the psyche of a Pakistani, you first have to understand what it means to love and hate at the same time. This is not semantics. It is truly a reality. To understand the degree of pain our hearts have already endured, you have to understand the depth of hope our hearts are still willing to go to. Finally, if you want to understand the paradox that is Pakistan, you will have to take the leap of faith and understand that one cricket field with a few men in green has the capacity to undo more mental damage than all the ...

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Like a phoenix reborn from the ashes

No place to hide, I’m ball-and-chain bound, Dropped in mid-air, crashed into the ground. Locked in constant battle, an emotional duel, No need for arson, your words be the fuel. You burn every bridge, every road set ablaze, Embers smouldering, everywhere that I gaze. Crawling through the ruins, no roof on my head, Crumbling walls, broken floors, as good as dead. Life has no meaning, love lost all its thrill, Vultures circling over me, moving in for the kill. You pushed me and shoved me, and put me under, But I got out unscathed, still makes me wonder. Thought I had lost all, but I held onto hope, Coughing and wheezing, got out of the ...

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What does sugarcane have in common with football? Answer: Mohammad Adil

Swift pace. Check. Speed. Check. Stocky build. Check. No, I am not talking about Carlos Tevez; this is Mohammad Adil, the star winger of the Pakistan national football team and the new signing of the Kyrgyzstan league giants, Dordoi Bishkek. Adil, a blistering winger with bags of pace and skill, who lit up the SAFF Championship 2013, reached the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Presidents Cup with KRL FC and attracted attention from several clubs in Nepal and Palestine in 2013. Belonging to a country where the domestic structure for football provides very little for player development and talent polishing, Adil and his achievements are a testament of his struggles. However, he has clearly proven ...

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Peace talks or muscle power, that is the question

Pakistan may finally be getting more serious about tackling its militancy problem. But don’t get your hopes up. For years, the US government has pushed Pakistan to crack down harder on militancy and for years, Islamabad has largely refused. Instead, it has dithered as extremist violence has spread across the country. Last week, investigative journalist Umar Cheema revealed that Pakistan’s previous government used a secret counter-terror fund to purchase jewels, rugs and even sacrificial goats. Yet the tides may be turning. Last week, Pakistan was rocked by a rapid succession of bomb blasts, including attacks on consecutive days that killed Pakistani soldiers in the northwest and ...

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From a Limo driver to an Oscar nominee, Barkhad Abdi, you rekindled hope in me!

Three months ago, Barkhad Abdi’s dreams came true when his first Hollywood movie hit the cinemas and popularity and fortune placed the debutant in the spotlight. With fame banging on his door, Abdi escalated from being a mere limo driver in Minnesota to becoming an Oscar-nominated actor. To understand his climb to success, one needs to reel back a little and revisit a few events. Barkhad Abdi in a still taken from the movie Captain Philips. About two years back, Abdi was selected from an open casting call in Minneapolis, to co-star with Tom Hanks in the Sony Pictures piracy ...

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A place where ignorance is bliss

When ignorance is bliss, ‘Tis folly to be wise. When rationality is rare, ‘Tis sinful to raise one’s voice. Where tolerance is extinct, ‘Tis a futile try to reason. Where masses are blind, ‘Tis fruitless to have a vision. When darkness is sovereign, ‘Tis useless to follow the light. When apathy prevails, ‘Tis arduous to end the plight. Where murderers are hailed, ‘Tis effete to long for peace. Where barbarians reign, ‘Tis illusive to live with ease. When bullets speak, ‘Tis difficult to hold a pen. When terrorism rules, ‘Tis rare to hear a good ...

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Hallelujah Band: Spreading a message of hope in Pakistan

“A voice is a human gift; it should be cherished and used, to utter fully human speech as possible. Powerlessness and silence go together” – Margaret Atwood Given the unending discrimination which the Christians of Pakistan live with, certainly no words or actions can pacify or comfort them completely. The community lives under constant threat of  persecution, attacks or the blasphemy law, fearing that any day something might happen that will shatter their lives forever. Despite all this, the Christian community remains steadfast in its faith. Soon after the twin suicide attacks inside the All Saints Church of Peshawar, I relentlessly began looking for ...

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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari: The new hope for Pakistan’s future

During his recent speech, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari stunned everyone. His style and tone of addressing the masses at Garhi Khuda Bux turned the tide and changed the way many political experts used to think about him – such a performance from him was unexpected and refreshing for everyone. He was consistent with his words and fluent in Urdu, which has been his weak point in the past. He was emotionally riled up and involved the audience. His speech was even witty, especially when he discussed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) stance on extremism and their passive approach to the issue. Along with other political issues, ...

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