Stories about New York

Saudi Arabia threatening to pull out assets is economic terrorism

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks in New York, it was revealed that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Yet the country the United States immediately attacked in retaliation was Afghanistan. Later, they followed this up with an invasion of Iraq. It has been nearly 15 years and both wars are still on-going, and are estimated to have cost between $4 and $6 trillion. While a response from the United States was certainly expected, after the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil – in the country where the event was planned, it is curious that none of ...

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Do you qualify? The imperialistic exclusivity of the Karachi Grammar School

Like many Karachiites who get very good results in their ‘O’ levels, I decided that my grades were my ticket to the prestigious Karachi Grammar School (KGS). KGS, you see, practises a vague semblance of meritocracy (and maintains its college admission rate records) by allowing a handful of high-achievers into their hallowed gates at the A-level stage. People nod impressively if you tell them you went to KGS, and in a city obsessed with class and nepotism, the doors of KGS mean opportunity and exclusivity. In short, the school represented to me an elusive and exclusive glamour that I ...

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I love the UN, but it is failing

I have worked for the United Nations for most of the last three decades. I was a human rights officer in Haiti in the 1990s and served in the former Yugoslavia during the Srebrenica genocide. I helped lead the response to the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Haitian earthquake, planned the mission to eliminate Syrian chemical weapons, and most recently led the Ebola mission in West Africa. I care deeply for the principles the United Nations is designed to uphold. And that’s why I have decided to leave. The world faces a range of terrifying crises, from the threat of climate change to terrorist breeding grounds in ...

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The ugly truth about Muslims in New York

Recently, when I took the subway in New York my heart skipped a beat when I saw a poster that showed the Empire State Building on one side and on the other it said, in bold print, “The ugly truth about Muslims”. Below this, in fine print it continued, “Muslims have great frittata recipes.” My expression changed from shock to a wide smile. Photo: AP New York’s subway stations are flooded with “The Muslims Are Coming” advertisements designed to shock and thereby catch the attention of millions of commuters. Other posters indicate that Muslim-invented coffee, algebra and ...

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You can work as a waiter or a driver in the US, but not in Pakistan

My love for Pakistan is unfathomable! From the lush green valley of Chitral to the hustling bustling streets of Lahore, my love for my country has, in fact, grown over time. Pakistan is my home – mom’s food, sister’s amazing chai, random hangouts with school friends, street food, the streets of Lahore; the list of things I absolutely adore about my home is unending. When I came to the US, initially I thought this journey was more like a survival challenge for my existence. I was nostalgic and missed everything about home. But now I feel those things are not missed so much ...

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Following the evolution of biryani, all the way to New York City

Derived from the Persian word ‘Birian’, biryani is a spicy rice and meat dish which is prepared by mixing layers of rice, meat, tomatoes, fried onions, spices, and food colour. Biryani making is an art – one has to know how long rice should be cooked for, before it can be arranged in layers along with the meat and tomatoes. The rice can become soggy if boiled excessively, or even remain undercooked if not boiled for an appropriate amount of time. All biryani lovers take their biryani very seriously. They feel irked if the biryani isn’t yellow enough or if there’s no ...

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Karachi and the paralysis of imagination

You want to read about a vision of a just Karachi? The contract killer ($50 a hit) ripping up the road behind Disco Bakery on his Honda 200CC and the secret service colonel cracking skulls in a Clifton safe house will both cite one vision: Dubai. This happens to also be the vision of the one-armed Afghan refugee selling Beijing socks off a cart in Saddar bazaar and the unsexed Karachi Port Trust shipping agent waiting for shady clients to cough up cash so he can escape to Phuket. To borrow from an old Urdu election rallying cry, Chalo,chalo, Dubai, chalo (Come, come, let’s go to Dubai). Vision presupposes ...

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Will Roger Federer be able to win his sixth US Open title?

The dysfunctional air-conditioner in my dorm TV lounge accentuated the Sharjah heat as I uncomfortably shifted on the leather couch, watching Roger Federer play Juan Martin Del Potro in the 2009 US Open final. It was past midnight and having to wake up early for a mandatory early class, I was in the mood for a quick resolution to the match in favour of the Swiss. Thankfully, Federer swooped through the first set 6-3 and went up a break in the second. The game was as breezy as the reclaimed air of regality that seemed to have permanently deserted him ...

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Orange Is the New Black: Changing perceptions and clearing misconceptions

In the last two years, Orange Is the New Black has proven to be one of the most multi-faceted and diverse shows of this decade. It is a blend between a harsh reality, a cruel joke, and a fit of absolute hilarity. Around 80 per cent of the show is set at a Federal Women’s prison in New York. The show, based on a book of the same title, highlights a crude and in-your-face sense what life for the female inmates is like. What makes it interesting is that for every character on the set, every one that we see, we are ...

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The reality of Pakistan through Brandon Stanton’s lens

While Pakistani fans of Brandon Stanton were posting warm and welcoming comments on the Humans of New York (HONY) Facebook page, the power of pre-conceived notions and assumptions about Pakistan was evident in the contrasting rude and dismissive comments. Some of them called Pakistan “that wretched country” and threatened to give up on being fans of Brandon if he visited Pakistan. Photo: Screenshot And so it has been. Pakistan, a beautiful country, inhabited by a vibrant nation, is often seen globally as a monolithic entity in which only extremists and bigots live, and where only bad things happen. It is seen as not ...

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