Stories about New York

NY’s reaction to Osama’s death: The other side of extremism

Growing up in Lahore, the monsoon was my favourite season – those muggy, motionless afternoons when the air suddenly exploded into a river of orange rumbling down from the sky, leaving jungles in its wake. In the Bay Area, every balmy day of the year was beautiful except for the miserable characterless spluttering they called “rain.” In Ithaca, my favourite season was Autumn – a fire dance in the sky, bold and blazing, curling flames at your feet. And, in New York, it has to be spring, the teenage of nature, blooming poetry from every stem, every lilting branch a breathtaking ballet ...

Read Full Post

No more U-turns after this, President Obama

The recent U-turn of President Obama on the trial of the 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and four alleged co-conspirators stirs a new controversy. The accused are to be tried by a military tribunal at Guantanamo Bay rather than a civilian court in New York. The much-hyped closure of Guantanamo Bay was on Obama’s agenda when he was eyeing the White House back in 2008. But the Gitmo trial announcement came on the same day he officially launched his re-election bid for 2012 on BarackObama.com. Many would call this another disappointment on a long list of Obama’s slip-ups. Although the Attorney General Eric ...

Read Full Post

Qingqis: What Karachi and Paris don’t have in common

Earlier this week government officials in Paris announced plans to ban Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and diesel fueled vehicles from entering the city centre. The move reminds me of an attempt to introduce CNG buses in Karachi. This was perhaps one of the first times that Pakistan made a serious move to address the increasing threat of urban congestion. However, CNG itself is a natural resource and should be preserved otherwise the whole world will be working on NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles) instead of EVs (Electric Vehicles). As far as environment friendly transport goes ‘qingqis’ small electric vehicles, are the ideal mode ...

Read Full Post

Where Dr Aafia Siddiqui will die

Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s  sentence to 86 years by New York judge Richard Berman sent shock waves around the world. Many of her supporters felt that it was just one step away from the death penalty. Sadly, this might be closer to the truth than they imagine. Not only did the judge impose an unprecedented sentence, he also personally intervened to make sure she would serve it in one of America’s most brutal institutions. In short, Dr Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to death – because if she remains in the innocuous sounding Federal Medical Facility in Carswell, Texas, like many others who ...

Read Full Post

Celebrating Eid with Aisam

Watching Pakistan’s Aisamul-Haq Qureshi almost win the Men’s Doubles Final at the US Open in New York was not a bad way to spend Eid. Throw in a velvety lump of gulab jaman gratis the Bengali uncle at Spice Corner, beaming from behind the counter in an embroidered black kurta; some papery pista-encrusted bakhlava from the toothless Palestinian landlady, her troop of grandchildren hurtling through the building in a jumble of satin and plastic wands; and a cup of spongy ras malai from Curry in a Hurry, served by a waiter in a Jinnah cap with a retro Shahrukh Khan-Madhuri Dixit video playing on the TV – I’d say Eid was downright unforgettable. We hadn’t planned on it. I was expecting ...

Read Full Post

After hate comes hope

Today is the ninth anniversary of the Al Qaeda-sponsored attacks on New York’s World Trade Center and the U.S. Pentagon. The physical targets were emblematic references, chosen for their relevance to America’s core identity. We think of ourselves as an economic and military superpower, and to many Americans, the audacity and the sheer actuality of these attacks was inconceivable. But in the decade since, American identity has become confounded. This is particularly true for those of us who didn’t witness the Great Depression and the country’s subsequent recovery and were too young to have had our patriotism shaken by ...

Read Full Post

Telling the story of a mosque in America

The controversy over the proposed Islamic centre and mosque near Ground Zero began earlier this year as a contained local story in New York. But today it seems that everyone is talking about it and arguing over it. The centre that had aimed to bring a community together has instead divided an entire nation. Just about every major political leader from the mayor of New York to the Senate majority leader, all the way up to President Barack Obama has weighed in. The debate centres around two clear issues: freedom of religion and the location where the backers of the Islamic ...

Read Full Post

A tale of two cities

Courage can take different forms. In New York City, where a majority of residents opposed the construction of an Islamic centre, including a mosque, close to Ground Zero, Mayor Michael Bloomberg showed great political courage in speaking out forcefully in favour of what has misleadingly come to be called the “Ground Zero Mosque.” Politicians in Karachi require far greater courage. Here, taking a brave stand means facing the wrath of those who vote, not at the polling booth, but with their finger on the trigger. Still, there is a lesson the rulers of this city can take from Mayor Bloomberg. ...

Read Full Post

How to dhamaal in New York

The Sufi Music Festival organized by Pakistani Peace Builders (PPB) in Union Square was the closest I’ve gotten to Lahore in three years. And was it a treat. Think food street, Salt N’ Pepper, faludas, kulfis, funny but poignant commentaries on rickshaws, naani force feeding you, freshly picked jaaman, all thrown in one – then, multiply this by a thousand. And add in some jasmine and rose necklaces and bracelets. And that still doesn’t compare. Despite the sweltering 90-something degree heat and the sun beating down on the New York concrete, hundreds if not thousands of people showed up for ...

Read Full Post