Stories about peace

For the love of books: One woman’s battle

We are not always the monstrous creatures depicted in newspapers. There are people around us who are working for the betterment of society. These are people who keep hope alive when everything around us is falling apart and crumbling into disorder. The idea was simple: to help. While most of us were fixated on how the last game of Manchester United turned out or busy posting videos of a pleading man being mercilessly shot dead by the law itself I felt hope because of a young woman I have never met. She is one person who is bent on changing the lives of ...

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Mideast peace process: Hampered throughout history

The Hamas-Fatah reconciliation deal that concluded on April 27, 2011, was a good omen for the stalled Palestine peace process. Both factions displayed commitment to resolve the outstanding issues and reached an agreement on forming an interim government for holding of legislative and presidential elections. But the news of the resignation of George Mitchell as US Envoy in Middle East dashed the hopes of any progress on the peace front. Mitchell enjoyed the reputation of being a “tireless advocate” of peace, but his extraordinary skills failed in the face of Israeli obduracy. A few days ago, US President Barrack ...

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Peace in our times

I read two columns on the trot this morning – one by Ataul Haq Qasmi and the other by Nazir Naji – and ended up sadder than I already was. The fact is I try my best but there are times when what is happening around you just cannot be ignored. Such are the days we live in. The stunning incidents in Karachi have cast a pall of gloom and all kinds of apprehensions assail the people. Only the other day we saw Lt Yasir Abbas, a handsome youth, being lowered into a grave with military honours at a barren ...

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Why fifth graders throw rocks and want peace

A great deal has been said and written about the education emergency in our country. However, the most disturbing statistics are not the ones about the number of children not being taught in schools; it is the ones about children who go to school and yet fail to develop the critical thinking skills Pakistan badly needs. As co-director of The Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP) School Outreach Tour, I work with 1,000 children in low-income schools in Karachi. It has taught me about educational methods in Pakistan in a way that no report or research paper ever can. In one of my first ...

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Forget the arms race, we have bigger problems!

As The New York Times reported earlier this month, the Pakistani government has steadily increasing its nuclear stockpile over the past two years. It has amassed as many as 110 deployed nuclear warheads, which puts the country on the path to replace Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear power. Pakistani leaders and nuclear advocates are quick to point to India as the principle reason for why the country needs a large nuclear arsenal, as relations between the two neighbours have been strenuous over the last 60 years. What they fail to understand, however, is that the real risk to Pakistan comes ...

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Be rational, let Hosni Mubarak stay

Egypt doesn’t seem like the best holiday destination at the moment. As thousands of energetic and idealistic youths throng the streets of Cairo and Alexandria, yearning for change and a better tomorrow, one would think Hosni Mubarak’s 30 years in power are coming to an end. And while this is a momentous opportunity to observe the vagaries of people’s power and mass demonstrations, of idealism and political change in the struggle for democracy, let’s not be fooled. Hosni Mubarak stepping down from the Egyptian presidency may just be the worst thing that could happen in these precarious times. Forget idealism, do ...

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Chhote Ustad: Make love not war

I was flipping through channels on TV the other day and came across the season finale of Chhote Ustaad, a show that was recently filmed in India. For those of you who are not aware, it was a singing competition for children. That’s not it; the different thing about this show was that each team comprised a Pakistani contestant paired up with an Indian one. Before the winners were announced, the final few contestants were given the opportunity to speak into the microphone. One of them, a Pakistani child merely ten years of age, took this opportunity to say something ...

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Israel’s weak debate

The ongoing stalemate in Middle East peace talks has led to another op-ed in the New York Times by Michael Oren, Israel’s Ambassador to the US. As is often the case with Oren’s op-eds, the piece is full of weak arguments, hyperbole and hypocrisy. The introduction sets the tone for the entire piece: Nearly 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. This, like the entire article, tries to oversimplify an incredibly ...

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Nobel peace prize hijacked by the West

This Nobel for Peace has all the ingredients of war. A minority, handful of Western countries, enjoying media supremacy, ganged up on a rising non-Western power, while the world’s majority nations—Russia, Brazil, Latin America, Turkey, Pakistan, the Middle East, and even India, which fancies itself as counterweight to China, all ignored the politicised award. Nobody had heard before about Liu Xiaobo, the recipient of this year’s Nobel Prize for Peace. In 1989, he was one of dozens others jailed for organising so-called ‘pro-democracy’ demonstrations. At the time, China’s burgeoning population needed jobs, healthcare, housing and schooling. Had the demos succeeded, China ...

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Attacking shrines: The new fundamentalism

The explosions at the shrine of the Sufi saint Abdullah Shah Ghazi are yet another glaring testimony to the belief that a new-fangled brand of ‘Islamic’ fundamentalism has emerged as a force to be reckoned with. But under the garbed reality of civilian genocide, intelligence failure and staggering chaos which have devastated the lives of the Karachites, a more scathing assault has been launched on the Naqshbandi Sufi order. Upon glancing at Trimingham’s The Sufi Orders of Islam some months ago (the contents of which have been sourced mainly from Taj al-Din ibn Mahdi Zaman al-Rumi’s Risala fi sunan al-Ta’ifa ...

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