Stories about protests

Many Mumtaz Qadris: We are children of hate

Many decades ago Rafiq Sabir entered a Gujarati businessman’s palace-like home in Bombay. Almost 60 minutes after this intrusion, he was led out, handcuffed, by policemen. The charge against him was that he had attacked ‘a leader of a religious party for political reasons’. This leader survived the attack and went on to create a country where sixty-eight years later ‘another Rafiq Sabir’ attacked ‘a leader of a political party for religious reasons’. The snake was taught another language, the venom was given another colour but their effectiveness was undiminished. Today, an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis hold in respect a ...

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Saudis in Audis

I came across an old Harry Enfield clip on Youtube the other day where a woman believes that because she knows about ‘embroidery and kittens’, she can handle a car. Incidentally she goes on to drive it in reverse, crash into a wall and the truth of life flashes across the screen,  ‘Women, for pity’s sake, don’t drive.’  Except in some parts of the world, it isn’t because our pretty little heads are not capable of operating cars. Apparently it is not compliant with the Saudi Arabian brand of Shariah law, hence a ...

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Are Pakistanis really getting dumber?

A friend told me how miffed he was on being told by his editor that his blog had not been shared online because it wasn’t “share friendly” or “reader friendly”. He was told it was a great write up, but it wouldn’t appeal to the average reader because it was above his or her IQ level. The incident made me think: is our society in danger of being a victim of stupidity? Cyber warriors ahoy! Reading comments posted by cyber warriors makes one realise how our society is being slowly and inexorably sucked into the vortex of stupidity. The polarization of views in ...

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Take a lesson from Bahrain

Imagine a lonely man without a job. His community barred from political representation, having no rights and no future to look forward to. With extreme frustration and deep-rooted anger, he one day gets off the wrong side of bed, thinking it’s time to bring about a change. That was the situation with the people of Bahrain. People with no real rights to speak of. Pushed over the edge, this man, along with a few others, decided to make himself heard, albeit peacefully. They take to the streets just so they get noticed. Understandable so far, but the plot thickens. The ...

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Pakistan does not need a revolution

This spirit of revolt witnessed in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain and Libya is being termed a new era of democracy, liberalisation and freedom. It is spreading like wildfire. Some people are asking whether this fire will ever reach Pakistan. One can only wonder what they are talking about. The conditions that provoked the uprising in Tunisia are not at all identical to Pakistan. People here are discontented due to unemployment, poverty, inflation and widespread corruption. But in Pakistan we have a free press – the most free media in the Islamic world, a democratic government that works in fits and ...

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Will Bahrain’s sectarian divide impact Pakistan?

Mubarak’s exit was the start of the revolution, not the end. Egyptian protestors gathered after Friday prayers last week, to remind the military that it is them (the people) who had brought down the Mubarak regime. Even though they may have vacated Tahrir Square, the message was that they would not settle for anything less than their original demands. Commentators have attempted to establish whether similar conditions exist in Pakistan for a revolution, drawing parallels and identifying differences. But if comparisons must be drawn then the the ongoing protests in Bahrain are perhaps of greater relevance for Pakistan than events in Egypt. What Bahrain learned from Egypt The ...

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Should we report aerial firing in basant?

If I had a brother or even a close relative, who enjoyed aerial firing, especially during weddings or birthdays, I honestly doubt that I would ever report them to the police for a measly Rs5,000. Activities such as kite-flying and aerial firing, particularly amongst the youth, have to be dealt with through a stronger hand. Basant, a festival for which kite-flying is an essential aspect, is especially prevalent in Punjab. Kite-flying there is not only to entertain the masses, it is part of a much larger tradition that resonates heavily in the region. That’s my point — tradition, much like a habit, ...

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What Al Jazeera did right: This revolution was televised

My friend, a fellow news junkie, asked me, “What’s the difference between CNN and Al Jazeera?” Answer: “CNN shows the missiles taking off, Al Jazeera shows them landing.” If any amongst us had doubts about this subtle difference, they were most certainly removed after following the Egyptian revolution unfold on Al Jazeera and its sanitised coverage on other mainstream western news networks. To further substantiate Al Jazeera’s credentials as the peoples’ news network that brings forth the people’s perspective devoid of an imperialist agenda, I can tell you this; Donald Rumsfeld condemned it, George Bush allegedly said he wanted to bomb it ...

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Mubarak’s departure: Triumph of the citizen

Three Fridays, eighteen days. There is no greater testament to the power of people, ordinary people that is, than what the Egyptians have achieved yesterday. Overthrowing Mubarak is historical, not just for the overthrowing of a deeply entrenched dictator, but because the revolution straddles both, the present and the future of the idea of social aggregation. Present in its ability to rid a society of autocracy and futuristic in its ability to do so without revolutionary leaders, this, and the Tunisian revolution, has shown the world that age-old notion of heroes rescuing troubled damsels in distress is just that – ...

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After Mubarak: Will Egypt survive democracy?

As dissidence swept the Middle East, events in Egypt turned sour. Hosni Mubarak was rumored to step down in a press conference yesterday but he disappointed many with his attempts to prolong his rule. Things in Egypt could have gotten really ugly. My guess was that crowds would march towards the Presidential Palace pressuring him to step down – and they did. What does democracy mean to Egyptians This movement is  based on political ideas as opposed to personalities. ElBaradei should draw an agreement with the consensus of leaders of the brotherhood, and the Ghad party among others, mapping demands for ...

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