Stories about protests

Egypt unrest: Where now from here?

As we go into the twelfth day of protests in Egypt, the only authority left in the country seems to be the people themselves. They have spoken and they will not be silenced till their demands are met. However, the fundamental changes to Egypt and the region’s political landscape are yet to be determined. Who will take over and where do we go from here? Similar to Iran’s Shah Mohammad Reza Pehalvi, President Hosni Mubarak served as a friendly arbitrator of US relations and strained Israeli relations in the Middle East. To establish the future direction, ignoring US interests would ...

Read Full Post

Dissent is not undemocratic: A case for change

The events in Egypt have created a stir and caused Arab rulers to assess their respective roles. President Obama is withdrawing American support for President Mubarak’s teetering regime and Prime Minister Gilani is sending a special plane to airlift his stranded compatriots out of Cairo. Dreaming about revolution Many Pakistanis have developed a voyeuristic fascination with uprisings in other countries. But others feel that talk about a similar movement erupting locally is irksome and the product of a disconnect with the complicated reality. Those who believe that Pakistanis are wasting time by fantasising about street protests feel that too many have been influenced ...

Read Full Post

Smells like revolution, but not in Pakistan

I recently visited Egypt with friends. Our trip started in Luxor (once known as the city of Thebes) where we gazed in awe at some of the wonders of the ancient world. We munched on falafels, sipped on mint tea, smoked shisha, and sailed along the Nile. We drove along the Sinai coast, snorkelled in the Red Sea, and sunbathed in Sharm el Sheikh. In the metropolis of Cairo we shopped at the Khan el Khalili market, visited the Egyptian Museum, and made difficult dinner choices from an array of international cuisines. We had a fantastic time – good ...

Read Full Post

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 ...

Read Full Post

Abbottabad police, I blame you!

Being a resident of Abbottabad and having been a witness to all the processions of the Hazara Movement, it’s a welcome thought to know that the National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights has rejected the inquiry report submitted by a judicial commission on the police violence that took place in the city on April 12, 2010. From what I know, the Hazara Movement actually functioned on the stance of non-violence. I was attending college on the day that all the protesters were rallying against the renaming of Khyber Pakhtunwa, and I’m not sure what led to the police firing ...

Read Full Post

The protest must be personal

The cycle continues. It is one of tragic proportions, one soaked in tears and blood, pierced by the wails of the bereaved, but it is a cycle nonetheless. Wake up, hear about the latest attack, find out the gory details, and return to your work after the initial shock wears off. Go home, switch on the TV, and watch, mutely, as the media dissects every possible detail of the atrocity. Sob, perhaps, when the images of the fallen are flashed. Many might even yell out in frustration when a minister appears onscreen, passing what is surely now a well-rehearsed ...

Read Full Post

My life as a pessimist

I don’t feel the anger I think I’m supposed to I hear about minorities being beat up and shot dead. But horrendous events don’t seem unusual or upsetting. Despite my insensitivity, I know they are wrong and deserve condemnation. The media has subconsciously and rightfully, led me to believe so. There is a notion that news analysis may contribute to the normalcy we desire in the aftermath of a tragic atrocity. It certainly doesn’t. If anything, the media, left or right, fights its own agenda.  In the process, it forgets its responsibility to report accurately. Seemingly, these recurring mishaps come ...

Read Full Post

Plight of Punjab, plight of Pakistan

A protest movement by teachers and students’ unions, political and religious parties and community organisations across Punjab has been launched against the decision of the Punjab government to privatise 26 public sector colleges and to further the creation of a Board of Governors for the implementation of its decision. The board of Governors will comprise ten members including parliamentarians, experts from the education and social sector and a relevant commissioner who will head the board. This body will be independent to employ teachers, take managerial and administrative decisions and will be authorised to furnish projects. But how will students of poor ...

Read Full Post