Stories about revolution

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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Between food and opium: What Pakistani liberals fail to understand

There’s something Newtonian about the way Pakistani political discourse is being carried out these days. At one end is the ‘ghairat brigade’, with their twisted ideology and their usual diatribe against the liberal fascists – a term which is about as meaningful as a Vegan BigMac. On the other end are the liberals ( fascist or otherwise) who might not be as reprehensible as their bearded cousins, are equally redundant with their staid arguments, essentially revolving around the ‘Quaid’s vision’ and his speech to the Constituent Assembly. Fundamentally, I do not have an issue with the arguments of the liberal ...

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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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A Bakistani in Cairo

My Egypt moment wasn’t when the protests started or when they ended. It wasn’t during CNN’s live coverage, and it wasn’t in the 100 or so ‘Can this happen in Pakistan?’ discussions. It was when someone casually yelled out in the school corridor, “Hey Meiryum! Your hometown’s burning!” Cairo was my hometown. Tahrir Square was a 45-minute drive from my apartment. I lived in Cairo from the age of four till eight years – four years of my life. I was old enough to remember and store away memories and young enough to still understand nothing. My first day at the ...

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Where is Ayman Al-Zawahiri?

When I woke up this morning, I was taken aback by the front page of The Express Tribune, with shining white letters reading “Deliverance” which announced that the revolution had succeeded at last. When I think of Egypt, images of the 2007 drone attack that struck a seminary and killed 80, mostly minors, come to my mind. The prime target of that attack was Ayman Al-Zawahiri, the long lost al Qaeda leader who hails from Egypt and was reported to be in Pakistan. Zawahiri has sent out audio or video messages regarding almost everything that Qaeda has ever considered as ...

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What does the future hold for Egypt?

While I do not want to detract from the amazing achievement of the Egyptian people, their future is still uncertain. Who will fill the power vacuum? Omar Suleiman is not a favourite Touted as a replacement by Mubarak and tacitly supported by the US, Omar Suleiman clearly isn’t popular. This is hardly a surprise, given that he was head of Egypt’s intelligence agency (you know, the one that allegedly tortures lots of people) and, according to Wikileaks, told Israel (who love him very much) that he’d like “Gaza to go hungry, but not starve”. Not exactly a hero. Who is Mohamed ElBaradei? ...

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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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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 ...

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