Stories about Syria

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini: A father’s lament of the barbarity we call human beings

“My dear Marwan, I look at your profile, In the glow of this three-quarter moon, my boy, Your eyelashes like calligraphy, Closed in guileless sleep. I said to you, ‘Hold my hand. Nothing bad will happen’.” These are a few verses from the context of Sea Prayer, the fourth book by Khaled Hosseini. Hosseini is a well-known author of three books, including the international bestseller The Kite Runner, and is the Goodwill Ambassador to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Sea Prayer is a 40-page book, or rather, a free verse poem beautifully complemented by Dan Williams’ illustrations. It can best be described as a ...

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Erdogan embraced Trump’s politics to stay in power – has it finally failed him?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s embrace of Donald Trump-era populist politics not only appears to be nearing its inevitable end, but apparently has done Erdogan no favours in the long run. In mid-July 2016, an attempted coup in Turkey carried out by a faction of Turkey’s armed forces led to what can only be described as a brutal crackdown, as Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) crushed any potential resistance with an iron fist that made even some of history’s former despots pale in comparison. Barely two weeks after the coup, Turkey dismissed close to 1,700 military personnel ...

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As a person who was almost radicalised, I urge Britain to accept Shamima Begum

The events of 9/11 were not restricted towards the US only; they changed the whole world, including the thoughts of my generation. I was merely an 18-year-old who had recently finished college back then and was looking forward to pursuing journalism. This was not the era of electronic media in Pakistan, so the only way we could get updated was by relying on cheap newspapers. With the kind of content I went through during the first couple of years of the Afghan war, anyone my age would have easily fallen prey to the menace of extremism and militancy. And ...

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Is Venezuela the new Afghanistan?

Three days ago, the first United Nations (UN) rapporteur to visit Venezuela in 21 years told British media outlet The Independent that US sanctions on Venezuela are illegal and bordering on “crimes against humanity” under international law. No one in the international media will say it, but sanctions are always the precursor to war. Never mind Washington’s barbaric sanctions on pre-2003 Iraq, which are estimated to have killed 1.7 million Iraqi civilians, including 500,000 children. Not many people acknowledge this fact, but before the Pearl Harbour attack during World War II, the US had targeted Japan’s rapidly developing economy heavily with economic sanctions, forcing Japan to respond ...

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The US may withdraw its troops from Syria but the war is far from over

Not too long ago, US President Donald Trump shocked the world when he made the announcement that just this once, the US would decide to act in accordance with international law. The announcement in question was that US troops stationed in Syria would now be returning home to their families. This declaration in turn shocked what has become a war-loving media that never once questioned America’s military presence in a sovereign nation to begin with. Not many Americans appear to know this (nor do they appear to care, by some accounts) but the US military has occupied approximately one third of Syria for some time now. Conveniently, the ...

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Bidding goodbye to a year of political turmoil, endless warfare and myopic leadership

In the blink of an eye, another year has passed. Like the previous year, 2018 has been intriguing, exciting and alarming. We have witnessed several positive, and unfortunately, an equal number or even more negative events during the year. These include SpaceX conducting a successful maiden flight of Falcon Heavy, Vladimir Putin getting elected for a fourth term as the Russian president, the United States withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and of course, France experiencing its worst civil unrest since the protests of 1968, to name a few. Would I say the world is becoming scarier with each passing ...

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The Pakistan International School of Damascus: The unreported and silent success story of diplomacy

Almost all the stories coming out of Syria over the last few years have been of doom and gloom. There has been much destruction to a land rooted in deep and unparalleled history, possessing two of the world’s oldest cities along with people who can easily be called the world’s most diverse set of communities coexisting peacefully; all before regional and international actors made it a battleground for proxy warfare. Before the war, Syria had the most robust state education system in the Arab world, and even the BBC did an in-depth documentary on the diversity and progressive nature of the Syrian school system. It is these real ...

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How the US pushed Pakistan into the arms of China and Russia

The US has always had a curious but quietly spoken relationship with Pakistan. At one point, Pakistan was the third largest recipient of US foreign assistance, receiving over $3.5 billion from the US in 2011 alone. While this aid has been steadily decreasing since the aforementioned peak in 2011, US-Pakistan relations took a sharp turn for the worse at the beginning of this year when US President Donald Trump decided to herald in the new year by launching a Twitter tirade against Pakistan. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 ...

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Arbaeen: “If you want to see humanity living and breathing, experience this walk”

The 40th – or Arbaeen in Arabic – holds great significance in the traditions of Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Ahle Bait (AS). Arbaeen marks the completion of Ashura, the day when Imam Hussain (RA) was martyred on the planes of Karbala. Since then, his followers and lovers walk to their beloved as they feel his plight as their own. The walk particularly takes place in the memory of the return of Imam Hussain’s (RA) family from Syria, after getting freed from the shackles of Yazid. People from different parts of the world participate in this event, which remained banned ...

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Is Saudi Arabia “taking over” Pakistan?

Earlier this year, when the election campaign in Pakistan was running at fever pitch, I found myself listening to an old classic by The Who. The song was Won’t Get Fooled Again and the line that got me pondering was “meet the old boss, same as the new boss”. I shuddered when I heard this line while watching parties push their candidates. It was literal horse-trading as politicians scrambled to capture the number of seats required to secure the government for themselves. We are barely a few months into the new government and people are already questioning and debating the current government’s decisions. For example, take the ...

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