Stories about Syrian refugees

Priyanka Chopra literally had one job to do – promote peace – and she failed

Bollywood celebrities are loved by Pakistanis and treated as their own, which is why it was particularly disheartening to see many of them quickly join the nationalist bandwagon in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and encourage military attacks against Pakistan. In no way was this more disappointing than it was in the case of Priyanka Chopra. Chopra is now a global celebrity, having won the Miss World competition, worked as a Bollywood and Hollywood actress as well as her brief stint as a musician. Being an international celebrity gives one the power to influence and inspire people all across the ...

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Brexit is a shambolic mess: Will its movie adaptation be the same?

Ever since the referendum took place in 2016, the shambolic aftermath of Brexit has been laid bare for the whole world to see. Following an agreed deal with European Union (EU) negotiators, Theresa May has faced a perilous journey trying to persuade her fellow party members that the deal, as it currently stands, is the best one for the UK. May has faced criticism from the opposition, a vote of no-confidence from her party members (which she survived), and countless to-ing and fro-ing from EU negotiators who are remiss about changing their stance on the Northern Ireland border or on ...

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For Mohammad, New Delhi is merely shelter, as war-torn Damascus will always be home

On a December evening, with the daylight fading fast, a thick layer of smog, a common Delhi phenomenon, envelopes the city. People – the ordinary on foot or in rickshaws, the affluent in cars – go about their lives in the Sarai Jullena area of the national capital. Raucous horns of vehicles of all sizes and types rend the air. Two Septuagenarian Arabs sit across the table in a restaurant, identifying itself as Syrian, right opposite the Escorts Hospital that spreads across several acres of land. They converse in Arabic and order food without even glancing at the green-coloured menu, cluttered with a ...

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The 126 innocent lives lost were mere collateral damage to them, nothing less and nothing more

Beads of perspiration glistened on his forehead. Wiping it clean with the back of his hand, he stared around. “It is overloaded,” he thought to himself as he pulled his five-year-old up on his lap. His wife had fallen into a slumber. After days of abject disappointment, the call for rescue had finally come. They were being sent outside Aleppo to safer refugee camps. He felt sad to be leaving his village but the gory streets made it easier to do so. It didn’t look like his home anymore. It was like a page out of a war-torn story with red blood anguish and ...

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For Syria, it is Armageddon

Slowly and ominously, the war drums started beating in America last week. The media warmed up with news of Donald Trump telling congressmen he was considering retaliation for the chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. The pace picked up when Hillary Clinton told the ‘Women in the World Summit’ that America should “take out Assad’s air fields”. By the time the Tomahawks were flying, the media had reached its 2003 pre-Iraq invasion jingo mode. The stench of war was not restricted to conservative media either. Since 2001, there has not been an invasion, bombing or regime change that the so-called ...

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The strange myth of America’s ‘humanitarian’ wars

In March 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a forgetful 71-page report, calling out Israel’s indiscriminate use of white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza. No rhetoric of bringing the oppressor to justice was heard within the American halls of power, and no tomahawk missiles were launched the following week. The perversity of President Bashar al-Assad’s war crimes speaks for itself. It’s fair to assume that if Assad’s regime had been backed by powerful western interests, the latest unwatchable video of Syrian children suffering from the effects of chemical warfare would have invited the same response as Israel’s hawkish policies consistently do – Assad ...

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Trump’s ban on Muslims is just as offensive as Pakistan’s racial profiling of Pakhtuns

Not every Muslim is a terrorist but a significant number of terrorist incidents are conducted by Muslims. This statement is controversial and yet, deep down we all know that there is some sort of evidence for it. At least the terrorist incidents which are indiscriminate and use suicide bombings are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims. Of course, as already mentioned, this does not mean that every Muslim is a terrorist and in fact thinking in such terms would be overstretching and overgeneralisation, resulting in bigotry if endorsed by the general populace and institutionalised discrimination if incorporated into laws by the state. Donald ...

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Are the voices of the world enough to end the absurdity behind the #MuslimBan?

The media went on overdrive when Donald Trump, immediately after inauguration, followed through on his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims”. The New York Times reported:  “The president’s order… suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” When The Express Tribune asked if I wanted to write a blog on the Muslim ban, I started taking notes, and by the time I finished a draft, ...

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The onus to end the Syrian crisis now lies on Russia and the US

The Syrian crisis is becoming increasingly complex and intractable due to the civil war – which was triggered by a repressive government led by Bashar al Assad – who let loose a reign of terror on protesters fighting for civil liberties and democratic reforms. Eventually it escalated into an armed conflict, one that was subsequently upstaged by two powerful superpowers – Russia and the United States. The whole narrative of the civil war changed when Russia helped out their ally, Assad, (who was facing defeat at the hands of the rebels) by supplying him with artillery, tanks and strike aircraft. Iran, on the other hand, sent Hezbollah fighters to augment the Syrian ...

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Omran thought it was just a game…

Perhaps they were playing the Street Sniper game. It was all the rage among the kids in Aleppo. Or they could have been playing the Hand Grenade Saga. He must have understood the game in bits and pieces, following his older siblings around the house. Maybe he hid under the sink or behind the door on the terrace. He must have covered his ears, anticipating the sound that his brother made while imitating a bomb blast. But the sound that came next…..was not the fake sound. It was so real, it shattered all windows on impact. Somewhere inside the house, he hid behind the door ...

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