Humour was one way I tried to cope with the painful and seemingly intractable realities around me. The truth was, despite my idealistic nature, I wasn’t sure how hopeful to be on a continent where a cease-fire was often just a chance to rearm, as my husband once observed during a reporting trip to cover Ivory Coast’s on-again, off-again civil war....
The choice of Volgograd is not accidental. Once known as Stalingrad, it was a symbol of Soviet resistance during the Second World War. But it is also an important transportation hub and 400 miles away from Sochi where Russia will host the winter Olympics in six weeks. The attacks have brought back vivid memories of the apartment bombings in Moscow and other Russian cities in September 1999….
The year 2013 has been heavy on all of us. We’ve gotten through drone strikes, kidnappings and the elections, and had to suffer through the likes of Sahir Lodhi on our radio. On a more positive note, there were a record number of people at this year’s elections. There were talks of better relations with India...
Like India’s own insurgencies, the roots of the Islamist insurgency in the north Caucuses go back centuries. In the 1700s, as imperial Russia expanded into territories until then controlled by Iran and Turkey, it faced resistance from local Muslim rulers. Then, in 1940, central Asian Islamists allied with the Nazi Germany in an effort to gain independence from the Soviet Union. The historian, Ian Johnson, has documented the United States’ subsequent sponsorship of these jihadists, seeking to use them against the Soviet Union….
We must be fair to the House of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) on one particular account: Years of outstanding, unselfish, devoted and untiring (albeit quite unwilling) commitment to the advancement of Turkish humour. The most popular ever Turkish political party is probably also the most amusing joke ever of Turkish political life….
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
“Industrialists love organised societies. Throughout history, whenever there has been spectacular economic development, this has been associated with colonialism and/or authoritarianism... Businessmen want to deal with one person who is in control or at best, a small group. They are not comfortable with complex, heterogeneous societies where they have to negotiate through transparent, democratic processes.”...
Pressure on the current US administration is not only coming from American and foreign individuals, US technology companies have also become vociferous, likely due in part to real or perceived damage to profitability. Documents provided by Edward Snowden show that the NSA deliberately undermines cryptography by making agreements with companies that allow a back-door into their systems, essentially making security less effective....
The turn of the year is a season to reflect on what went before and what the New Year may bring. Peace on earth, goodwill to all men? Tell that to suffering Syrians, and a myriad others in Asia and beyond where peace and goodwill, let alone good cheer, are but a distant dream. My hippie generation vowed to bring peace and love. How miserably and utterly we've failed. …
Previous media strategies to create awareness and garner support have backfired. Involving religious scholars to issue Fatwas has also shown limited progress. The involvement of such influential actors is imperative to create awareness but perhaps a more revised, cohesive and wider strategy along with greater political will is needed....
Nadeem F. Paracha
Some Pakistanis mock the whole idea of hidden or foreign hands in most political disasters and ills that this unfortunate country has experienced in the last many decades. In spite of the fact that hidden hands are pretty obvious in stirring up trouble in Pakistan….
On the glorious Victory Day of Bangladesh, Suhrawardy Udyan, fittingly, was the epicentre of celebrations on Monday. While people gathered in from the morning to enjoy the music and recitation, it was during the choral singing of the national anthem that the arena turned into a human sea of red and green, with the numbers soaring up to hundreds of thousands. As the evening sets in, a dazzling display of fireworks — rated as many in the crowd to be the best they have seen — lit up the Dhaka sky, almost like a symbolic preview to the burst of energy that was awaiting the audience on stage……
desperate to win Uncle Sam’s favours and were busy imagining a pure community
of Muslims. Secularism and anti-imperialism spoiled these grand plans.
Consequently, when Bacha Khan along with his fellow non-violent activists, such
as G M Syed and Abdus Smad Achackzai, formed the Pakistan People’s Party
espousing a secular and socialist programme, he was arrested and jailed.......
in her parent’s house, Fatima was taken care of by her father, (with his meager
pension), who retired after working as a clerk. Six years later, Fatima’s
parents encountered what they thought was another “ideal, educated, life-
companion” for their daughter. This time, Fatima felt things would be fine and
that all would be well. But two months
later, Fatima discovered skeletons in her husband’s cupboard--his extra-marital
“Both countries live with the assumption that they know each other. The ‘other’, after all, is a former aspect of the ‘self’. There is no room for the curiosity that foreignness normally awakens. Physical vicinity compounds this feeling. If India and Pakistan were geographically apart, there might have been a chance for the kind of anxiety that lack of news about a hostile relative residing far away causes. India and Pakistan are politically so far apart and culturally and geographically so close that there is no room for an epistemic space between them.”.....
A.H. Nayyar, Pervez Hoodbhoy and Zia Mian
This means so
far there is not even a complete design. Since the new Karachi reactors will be
the first of a kind, no one knows how safe they will be or how well they will
work. The 20 million people of Karachi are being used as subjects in a giant
nuclear safety experiment. The Fukushima nuclear accident has shown that safety
systems can fail catastrophically. The accident in 2011 struck Japanese
reactors of a well-established design that had been operating for decades.
Still, all kinds of things happened that were not expected by the reactor
operators or managers or by nuclear safety authorities.....
Dr Mohammad Taqi
Justice Chaudhry acted like an opposition leader with a singular agenda: to drag the PPP over the coals throughout the four years of his stint that overlapped with that of the party’s rule ....
Amid such a bleak and disappointing picture, which leads Turkey's democrats to learned helplessness once again, I am convinced that the destructive impact of the authoritarian Kemalist education system is still alive, even among the Islamists of the country…….
He set the bar so high, and no one could be called his peer, at least not during his lifetime, nor anyone in the modern era. His predecessor was Mahatma Gandhi, who initiated South Africa's struggle for freedom, equality and justice. Consider it a remarkable tag-team of sorts, as Gandhi spent the years 1893-1914 in South Africa….
With all of this swimming in my head upon my return from Muzaffarnagar, I had difficulty placing all the brouhaha about the Goa episode in proper perspective. I messaged Tarun: A media so focused on rape should be directed to Muzaffarnagar. It turns out that Maulana Arshad Madani's nephew, Maulana Mahmood Madani was also at the Goa THINK fest dominating the nation's news. The clergy, it turns out, has got it covered at all ends….
As with King, it is this subversive aspect of Mandela’s legacy that is most in danger of being erased as he enters America’s pantheon of sanitized moral icons. But it is precisely the aspect that Americans most badly need. American power and human freedom are two very different things. Sometimes they intersect; sometimes they do not. Walking in Nelson Mandela’s footsteps requires being able to tell the difference....
C. Raja Mohan
Many Sunni regimes, especially Saudi Arabia, are deeply concerned that the atomic accord will empower Iran, embolden it to support Shia communities across the Gulf and destabilise Arab monarchies. Some are angry with the United States for not taking their interests into account when negotiating the nuclear agreement with Iran. For its part, Tehran has reached out to the Gulf nations after signing the nuclear agreement with the US…..
The same leaders will attend in doves with their entourage at State expense your funeral service and pay token lip service to your legacy; but no doubt there will be a few individuals who sincerely would like to follow in your footsteps. We therefore love you and thank you Madiba for the legacy you left to mankind. May God, the one who gave you the gifts of wisdom in life also rest you in Peace where ever you may be!...
Mujahid Husain, New Age Islam
Pakistani people, at large, are gearing up to participate in the communal wars. It seems as if they could go berserk any time. As for religious extremists, they are running in full swing, since they have been fully prepared and equipped with all the liberty and strength that they require to wage a large-scale war. Nawaz Sharif government began to be controlled to a large extent. Extremist groups are targeting the Shiite minority day in and day out in Kurram Agency, Karachi, Northern Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). These militants are convinced that the state can do no harm to them, as the state missionary cooperate with them in most of the war-torn areas. They have got feasibilities and special convenience in prisons with the added advantage of being free to break them as soon as they increase in number. None has to worry about it. An instance was seen when the jails in Bannu and Dera Ismail Khan were broken and all the extremists who fled from there turned rebels against the very state. They are now more powerful than ever before and are committed to topple the government. The right wing extremists heading the predominant media of Pakistan have never brought these issues into discussion neither had they put pressure on the government to take stern action against these terrorists…..
Nadeem F. Paracha
But the starkest memory I have of the episode is that of young men breaking into the two liquor stores, coming out with a bottle or two of Pakistani whisky, and swigging the stuff down their throats right there on the pavement outside the shops, before the stores eventually went up in flames…….
There is little chance that the judges who did not dissent under him will break with his legacy. Verdict: one, the court was populist, which vulgarised justice; two, it settled scores despite knowing that the opposite of justice is not injustice but revenge……