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Category Archives: American Media

stop treating Malala as pinata


[Let me clarify here, I don’t have any insider information nor I have long pattern recognizing machine working on some historical data to predict she is puppet of any western country. I am not resident of Swat but I am Pakistani and have spent long many years in Pakistan. So I don’t know the “inner story”  and I will not give any credence to such things. My view is based on what is just infront of me and it changes.}

It has been experience of being stuck between two fighting spouses, they are fighting about something but don’t know what. One is arguing about what happened on Monday party other is shouting about burned toasts in the morning breakfast.

Malala is great, Malala is enemy puppet, Malala deserves all the praise, Malala was never shot ,……  this shouting match has to stop, instead everyday it is on increase. Each day we see Malala being honored by one or other organization, being interviewed by one reputable newspapers or other TV program, and on other side we see more voices from sideline jumping in the ring.

To pro Malala supporters, supporting a person shot due to her ideas and service is something everyone should do. One should stand by that person, if that person is an innocent child one should be ashamed of society where children could be targeted. The question one should ask is are we supporting Malala or are we supporting our desires that could take in shape of Malala? Are we condemning anyone criticizing Malala’s nomination for Nobel peace prize because we feel this huge sympathy wave for her can push committee to give Pakistani citizen second one or we seriously believe she deserves peace prize?  or (which I hope is false) we believe with her we can sell the image of Pakistan that can justify certain non-democratic practices?

Frankly she does not deserve what we are doing with her. She could be great leader in few years, she could be great representative. She is eloquent, she is determined, she has charm and she knows what she wants. In her age that is more than one can ask for.

She has been given a second life, a second chance. There are many shiny steps in her way, why is this hurry of giving everything to her in a single year, without giving her opportunity to earn it. She can go miles ahead of where we are pushing her.

She does not need Nobel prize today. All the honors that have been bestowed on her are more representative of other’s desire than her doing. They are exposing her to the elements she should not be exposed to.

Why a BBC journalist be so clueless to let her make statement “you want to go outside, you must go with a man – if even your five-year-old brother goes with you it’s fine, but you must have someone else, a girl cannot go outside all alone.” and let it be representative of large and diverse country. When I heard this sentence, it appeared to me childish until I remembered it was spoken by a child. A child that, from her sentence could be assumed, has not experienced world outside the realms of male in her household. That appears to have not been to any other city of her country or met people from other parts of her country to know so little of it. (I am not saying women in my country are free and they can go out 1 am in the night alone or huge chunks of their lives are lived under the gaze of male family members)

Assed Baig is right when he calls this situation White Savior complex, although I don’t agree with his arguments. Shazia Ramzan, Kainat Riaz and  Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi are victims of war but they unfortunately are bystanders, they were not attacked because of their views, Malala Yousafzi was.

She is a teenager, a special one but still a teenager. She deserves to say erroneous things and take back. She should be given time, where she form her views, understand the world more deeply and more independently. Why should she have to declare infront of the world she still non-western girl?

To anti Malala, seriously most of you are behaving like kids in the school. I can understand the frustration, it looks like universe has decided to honor someone from among us and reason has been given that she has been our savior; only that many among us don’t agree with that. It is same frustration that one feels, when some foreigner makes tall claims about Benazir Bhutto, making her to be some human right champion. It’s frustration when people among are given projection to be our representative without our consent. But it’s not her mistake.

You are saying she is being used? you say there are other people who deserve it? we can discuss it, but again it’s not her mistake. Who among you (yes all the grown men and women) can say I don’t deserve it when given such honors? And Nobel prize? who among us has enough courage to say “No I have not done enough” when you have been shot for your cause  (few years back a very eloquent person who has never been part of anything consequential just said, he was humbled but still accepted the award).

And is it really bad that she gets Nobel Prize? people less deserving than her have gotten Nobel prize for peace. I might not believe she deserves Nobel prize, but I will be happy if she wins (people with bloodied hands have got that prize) she atleast is only accused of not doing enough.

To be very frank, this hue and cry on every Nobel Prize is getting old now, if we are really pissed that West picks less deserving people for the Nobel Prize and reason is some conspiracy, then for god sake start something good yourself. Start some prize where you can pick people on merit.

Back to Ms. Malala.

In the end, I believe she is destined to bigger things, but she needs to go through much more to get there. Being shot for your views and still stand on your ground is a big sacrifice; however it’s much more painful to live and serve. This is not a single act and it’s beginning not end.

 

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4th Nov & 11 May; crossing University Ave.


Yes it is about elections in Pakistan, but it about my experience also….. and it’s invitation to cross the University Ave. so read if you are interested. It is about a day some years ago.

In less than 30 minutes I must have crossed the University Ave. 30 or 40 times; whenever the traffic light turned red and pedestrian light switched on, I crossed the road. I crossed it with my other friend and there might be 100 students doing the same thing, right on the corner of Swamp Restaurant.

Just an hour or so ago,  ABC news has said polls are closed and they were ready to declare Obama President of USA; date was Nov. 4 2008 (yes I had to go back and check date, as people who know me know I don’t remember dates).

And these students excited on the prospect of something new, on promise of something different, a change, these young people just few years in their twenties (some even younger than that)  were on roads of Gainesville. It looked so easy in the end, it looked like all the worry of past so many months of seeing Sarah Palin heart beat away from becoming the most powerful person on earth, was nothing.

I think there were some exams going around and few were told about the results while they were taking tests. And in some cases teachers promised they will not going to look at the results till the end of the class. Now when results were out, as per the boring tradition, no one knew what to do, no one knew if any celebratory party was going around. Gators did what we were accustomed to do, gather at University Ave. (some new kids don’t remember old days of us winning those championships and closing down of University Ave., good old days)

I don’t know how it started, but students started crossing the University Ave. 30, 40 people on each side whenever the pedestrian light switched students will cross the road, high fiving people coming from other direction, shaking hands and talking and enjoying.

It was a monumental moment, even for me who is not American. I who came from the country where every 10 years the army takes over, where the best leaders you get are Bhuttos, I who was sad and angered when I had seen my countrymen cheering for Musharaf; I was happy this change coming in a country which is blamed for many things wrong in my country. I was happy to see the system work.

Might be because this was first time I have seen the election really working and choosing a person which I felt was far better choice than opponent. Might be because there were not cries of rigging and Mc Cain accepted results quite honorably. Might be because I saw the process giving opportunity to people to prob the candidate (unfortunately the 2012 elections were quite a disappointment in that respect)

No, I was not disillusioned like many of my American friends (living in Pakistan makes you too wise and cynical to believe in the oratory skills of a leader), but his ideas were grate. He looked like a leader willing to take charge, willing to defend his position, willing to admit his mistakes.

Yes did I have hope, of course, I had hope, did I had expectation? No I did not had any expectation of him bringing world peace or changing the America in 100 days.  Or he is going to radically change the philosophy with which the big nations run the world.

Today I am hopeful that we are going to see the same thing in Pakistan, an election after 5 years of completion of the Constitutional Assembly. Election, not because someone took 10, 20 thousand people and blocked the constitution avenue or did the train march towards Islamabad (never understood this name, because no trains go to Islamabad) and not because Army general pushed his stick on the chest of PM for announcing elections.

And I am hopeful because an outsider has ruined the party for others, Imran Khan and PTI long time in making have finally got enough muscle to push the old guard a little bit. It is not same comfortable run towards election. Again I have hope, but I have no expectation.

Why I have no expectation, because like Obama, he is new but like Obama he has Old guard around him. Like Obama he has words, courage and vision but no clear path. No expectation because he did not understood beauty of system and cried of fall of government too many times in past five years. No expectation because he and most of his supporters think, matters could be solved by just nomination of one person. I have no expectation because he will have to do on job learning, it is different than coming on television and giving policy speech on prompt.

I have hope because unlike the two parties that have their roots in being raised by the Dictators this one does not (atleast not directly). To refresh memories both Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif were part of Dictatorship. Unlike the two other parties, this party does not appear to have roots in one area or province, unlike other parties it does not have the family members nominated or “elected” to main party posts. Unlike other parties it worked for last 15 years to reach here. Unlike other parties it does have “ideas” about the situation and are willing to come out and say them. Even when this lets supported of other “silent” parties claim title of “secular parties” (interesting to see PPP do that when PPP elected President of Pakistan was absent for air waves on the killing of the Governor of Punjab or of the Minister of Minority affairs).

I have hope because hundreds of thousands of youngsters that had nothing to do with this system few years back are putting their hearts in it. I know many will have their hearts broken within few months of election.

I have hope because I am up for long run and long fight, I don’t believe in miracles that change nations (I have seen too many of those) or in revolutions that claim to burn down old cancers. I believe is long, tiring battles where grounds are won inch by inch.

So yes I have hope, and I wish my people will vote (whoever you try to vote to, it’s up to you);

So yes I will, when the elections will be over and results come in, go to the University Ave. right in front of parking lot of the Chemistry department and will cross the road. I know it is totally unrelated and non-consequential action, benefiting no one. But I will be there for myself and for my hope of Pakistan’s future.  You are welcome to join.

 

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Religion, gays and marriage


On the wall of a friend of mine, there was discussion going around. Gay marriage being in the court, every one has it’s opinion. A friend’s friend’s opinion was laws have been previously derived from the religion (for that being the Christian religion). I divide my answer in two portions, one is just religion and country’s laws.

As for respect of religion in making laws. Today many unfortunately are little quick in dismissing anything that comes from the religion. Almost all the religions are great source of information and knowledge (at least some parts of all of them). Both religious and anti-religious people ignore the fact that all the religions have changed with the time. They might be divine but their current shapes are due to human reasoning.

Scholars and philosophers have debated what is the meaning of the message of revelations. Why certain interpretation is more correct than other, why one should be more beneficial to society and what view will be more helpful to a person . In the process they have defined and refined it. Their debates and explanations are education for us. Religions being the books of constitution for so many centuries will always be referenced.Ignoring them is will be ignoring efforts and works of great minds.

Question is should “All” the laws be continued to be derived from religion or not. I am not American so my point of view might not matter what American society needs, but I am sharing my point of view because this issue is going to become big issue in the countries which have not legally accepted this.

Problem with the religion is there are huge number of versions of every single religion (Catholic, Protestants  Suni, Shia, Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews, Hindus who believe in one Veda and not others). One might say they are all (all versions of Ibrahimic religions) are together on this issue of gays, they don’t accept it (there is still debate whether they ask society to punish them). Accepting one law just because some religion tell you, will create logical fallacy  Like any mathematician or law professor will tell you once you accept the one law just because it is coming from XYZ-religion, we set precedence that could be used to add more laws belonging to religion XYZ. It breaks the rules, is muddles the axioms.

Either religion should be used to make all the laws or it should not be, if we want  a system that accepts part of religion to be made into law but not the other part, we end up with complex set of rules. Such rules will always be pushed to be changed and that’s what is going around right now. Let me give you example we don’t have now the punishment for infidelity or adultery and I don’t believe anyone wants that to become one, but what’s the logic behind it if we are accepting marriage should be defined by religion then what about infidelity? Or what about the people belonging to other religions? should they be burned on stakes?

I am fine with any nation saying they want XYZ to be national religion, thinking we can have non-religious state where XYZ is major religion is just wrong. But sir, if it is not (which quite clearly today’s America is not) then instead enforcing religion through laws and courts you have to go back to people and make them believe in what you believe in. Same goes with the civil rights, you cannot get civil rights by laws, you get them by having size able population believing in what you believe.
In terms of , My point has always being “marriage” as a word has been something that has been derived from the religion. I don’t want government to do anything with “marriage”, in the least that word should be removed from the law books. Government should issue some nicer version of “civil union” and declare we don’t do marriages. If you want to marry, go to Churche, Masjid, Synagogue, Gurdwara or any other religious entity you want to and which ever version of it you want to. if they want benefits they can register with government and government will not discriminate against people regardless of gender, cast, belief, orientation, etc. ….
 

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Hate/lunacy hits again {Shooting at Sikh Gurdvara (temple) in Wisconsin}


Once again some lunatics have attacked the unarmed people. CNN is reporting about 6 to be dead and the shooter has been killed also. (guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/05/wisconsin-sikh-temple-shooting-live)

It’s still not clear whether this is hate crime or just some mad person going on rampage. It will put the gun laws in America under more scrutiny, there will be more calls to tighten the rules and more campaign by the gun-lobby to say guns don’t kill people. Using these violent instances to decide whether more or less guns be on street is quite absurd. Problem is not the lone, lunatic shooters, problem is access to guns by the people involved in organized or petty crime.

Regardless of that this particular instance puts one more group under pressure, i.e. Muslims. Some CNN-commentator  (still not clear whether it was official CNN commentator or someone commenting on the online story, have a look ) talked about Sikhs could be mistaken of being Muslims or Taliban. A comment left on yahoo says something like stupid think all foreigners are muslims. This causes two big problems, it makes Sikhs feel that they might be victim of false identification and their suffering is due to Muslims.  secondly it makes Muslims afraid when they are linked to Taliban so casually. In understand neither of the commentators is saying it’s fine to attack Muslims, but presenting so-called “rational” explanation of event instead of just terming it terrorism or hate crime puts unnecessary cracks in the society.

Another big question is, is this a terrorism or not? to me crimes like this the reek the hate should be declared terrorism.

Update, CNN is reporting that this event will be investigated as Domestic terrorist attack.

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2012 in America, American Media, Uncategorized

 

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RIP Wikyleaks


No, Wikileaks is not gone, it’s still there; but from now it will loose the support it enjoyed from the media outlets and proper journalism community. It feels like it never really appreciated that. By releasing unredacted cables, it has made extremely difficult (if not impossible) for people to defend their actions.

With many newspapers behind him, Assange was able to ward off the major criticism from even many of his supporters; documents were being read by the many News Organizations, things that were too dangerous to be released were being withheld; a reasonable precaution everyone agreed. Such precautions kept many names secret, made sure that peoples lives were not endangered, it protected Wikileaks from claims of hampering National Security and all that most importantly provided wikileaks some credibility, more support.

Wikileaks did what will change the world forever or viewing of history forever. Although no govt. fell because of it no radical change came. In Pakistan, release of such documents just validated what people already knew about the leaders, but no one expected resignations, no one seriously demanded them and no one gave any; not even explanations. American govt. accused it to be playing in the hands of enemies and many in Arab countries cried these documents to be planted by America it self (e.g. Iran on the quotes about it by heads of Gulf countries)

It did changed of what we viewed as “Confidential” and raised the question what governments should declare confidential and what they should not. It strengthened that people who are not directly working in the Journalist organisations can work with them to present ground-breaking news. Wikileaks was blogging getting bigger and reaching a milestone, a natural evolution of what everyone thought WWW will be; a place people can tell what darker things have hidden. And once it was there, there was no hiding, it will reach hundreds and thousands of people, becoming part of history.

Question is do we need everything “Open”; many will agree no, no one wants to all the memos written by every boss at every time circling web, no we don’t want names of sexually abused people on the internet, we want to disclose information about the informants; not because we favor one party or other, because that information can be used to hurt those people; track them and their family down, prosecute them, it can start a witch hunt.

Bigger problem is recent action by Wikileaks destroys the bond it shared with other organizations, they were his shield, they were his backers (even if they did not explicitly stated that), he has lost the partners now.  With loss of his partners he will loose his voice and impact factor. Just data cannot make news, you need people of credible repute to connect dotes, make story from fragments of information, make big picture, verify and clarify. Those people will be more hard to be found.

 

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Osama dead, Why Pakistan is silent?


Right now every one must have known that Osama has died. The ghost that haunted the world and was main poster boy of terrorism has finally met his end.

Where was he found? Pakistan, not in mountains, not near border, in ABBOTTABAD. Not in some jungle far away from civilization; right in the city.  (Someone has put the location now on the google map)

Right now all the news is coming is from US, that he has been killed, mainly by operation from US forces with Pakistan’s help;

More interesting point is Pakistan is silent.  Why? is the question that is quite confusing. If we played some role, which I want to believe we really did, why are we not coming out and saying, congratulating our forces and agencies for finding him. More silent we will remain more wind we will give to speculations and spins. It is such an important event.

Also we should take responsibility, explain to our people why he was living in Pakistan, for how long was he living in Pakistan.  Why we were not able to track him down before?

It’s not an era where you can assume that by remaining silent you can avoid the questions. Own the responsibility, own the actions we have to taken to stop the terrorism. President and prime-minister please take a leadership role.

{While our govt. is silent, Live updates are coming twitter from Sohaib Athar http://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual, it appears he was in Abbottabad and was tweeting the incidents without knowing what actually was going around.

Well he is on the New York Observer  Sohaib Athar: The Guy Who Live-Tweeted Osama Bin Laden’s Death}

It’s becoming more and more embarrassing by each minute,  according to Omar Waraich PMA was just a kilometer away from compound, even Hameed Gul is saying “That Bin Laden could be in Abbottabad unknown to authorities “is a bit amazing”” (guardian live blog).  Keeping mum will not wash away the huge embarrassement, tackle the issues that have created this embarassement.

 

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No, nothing Burned in Gainesville; only Candles of Unity were lit


I received an email from Pakistan asking whether Quran was burned or not? Email highlighted suspicion that Tery Jones of Dove Church went ahead with his plans and somehow Govt. of Pakistan is

blocking this news. This view was also part of column published by Express Pakistan, although author did not did anything to stop such suspicions.

So let me state, nothing was burned in Gainesville. That evening Gainesville saw one of the most amazing gathering, where citizens of Gainesville regardless of faith, beliefs, social statuses and views came together to celebrate diversity of Gainesville.  A vigil was held to represent Unity and Peace in community.  The news was covered by Sun Gainesville. When candles were lit and silence was held, the downtown plaza was looking heavenly, beautiful,…….

I don’t know about other cities, but following video is another example of  how people protested to stop Quran Burning.  If you go till end, a Muslim guy tells us about people who placed their hands on the grill.

The person who emailed me has emailed back telling they have confirmation somewhere Quran was burned and they are going to protest. I want to tell everyone, protesting is your right but when you protest do remember these people. When you shout anti—— slogans, do shout slogans in the praise of these people. Let’s spread peace and harmony, let’s balance our stories of Dove Church with the stories of Trinity Church of Gainesville, Jewish Rabbi in Gainesville,  Veteran for peace and hundreds of faceless people, who stood not because they love Islam, but because they love humans regardless of their faith and views.

Peace

 

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