Daily Archives: June 25, 2009

Pakistan the Vanquisher

Sudeshna Guha Roy

One day you will see that it all has finally come together.

What you have always wished for has finally come to be.

You will look back and laugh at what has passed and you will ask yourself, “How did I get through all of that?”

Just never let go of hope.

Just never quit dreaming.

And never let love depart from your life.

Jancarl Campi Continue reading

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The Politics of Burqah and Secularism

By Michelle Goldberg

On Monday, Nicolas Sarkozy became the first French president since Charles Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte to address the Parliament, thanks to recent reforms that scrapped a 19th-century law meant to protect the independence of the legislature. Given the occasion, it was rather odd that Sarkozy’s strongest words were reserved for denouncing a garment that hardly any women in France wear. The burqa, he said, “is a sign of the subjugation, of the submission, of women.” It is, he added, “not welcome in France.” Headscarves have been banned in French schools since 2004. Now Sarkozy wants to go much further, banning burqas, loose, full-body veils that cover women entirely, as well as niqabs, or face veils, from being worn anywhere in public.
This was partly a rebuke to Obama, who outraged the French with parts of his Cairo speech. When Obama said that he rejects “the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal,” many people in France heard a shot at the country’s republican laïcité, which demands that faith be wholly relegated to the private sphere. “There was a “great outcry and a sense of being gravely insulted,” says Joan Scott, a historian at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and author of the 2007 book The Politics of the Veil. “I think you can’t read Sarkozy’s words as anything but a response to that.”
Perhaps more important than the anger itself was the opportunity it created, giving Sarkozy a chance to reach out to the anti-immigrant French right without offending the left. Continue reading

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On walls – the fences around us

Posted by Raza Rumi

I received this letter from Lila Thadani that was an impassioned statement in response to Nadeem ul Haque’s article on building a security wall around Lahore’s privileged locality – GOR-I . Nadeem ul Haq’s piece is also posted below which by itself makes a poignant point. However, these exchanges are not conflictual – they are complementary and supportive in the sense that they bring out the key imbalances of the federation called Pakistan.

Dear Mr Nadeem ul Haq et al:

I support your plea to pull down the pointless walls meant to provide a safe enclosures for Punjab’s Babus.  But aren’t you being a tad bit parochial; there are so many more important walls to be pulled down, particularly the invisible ones that lie in the minds of people, stopping them from seeing good sense, and encouraging their selfish instincts.

Your historic megacity city lacks a public tranport system, nor does the capital or for that matter any city in Pakistan.  The traffic you have going through the GOR is because you have too many rich cats in cars.  Your beloved Lahori, Kamran Lashari, whom you exported to Islamabad helped ruin it and wasted money on roads, which would have been better spent on starting a half-decent public transport enterprise.  It is time you had basic environmental science taught in your Services Academy and at least your elite private schools. Continue reading

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Pak-Iran relations: elections and beyond?

Pak-Iran relations: elections and beyond?

Bradistan Calling

It is an interesting time on the young street of Iran. Youth are expecting a victory against the clergy. The Prague spring is in the air. The cities are green in the colour of change proposed by reformist candidate Mir Hussain Mousuvi. How far this HOPE and CHANGE can go, only time will tell?

PIPFPD: Pakistan -Iran people’s forum for Progress and Democracy

The Pakistani-Indian people to people friendship society with the same initials started its work nearly two decades ago, when the Pak-Indian subcontinent was under dark clouds of war hysteria and animosity. Thinking back, those times seem a century rather than a decade back. Pakistani and Indian actors, musicians, journalists, business people and human rights activists made this venture such a resounding success that the politicians, on both sides, had to follow in their foot steps. Continue reading

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