And the winner is…

Standard

Image

Photo courtesy Sanwal Tariq (Facebook)

The entire world watches on and waits with bated breath for the results of ANTM (Afghanistan’s next top man) and three main contenders have emerged as the leading candidates in what is to be Afghanistan’s first democratic transition. We have the people’s champion, Abdullah Abdullah, “with a name so nice, you have to say it twice”. Contesting against him is the good doctor Ashraf Ghani, who will seemingly use debate and logical arguments to thwart the Taliban (we all know how well that works). And the third horse is the one being backed by the outgoing president, the ‘king’s man’, Mr Zalimai Rasoul.

Our people’s champion is a well-known politician, who is well received by the Afghani public, judging from the 31% of the votes he got in the presidential elections of 2009. While he is experienced in international diplomacy, and as Foreign Minister was responsible for broadening ties with the global community, his plans to tackle terrorism and fix the security situation in the country are still a mystery. He has advised the Taliban to change their ways if they are to be brought into the fold of the rest of society through dialogue, which is like telling a dog to stop using its nose to formulate likes and dislikes.  His election campaign is centered around putting the lid on corruption in the country.

The doctor is an academic and an intellectual, and is famous for his economic acumen alongside his self-imposed exile during the Taliban years. Believed to be temperamental and on occasion, volatile, it remains to be seen whether he is as inconsistent as his potential predecessor Karzai. For the good of Afghanistan and the world at large, it is hoped that he is not.

The last frontrunner, is our king’s man and is seemingly experienced in issues of national security. Whether he manages to break free from the yoke of the old government and all of its failings still remains to be seen.

It must not be forgotten that amid all this, the BSA hangs in the balance, and the next President will decide whether US troops are to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Whichever candidate is selected, it is imperative that Afghanistan is not left on its own with untrained security forces to fight the battle-hardened Taliban. But with the way things stand, one man’s decision will decide the outcome of the drawn-out war on terror, and we can only hope that Afghanistan chooses the right man for the job.

Advertisements

The First of March

Standard

ImageLike glittering pixels,Image

the floor shines,

rippling as the wind blows,

a mirrored light.

As the gentle breeze caresses your flushed cheeks,

a warmth emanates from the core of your bosom,

Imagewhen you think of the of the pink blossoms,Image

or the fluffy skies.

Good morning dear, sweet sparrow,

welcome baby leaves,

and a Hello to you,

                                                                               the First of March.

Mob mentality

Standard

Another temple was burned down, this time in Larkana, by a mob that lost control over yet another fake blasphemy charge against a Hindu. Imagine being constantly scared and feeling vulnerable and alien in your own country, in a sea of people that have nothing but disdain for what you stand for. Imagine an eid, or any other day of festivity where you cannot celebrate for fear of being attacked by an ignorant mob over some trumped up charges that have nothing to do with you. This is how the religious minorities in Pakistan feel on a daily basis. The blasphemy laws are to blame once more, being used for all the wrong reasons to take advantage of the inferior status ascribed to being part of a religious minority.

How is an organized mob created anyway? In a mob, there is no responsibility, no reprisal for any atrocities committed. There are no faces. There is bravery in numbers. Pitchforks and fire is the only image that comes to mind. The mob does not need facts, only allegations. The mob functions on the basis of outlining an ‘us’ with an opposing ‘them’. Those that are left out are easier to dehumanize and subsequently attack, if needed.

The biggest problem with any democracy is that it can potentially establish a tyranny of the majority and oppress those that do not identify themselves with the biggest group. Our country though divided along many lines, still calls itself an Islamic nation. Everybody else, those that have different beliefs and even those who are perceived as deviating from the ‘norms’ (what these are is debatable) are second-class citizens. This is not the first incident, and nor will it be the last. When minorities are left completely unprotected by the government, the people are free to exploit them in any way they see fit.

The only way Pakistan can begin to improve the status of minorities is through repealing a law designed to oppress the freedom of expression. Can a law really stop people from committing blasphemy? There is no real way to assess when blasphemy has been committed. And a mob can never pronounce judgments, let alone on something this subjective. All religions inherently contradict each other. Those that believe that their religion is the one true religion should be secure in their own knowledge and should attempt to rise above anything they perceive as insulting. We are no longer in the dark ages, and a law made to facilitate elaborate witch hunts has no place in the modern world.

Sights on Campus II

Standard

A continuation of the wonderful pictures taken by Azal Zahir!

 

A delicate flower with the backdrop of the sunset.

A delicate flower with the backdrop of the sunset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

View from the basketball court.

View from the basketball court.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tree with the purple flowers.

The tree with the purple flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring in LSE!

Spring in LSE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Basketball Court during the foggy winters..

The Basketball Court during the foggy winters..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walking down the pathway towards Main Cafe.

Walking down the pathway towards Main Cafe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Near the Media Center.

Near the Media Center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broader horizons: The sun shines upon the Media Center.

Broader horizons: The sun shines upon the Media Center.

 

Fluttering Wings

Standard

Right to Ricochet

Is it like when winter wind blows?
No matter now for no one knows
My eyes dart from darkness to darkness
In my trembling body, my fright shows

I hear voices, echoing screams
And something white, a light it seems
Fluttering wings I vaguely see
Like those I remember from the first of my dreams

It is time to leave this cave of darkness
To a place where nothing dwells but lightness
I am no longer what I knew myself to be
Spirit of the heavens; my new identity

View original post

Four chords that made a million

Standard
Four chords that made a million

People express themselves in different ways. Self-expression takes up a unique and interesting form for each individual. Whether it is the conventional use of words (more appropriate for the eloquent) or with the help of the seven colours, everyone has their own personal arsenal. For me, the best way has been through music or rather, by playing music. The instrument of choice for me has been the guitar. It all started 9 years ago when I bought my first guitar and it has been a crazy, to say the least, journey since then. During the summer I took guitar lessons for 2 months and after that, it was a year after year routine of sitting in front of the computer screen for countless hours, looking up tutorials to learn the songs that had inspired me to pick up the guitar. Today, this is going to help me finish a college project and frankly, let me show off a little. Two birds with one stone, right?

Apart from the initial push, I am a self-taught guitarist. I studied some basic music theory, as much as I could on my own, after which all the pieces fell in their own respective places. Besides that, it was just hours long of practice that helped me unlock the ethereal world of music. In retrospect, all those sore fingers were well worth it and my battle wounds; the callouses on my fingers (I love being dramatic) are a constant reminder of how nothing is served to you on a silver platter. For me, playing music is an incredible way to express because by toying with several genres, I have been able to vent a wide spectrum of moods just by picking up my guitar and letting the chords do all the “talking” for me.

Now that I have filled you in with my arduous quest to enlightenment, let’s get down to business. I will be done with college in a few weeks. It has been 4 insane years at LSE. Unfortunately, the “London wala nahi, Lahore wala” LSE is not the best college in the world (surprise, surprise). But at the end of the day, you have to make do with what you have. These were 4 important years of my life and like everything else, it had to end some day (thank God).

These are very rough because my playing is rusty these days. Apologies.

 

This is an instrumental and it is called “Farewell Ballad”, originally by Zakk Wylde, which I’ve played over a backing track with a little improvisation. It is my way of saying goodbye to college. So yeah, I bid you farewell, LSE.

 

One the greatest rock solos of all time. “Stairway to heaven” was one of the songs that inspired me to learn the instrument. Thank you Led Zeppelin and Jimmy Page for creating such a powerful piece of music.

 

Here’s a beautiful song, called “Babe I’m gonna leave you”. Just because I felt like giving this post an acoustic touch as well.

And She Knew No More

Standard

Right to Ricochet

By Fatima Ebadat Khan

“Get up! You worthless woman! Get up now!” the drunken shouts of Tehmina’s husband mingled with her terrified, blood curling screams of last night echoed in her ears.
As her eyes snapped open, it took her a minute or two to take in her surroundings. She found herself lying on the cold marble floor, wearing what remained of her already tattered clothes, which were now in shreds.
430118_10151457176686016_1001086695_n
Tehmina tried to lift herself up but regretted this almost immediately as this slight movement made every nerve in her body twist and agonizing pain rippled through her body. Screams escaped her lips as she mustered the strength to lift herself from the floor. At once she collapsed onto the hard sofa. Tehmina peered at the blackish – blue bruises that her husband had inflicted upon her in his last night’s fit of rage. Carefully avoiding her face and…

View original post 450 more words

They Do Not Leave

Standard

By Myra Jafri

 

They leave without a trace –

No fleeting embrace,

No peck on the cheek or a squeeze of the hand,

No warm whispering breath bidding you farewell.

But you can hear them still

   In the lull of leaves,

      In the whirling of winds,

         In the tossing of tides –

You can hear them.

You can smell them still

   In the just-watered grass,

      In the rusting of brass –

You can smell them.

You can see them still

   In the searing sun,

      In the dusty clouds,

         In a flickering flame –

You can see them.

They do not leave.

   They have simply set sail,

      Trailing behind them pieces of themselves

For us to keep.

Image

 (Dedicated to Nana Abu)