Saturday, 19 April 2014

The weekly round up

So, here it is, ladies and gents, the long-awaited weekly round up, a summary of all that I found interesting and great online.

Marquez, the great magic realist, passes away

This is a great article from NPR: "Writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Who Gave Voice To Latin America, Dies. " 

It was interesting to read about his grandparents' influence, especially his grandmother. I also read a bit of his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize for the first time.


His novels were filled with miraculous and enchanting events and characters; love and madness; wars, politics, dreams and death. And everything he had written, Garcia Marquez once said, he knew or heard before he was 8 years old.

"I write mostly about the reality I know, about the reality of Latin America," Garcia Marquez said. "Any interpretation of this reality in literature must be political. I cannot escape my own ideology when I interpret reality in my books; it's inseparable."

"Garcia Marquez is speaking about all the people who are marginal to history, who have not had a voice," Dorfman says. "He gives a voice to all those who died. He gives a voice to all those who are not born yet. He gives a voice to Latin America."

This is the first line from One Hundred Years of Solitude:

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. At that time, Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point."

We studied this novel in high school and, as with it is all the subjects, most of it you didn't understand at the time but much later. I remember our teacher explaining to us the way magic realism worked especially when describing so many deaths. He was actually the political dimensions of the writing, too. 

I feel very close to Marquez also because I read Love in the Time of Cholera over and over again when I first fell in love. Every line spoke to me. 

What amazes me about Marquez's writing is it so beautiful translated. Imagine its beauty in the original language Marquez wrote in: Spanish. 


Satire on Pakistani fashion shows

Read this excellent satire "Fashion, destroying Pakistan from within." 

Apple jokes

Literary cartoons by Tom Gauld

I subscribe to Brain Pickings on Facebook and, often come across the most delightfully varied collection of articles. This one is "Tom Gauld’s Brilliant Literary Cartoons Blur the Artificial Line Between 'High' and 'Pop' Culture."

Mush Mush

General Pervez Musharraf, the 10th President of Pakistan who came to power through a coup, was indicted by a special court on 31 March 2014 for subverting the constitution. It will be the first time a military dictator - Pakistan had three - is going to be tried for staging a coup.

See an article:

The Musharraf Drama by Ayesha Siddiqa: "To start with, General Musharraf is a hot favourite with the Saudis to whom Mian Nawaz Sharif is indebted for saving his life and much more. Pakistan has increasingly begun to look like an attached territory of Saudi Arabia in which the Kingdom will invest in bringing to power the right government and helping it survive. 

Thus, all of a sudden, people wonder why earlier martial laws are not being challenged or that Musharraf was not the only scoundrel in town in 2007 and others must be tried as well. Moreover, given that some elements of the religious right, including the Taliban, seem to be the only ones with an interest in sending the former dictator to hell, it makes for even lesser interest in the case. In Pakistan, it is not about what’s right but which side you are playing for. Musharraf will be the centre of a long and painful drama but is not likely to get punished."

The Indian elections

On Modi admitting he is married:

An amusing nugget about India's elections "22 Reasons India’s Election Is The World’s Greatest Soap Opera."

Terrorist attack in Islamabad

Baloch separatists claim Islamabad terror attack; 24 killed  

TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid apparently condemned the blast in Islamabad and said the death of civilians in the attack was regrettable. Did anyone else find this ironic? Disgustingly ironic? 

Banda kicks Madonna's ass

Malawai's president Banda wrote a point by point rant about Madonna's antics. It's pretty brilliant. See here.

Does Madonna even deserve a response by a sitting head of state? Yes. 

My favourite points are 3 and 9:

3. Granted, Madonna has adopted two children from Malawi. According to the record, this gesture was humanitarian and of her accord. It, therefore, comes across as strange and depressing that for a humanitarian act, prompted only by her, Madonna wants Malawi to be forever chained to the obligation of gratitude. Kindness, as far as its ordinary meaning is concerned, is free and anonymous. If it can't be free and silent, it is not kindness; it is something else. Blackmail is the closest it becomes.

9. For her to accuse Mrs. Oponyo for indiscretions that have clearly arisen from her personal frustrations that her ego has not been massaged by the state is uncouth, and speaks volumes of a musician who desperately thinks she must generate recognition by bullying state officials instead of playing decent music on the stage.


I love love love this song "London Thumakda". I can't wait to see the movie. 

Can you believe I (me, an ardent movie buff) haven't been to the cinema even once since I've been on holiday here in Islamabad? And, we actually have a cinema in town, now. 

World War Z: a pro or anti Israeli movie? 

I finally watched "World War Z" one evening after Kavita succumbed to sleep. The film has been criticised for its pro-Israeli stance. I must agree with it. Was there any way to see the apartheid wall? There is really no other way to interpret the film. Otherwise, a very enjoyable zombie film. I loved the part where the UN is trying to convince Brat Pitt to go back into the field and, that he was the only guy who could do it. After all, he'd been there during the Liberian Civil War! 

I found this article "Where the Z Stands for Zionism". This article pretty much thinks the movie is pro-Israeli. See an excerpt:

"What happens next is jaw dropping in is audacity. Warmbrunn reveals that the walls around Israel (which in real life are apartheid walls), were actually re-designed to create a fortress to protect humanity from the coming zombie threat. Not just a fortress for Israelis, but for everyone. He shows Gerry an open checkpoint where the benevolent Israelis are allowing Arabs to immigrate into Israel for safety. We see Arabs passing through an open border, warmly greeted in brotherhood by Israelis. Israeli flags and Palestinian flags fly in harmony. This is pure liberal fantasy, and one that erases the Palestinian struggle. In this film, real-life walls of apartheid are shown to be not only necessary, but an act of tremendous benevolence, enabling racial harmony."

A friend of mine posted the following comment on my status on FB:

big disagree! one of the movie's awesome messages was that 'in times of crisis, the bad regimes might work better, due to total lack of human rights etc.' - which is a fair point and stimulates thinking, for example regarding consequentialist versus deontological models of ethics. remember, the other country successfully combating the virus by pulling teeth of all of its citizens was north korea. i have no problem with comparing the two  a very find irony was that as soon as the middle east conflict finds a peaceful solution (ie arabs and israelis singing loudly), the world as we knew it collapses and zombie hordes break in....

I mean, is it really a clever critique? A double irony? 

Darth Vader announces he will run in the elections in Ukraine

This is the most bizarre news. Darth Vader was chosen by an Internet Party as a candidate. Darth Vader said, "I alone can make an empire out of a republic, to restore former glory, to return lost territories and pride for this country," Vader said in a party statement.


This is SO TRUE!


I really loved this particular meme about raising children. We encourage girls to be strong and ambitious, values often ascribed to men. But boys are not taught to be sensitive, loving, kind and nurturing the way we teach our girls to be. 

This one is apparently Hillary Clinton's quote. I have not been much of a Hillary Clinton fan myself. Is it because she is portrayed as a too ambitious female politician? Is it because she forgave her husband? I don't know. Maybe because I'm not really crazy about American politicians. 

A miniature painting series by Kausar Iqbal depicting women in burqa. See here

Game of Thrones

The 4th Season of Game of Thrones has arrived! So a teacher decides to threaten her noisy students with spoilers if they don't behave! Very brilliant. 

And, speaking of, I loved this:

Peter Dinklage's performance in Game of Thrones is brilliant. It is moving, touching, powerful and so nuanced. 

By the way, I caught up on all the seasons on DVD. The Red Wedding episode was spectacular. I hlelplessly cried as Catelyn Stark pleaded for her son's life and finally when her throat was slit too. 

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