Sunday, 15 February 2015

Weekly Round Up

have not updated my Weekly Round Up since forever. At least since October. So, here goes! 

Jon Stewart leaves the Daily Show

This is fitting tribute to the contribution Jon Stewart made to satire: "No more late nights: " Few genres on television are more reliably disappointing than cable news and the late-night talk show. One delivers very little news; the other delivers very little pleasure. Yet when, sixteen years ago, the comedian Jon Stewart took over “The Daily Show,” he did something radical: he took the two formats and reformatted them, creating a series that was not merely useful and funny but emotionally powerful.

It made me think of recent discussions and debates everyone has been having since the Charlie hedbo attacks and the limits of expression and, difference between satire and racism. 

The value of humour and satire in society is intrinsic and absolutely necessary. But satire needs to be seen as fair and not attacking those who do not control power, influence and wealth. 

Beghairat Brigade's new video

And, it is fantastic: Paisay Ki Game

Coming out

My dear friend posted posted a video of her coming out at the Sparks Talks and particularly her experience as an NGO worker. It is truly inspiring and I think my friend is brave, so articulate, passionate, and sincere. 


The Universe

I love this view on the meaning of life by none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson. Actually, I love how it so eloquently demolishes the logic of a universe with a purpose. Please see it, it is brilliant. 

How to identify a potential Jihadi

The French came up with a brilliant chart to help you find out if you have any Jihadi tendencies. See here:  "Chart: Are you a jihadist? The French government made this checklist." I reserve my comments. 

Punjabi poets

Every time I read about the Partition from the other side, any time I see a non-ideological take on the Partition,  I get an ache in my heart. Read this "The feminine metaphor:" 
Punjabi poetics is unique in adopting the feminine metaphor. From our classics to contemporary poets, the most intimate and challenging verses resonate in this naturalised voice. Female protagonists of our Qissa (epics) poets from Damodar Das to Ghulam Haider Mastana are not only self-assuring and assertive but are full of defiance against male authority and a martialised society. 
Najm Hosain Syed summed up this power of choice and rejection assumed by women in a striking one liner: “She stands outsides the cycles of time and society”. 
Punjab owes all the beauties and colours of its folklore exclusively to its womenfolk. This was the art that kept us enriched and sustained us through centuries of compressions, invasions and annexations. Those nameless women poets of the Punjab narrated our collective consciousness and protected our native identity. 
Punjab owes all the beauties and colours of its folklore exclusively to its womenfolk. This was the art that kept us enriched and sustained us through centuries of compressions, invasions and annexations. Those nameless women poets of the Punjab narrated our collective consciousness and protected our native identity. 
Pain and agony of all these uprooted daughters of the West Punjab was captured by Parbhjot Kaur in one of her remarkable poems. She was born in Langrial, district Gujrat and earned her graduation from Khalsa College for Women, Lahore before partition. Her poem Janam BhooN di Yaad Vich (In the memory of my birthplace) opens with a whimper...

Sindh bleeds 

Once again, a horrific attack on worshippers in a mosque, a so-called place of peace and harmony, has filled the headlines leaving us feeling angry, helpless and even  more jaded.

See this Dawn editorial "An expanding war:" 

AS though caught in a grotesque time loop, the same spectacle plays out over and over again. This time in an imambargah in Shikarpur, where yesterday’s bomb explosion after Friday prayers killed around 50 people and injured scores, many of them critically.It is also damning evidence of how misgovernance compounded by state inertia can provide space for extremist elements to insidiously widen their influence. Over the past few years, critical, telling signs of the drift towards radicalisation and religious disharmony in Sindh have been ignored.
A number of Hindu temples have been desecrated and there is a rising crescendo alleging forced conversions of Hindu girls. Deobandi sectarian groups have become increasingly assertive in what is traditionally a Barelvi ethos.Exploiting the wilful neglect of the education sector, madressahs have proliferated, enrolling droves of children from poor families and enabling them to absorb their divisive ideologies. The vacuum of governance that exists in Sindh does not bode well for controlling the sectarian forces that have entrenched themselves there, and the Shikarpur bombing may mark the trajectory of a yet deadlier chapter in extremist violence in Pakistan.
Pakistan's Ideology

Read Rusting anchor: The creation & mutation of a national ideology by Nadeem F. Paracha.

The Logical Indian

I love the Logical Indian's page on Facebook. See this post which turns common notions about masculinity, rape and sexuality on their head:

Violence against women in pop lyrics

I am really glad to read this piece, Watch this college student blast Honey Singh's misogynistic lyrics with her own rap, because there are more people out there who are disturbed and disgusted by not only how cheap Bollywood's film's music has become but also how it seems to celebrate misogyny, stupidity,  and materialism:

Verma takes on Honey Singh's catchy tunes with some rap of her own, using his own lyrics to assert what she isn't: "I am not an afterthought, I am not an overpriced sweater in Zara, I'm not an ambraan di queen or a kudi namkeen... I am not blue eyes, hypnotise. Mein choti dress mein bomb nahin lagti, yaar. I am not a woofer and you sure as hell ain't my amplifier, what are you a f***king transformer? And dear Honey Singh, if you feed my dog a nashe-wali biskoot, I will cut you up."


Ebola - why are we blaming the victims? was very interesting because it related to the social mobilisation project that I am involved with at Mercy Corps:  
“African culture” – cute if you’re a tourist, catastrophic when you want to put a lid on Ebola, or so some international health experts and media coverage of the outbreak would have us believe.
Why do people persist with risky funeral rites, eat Ebola-harbouring bush meat, and occasionally attack the very health workers sent to help, the news reports leave us wondering. What is the value of “traditional beliefs” when they are harmful: why can’t people just act more rationally?
We need to revise our sense of collective history

….and acknowledge other atrocities than just the holocaust. When are we going to start acknowledging colonial atrocities? 

Read "The Bengal Famine: How the British engineered the worst genocide in human history for profit": 

Winston Churchill, the hallowed British War prime minister who saved Europe from a monster like Hitler was disturbingly callous about the roaring famine that was swallowing Bengal’s population. He casually diverted the supplies of medical aid and food that was being dispatched to the starving victims to the already well supplied soldiers of Europe. When entreated upon he said, “Famine or no famine, Indians will breed like rabbits.” The Delhi Government sent a telegram painting to him a picture of the horrible devastation and the number of people who had died. His only response was, “Then why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?”

Apartheid Wall

As the world celebrates the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago on 9 November, let's not forget the wall the apartheid state of Israel erected. 

The Berlin Wall was 96 miles long and the average height was between 3-4 metres. Do you know Israel’s Wall is more than 4 times the length of the Berlin Wall, standing at almost 400 miles and in some areas it is twice the height?

Nobel Peace Prize

It looks like the Nobel Peace Prize committee finally got it right. One could gush about the joint prize on and on: that it was won by a young brave girl and a middle-aged man who had fought for children's rights all his life, that it was won by a Pakistani and an Indian, that they both independently were working for the most important beings in our world, children. 

My heart really was bursting with pride knowing a fellow Pakistani was going to be honoured with one of the most prestigious awards in the world. 

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