Honouring Asma Jahangir’s legacy

My piece on several memorial meetings held for the late Asma Jahangir in New York and Boston over the past couple of weeks. Published simultaneously in The News on Sunday and The Wire, 8 Oct 2018

AJ-Asia Society panel.png

Lyse Doucet moderating the panel at Asia Society. Screen grab from video.

Honouring Asma Jahangir’s legacy

Beena Sarwar

At a time when universal fundamental human rights values are under attack from fascist forces everywhere, an enduring lesson from Asma Jahangir remains: do your homework, stand your ground, and carry on. Continue reading

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Solidarity with pro-democracy activists #India #Bangladesh #SouthAsia #FreeShahidul

“…In a coordinated operation… several well known academics, lawyers, writers, poets, priests and journalists have been arrested and their homes raided by the police”… 
(Note, 31 August 2018: added video below)
India arrests-threat

This extract from a statement titled ‘Fascism at our doorstep‘ by Women Against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS) against the ongoing raids in India against democracy and rights activists applies elsewhere too. So do the words of Prof. Badri Raina in Delhi who writes in The Wire, “the grave fault of the human rights activists who have just been arrested is that they share knowledge of the provisions of the constitution of India with Indian citizens who, despite seven decades of practicing democracy, have remained disenfranchised from the promises of constitutional democracy”.

Below, an update from friends of Shahidul Alam, the detained photojournalist languishing in prison in Dhaka about whom I’ve written before. He is still denied the legal procedures and rights that he has fought for all his life. This is not a time to be silent.

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P. Sainath – upcoming talks in America

Sainath-MIT1aThe eminent journalist P. Sainath, author of the groundbreaking collection of reports Everybody Loves a Good Drought, is headed to the USA from his base in India. He will give a series of talks at various campuses about his work and the unique, empowering, online journalistic endeavour he launched last year, the People’s Archive of Rural India – PARI. Worth going to hear him speak if you are in the area. See my article about him: Travels though history with a rural archivist.

Campus times and dates below, with some posters by a PARI volunteer. Continue reading

Tenth Hamza Alavi Memorial Lecture, Dec 18, 2011, Karachi

Hamza Alavi: eminent sociologist, addressed issues of nationality, gender and fundamentalism

Ayesha Siddiqa: political analyst, author of Military Inc.

The Tenth Hamza Alavi Memorial Lecture (free and open to the public)
Keynote speaker: Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa – Bringing Change in Praetorian State (see her recent essay in EPW on Pakistan’s Modernity: Between the Military and MilitancySunday, Dec 18, 2011, at 4.00 pm
Venue: Dr. Zaki Hasan Auditorium, Jinnah Medical & Dental College, Shaheed-e-Millet Road, Karachi.
Chair: Dr. Jaffar Ahmed;  Introduction of Speaker: Dr. Mohd Ali Siddiqi
Followed by high tea (thanks to Dr. Tariq Sohail).
The lecture, published by the Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences, will be available for just Rs.30 per copy. Donations to this cause are always welcome. Please make cheques out to the National Council of Academics, mailing address D 61, Blo0ck 2, Clifton, Karachi 75600

‘Life Goes on: Women Dead in Karachi Stampede’

Poverty and desperation coupled with private charity being distributed in a chaotic manner led to nearly 20 women and girls being killed in a stampede in Old Karachi on Sept 14. The Dawn aptly headlined its report ‘Crushed by poverty’. See also Shahid Husain’s report in The News ‘Food security is a fundamental human right’.

Free flour was being distributed in a busy neighbourhood when the stampede happened [AFP]
Free flour was being distributed in a busy neighbourhood when the stampede happened [AFP]

Below, temporal’s poem for the women who died, posted in Baithak:
‘Life Goes on: Women Dead in Karachi Stampede’
is nay kiya yeh
nahiN
oos nay kiya yeh
aisa nahiN kerna chahiyay thaa
waisa nahiN kerna chahiyay thaa

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Three ‘9/11’s…

9/11: Anis Mansoori of FM 103 in his live talk show today brought up the  significance of two 9/11s – Sept 11, 1948, when Mohammad Ali Jinnah breathed his last, and Sept 11, 2001 when two planes crashed into New York’s Twin Towers, catalysing a spiral of violence from which we have yet to emerge. My comment was that if successive Pakistani governments had not discarded Jinnah’s vision and headed down the ‘jihadi’ path at the behest of America in its fight against the USSR in Afghanistan, perhaps the second ‘9/11’ would not have happened.

Another 9/11 to remember: Allende ousted

Another 9/11 to remember: Allende ousted

And Mohsin Sayeed reminds me about another 9/11, in 1973 – the US-backed military coup in Chile, that removed the world’s first elected Marxist government. “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its people,” said Henry Kissinger about the coup.

The deposed Dr Salvadore Allende was killed and Gen. Pinochet  unleashed a reign of terror and massacred between 32,000 to 80,000 people…

Asif Ali Zardari – another perspective

Image from Pak Teahouse where the post was also shared (and drew some thoughtful comments)

Image from Pak Teahouse where the post was also shared (and drew some thoughtful comments)

The confessions of Brig Imtiaz have forced other intelligence officers to admit their role in destroying democracy in Pakistan, and establishing that Zardari’s name has been trashed for about 20 years to force Benazir Bhutto out of politics and to destroy the credibility of Pakistan People’s Party, writes Bilal Qureshi in his article Asif Ali Zardari – President of Pakistan, posted at the blog he edits Pakistan Foreign Policy.

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