Posted on April 21, 2017 by beenasarwar
Like many, I feel shattered and heartbroken by the brutal murder of the university student Mashal Khan. In this op-ed published in The News, April 19, 2017, I try to contextualise the tragedy, share my observations about changes underway and suggest a way forward. Copied below with additional links and visuals. Please also sign and share this online petition: Pakistan Against Extremism: Minimum Common Agenda. Continue reading
Filed under: Blasphemy Laws, Violence in the name of religion | Tagged: #MuslimBan, 295-C, blasphemy, cow vigilantism, democratic political process, Gen. Zia, Gojra, justice, Mashal Khan, najeeb zafar, qadri, salmaan taseer, shama shehzad, Trump | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 30, 2017 by beenasarwar
Morse School students use ribbons to express their support for immigrant families.
I wrote this piece after a discussion with fourth and fifth graders at a public school in Cambridge MA; slightly different versions published in the Cambridge Chronicle and The News on Sunday. The students’ desire to be “in the news” reflects what I believe is one of journalism’s key roles – to ensure that the voices of the under-represented get heard. The selfie-culture sweeping the world isn’t just about narcissism. It speaks to the human need to be affirmed and remembered. I was here. See me. Hear me.
By Beena Sarwar
“Did you see our ribbons? They are for immigrant families,” says Emma, one of half a dozen 9 and 10-year olds I’m talking to about journalism on a bitterly cold weekend in March.
Filed under: Art and activism, democratic political process, Media, Uncategorized | Tagged: 24/7 news, Education, journalism, Media, public school, Trump | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 12, 2016 by beenasarwar
My column in Himal Southasian, published 10 June 2016 – Harsh Mander on why we should raise our voice against injustice
By Beena Sarwar
Harsh Mander: Committed, consistent and soft-spoken. Photo: Beena Sarwar
Cross-border solidarity isn’t exactly a new idea. The rallying cry, “Proletarians of all countries, unite!…” that emerged in 1848 from The Communist Manifesto has resounded around the globe in many forms since it was first articulated.
Meeting Harsh Mander, one of India’s foremost activist-intellectuals and a courageous former civil servant, again revived the idea for me, but this time, beyond workers. I had first met the soft-spoken Mander in Karachi, when I worked for Geo TV. He had been part of a small delegation from India visiting Pakistan in early 2004, a visit aimed at improving understanding between India and Pakistan, organised by the social-cultural group Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD). Continue reading
Filed under: Freedom of expression, Gujarat 2002, Human rights | Tagged: #StandWithJNU, anhad, Arundhati Roy, Bhaghat Singh, gujarat 2002, harsh mander, Islamophobia, JNU, Modi, Trump | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 21, 2015 by beenasarwar
Rev. Joe Robinson of the Christ Church of Cambridge addressing the gathering in solidarity with Peshawar APS victims, and Muslims. Photo: Beena Sarwar
Last Sunday as we geared up to commemorate the Peshawar APS massacre of Dec 16, 2014, when Taliban killed 144 schoolchildren, a bomb blast in Shia-majority Parachinar at the lunda bazar (second-hand market) killed over 22 people, most of them poor. We talked about that at our gathering that afternoon at Harvard Square where Reverend Joe Robinson and members of the Christ Church in Cambridge joined us in solidarity, as did many others from the local Pakistani and Indian communities. Rabbi Neal Gold of Temple Shir Tikvah couldn’t join us but we read out his letter of support and solidarity to the Islamic Center of Boston.
Many friends joined us from another rally in Providence, R.I., an hour away, attended by some 3-400 people of all faiths, including Muslim, Jewish, Christian and agnostics.
Here’s a link to a piece I wrote for Scroll.in on the issue: #NeverForget: A year after Peshawar school attack, voices rise in solidarity around the world
Filed under: 'War on terror', Violence in the name of religion | Tagged: #NeverForget, Christ Church, interfaith, Rabbi Neal Gold, Temple Shirtikvah, Trump | 1 Comment »