Badri Raina’s marvelous Professor Higgins poem (But the ‘Equality idea’ ain’t dead)

Prof. Higgins haranguing Eliza in My Fair Lady

Another marvelous poem by Badri Raina in Delhi, published in ZNet, referencing Prof. Henry Higgins’ famous line in the musical My Fair Lady based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion. I will differ from Badri ji only to humbly offer that far from being dead, the ‘Equality idea’ is alive and kicking. It is in fact the growing prevalence of this idea that so threatens the beneficiaries of oppressive systems that they feel compelled to churn up fascism and bigotry, that get amplified in the news and social media. Am I wrong? 

Remembering Professor Higgins

We raised eyebrows when Higgins asked
“why can’t a woman be more like a man?”
Look how whole nations now build upon
That thought in the Professor’s brain. Continue reading

Press Freedom: Challenges to journalism go beyond violence and commercial threats

Indian journalist and trade unionist Sabina Inderjit and others at the conference. Photo: Beena Sarwar

After I attended a media conference in Poland in June last year where I also presented a paper on digital and traditional media, an old friend and colleague from Lahore asked me to write a short report about it for his media outlet Dispatch News Desk. Shared below, belatedly, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day. p.s. DND, which has a presence in Central Asia, also published the report in Russian.

Journalists at media conference vow to uphold journalistic values and ethics

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Reflections on fascism, autocracy, media and the democratic political process

fullsizeoutput_153PRINCETON BLOG: Something I wrote for my class blog at Princeton University where I taught a journalism seminar this past semester, based on a lecture soon after the US Presidential elections, by Egyptian journalist Yasmine El-Rashidi, a fellow visiting Ferris Professor of Journalism with the University’s Council of Humanities

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#ChapelHillShooting All lives matter. “Terrorism, their’s and our’s”

Deah, Yosur, Razan#‎AllLivesMatter‬ My heart goes out to the family and friends of Deah, Yosur, and Razan, the beautiful young people whose lives were so cruelly snatched in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, ostensibly over a ‘parking dispute’.

It’s not front page or breaking news in the US mainstream media the way that racial killings or murders committed by Muslims make the news. Those defending the media in this case say that the murders were not motivated by Islamophobia, and that to highlight the religion of those involved is to create conflict. Continue reading

US visa weirdness

Visa delayed was visa (virtually) denied, in the case of Dr Umar Saif, who missed the conference at MIT where he was being honoured as a TR35 winner

Not that other countries don’t have increasingly stringent visa laws, but as Jason Pontin said “I’m not looking to those countries for standards and openness but to the US”. The quote ended up not being used in the final version of the report I did for the new web publication Latitude NewsVisa void perplexes Pakistanis, which could have been titled ‘Visa delayed is visa (virtually) denied’, which is the case when you can’t make it to a meeting or a conference because of the delay, as in the case of Dr Umar Saif… Of course, there are security concerns, and things are getting better, thanks to the efforts of many organisations working with the State Department, but the uncertainty continues. Read more

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