‘These women are just misandrists, not feminists. Feminism is just a charade for them to hide their hatred for us poor, humble and innocent men. I am a feminist too, and being a man I understand far better what feminism stands for, as well as what women suffer. She is just an imbecile who thinks she understands and knows too much. But ask me, I know, she is just a misandrist. She is a radical feminist, probably a lesbian who needs some. She hates men. She wants women to be treated better than men’.I just got done watching 'Stoning of Soraya M' and I realized how every day some woman suffers for the mere fact that she was born with the 'wrong gender'. But the world only hears when the crime against the woman is too atrocious and obvious and of the highest order. Be it female infanticide, honor killing, rape etc. Mental abuse, harassment at workplace or in public areas, domestic violence, marital rape and much more goes unnoticed and unheard.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Monday, December 19, 2011
Sunday, December 18, 2011
- Reactionary #atheists' logic: #Muslims are wrong to be #patriotic in their country, but wrong again for not being patriotic in adopted ones.
- Islamophobe #atheist #logic: I am all for freedom of speech but I should not be called an Islamophobe by the 'apologists'.
- #Misogynist #Atheist #logic: I am a feminist too being logical and all, but women ‘do’ tend to over-react.
- #Cultish #Atheist #logic1: #Muslims are crazy to defend prophet; Dawkins is a genius, who disagrees, is an illogical fool.
- #Cultish #Atheist #logic2: #Muslims think everyone should read and follow Quran…. Did you read ‘The God Delusion’.
- Judgmental #Atheist: I hate that I am judged for not being religious; #believers are so dumb to not question religion.
Friday, October 21, 2011
These are a few things I have been observing for some time on different Facebook groups. And apparently, yes I need to get a life instead of being so much concerned about Facebook groups that I write about their socio-political conditions.
As facebook is increasingly becoming an integral part of our life, we have now started mirroring what we go through in our society every day. However, in a much civilized manner, where instead of guns and knives, we use bullets made of words, laced with venom and vitriol. The current trends of 'your group' against mine, makes me think of gangwars in LA or Karachi. People post something in a hidden, insinuating manner against someone (in a few cases directly too - Like graffitti in another gang's area) which pits two groups against each other. Your friends and his friends battle it out with their scathing and cutting words.
But has anybody noticed that often in these rapid fire rounds, people who post the most are the ones who are otherwise dormant? It seems the one's who have the least to contribute intellectually are the active ones when it is about controversy and gossip. An interesting phenomenon in my opinion. It is fun too in some ways.
In the whole fiasco also emerge the wannabes who would go after admins of a group to create anarchy and indulge in self promotion. They either want to be an admin, or have someone to promote as an admin. Interesting bunch of people mostly.
Just for trolls
Then there are those 'fake' profiles that crop up in these wars too, with weird emo images from kissing animes to wrist cutting and controversial or famous celebrity images. They are the worst in my opinion. The trolls. Being anonymous gives them an added advantage over the others and they can troll beyond limits. These kinds come with an extra bag of arrows. I sometimes wonder if they are some so-called friends to know so much about the other group per say, that they are capable of washing the dirty laundry out in the open.
This kind wants to participate in the gangwar to make it stop without taking sides. They would try to be the sage, giving advise left right and center despite knowing that their comments are flashing in front of blind eyes (cannot use deaf ears here).
These people are opportunists. They wait until the gangwar subsides enough so they can give their sales pitch. Mostly their objective is getting recruits and attention. Delivering a few googlies against admins of the rival group is also an often used tactic.
Emotional blackmailers slash lecturers
These can actually be categorized under various forms including emo-wannabes, emo-trolls, emo-pacifists and emo-opportunists. They like giving emotional lectures about how one should behave and not be like others. Actually, that's pretty much their rhetoric. Not be like others. Nothing less, nothing more. It's such a general way of addressing any issue, that one cannot even argue with them.
And these are the best kind. They have no two thoughts rubbing against each other in their head, or at least that's how it appears. The motto of their existence on any group is to just agree with everything. Often they exist only to increase the number of likes on the 'Opportunists' posts, and are a part of the rival 'gangs' entourage.
Incessant likers who never post
These people hardly read much in my opinion and are an extension of the previous category. What are their reasons for liking everything are varied; they might be only letting everyone know of their existence; they are intimidated; confused but want to show they know whats going on; or they just do so for the heck of it.
And last, but not the least are rebels and the misfits. They are never much liked and usually take the brunt of most of it. They are the cause of discussions, controversies, fights and at times even work as punching bags, specially for the opportunists.
I suppose this is enough for now. I'll add more when I observe any more anomalies in this cyber social world of ours.
PS I forgot the 'Don't give a damn' types. Come to think of it, they most probably have a life beyond internet and Facebook.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Until today I thought only Disney and Warner Brothers were capable of subliminal messages, hidden in the frames of their cartoons and animations. But a real human-like (not CGI) cartoon actually took the cup when he had the guts to show up on electronic media and sing a song for the Army. “Burqay may rehnay do, burqa na uthao,” Bhai has in the past given epic performances, providing plenty to talk about. This time though, he even out did himself. This was as subliminal as it can get in the Pakistani narrative.
There are actually several great things about this whole charade. Let’s start with some here, and whoever chances to read my blog, can add more in the comments section.
1- Bhai kept the private channels from showing squabbles between different political parties while providing ‘quality’ entertainment to all and sundry.
2- He indulged in a sit-down comedy while his party offices acquired by goons, my bad, volunteers and activists all over Karachi were being raided by Rangers.
3- He threatened the Army to take off the ‘veil’ if his butt isn’t saved from the British police.
4- Diverted the public enough to make the Army look like the harmless savior it claims to be.
5- And last but not the least he along with his Rabita Committee gave a go ahead, and sealed the fate of their unwanted and not-so-useful-anymore members.
Yesterdays shenanigans are a proof that the magic hat is still with the Army and it can pull out as many rabbits as it wants. So let’s hail ‘Bhai’ as the savior for the minorities, Ahmedis, poor serfs and last but not the least, the Pakistan Army.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Saturday, August 6, 2011
2,300+ miles covered in 36 hours
This is a long overdue blog. The post for my first ever long drive and that too cross country had been pending for some time, well to be exact more than a month. It was something I had hoped of doing several times, but never knew when. So when I had this chance to move to California for a job, I took it. It taught me about my own capabilities, driving skills and things that I never knew I could pull through. That too when my morale had already been down with so many scary stories about cars getting totaled, skidding off-shoulders, getting rear-ended or simply stalling on a lonely stretch of road, I was pretty apprehensive by the time I actually drove. However, having a good reliable and in my case new car, helped a lot.
The car was good on gas and did not give any problems what so ever at any point. It would do almost a 100 miles/quarter tank if I was able to maintain a good speed. The only problem with me though was, despite a GPS I at times took wrong exits and turns. Which sometimes brought me a surprise, like that exit in Iowa combined with a wrong turn which took me into a cornfield. But I still made the most of it and found a nice place to stay the first night of my road spree. A place called Comfort Inn, clean, safe, filled with friendly people and equipped with a wifi service. It was peaceful there, and I wished I could stay there longer. But comes morning and I was on the road again.
However, this part of the drive was more tricky as the velocity of wind was extremely high and I had to hold the steering wheel with both hands. Refueling in Colorado had been a huge problem too, cause the gas station was on top of a hill and it kept pushing me around (no exaggeration here), each step I took I would be pushed an inch or two backwards. The place was pretty friendly and people were curious and asked a lot of questions when they saw my number plate and me walking alone with nobody with me despite being brown (:P).
The second day turned out to be pretty hectic, specially as I reached the Colorado Springs area. Having almost no experience to drive the car on a mountainous terrain it was difficult and exhausting as I had already been driving almost 10 hours. So when I could not take it any more I found the closest hotel to stay the night. It was called The Peck House and was located in the small town of Empire in Clear Creek County. The house was built in 1862 and was filled with antique furniture. The architecture was very interesting as well. The architect in me loved staying at the place and the nature enthusiast bubbled over with joy looking at the views in the surroundings.
|The Peck House|
The town was named for the great state of New York, this small town expected to be as great an empire someday. Gold and Silver mines abounded between 1858 & 1865, and many fled the turmoil of the East to stake a claim. Among them was James Peck and his 3 teenage sons.
The view of the mountains and valley from the front porch of the house. The Porch was lined with humming bird feeders which came one after another as the sun gradually hid behind the mountains. The place reminded me of Kashmir very forcefully. There was a similar view of the valley where I lived in Bagh after the 2006 earthquake. My first thought when I arrived was that I have found Bagh in the US.They came in 1860 to build their house so the other family members might follow. In 1862, Mary Grace Parsons Peck brought the family goods by oxcart and joined her family. Soon investors for their mines arrived from the East and Mrs. Peck became a full time innkeeper and cook.
The stay at The Peck House was great with great food and a wonderful hostess. It was after reaching my apartment and while doing my research on the house that I found out it is said to be haunted, which added to the allure of the place.
|Rustic garage or barn|
Close by was a stream and a rickety wooden bridge with a sign that said ‘trespassing private property’. So all thought of crossing over washed away.
I resumed my journey the next morning despite wanting to extend my stay; however I regretted that within half an hour as I got my first ever speeding ticket while going downhill near a small town.
It kept me depressed for may be an hour or two at the most, but the view was so inspiring that all the depression went out the window pretty soon.
The drive through Colorado, through Utah, Nevada, Arizona all the way to California was great filled with many beautiful and picturesque valleys, mountains and canyons. The third day I stayed at the Oak Tree Inn, in a small motel Yermo, San Bernardino County, California. It was a wonderful place too. And since I had to wait another day for my apartment to be ready, I went to see the Calico Ghost Town (Will blog about it some other time). After staying two nights in Yermo, I finally arrived in Corona at noon and moved in to my new apartment in 2 hours. Happy Ending!!! :P
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Religion has become almost an obsession despite one believes in it or not. It seems no matter where one goes or lives, it still plays a role in everyday life. If not as a ritualistic routine, as some important news detail which leaves the mind boggled with the far reaching implications it may have. This is a blog related to the news item being referred here.
Reading it is pretty simple; a Mormon family demanding the right to practice their own religion. Not demanding recognition only a right. This right includes indulging in polygamy, which is a practice for which Muslims have been shunned by feminists, Catholics, Hindus, Jews etc. My fear is, if the Mormons win the case, it will pave the way for Muslims too. So this fear led me to find out a little more on religious freedom and the extent of rights to practice.
In the United States, the religious civil liberties are guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The "Establishment Clause," stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion," is generally read to prohibit the Federal government from establishing a national church ("religion") or excessively involving itself in religion, particularly to the benefit of one religion over another. Following the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and through the doctrine of incorporation, this restriction is held to be applicable to state governments as well.
The "Free Exercise Clause" states that Congress cannot "prohibit the free exercise" of religious practices. The Supreme Court of the United States has consistently held, however, that the right to free exercise of religion is not absolute. For example, in the 1800s, some of the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traditionally practiced polygamy, yet in Reynolds vs United States (1879), the Supreme Court upheld the criminal conviction of one of these members under a federal law banning polygamy. The Court reasoned that to do otherwise would set precedent for a full range of religious beliefs including those as extreme as human sacrifice. The Court stated that "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices."
It was reassuring to say the least. Hopefully, the case will be lost by the family. But it leaves me wondering where the State draws a line and on what grounds. There are women who indulge in this practice and do not mind. They are okay about sharing their husbands. What difference is between these women and the women in France who happily done the hijab and consider the ban, an intrusion on religious freedom. What about the liberals who support their right for doing so? Do they also support the right of the women who are happy with polygamous marriages? Or they would merely deny that there is any link at all between the two?
The question becomes if a woman is happy in polygamy, why should she not be allowed to do so? How do we decide on what aspects a person is allowed the pursuit of happiness and on what she/he is not.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
One reason could be that the stories are often only related by word of mouth and therefore can easily be considered rumors. If these are just rumors, they could be used to exploit the youth by the interest groups. If they are not rumors, it shows the tribal mentality still prevalent in our society where dishonoring women is just a part of an all out war, in which women do not even have a say. They are just a tool, used by the enemy to feel powerful and make the other party feel weak and dishonored. There could other factors too which must not be over looked, and that is some traditional Pathans buy a woman to get married. This could be a perfect opportunity for them to get a wife at no cost nevertheless this could not be the only reason for them to indulge in this activity.
Another question to ask could be why are the parents’ not reporting if this is happening? I suppose there are many reasons for that too; Shame, dishonor, fear of being ostracized, illegal resident status (in case of Bangladeshi families) and the 'ghairat' syndrome, which has more value than a woman herself. Combine everything together and we have unreported rapes, molestations, and abductions etc of women. Although many people may disagree since politically moticated issues always get highlighted by the media, citing the case of Mukhtara Mai and Shazia Marri, can anybody honestly feel that these are the only two political rape/abduction cases in Pakistan against women? These may be the two most reported cases, but not the only ones. The media needs to verify these stories or to put the rumors at rest so that the negative elements do not use it to further escalate the already deteriorated conditions in the city.
The first such story was related in February 2008 by an old Baloch woman resident of Lyari. She was concerned about the moral deprivation of the youth and said, “I am shocked how they can steal from the same guy who provided them with food at no cost when they did not have any money. Not only that, they even picked girls from their houses.” What she said could be an exaggeration, one may never find out.
Another incident was reported by some relatives, a husband and wife, who were passing through SITE Industrial Area and witnessed the abduction of three women factory workers by some men in a Suzuki pickup. Their guess was they were Baloch and Makrani men.
Now this is July 2011 and the same kinds of stories are pouring in from Katti Pahari and Qasba Colony, Orangi Town. According to our Dhobi, he witnessed a stranded bus from which some Pathan men picked up the Urdu-speaking girls and the rest of their mob beat up whoever tried to resist or save them. The police standing nearby merely watched, since they probably had no orders to act. While some other men too witnessed similar incidents in the area, there is still a blackout in the news about these incidents. There is not even a report putting to rest such rumors.
Whether these stories are true or not, they remind one of the gory pre-partition stories written by Saadat Hassan Manto.
I’ll start with gems by Chief Minister Balochistan Aslam Raisani:
“Inshallah hum unko… Bamboo karaingay”
“Degree degree hoti hai, asli ho ya naqli..”.. Actually this one has a few other gems.
“Sardi sardi hoti hai chahay winter ho chahay garmi ho.”
Since TV channels have already done a good job on the esteemed minister with Bollywood songs and clips. Lets now have a look at PPP former federal Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi, who asked an innocent question. “Kya corruption par hamara haq nahi hai?”
He goes on to demand for a quota system in corruption.
And here we have former federal minister for law and human rights Wasi Zafar, who talks about some big arm getting somewhere?
There are many other videos and clips on Youtube for a lot of other idiosyncrasies our politicians are involved in. But I will end this post with Dr Zulfiqar Mirza’s claims about Urdu-speaking being “Bhookay Nangay” on their arrival to the country they sacrificed most of their wealth and some of their families for. It is a serious offence, however, one cannot deny the funny expressions on the faces of the people around him, or the constipated expression on Shahi Syed’s face.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
When economic progress is equated to getting out sourced businesses, destruction of an existing social fabric cannot be avoided. This is a three year old discussion turned argument with a friend, who claimed that third world countries will progress and thrive for the next few decades because of the call centers. My opinion at that time was (and still is) it is a short term thing and will have more repercussions then advantages due to several reasons.
My reasons were pretty simple, though for many it may sound totally unparalleled and unrelated. I saw it happening on a different scale in an isolated mountain community after a disaster. After the 2005 Earthquake struck Kashmir, several hundred international organizations (IO)s and NGOs rushed in to provide relief and support to the vulnerable public. It showed dedication and commitment on part of the rest of the world, and meant opportunity for the locals.
Work for masons, carpenters, laborers etc was plenty to be had and that too at a wage twice or thrice of what they usually received from their own community. So, there was a rush of a large workforce from all over Pakistan towards the destructed region. However, it soon started to backfire because while the NGOs and IOs had well-paid workers, the common people who actually needed work to be done, could no longer afford the market rate of a mason or carpenter. Also, as the foreigners started to gradually trickle out of the region, many workers’ dissatisfaction with local conditions, especially the normalization of wages forced them to migrate to cities like Karachi, Peshawar and Pindi. So, instead of staying in the disaster areas and implementing what they learnt regarding the construction of Earthquake Resistant buildings they ended up leaving the region leaving the people to mostly build for themselves or to use whatever labor force was left. Anyway, before I digress too much.
The problem with call centers is on a larger scale with the additional baggage of being in a stagnant situation progress and skill wise. On a call center floor, there’s hardly enough room to move forward in any direction, unless one is really lucky. Moreover, in countries like Pakistan and India it works like a vicious cycle. Once you get in, there’s no way out. Reminds me of a line from Hotel California, “You can checkout any time you like, but you can never leave.” The major reason why it’s a cycle is, call centers despite requiring very little skill, pay more than the skilled jobs in these countries, so once a person gets used to the pay scale they cannot return to the paltry sum they get as, let’s say as an entry level junior Architect or Civil Engineer.
This in turn leads to social problems, dissatisfaction, and alienation, to mention a few. On the other hand, there is also this constant threat of the outsourcing businesses deciding to move back their offshore offices. Which, I do think will happen ultimately since training new recruits again and again in foreign countries will become a costly burden. We may have an endless supply of new recruits, but the supply of money is limited. It will become expensive to train a new customer service agent, telemarketer every 6 months then having a stable worker at the main office, who also does not have any accent problems. How long it will take for all this to happen? In my estimation, definitely not a few decades, rather not even one.
And also, let’s not forget the havoc it wrecks on the economies of the countries like the US, where the unemployment rate has reached an all time high of 9.1% this year. While the people in the first world are being pacified with more and more discounts on consumer goods and services, their jobs are being sent offshore so some college student can get new Nike shoes or a Gucci bag.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Is it just me or people are actually not as much hyped about Google+ anymore? According to the Google+ discussion forum, tempers are flaring at Google not letting in even the people with invites and new users who are excited to try out the service. A few are even predicting that the excitement will die out by the time Google opens the floodgates. This scarcity, demand/supply thing can work only for so much.
After trying for a week I finally got in on Google+ at around 6pm Pacific Time. My friends who tried to login between 6pm to 9pm got in. But the ones’, who tried logging in after that, were unable to do so. So, what am I supposed to do here when most of my friends are on Facebook?
It seems that not being able to get more friends soon will be the death of Google+.
After all, it’s a Social Network not an anti-Social network. As long as my friends are unable to use Google+ am sticking with Facebook.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Here is my tirade about the Google+ project. I know, I know. This is not what I write about in general and am no tech geek or such. I am not even using Google+ yet, the invite is not working ($%#@%$%). However, I am an avid Google user, from Google being my favorite search engine, to Gmail (both personal and for work), Google Docs, Google Latitude, Google Maps, Google Labs, Picasa, Picnik, Blogger, Youtube, Google Sites, Google Analytics, Android. These are all my daily tools for work and personal use, while there are the occasional services like Google Sketchup, Reader, Books, Google Earth etc. The only thing I have been using apart from Google is Facebook, and though I do like Facebook, in the past year or so I have been unhappy with its privacy policies. This was the same reason I stopped using Orkut and moved to Facebook. Orkut privacy policies sucked, and it seemed to be a place only for people with hormonal problems or substance abuse tendencies.
I have also already fallen in love with the Circles concept, layout and the maneuverability. Perhaps because only 2 or so weeks ago I had been discussing with this friend of mine about the single wall Facebook offers us and the way the privacy lists are setup. It takes a minimum of 5 clicks to share something on the wall with a specific list on Facebook. I had thought having multiple walls could have solved the issue. And it seems Google+ did exactly that, although the number of clicks is 4, only one short of what one had to do on Facebook, the layout looks more comfortable and easier to manage.
The option to upload from Picasa makes it easier to integrate albums directly onto the profile, and share with exactly the people you want to share with. I see this as having endless possibilities once Google integrates the other services that we are already using. It would be great if there is an option to import Facebook albums, links, videos, groups and pages directly to Google+ as well. But, perhaps that’s hoping for a bit too much. :P
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Day 1 after May 1st
“Hello Paki. How are you today?” With a smirk.
Me: I am pretty well. Glad they finally got Osama.
“Yeah, from Pakistan.” With a smile from one corner of the face to another. “Nobody should trust you guys.”
“You know, our politicians already knew this, but US won’t listen to us.”
Me: Well at least he is dead now. (Why can my boss not call me right now?)
“India should be allowed to clear Pakistan of jihadis, US cannot do so. Just give Modi a chance.”
Me: That is highly unlikely, cause we can allow US troops, Afghan smugglers and Jihadis trained by CIA and MOSAD to run freely in Pakistan. But not Indians. You know, it is about Pakistan’s sovereignty.
“Yes, which recently got shattered when US lead this operation near Islamabad.”
Finally the boss calls.
“You are Indian?” Expression clearly says, just say no.
Me: No I am from Pakistan.
“Yes, Pakistan. I know, that is where they killed Osama. You guys had been hiding him for 10 years.”
Me: I guess you can say the extremist elements in the army and the ISI were involved.
“Are you kidding me? Do you think anybody can believe that it was just the army and the intelligence? He was living there for so long. Did he never go out to see doctors? He was pretty sick you know. People must have seen him too. But nobody reported. I saw on Fox News that Pakistanis are protesting against the US for carrying out the operation.”
Me: Excuse me, I have work to do.
“What do you think of Osama’s death? Do you believe like other conspiracy theorists that he was killed 7 years ago?”
Me: I don’t really know. I only wish Pakistan was not involved in it.
“I understand. Its not the people who do these things. It is the corrupt generals and politicians.”
Finally, I can sit back and not feel guilty about the whole thing. Until.....
“Is it common to throw acid on women in Pakistan?”
Me: Some people do it out of anger and for revenge, but it is not a tradition.
“How can you speak English?”
Me: I went to an English medium school.
“They don’t let girls go to school either.”
Me: In tribal areas it can happen.
These and many more questions are an indication that Pakistan is only understood from the political news perspective. Real people with real lives hardly make 2% of this country. What it is mostly known as is a hub for gun wielding bearded nut-jobs with a few ‘Achmeds’ and many ‘black penguins’, sorry ‘burka women’. Interestingly, even people from Middle East think of Pakistan as more backward then themselves.