12/5/09 Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? When we conceived of Chay Magazine, we did not imagine that we would lack for content about heterosexual life – heterosexual love, heterosexual sexuality, marriage, divorce, dating, harassment. We were expecting all of these things. What’s more, we were really worried about finding enough content by or about anyone who wasn’t straight. Gosh, we were wrong.
1/8/08 All About the Conversation Now is as good a time as any to talk about things we think are important. We want to start a conversation that we have heard snippets of in living rooms and grocery stores, on TV talk shows and in long form dramas, in the domestic difficulties of people we know and the shocking scandalous travails of people we don’t know, except through rumour mill.
4/4/09 Collateral Damage: Protesting the Swat Flogging Before this news came to light, a protest was announced for Saturday afternoon, “against terrorism.” It was organized by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the Women’s Action Forum and various organizations the represent Pakistani civil society. When this video starting appearing on the news channels, SMS messages went around to the effect that, given the flogging of this girl, whose name is reported to be Chand Bibi, it is even more important for us to protest.
15/3/09 Long March This morning, no one believed that anyone would get out of Lahore. Right now, at 10 pm Pakistan Standard Time, there are cars and buses on the Grand Trunk Road headed to Islamabad with a hastily assembled change of clothes and their spirits high. According to television news, the police is attempting to block this movement as well, by placing cargo containers that are better used to transport goods to and from the ports, in the path of the marchers. Islamabad itself is blockaded. The prime minister secretariat and in fact the entire federal complex is a fortress, surrounded by a continuous wall of cargo containers that is quite impenetrable.
3/3/09 Sri Lankan Cricket Players Attacked in Pakistan Analysts are saying that this is a “Mumbai-style” attack, with backpacks, which means that it is Lashkar-e-Tayyaba; that RAW, the Indian intelligence service, is “mullawiss”, embroiled, in it; that this has never happened before in Pakistan, the targeting of sportsmen and sports fans – well, except in Peshawar that one time. The noxiousness of the notion that we are shocked – shocked, I say! – to discover that there is violence going on in this establishment! Or of immediately rushing to the conclusion that, as with all the evils befalling Pakistan, Indian intelligence is supposedly involved. It just defies sense.
21/1/09 President of the World: Obama and Muslims This is unfortunate. Because when the President addresses “The Muslim World” as a monolith, this being the same President you voted for because he inspired you to put your cynicism down for a second and really imagine a push for actual justice, nationally and internationally – when you hear him lump an embarrassment of diverse cultures into a single entity, you have to wonder how inflated that balloon of hope can get before it bursts.
10/12/08 After Mumbai: India, Pakistan Staring Across the Border They didn’t escape and “radical Islam” or whatever we’re calling it this week won another major victory. A death toll of over one hundred and fifty people and a flurry of posturing between India and Pakistan over who’s responsible and who will pay and whose intelligence should have picked up whose murdering citizenry in their wretched dinghy in the water.
21/9/08 The Islamabad Mariott Over the years, that building has acquired thicker and thicker skin. Coats of paint and concrete blockades have built up on it until you can only park far across the road or in the next city block in order to come in for their conferences, or weddings, or expensive Thai food, or bad local booze. Rich people go to the Marriott; poor people guard them.
13/9/08 American Incursions into Pakistan: Who Pays the Price?
6/9/08 Asif Ali Zardari: Woe to Pakistan?
8/11/07 Police Crack Down on Protestors At around 8 a.m. today, November 5, 2007, lawyers and civil society gathered in the central courtyard of the Lahore High Court to protest the imposition of martial law, the oath-taking by certain judges of the superior courts under the new Provisional Constitutional Order and the arrests of at least 500 lawyers and citizens since the new coup began on November 3.
23/7/07 The Media take on the ‘She-couple‘ It was good for a while. TV was becoming a playground for free speech. Begum Nawazish Ali, a cross-dressing talk show host, asked real questions of real people while wearing fake breasts and heavy make-up. Sex was sneaking into the public conversation after 20-odd years of exile and we were beginning to see AIDS awareness ads in all types of media that talked about the merits of protected sex, hetero- and homosexual. The moderation of the Musharraf regime was enlightening us all.
5/3/06 Pakistan Bans Blogspot According to BBCUrdu.com, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has instructed all internet service providers to block twelve websites that have republished the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. Among them is one blog on Blog*Spot. In answer to this, all major ISPs (if not all) have blocked the entire domain, blogspot.com, from Pakistan. No one in Pakistan can access any blogs on that domain.
24/2/06 Muslim Profanities Did it matter that these were the Imams? Did it matter that they were the descendents of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him? Did it matter that they had been leaders of a whole community of Muslims? That swarms of Muslims pick up their lives and their dreams, their prayers and their anguish, and come to these graves to bless the memory of these dead, and their own dead, to pray for themselves and their loved ones, to commune?
2/3/04 Ashura: Atonement, Mourning and Return And tell me if you see this: there is a procession of men, bare-chested and bloody; a circle of women, wild-haired, black-clad; and everything is noisy. Ritual mourning is a state of being, sacred as a fast, hard work. Controlled, deliberate mourning for a purpose – sham-e-ghariban – have you heard the story? Doesn’t it hurt? Can’t you feel your throat dry when Yazid’s army cuts off the water and the babies cry? Can’t you hear the dead Hussein cry for his daughter to come find him in the dark of the battlefield? Doesn’t every part of you say, ‘That was RasulAllah’s grandson! Where was Yazid’s shame?’