Month: July 2011

To market with terrorism

Jawed Naqvi THE fiendish worldview of Norway’s mass murderer shares a range of features with right-wing ideologues everywhere, not just with Hindu extremism, which he sees as an ally in a delusionary war with Muslims and Marxists. His hatred of Muslims may betray a narrow communal bias. But then, all religious extremists hate rival religions. It is Anders Behring Breivik’s hatred of Marxists, not so much of a religious foe, that betrays far more in common with Europe’s right-wing movements of the 1920s and after. And here the root is not spiritual but purely material, the kind that usually finds wide support from a combination of existing feudal and capitalist elites.

Media without dignity THE scandal surrounding the now defunct News of the World which has brought much embarrassment to the high and mighty in London will hopefully prove to be the proverbial watershed that the media in our globalised world badly needs. One positive result of the fall of Rupert Murdoch’s empire in Britain is that questions are being asked about the integrity of his 200 or so outlets that span several continents. Mercifully, the first bubble to burst was in a country known for its respect for the rule of law and human rights. Had a misdeed of this nature been committed by a media outlet in a country like Pakistan where governance is weak and the law flouted with impunity it would have been hastily covered up. In fact, accusing fingers would have been pointed at those wanting to muzzle the media.

What about the educators?

THE success of Pakistan’s education system is inextricably linked to good teachers. Motivated, skilled, competent and knowledgeable teachers can steer Pakistan out of its current education emergency. Time and again, shortcomings in teachers’ training have been highlighted, but instead of improving things have gone from bad to the worse. Obviously, traditional approaches and strategies are not working and the situation demands adopting innovative and creative ideas. In Pakistan, there are two broad types of training opportunities for prospective teachers and teachers i.e. pre-service and in-service. Pre-service educational institutions are meant to equip prospective teachers with the appropriate, modern and relevant tools and techniques of teaching, and upon successful completion of training they are issued certificates, diplomas and Master’s degrees. via What about the educators?.

A tacit admission?

THE statement by Gen Javed Zia, Quetta corps commander, that the “army considers the killing of missing people an abhorrent act” is perhaps the first time that a senior military commander has directly addressed an issue that goes to the heart of the fifth insurgency in Balochistan: the `missing persons` whose bodies are appearing in so-called `kill and dump` operations over the past year. Gen Zia also made another remarkable statement, going so far as to say that `patriotic elements` had hit back against Baloch insurgents and those involved in desecrating the Pakistani flag. Was this a tacit admission that the ISI and the Frontier Corps have been involved in the extrajudicial killings, as independent and Baloch observers have repeatedly alleged? via A tacit admission?.

Shifting landscapes of citizenship

Christina Slade, 18 July 2011 About the author Christina Slade is Dean of Arts and Social Sciences at City University London, UK. In a time of globalization, the renaissance of cultural nationalism is remarkable. Classical countries of immigration, such as Australia, Canada and the United States, have been joined for the first time by the countries of western Europe in this strong global tide towards citizenship testing.

Economy of Well-Being?

Carol Graham, 16 July 2011 About the author Carol Graham is senior fellow and Charles Robinson Chair at the Brookings Institution. She is author of Happiness Around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires (OUP, 2010) and of The Pursuit of Happiness: Toward an Economy of Well-Being (The Brookings Institution Press, 2011 – forthcoming). At this year’s American Economics Association meetings in Denver, there were the usual panels on topics ranging from the global financial crisis to the real estate market. More unusual was a keynote session on whether happiness measures should replace GNP. The latter was written up (rather skeptically) by The Wall Street Journal. That same month there was a similar panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos, with Jeffrey Sachs, the once wunderkind of free markets, calling for happiness as the next United Nations Millennium Development Goal. That session was written up (less skeptically) by The New York Times. What is the world coming to?

Killing Karachi

BY FAISAL KAPADIA ON JULY 18TH, 2011 A few days ago, I was running for my life; something so many of us take in our stride now in the city of Karachi. The lanes behind my office at M.A. Jinnah road had exploded with violence and there was gun fire from building corners and roof tops as all of us closed down shops/offices and ran on foot wherever we could to escape. There was no time to think about what was going on and contemplate any outcomes. Not until we reached the safety of our homes.