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Paradise lost

Raza Rumi narrates two tales of radicalization


Paradise lost


Writing about domestic help is distasteful as it means Pakistan’s obsession with ‘servants’ crosses the comfort zones of living rooms and travels into the printed lines. With much trepidation I plan to tell the readers about my own experience with a young helper who arrived from Pakistan’s Hazara area into my home a few years ago. Jabbar, a school dropout, had ambitions from day one and I spent the first few months convincing him that to liberate himself from a life-long career of domestic drudgery he would need to complete his education.

In my great moment of overcoming the middle class guilt, I found Jabbar a tutor and his formal education was resumed. He completed his Matriculation and Intermediate diplomas as a private school and did reasonably well given his circumstances and initial schooling. These days, he is enrolled as a graduate student and hopefully will find a better job than servicing my household needs. […]

Pakistan loses young Facebook friends

Raza Rumi was quoted by the Australian here:
The Lahore High Court banned access to the social networking site on Wednesday after conservative Islamic lawyers argued the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day page was blasphemous. Hours later the state extended the ban to YouTube and by Thursday morning BlackBerry services had been pulled as fusty bureaucrats got wise to its Facebook application.
Before the end of the day BlackBerry services were restored under pressure from corporate and political heavyweights who, notwithstanding their religious devotion, drew the line at interference with business.
“Text messaging and Facebook are incredibly important in Pakistan because they are the only way many young people can keep in touch and form relationships,” said Lahore-based blogger and TV producer Farzana Fiaz. “There are no clubs or pubs here. Socially it’s very segregated and if you’re seen talking to a boy neighbours will talk and it could get you into a lot of trouble.”
Ms Fiaz, a British-born Pakistani, said she was torn. “I have seen on Facebook (she has found a way around the ban) that a lot of my younger, more liberal friends are totally opposed to the ban and see it as an infringement of their civil liberties and even their human rights,” she said.
Raza Rumi, editor of liberal Friday Times and founder of the e-zine Pakistan Tea House, described the ban as “ludicrous”. He had no argument that the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day campaign – reportedly a response to death threats against the South Park TV show creators for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit – was offensive to Muslims. […]
May 22nd, 2010|media, Pakistan|4 Comments

Pakistan seethes on Twitter, Blackberry ban

I was quoted here , here and here

Islamabad :  Pakistanis are hopping mad following the ban on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter and the blocking of Blackberry services in the wake of a controversy over a contest featuring blasphemous caricatures of Prophet Mohammed.

Raza Rumi, the editor of a popular ezine, described the banning of Blackberry services as “absolute madness”.

However, on the other hand, the hardline Islamists are out in the streets protesting the anti-Prophet Mohammed cartoons competition that is denigrating their religion, they say. […]

May 22nd, 2010|Extremism, Islam, Islamophobia, Pakistan|8 Comments