A quick clarification on Pakistan and Pakistanis

There’s a misunderstanding I’ve seen popping up again that has always been there my entire life but maybe because my novel Written in the Stars is partly set in Pakistan, the misunderstanding is coming up more and more again lately so I wanted to just address it:

1) Contrary to popular opinion, Pakistanis are not Middle Easterners. The Middle East is located in Western Asia. Pakistanis are from South Asia. We are South Asian.

2) Similarly, while there are many diverse languages spoken in Pakistan, Arabic is not a language indigenous to Pakistan. You might hear a Pakistani speaking in Urdu or Punjabi but Pakistanis [unless they specifically sought it out to learn as a second language like you might take Spanish or French] don’t speak Arabic.

So that’s it in a nutshell: Pakistanis are not Middle Easterners. We don’t speak Arabic.

Thank you!

Saudi Arabia-led coalition forces have resumed their airstrikes on Sana'a, following a mostly successful five-day pause in their seven weeks of fighting with Yemen’s Houthi militias

The Saudi-led coalition has been conducting air strikes against the Houthis and their allies since March 26 with the aim of restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Hadi, was forced into exile when the Houthi fighters took control of large parts of Yemen, including the capital.

More than 1,800 people — mostly civilians — have died and another 500, 000 people have been displaced in fighting so far.

Power plants, fixed line and mobile telecommunications networks are out of service in many cities in Yemen. The country is being forced to ration oil. In multiple areas, this has meant cutting all electricity, and telecommunication services, including the Internet.

- Read our Special Coverage

What if the Iranians are ´people too?

It was rational for Iran to seek a nuclear deterrent. The US had already toppled a democratically-elected Iranian government and replaced it with an autocrat. They were able to regain their independence, and since then they have been treated as a total pariah. Two neighboring countries were subsequently invaded by the US simultaneously, after the US had declared Iran to be part of the “Axis of Evil.” They could also see that the US helped to overthrow the government of Libya after Libya had given up its nuclear ambitions and become a “good citizen” in the “international community.” It would be insane for a country in that position not to seek the ultimate weapons trump card to prevent an invasion, because an invasion is literally the worst thing that can happen to a country.

Iran is not going to commit national suicide to destroy Israel. Everyone knows Israel has a nuclear deterrent. The very fact that Iran was seeking a nuclear deterrent shows them to be rational actors, and so we have to conclude that they would also be rationally deterred by a nuclear deterrent.

Negotiating an end to the nuclear program was also rational. Creating a nuclear bomb takes a long time and is difficult to hide. It was becoming increasingly clear that Iran could not get across the nuclear finish line before their very efforts to deter a future invasion directly caused a present invasion. Hence, quite rationally, they sat down to negotiate with the most reasonable US president they were likely to get. It’s also in their interest to quite unambiguously comply with the agreement, because again, they are rational people who care about their country and don’t want to see it overrun and destroyed.

It is legitimate for a country to seek to influence events in its own region. People act as though Iranian influence in the Middle East is some nefarious and illegitimate agenda all rational people should oppose. In reality, Iran is in the Middle East. It is actually physically located there. It would be ridiculous for it not to seek to influence events that directly impinge upon it in physically contiguous countries. What’s more, Iran is a relatively rich and powerful country with a long history of taking a leadership role in what is, just to review, its own part of the world.

Colonialism is a terrible historical evil. We in the West are inclined to view the 20th Century as the story of overcoming the two great evils of Nazism and Communism, but everyone else would add a third item to that list: colonialism. Resentment toward colonialism is especially great in the Middle East given that the US continually meddles in their affairs, usually in hugely destructive ways, and given that the Middle East includes the most recently-established settler colony, which is itself backed up by the meddling imperial power. We’re always on the lookout for the next Hitler, but in the Middle East, they don’t have to be vigilant against one of the great 20th century evils because it is constantly ongoing. And the US is responsible for maintaining that situation!

At a Moroccan wedding in Marrakech, Morocco - April 2012
#morocco #marrakech #wedding #girl #fashion #style #clothes #dance #marriage #tradition #traditional #moroccan #africa #middleeast #islam #muslim #northafrica #tourist #travel #traveling #instatravel #explore #adventure #wanderlust #worldcaptures #global #sony #zeiss #zeiss #inmorocco


“Almost each day I spent in Kabul, there was an explosion or an attack from an armed group. But I soon realised that, despite the uncertainty and insecurity, the majority of Afghan life continues to be as close to normal as possible,” writes George Butler. 

Butler continues,“It was this Afghanistan that I found overwhelmingly inspirational to document. What saddened me was that so many of the articles and reports I read before I arrived – although consistently accurate in detail and honest in their approach – made me expect the worst. This was far from the case in the small parts of Afghanistan I saw, especially in the north and west, away from Helmand and other parts of the south and east, where most of the reports seen on our televisions in UK have come from.”

Drawings and excerpt from story by George Butler. Afghanistan, 2014.

View all the drawings and stories by Pulitzer Center grantee George Butler for his project “Afghanistan: WithDraw" 

Dropped off @laura_millan at work at #emp and walked up to #thecannibal! What a great selection of beer, offal, charcuterie and other rich, healthy, meaty grub! Loved the place at first sight. I had a lamb sausage plate with chickpeas, a great parsley salad, fennel and garlic top puree, and a chickpea caper salad – perfect light appetizer for a Middle Eastern cook dining solo.

I loves my farmhouse ale with the pigs head cuban too!!! What a great place.

#cannibal #meat #puerco #steak #offal #sausage #lamb #pernil #pigshead #sandwich #middleeast #middleeasternfood #cooksdayoff #beer #farmhouseale #fermentation (at The Cannibal)

Detail of “Caribbean no Kioku” painting, on wood, 4ft wide x 6ft high, available for sale. // Kioku means remembrance, memory. My work often explores the space and emotional nature of memory. Like dreams, I’m fascinated by what fragments stay with me, how the senses impact memory, and how emotions blend memories together from different times. This painting was one of a series done after I spent time living in Jordan and then Barbados. // Visit the link in my profile for more work. #turquoise #tiles #mosaic #blue #brooklyn #interiordesign #painting #art #meditative #abstract #middleeast #caribbean #islandlife

#royalblue bifold wallet done. This one is not flying but I’m handing to its owner.

#bifold #bifoldwallet #menswear #dapper #gentleman #luxury #love #gorgeous #blue #navyblue #crocodileskin #exoticskin #style #madetoorder #bespoke #accessory #handmade #handstitch #hermes #craftsmanship #crocbag #Shiang #Taiwan #Singapore #dubai #middleeast #gift #anniversary