Beggar at Ghazi Chowk


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Babar Sattar:

We’ll have to acknowledge that our national security apparatus still doesn’t see non-state actors as the single largest threat to Pakistani citizens; that our national security mindset has still not rid itself of the illogical belief that religion-inspired hatemongering non-state actors can be harnessed and used in pursuit of national security goals; that what it perceives as an implementation issue is a design fault.1

There’s a lot of point blank common sense in there that needs to be a more prominent part of Pakistan’s national discourse. I disagree with minor things, such as if the US’s waging two wars was either unpopular or praiseworthy (at least in the manner in which they were waged and whether they achieved what in Babar Sattar’s portrayal is the primary objective of protecting their citizens).2 But the general point is very true and very pertinent, the Pakistani state needs to clearly identify its goals, which should be to further the well being of its citizens and needs honest leaders to do so.

  1. This last sentence appeals very much to me as a geek. 
  2. My problem here is not necessarily that I disagree that the wars’ primary goal was to protect American citizens, but that this portrayal seems to mask other prominent goals of the war, such as maintaining American hegemony. 

Monday, 1 July 2013

The theme resounding through my last two weeks has been that I know so little. I know so little Arabic, and I know so little about Oman, and I know so little about God and humanity and the world and who we are in it, what we are doing and why. But I am learning. I am thankful and happy to learn. I am learning SO MUCH, and it helps to be humble and quiet and recognize that I am not here to teach anything, to tell anyone what to do, to judge or preach or even report (my aspiring-journalist self thought for a second of pitching stories to several publications. Then I realized, wait, I don’t even understand Oman at all. I’ve barely scratched the surface. How presumptuous it would be to write about what’s going on here. It’d be like that time when some Columbia kid wrote a column in the Daily Prince about eating clubs, and everyone was like WHAT DO YOU EVEN KNOW… SERIOUSLY… hahaha sigh), but to be a sister and student and friend.

I felt this way at a bookstore a few days ago. Simultaneously enthralled by all the ideas and terrified at my ignorance of them. Was hoping to write something about this feeling but that now seems redundant.