Tag Archives: Socialism

My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues

An absolute must read for anyone in media and journalism

It was like coming full circle for veteran journalist and columnist Zubeida Mustafa for the launch of her book My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Saturday. “She worked here as a researcher first,” said Dr Masuma Hasan while introducing the journalist, admired and looked up by many present there at the PIIA library lining up for the author to sign their copies of the book. “Later she joined Dawn newspaper and that was really where she built her career,” Dr Masuma continued. Mohammad Ali Siddiqi, Dawn’s Readers’ Editor, joked that recently when in a piece published in the paper he referred to himself as “a Dawn man” he received much flak for it because readers wanted to know if the journalists in Dawn called themselves that then where did the women journalists fit in?

“So we had it corrected in the online version,” he said turning to his former colleague to proudly say that they had worked together for four decades.

“In chapter 12 of her book, Zubeida writes that she has worked with four editors — the legendary Ahmad Ali Khan, who hired her in 1973, Saleem Asmi, Tahir Mirza and Abbas Nasir. But you will come across the mention of Khan Sahab again and again,” said Mr Siddiqi, adding that he was her mentor and mentors became like family members for their mentees. Continue reading

Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan on Pakistan’s Foreign Relations

We recently republished this classic, from our archives, in the Pakistan Horizon. In his piece, Sir Zafrulla Khan commented on the inadequacy of resources for the fledgling, refugee state of Pakistan but he was full of hope for the future of the country. As stated on his Wikipedia page, he was a Pakistani jurist and diplomat who served as first the foreign minister of Pakistan and the first Muslim, Asian and only Pakistani president for both the UN General Assembly and also the International Court of Justice. Born in Sialkot, British India, Khan was educated as a lawyer at GCU and King’s College and served as a member of Punjab Legislative Council between 1926 till 1931. He was a delegate in 1930, 1931, and 1932 to the Round Table Conferences on Indian reforms in London, England. An excellent paper by Victor Kattan entitled Decolonizing the International Court of Justice: The Experience of Judge Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan in the South West Africa Cases is well worth reading as well.

He became a member of the All-India Muslim League which led the Pakistan movement and served as the league’s president between 1931 and 1932. In 1935 he became the Minister of Railway of British India, and sat on the British Viceroy’s Executive Council as its Muslim member from 1935 to 1941. Continue reading

Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup

“Spiteful analysis with no grasp of leftwing politics,” is how Zoe Williams of the Guardian described Rosa Prince’s Comrade Corbyn: A Very Unlikely Coup in her review and she says that the book is  “a flawed account of how Jeremy Corbyn stormed to the Labour leadership”. The rest of the review/article can be extracted as follows: Rosa Prince, the online political editor for the Telegraph, was an interesting choice for Jeremy Corbyn’s biographer, and when I say “interesting”, of course I mean “perverse”. It is a bit like asking Owen Jones to write a biography of David Cameron: no one would doubt his gusto, but there would be the wrong circle, wrong age, wrong hinterland, no friends of friends of aunts of friends and, crucially, Cameron’s associates would be immensely suspicious of Jones, as Corbyn’s are of Prince. It would avert the danger of a hagiography, but at the cost of any close-quartered insights. All the reminiscence is hacked from articles that have already been published, mostly in the Daily Mail. Prince pores over an incident when Diane Abbott, then Corbyn’s girlfriend, was sighted by friends in his bed, wrapped in a sheet. It’s not a new story though it appears to be a new account, its prurient inclusion justified on the Laura Kuenssberg defence (“I’m a journalist, and I found out a thing”). Continue reading

The Death of New Labour

Peter Hyman argues in yestderday’s Observer that This is an existential moment in Labour’s history. It may not survive. And it may never win again. As he says: The story starts with a landslide victory, a sense of hope throughout the country, great achievements including the first minimum wage, peace in Northern Ireland, civil partnerships. And ends with the bitter aftermath of the Iraq war, a succession of unelectable leaders and the toxicity of the Blair brand resulting in the Blairite candidate getting just 4% in the most recent leadership election. Some other parts of the article are extracted below: New Labour played into the hands of those who were desperate to call it an aberration. It allowed those, like Neil Kinnock, to say, on the election of Ed Miliband, that “we’ve got our party back”. It paved the way for the most successful Labour leader in history to be written off as an interloper, a cancer in the bloodstream of Labour politics. Looking back, this was perhaps New Labour’s most fundamental weakness. Without roots, without establishing its own traditions, cultivating its own sustainable culture, drawing on the stories and figures of the past, New Labour became unnecessarily fragile, the cult of one person, not a movement of hearts and minds. New Labour may be dead. Continue reading

Russia’s Gulags Remembered

In this excellent  piece entitled Russia’s Gulag camps cast in forgiving light of Putin nationalism Shaun Walker of the Guardian explains “many Russians regard the horrors of the forced labour camps as a necessary evil during a difficult period of Soviet history”. The article continues: In today’s Russia it is not fashionable to delve too deeply into Gulag history, and 60-year-old Panikarov’s collection is one of just two museums devoted entirely to the Gulag in the whole country. Indeed, even Panikarov himself has a somewhat surprising view of the Gulag system. “We should not have one-sided evaluations. People fell in love in the camps, people got pregnant; it wasn’t all bad,” he says, attributing negative information about the camps to a western campaign against Russia. “It was fashionable to say bad things about the USSR. Now it is again fashionable to insult Russia. We have sanctions against us. The west looks for negative things.” Panikarov’s views on the Gulag are part of a larger trend. With the Soviet victory in the second world war elevated to a national rallying point under Vladimir Putin’s presidency, the forced labour camps, through which millions of Soviet citizens passed, are seen by many as an unfortunate but necessary by-product. Continue reading

Michel Foucault: The Punitive Society

9781403986603This is one of the great series of books in Foucault’s groundbreaking series of lectures at the Collège de France.“Unfortunately, when we teach morality, when we study the history of morals, we always analyze the Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals and do not read [Colquhoun], this character who is fundamental for our morality. To understand a society’s system of morality we have to ask the question: Where is the wealth? The history of morality should be organized entirely by this question of the location and movement of wealth,” said Michel Foucault. These thirteen lectures on the ‘punitive society,’ delivered at the Collège de France: in the first three months of 1973, examine the way in which the relations between justice and truth that govern modern penal law were forged, and question what links them to the emergence of a new punitive regime that still dominates contemporary society. Presumed to be preparation for Discipline and Punish, published in 1975, in fact the lectures unfold quite differently, going beyond the carceral system and encompassing the whole of capitalist society, at the heart of which is the invention of a particular management of the multiplicity of interweaving illegalisms. Continue reading

Marwan Ashraf: Espionage Long Read

As reported so lucidly in the Guardian Who Killed the 20th Century’s Greatest Spy? We extract from the article (which must be read in full) below. Was he working for Israel or Egypt? Marwan Ashraf, a man some describe as the 20th century’s greatest spy, was alive when he tumbled from the fifth-floor balcony of his £4.4m London flat. The Egyptian businessman landed, shortly after 1.30pm on 27 June 2007, in the private rose garden at number 24 Carlton House Terrace, a street whose former occupants include three prime ministers (Palmerston, Earl Grey and Gladstone) and which lies a few hundred metres from Piccadilly Circus. Overhead, the lunchtime sky was obnoxious with helicopters, swarming above Tony Blair’s Teflon-plated convoy as it carried the prime minister to Buckingham Palace, where he would hand in his resignation. A woman screamed. Someone called the police. The paramedics arrived too late. Marwan died from a ruptured aorta. In 1965, Marwan was playing a game of tennis in Heliopolis, a suburb of Egypt’s capital, when he spied an attractive young girl, Mona Nasser, the president’s third and favourite daughter, who was 17 at the time. Love flowered, and the pair married the following year, Continue reading