Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Readers, I've Moved to Wordpress

Dear beloved readers,

I've decided to switch over from this blog to Wordpress (the new link is http://orbala.wordpress.com) - mainly because I've received multiple complaints from multiple readers that their comments are often not published by Blogger (and I never receive/see them) or that they have difficulty commenting there. This can be quite frustrating when you write a long, detailed comment. My sincerest apologies, both from me and especially on behalf of Blogger, to those of you whose voice was never or rarely heard on my blog because of this technical issue!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My roommates at the AAR

SUCK IT, WORLD!!!! I'm going to the AAR this year and rooming with the ever-too-awesome Fatal Feminist (her blog is a must-read if you haven't read it yet!) and two other awesome ladies.

That's all I have to say. Just so incredibly happy and excited to be meeting/re-uniting with some of my most favorite scholars (Kecia Ali, Ayesha Chaudhry, Laury Silvers, Amina Wadud, ...), bloggers, researchers, and online friends I'm finally going to meet!

Peace.

Also, inshaAllah. Hey, you never know. Life has its own shitty ways of working out and stuff. There's our plans and there's Gods plans.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Saving Fish from Drowning

Because this reminds me of Zakir Naik (and our other "leaders" who are actually misleading our people):

A pious man explained to his followers: 'It is evil to take lives and noble to save them. Each day I pledge to save a hundred lives. I drop my net in the lake and scoop out a hundred fishes. I place the fishes on the bank, where they flop and twirl. "Don't be scared," I tell those fishes. "I am saving you from drowning." Soon enough, the fishes grow calm and lie still. Yet, sad to say, I am always too late. The fishes expire. And because it is evil to waste anything, I take those dead fishes to market and I sell them for a good price. With the money I receive, I buy more nets so I can save more fishes.”
Amy Tan, Saving Fish from Drowning: A Novel

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Why Malala Yousafzai Deserved the Nobel Peace Prize - and stop oversimplying her story, folks.

The post below is basically copied and pasted from my Facebook status about the matter. Since it wasn't intended as a formal write-up and was written in a rush, there may be many typos and disjointed thoughts. Apologies in advance for those.

SO INFINITELY PROUD that Malala has won the Nobel Peace Prize!! I was thinking and thinking about reasons why people might suspect she doesn't deserve this thing, but I have come to find none. There are a couple of points, though, and specifically in response to those who've been asking me what I think about Malala and the fact that she's become the youngest person in the world to win the Nobel Prize (and the first Pashtun person, let alone woman, to do so, and the first Pakistani woman to do so). So here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pashtun Personality of the Week: Bushra Gohar, A Remarkable Leading Politician

And at last, we continue on with our Pashtun leaders series ... I'm going to stop apologizing for the delays in being consistent with this series because it really does take a lot of time.

Bushra Gohar

Bushra Gohar
Bushra Gohar is one of my personal favorite women in contemporary times. It makes me so proud that she's Pukhtun, too, because she's quite an accomplished woman, and whenever I lose hope in my people, I think of her to feel hopeful again. What makes me happiest, though, is that she's really easy to talk to and interact with. Very humble and down-to-earth. I know too many people, when they make it big, start feeling so big that they refuse to interact with us "smaller" people then. Gohar isn't like that. In fact, I sent her a few questions in preparation for this post that I wanted her to answer, and she got back to me right away. There wasn't any "I don't have time for this average human blogger random Pukhtun girl to write about me" kind of responses, and she certainly didn't ignore me.

So, yes, her humility is something to certainly learn from.

May God preserve her, and may she continue being a source of light for Pukhtuns and the world. Aameen.
Please remember that this isn't intended as a comprehensive biography of her life, her work, her achievements; this is merely an introduction. As noted above, I have a list of questions that I sent her for responses that she has answered in detail, and I'll share those at the end of the post.

Thank you for reading.

Brief Introduction

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Discrimination hurts us all.

Seriously, tho ...
Discrimination hurts all of us. I have a bus driver who often refuses to stop the bus for Hispanic (and I presume other non-white/non-black - she's black) passengers. Today, for instance, she didn't make a stop when she was supposed to despite a Hispanic guy yelling out and waving his hand for her to stop. She eventually stopped (passed the designated stop) because someone had indicated they needed to get off. The Hispanic guy ran towards the bus, and he ALMOST made it, but she took off. And then she started talking to herself meanly, I suspect saying bad things about the guy. I didn't hear because I was in the back, but this was really, really upsetting to see. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Short film - "Freedom Journalism Award, Best Photo"

I love short films and just got reminded of this one. Seriously one of the most beautiful, most haunting, most moving short film ever produced. It gets you thinking deep stuff, especially our own roles as witnesses to crimes (specifically in conflict, to whomever relevant - journalists, maybe?), on photojournalism, journalist ethics, and so on.


Why instill "inferior" qualities in our daughters and "superior" ones in our sons?

Pre-Script: This is not at all to suggest that I believe masculinity is superior to femininity. The post below is actually a response to when our patriarchal, oft-misogynistic societies command that we raise our daughters as delicate, emotional, wanted/loved, but then when we do that, societies bites our daughters in the ass and tells them, "Oh, but those are inferior qualities!" Yeah, eff you, patriarchy. But I don't think the quality of "emotion" is inferior to whatever its alternative or opposite might be (conventionally "reason" but that's sick and false).

"We've begun to raise our daughters more like sons ... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters," says Gloria Steinem. And I agree. Many people, especially Pukhtuns, have a hard time understanding this quote. So let me explain.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Music makes me happy, and singing empowers me.

YOU GUYS!!! I'm going to be singing again at our Middle Eastern ensemble this semester again, inshaAllah!! BIG, BIG GRINS!! hamdallah.

Remember last semester, I wrote about how I was singing a couple of Pashto songs for our ensemble? Do recall that I'm no singer at all, and I don't claim to be one - but I do love singing. I also think of myself as a shy person generally, and I hate being the center of attention, but there's something about holding a mic, speaking and singing into it a song that's close to your heart because it's all about female empowerment, women's rights, female education, female leadership, the celebration of girls and daughters and girlhood. That's also originally sung by your favorite female Pashto singer and picturized by someone you love, respect, and look up to (Samar Minallah). And also a song that the ensemble finds a lot of fun to play and listen to, one that everyone else just LOVES because of how happy-happy it is and how beautifully it's composed.

Friday, September 26, 2014

This beautiful song by Shafiq Mureed

Okay ... kindly take the next 4 minutes and 49 seconds and listen to this song and feel hopeful about the world again. So much love!! It's so beautiful! It's in Dari, but English subs are there as well, so follow along to have your heart melt. This guy is a truly beautiful person. May God reward him for his work for Afghanistan and his people.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

The claim that Malcolm X was a "black supremacist," racism against blacks, and white privilege

As I've mentioned previously, I'm TA'ing a class on Black History called The Black Power Movement. It's one of the most powerful, most important classes I've ever sat in on or taken in my life. It's huge (over 500 students, 6 TAs), and it's nothing like a typical history class, according to students I've talked to. I type my notes, and one of these days, I'm going to sift through them and share on this blog some of what I think needs to be heard and read more widely. Our section on Malcolm X is one of those things - everyone, esp white people, need to know about him through the various (4 main) phases he went through; they need to understand and appreciate the context of Malcolm X's view of the white man is the devil, but they also need to know that Malcolm X changed his view after his pilgrimage to Mecca. I'm not writing this just because I'm a Muslim, and Malcolm X was a Muslim (in fact, for political reasons and my utter hatred for Saudi's politics, I've "controversial" views on Hajj; we'll talk about that some other time, ai), but I'm writing this because, frankly, even the teacher hasn't brought this up in class yet, and we've been talking about Malcolm X for the last couple of lectures. One of the things I have GOT to work on like right now is pointing out such flaws - so while I didn't end up saying this out loud in class (I will on Tuesday in the next lecture, inshaAllah), I did ask the teacher after class if he is going to cover that because I think that's an important phase of Malcolm X's life.

But here's what happened.

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