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South Sudan: From Bad To Worse

Back in 2011, South Sudan broke away from Sudan and declared itself as an independent state. Western media verticals, as well as many pro-secession pundits claimed that statehood will usher in a new era of prosperity and growth for South Sudan, and eventually, even Sudan will have to acknowledge the superiority of the South Sudanese state.

Apparently, those dreams are yet to come true, and with things going the way they currently are, prospects do not seem promising for South Sudan.

In fact, I have written about South Sudan multiple times: back in 2013 itself, I termed South Sudan to be a failed state — I am yet to be proven wrong. In 2014, troubled by the loss of life and property in South Sudan, I questioned the logic of secession, and even thought of ways to fix the blunder named South Sudan.

However, all said and done, South Sudan continues to prove itself as a failed state. Continue reading

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Jesus, A Muslim Prophet

Every year in December, Christians all around the world celebrate Christmas, marking the birth of Jesus Christ. In fact, when it comes to venerating Christ, most Christians tend to go out-of-the-way and claim ownership of Christ. In Christianity, Jesus is viewed as the Son of God, or God Incarnate.

However, there is another religion that pays equal, if not greater, respect to Jesus, albeit in a slightly different manner.

Islam.

Unlike Christianity that began respecting Christ only after he had left this world, Islamic veneration of Jesus began during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad himself.

Islam views Jesus as a Prophet of God, rather than Son of God. Jesus, or Isa as he is called in Arabic, is referred to by name in nearly 25 different verses of The Quran, with titles such as Messenger, Prophet, and even Messiah. In fact, all Muslim theologians view Jesus as a precursor to Prophet Muhammad.

So, is the fact that both Christianity and Islam respect Jesus enough to build bridges between the two religions? Or are the different versions a source of perennial tension between adherents of the two faiths? Continue reading

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The Falling Rouble And Russian Economy

As we approach the end of 2014, world economy, the energy sector to be more precise, lies in a dismal state. Back in June, oil prices were at an all-time high. They have been slashed by nearly 40% since then. This rapid collapse of oil prices has had an adverse effect on various economies, such as that of Russia and Iran.

Russia, in particular, is having a bad outing — shrinking energy prices are followed by a rather crucial monetary crisis. The exchange rate of Russian rouble in relation to the American dollar has fallen by over 50% this year, and in the past week itself, Russian currency lost 17% of its value.

The question that now arises is: will the plummeting oil prices and a sinking currency spell doom for Russian plans of world domination? Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Girls: Malala And Nabeela

So Malala Yousafzai recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, and everyone all over the world is singing her praises. Rightfully so.

In fact, Malala’s case is probably the only one wherein all media verticals seem to be in absolute agreement, be it Al Jazeera, or Press TV or even Fox News. That girl deserves praise for her efforts.

However, whilst Ms Yousafzai was receiving her Nobel Prize, my attention was drawn towards the case of another young girl from Pakistan: Nabeela Rahman. Much like Malala, Nabeela too recently travelled to the Western part of the world, albeit the latter went to Washington instead of Oslo, and had an altogether different purpose in mind.   Continue reading

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Rethinking Democracy in USA

Democracy is the worse form of government, except for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.

– Winston Churchill

Churchill’s above statement provides a sweeping, and possibly one-sided picture, of democracy as a mixed blessing — a system with its boons and banes that just somehow works. Such a generic observation claims, on one hand, that democracy is better than any other non-democratic system, and at the same time points out that it still is not the God-given mandate to all problems that this world is currently facing. Unfortunately, a good number of Americans tend to agree with the first interpretation of Churchill’s statement, but overlook the second one.

Much like any other form of governance, democracy too is vulnerable. However, one can find solace in the fact that a democratic setup offers us the chance to have second thoughts about mistakes of the past: replace one set of fools with a new set of fools, for instance. The elected leaders serve for a given time period — such a time limit can control the amount of damage that they can do to their country or, in the case of USA, to other countries as well. Continue reading

Image (C) Associated Press

Scotland, Nationalism And Freedom

Scotland recently rejected freedom, and voted in favor of staying in the United Kingdom. Of course, this was not the last time we have heard from Scottish nationalism, and voices for self-determination and recognition will continue to be heard, until sovereignty is achieved and Scotland earns its rightful place among the nation-states of the world.

However, apart from setting a paradigm in self-determination for the rest of the world, the Scottish referendum also gave us a lesson in the ground realities of history and nationalism. Continue reading

A makeshift memorial for Robin Williams seen in front of Carolines on Broadway Comedy Club on August 12, 2014 in New York City.

Robin Williams And Social Media

First up: Robin Williams was a fine actor by all means. His death is an unfortunate and tragic incident.

As soon as word got out about Williams’ death, the internet mourned the loss of a very talented actor. Rightfully so. Social media, online publications, blogs and everything else was filled with “RIP Robin” messages, and people talked at length about the life and story of Robin Williams.

However, while social media did praise the works and accomplishments of Robin Williams shortly after his death, there was also a time when hardly anyone on Facebook or Twitter considered Williams to be the voice of several generations. That time was barely a week ago.  Continue reading

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Buddhism in Myanmar: Extremism Galore

Myanmar is undergoing a state of upheaval and transformation. As of now, the country is experiencing changes on the political, economic and social frontiers.

Amidst such transitions, Myanmar is also witnessing increased cases of religious intolerance. In spite of its rich cultural heritage and legacy of socio-religious harmony, present-day Myanmar is surely not the best place for its religious minorities. Continue reading

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Scotland Deserves To Be Independent

Scotland is barely a few months away from the all-important date of September 18, when its citizens will vote to decide the future of their country. The stakes are high: on one hand, there are supporters of an independent Scotland, whereas on the other hand, there is UK Prime Minister David Cameron who will be left “heartbroken” if Scotland chooses to be independent.

To save his heart, and to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, David Cameron is even willing to offer 500m British Pounds (roughly $850m) to Glasgow. But nothing seems to quell the spirit for freedom in Scotland. Continue reading