Pakistan On the banks of the luminous
The festival, featuring panel discussions, book promotions, debates, music and theatrical performances, has established itself as a safe space to discuss not just literature and the arts but also politics, history and society at a time when plurality of opinion is not always welcome in
This extravaganza was a brainchild of the
Two wars are being fought in
This shrinkage of public space, or Talibanization, as the social scientist
Talibanization has spread virally, thanks to right-wing talk shows, newspaper columns and social media. It silences debate about the role of religion, branding anyone who advocates secular democracy an atheist. For example, it whipped up a campaign against the autobiography of
The proponents of Talibanization denigrate women's rights activists as "NGO workers in tight jeans" and harass young men and women at universities who try to spend time together.
At the end of the Cold War, the American political scientist
Alongside them, he offered America's culture and values as exports that others could emulate, voluntarily choosing democracy and shunning terrorism.
The idea's biggest advantage is its home-grown origin. That makes it far more palatable for Pakistanis, for example, than the advice in a 2007 study by the
That idea fell flat here because its origin suggested that foreigners were manipulating Pakistani culture. Still, our leaders have not yet mastered the subtleties of leading their people to the "right" choices. As
A literal example: the Sindh Festival, though it drew large peaceful crowds, was marred by discord over its use of the excavated ruins of the lost city of Mohenjo-Daro as a backdrop for its opening ceremony. Because it was organized by a prominent politician, Pakistanis showed mixed feelings about this hyped version of their culture; they were attracted to its allure, but concerned that their heritage was being yoked to one political party's agenda.
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