On the margins: a look at race, culture, and world affairs

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Victims of spite: acid attack survivors at an anti-violence rally in Dhaka. (Photo: Rex Features)
Acid attacks: a horrific crime on the increase worldwide
By Samira Shackle - 01 April 12:10

Around 1,500 cases are recorded every year but the real figure is probably far higher.

One of the “I, too, am Oxford” campaign images. Photo: itooamoxford.tumblr.com
The “I, too, am Oxford” whiteboards aren’t perfect, but they’re better than nothing
By Samira Shackle - 19 March 10:44

Of course, whiteboards do not have the space for the full complexity of the arguments about racial insensitivity, not do they represent everybody’s experiences, but they can start an important discussion about the micro-aggressions that make it difficult to express offence.

How legal aid cuts are harming the voiceless and most vulnerable
By Samira Shackle - 13 January 12:01

Increasingly, some of the most vulnerable people in our society, such as young people in care, the homeless and migrants, are being forced to represent themselves.

Mandela's right–hand man and prison mate on his “elder brother and mentor”
By Samira Shackle - 06 December 10:39

Ahmed Kathrada went to jail with Nelson Mandela, and in Mandela's later years sometimes acted as his spokesperson.

Can you be a Muslim and a feminist?
By Samira Shackle - 12 November 14:02

It is astonishing that “Muslims”, and Muslim women, are so frequently spoken about as a monolithic block. If you actually listen to what Muslim women have to say on the subject, you find that many of them have no difficulty reconciling their faith with th

New Statesman
Why another high profile rape case in India will fail to tackle the causes of sexual violence
By Samira Shackle - 31 October 13:34

“The trial in the Mumbai gang-rape case has opened to a drowsy and ill-attended courtroom, without the crush of reporters who documented every twist in a similar case in New Delhi in which a woman died after being gang-raped on a private bus.”

New Statesman
Why would anyone believe in the "Islamophobia industry"?
By Samira Shackle - 03 October 15:37

Two years ago, Sayeeda Warsi warned that anti-Muslim prejudice had “passed the dinner table test” and become socially acceptable. Yet we still debate whether Islamophobia exists at all.

Why are we still relying on decades-old stereotypes when we talk about the Middle East?
By Samira Shackle - 13 September 11:49

Media narratives and the stereotypes they employ matter because they frame the way the world understands events. The reporting of Middle Eastern conflicts has the potential power to impact western political responses.

The other Guantanamo
By Samira Shackle - 05 September 9:31

As the US withdrawal from Afghanistan approaches, what will happen to Bagram prison, where many prisoners are held without charge, trial, or even access to a lawyer?

A to B: Cars like tanks
By Samira Shackle - 21 August 12:15

Travel through Pakistan is intimately segregated by class, writes Samira Shackle. If you're rich, you just keep driving.

The Twitter jihadis: how terror groups have turned to social media
By Samira Shackle - 15 August 8:45

Pakistan’s militant and extremist organisations are increasingly aware of the importance of the internet, says Samira Shackle.

A Pakistani health worker administers polio vaccine drops to a young child
The struggle for a Polio-free Pakistan
By Samira Shackle - 25 June 12:22

What is behind the the sudden upsurge of violence towards polio vaccinators in Pakistan?

Rawalpindi.
The elections in Pakistan: After the street parties, will it be politics as usual?
By Samira Shackle - 13 May 12:51

The general election in Pakistan saw the largest voter turnout since the 1970s. But what of the accusations of vote-rigging and violence, and what does the future hold for Imran Khan?

Campaigners protest the killings of Ahmadis at a mosque in Lahore.
The Pakistan general election is fast approaching - but one community will not be casting votes
By Samira Shackle - 10 May 13:10

Samira Shackle talks to members of the Ahmadiyya, a minority numbering 4 million. The Ahmadis are branded as "non-Muslims", suffer violent attacks on their mosques and will boycott this weekend's elections.

Ruquiya Hashmi.
“I am a double target because I am a woman and I am Hazara”
By Samira Shackle - 09 May 14:30

The Hazara are a Shia minority who face constant persecution in Pakistan. Ruquiya Hashmi - the first female Hazara candidate for the national assembly - faces death threats daily.

On tour with Imran Khan, Pakistan's wildcard candidate
By Samira Shackle - 08 May 14:18

With Khan laid low by an accident at a rally, Samira Shackle reports on his campaign so far.

Lubna Lal in her home in Jhelum.
Politicians of the third gender: the "shemale" candidates of Pakistan
By Samira Shackle - 07 May 10:35

The Pakistani trans community is unlike the West's: <em>hijras</em>, as they are known, consider themselves a third gender, neither male nor female, and refer to themselves as "shemale". Samira Shackle meets Pakistan's first <em>hijra</em> electoral candi

New Statesman
Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, prosecutor over Benazir Bhutto assassination, murdered in Pakistan
By Samira Shackle - 03 May 10:43

Ali was gunned down in Islamabad’s G9 area this morning as he drove to a court hearing for the Bhutto case.

How the Taliban is having a chilling effect on the Pakistani election
By Samira Shackle - 25 April 16:09

As the country gears up for its first ever democratic transition, the secular liberal parties have been threatened into silence.

Acid attack victim Asiya Bibe, 35, poses with a portrait before disfigurement
Acid attacks: “I couldn’t look at myself, let alone let others look at me”
By Samira Shackle - 15 April 11:06

Throwing acid, along with other forms of gender-based violence, is endemic in Pakistan and elsewhere. Often, the victims are already disenfranchised, poor, and from conservative backgrounds - they have nowhere else to turn.

Badam Zari.
Badam Zari becomes Pakistan’s first ever tribal woman to stand for election
By Samira Shackle - 02 April 15:53

"I want to reach the assembly to become a voice for women, especially those living in the tribal areas."

Manoeuvres and rallies as Pakistan's election campaign heats up
By Samira Shackle - 25 March 11:32

It's set to be a tight race, and nothing - not even assassination - is beyond the realms of possibility.

Historic moment as Pakistan's elected civilian government completes full five year term
By Samira Shackle - 19 March 11:27

There are still challenges to be overcome, but merely surviving is something of an achievement.

The Kafkaesque reality of Pakistan's blasphemy laws
By Samira Shackle - 28 February 13:23

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, is under police investigation for alleged blasphemy after making the case on television for the law to be re-examined and for the death penalty to be removed.

Boys ride on a motorbike as people gather at Seaview waterfront to celebrate Pak
The story of a kidnapping
By Samira Shackle - 18 February 16:46

"I gave up hope that I would ever see my wife and children again."

A girl holds a placard during protests following the bombing in Quetta
The secret war in Balochistan
By Samira Shackle - 29 January 12:02

The Pakistani province is beset with violence.

Mohammed Tahir ul Qadri's supporters hold placards during the march
This election would be a milestone for Pakistan's democracy. But will it go ahead?
By Samira Shackle - 15 January 10:49

As protesters demanding delayed elections gather in Islamabad, a warrant for the PM's arrest is issued and sceptics call foul play.

Will the Delhi gang-rape case actually change women's lives in India?
By Samira Shackle - 11 January 12:17

Translating "watershed" moments into action is almost impossible in a misogynist society with an under-equipped police force.

Pakistani students protest in Lahore earlier this month
The mob mentality that prevents things improving for Pakistan's minorities
By Samira Shackle - 04 December 9:21

While politicians shy away from watering down official discrimination, the situation isn't going to improve.

Sea View Beach in Karachi
Armed guards, metal detectors and no phone signal: The realities of living under a high terror alert
By Samira Shackle - 19 November 15:25

The threat of terror attacks in Pakistan make things difficult sometimes, but life goes on with good humour and pragmatism.

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