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Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Our taunts at West Indies: Who is the most racist of them all?


Published in Express Tribunes Blogs:

http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/14250/our-taunts-at-west-indies-who-is-the-most-racist-of-them-all/

Less than a couple of months ago, a colleague of mine, who is of African American descent, and a Muslim convert, mentioned to me an incident:

“You know I was sitting in the mosque for the taraweeh and there was a South Asian woman sitting next to me. While talking on her cellphone, she made some reference which I’m sure was for me ─ ‘kaali’ (black). The funniest of all the things was that she herself was not a shade lighter than me.”

Beneath a hearty laugh, I was terribly embarrassed. Almost as a rebound, I explained,

“You may have been mistaken, but yes, many of us are pretty colour conscious, and you can easily guess that by the amount of business we do with fairness creams. Not just the top brands, but top film stars from India and Pakistan, too, are eager to endorse those creams.”

To make her feel comfortable, I added my personal true story.

My husband’s loving aunt used to call me kaali, when I newly married him. She did this because their nephew (my husband) was a few shades fairer than me. She proudly told,

“He looked so angreiz (English/white) when he was born, that we gave him an English name ─ ‘Bobby’.”

As her fascination for his skin colour still continues, she calls him Bobby to date.

Beyond this personal experience, it was pretty unpalatable to keep hearing repeatedly, West Indians being referred as “kaali andhi” (black storm) by a mainstream Pakistani channel for the past two days.

As the game progressed and West Indians got closer to the victory stand, some of us started to lose our control and the ‘kaaley, shadeed kaaley’ (black, very black) references spilled all over my social media timelines, the commonest one being:

“Hum kaaley hain to kya huwa, trophy waaley hain.”

(So what if we are black? We have the trophy.)

Here are some tweets from my timeline during the match:

Mariyam Ali Dhillon ‏@MariyamAli
“The Kali Andhi rises”. VEHSHI! #WIvsSL

Amidst there were occasional sane tweets, expressing their dismay at the references:

Maria Memon ‏@Maria_Memon
Kindly spare us the “Kaalay” jokes. #NotFunny

R. ‏@rahimaxarsenaL
Jesus Christ, Geo. Kaali aandhi? That’s effing racist.

Shoaib Taimur ‏@shobz
Cricket exposes the racism in our people. just check their FB statuses and Tweets.

In reply, some had ample justification for the use of these terms, with expressions such as:

FurSid ‏@fursid
#TwitterRage making a mountain out of mole hill – #kaaliAndhi#racism #twitterPhadda #idiotism

Mansoor Zia ‏@nOxym0ron
@shobz Sometimes, it’s just a joke. People take life too seriously and worse, too literally.

There definitely is a background to this “black storm” reference. It’s from back in the 70s and 80s, when the West Indians were the reigning kings and feared for their strength.

Since most people explained themselves by saying that the reference wasn’t offensive and had been used for a very long time, I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. I Googled the history of this reference and its link with the West Indians.

I did not find a single reference on the internet of the West Indians being called the “black storm” in the 70s/80s.

None of the international media had referred to them as the “black storm”, saving only some of our Pakistani mainstream newspapers. Are we the only ones, with the sharpest long term memory then?

Even on Twitter, the hash-tag #Blackwash barely had a dozen references, but the trigger word ‘kaaley’ was all over my timeline, with or without the hash-tag.

Moreover, how does this reference being 30-40 years old justify its political in-correctness?

Haven’t things changed since then on an international stage? Shouldn’t we then change our own mindsets, too?

Mind you, all the things I’ve quoted are from social media only. One can calculate how many folds thick the usage of such racial slurs has become in the real world.

However, on a more optimistic note, there was an overwhelming number of people who rejoiced over West Indians winning the ICC World T20 cup. I wish that the number will someday tilt the balance in their favour. For that to happen, we certainly need to educate the people and most importantly, the media. It is socially responsible and should realise what a colossal role it plays as an opinion leader. It is time they know that there is no option for them but to at least be responsible enough to convey ethically correct messages, and not merely echo the insensitive crowd-pleasers.

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OsteoArthritis ~the wear and tear joint disease


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the commonest form of arthritis that occurs as a result of wear and tear of the joint.
As the protective cushion over the bones within the joints, called cartilage, gets worn out gradually, the symptoms get worse. The joints begin to crackle, get stiff, then pain and ultimately cause limited mobility.

Note: This is different from Rheumatoid Arthritis, which occurs in young age, and is less common, but more severe.

Which Joints?

It can occur in any joint, but the most commonly affected are those joints that are used the most- of hands, lower back, knees and hip.

What happens to the joints?

In knee joint:

In the spine:

What can a damaged joint do?
From stiffness, the joints progress to pain off and on, then more lasting pain, ultimately leading to limitation of joint movement, and restricted mobility. The damaged joint can cause blockage of blood supply to the joints, bleeding in the joint or permanent bone impairment.

Although there are pain killers, acupuncture, physiotherapy which can reduce pain, or even surgical procedures like joint replacements, which can improve joint function, but it is the wisest to slow the wear and tear ahead of time.

Risks that are associated with increased wear and tear osteoarthritis are:

Older age.
Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn’t clear why.
Bone deformities: Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
Joint injuries:Injuries from sports or from an accident, hasten the wear and tear, and hence OA.
Obesity: It is common sense that heavier the weight, faster and worse is the wear and tear.
Sedentary lifestyle as the more the activity, the more nourished is the cartilage.
Occupational: Jobs that cause repetitive stress of a particular joint also increase the wear and tear-like the joints of hands in typists, computer users, knees n those who stand for long like the policemen, etc.
Other diseases.: Diabetes, underactive Thyroid, Gout or Paget’s disease of bone can increase the wear and tear OA.

How can we slow down the wear and tear of joints?

OA is not inevitable with old age one follows a healthy life style. However,  cannot avoid age related wear and tear, but one can certainly minimize the damage caused by misuse of our joints.

You can be a best friend of your joints if you:

1 – Maintain Your Ideal Body Weight : A force of 3-6 times a person’s body weight is exerted across the knee while walking e.g.being 10 pounds overweight increases the force on the knee by 30-60 lbs with each step taken while walking. The force across the hip is, at most, 3 times the body weight. Losing weight reduces stress on the joints substantially.

2 – Exercise Regularly and Participate in Regular Physical Activity For optimal joint health, it’s recommended that people perform 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise at least 5 days a week. It’s an established fact that regular exercise has health benefits

3 – Protect Your Joints: There are several joint protection principles, which if followed, will help to conserve energy and preserve joint function. The advice is quite simple, but you must be mindful of proper movements and recognize body signals (e.g., pain). Good posture and proper body mechanics is important.
Check the various Joint protection techniqueshttp://www.spectrumrehab.net/Articles/joint-protection-techniques.html

4 – Avoid Repetitive Stress on the Joints: Signs of repetitive stress include too many uninterrupted repetitions of an activity or motion, unnatural or awkward motions, overexertion, incorrect posture, and muscle fatigue. Unfortunately most of them are occupational and hard to avoid. Hence one has to create innovative ways to avoid them.
{Clue: Search on internet prevention of joint stress specific to your occupation}.

5 – Listen to Your Pain: This recommendation seems so obvious, yet people don’t always do it. Learning to view pain as a signal that you are overdoing it and that it’s time to rest requires conscious effort. Balancing rest and activity is optimal for healthy joints. It’s part of self-management to learn not to overuse your joints and to learn not to push past your limits. Consider that the pain is like a stop sign.

6 – Avoid Injury to Joints: Previous joint injury is recognized as a common cause of osteoarthritis. In joints burdened by improper alignment due to injury, articular cartilage wears away and osteoarthritis can begin to develop. Avoid injury if at all possible — and if you do injure a joint, seek treatment immediately.

Myths about OsteoArthritis:

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Indo-Pak Express on a high


http://www.jang.com.pk/thenews/jun2011-weekly/nos-19-06-2011/spo.htm#6
( Published in The News, Sunday Page on 19 June 2011).

The victory of Indo-Pak Express, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and Rohan Bhopanna, at the Gerry Weber Open Tournament in Halle (Germany) brings a cool breeze amidst the summer heat, to all of us from India and Pakistan. After winning the match they reach to their seats adjacent to each other where their white jackets hang, embellished with the four magical words: ‘Stop War Start Tennis’.

The message is simple and brief, yet has far-reaching implications. The message holds the key to the prosperity of one fifth of the Earth’s population.

They are best friends, both on and off the court, and say that they complement each other’s style of play. Ever since they paired up in 2007, their careers have been marching uphill.

It is not just their game but their spirit to rise above religious and political differences that makes usall proud. They may have yet to fulfill their dream of Wimbledon doubles title, but they have already lifted the biggest trophy of Peace and Sanity.

After one of the tournaments, Aisam had remarked: “There were a lot of Pakistanis and Indians in the crowd cheering for us. And you couldn’t tell the difference, who was Pakistani and who was Indian, they were all mixed together and supporting the same team.”

And indeed this is the truth, no matter what skeptics may say. We have more in common than in differences, whether it be our appearances, our histories or our geographical location.

These talented young men are a living example to the 1.4 billion Indians and Pakistanis that ‘United, we shall stand’.

The duo echo the feelings of millions of hearts that throb in the chests of the people, who aspire for peace and prosperity for themselves, as well as for their neighbours. Like Aisam and Rohan, these millions too could become the real ambassadors of peace in their own right. Together they could reckon to be a Peace Force large enough to defeat any force of hateful extremists or other vested interests that leave no stone unturned to sow hatred and differences between the two neighbours.

History, with three wars and years of tensions, cannot be changed and borders cannot be erased. But these young men have shown us that by ‘being friends’, we can avoid the waste of energies in hatred and blame games, and instead, harness the same energy towards progress and prosperity for the entire region. Let the borders be just on the land, not in our hearts is what the pair teaches.

It does not need rocket science, but just a flicker of change in one’s thinking to turn this hatred into love. It does not even need too many bureaucratic visits, MOUs or anti-war treaties if one and a half billion people of this subcontinent decide to make Aman ki Asha into a real everlasting peace.

Indians and Pakistanis are 1.4 billion people together, sitting beneath the noose of nuclear weapons in the region. True, that the possibility of these being used is negligible, but then why such a hefty expenditure in developing, maintaining and improving their ‘killing’ capabilities in the name of big meaningless words like ‘nuclear deterrence’?

We do not deny that there aren’t serious differences and contentious issues, but three wars and numerous tensions have failed to solve them. Nor will the missiles and nuclear weapons resolve them in future. There is no issue which cannot be settled through peaceful negotiations. So for the sake of the well being of the huge numbers of people at stake, it is time we give lasting peace a real chance. Tensions and wars benefit few, but peace shall benefit each one of us across the subcontinent.

The political tensions provide an excuse to the vested interests (outside the region) to continue getting both sides to buying arms and building arsenal for ‘safety’, amidst poverty, hunger, ignorance, illiteracy for millions on both sides. What if this money was used for development and not arms build up?

Let us ask for our ‘safety’ not through arms and ammunition, but through regional cooperation in education, health, alleviation of poverty and economic activity. This is only possible if both sides are at peace with each other.

Is this asking for ‘lasting peace not tensions’ that farfetched a dream? Maybe the idea looks a dream, but then dreams do come true too.

And Aisam and Rohan have shown us just that. Congratulations Indo-Pak Express. You make us proud.

ilmana_fasih@hotmail.com