The ‘Afghan girl’

unnamedMore than thirty years ago, an Afghan girl was captured on camera by National Geographic’s Steve McCurry. Her piercing green eyes, standing out against a young, weather-beaten face became representative of Afghanistan – an occupied country of singular beauty against the backdrop of war and suffering.

(The original picture can be found here.)

Afghanistan was different, when I was a child.

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Who is a Muslim?

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The achkan

In a world beset by terror strikes by Islamists and demonstrations against what we perceive as a threat to our liberal values, I, as a non-Muslim and a secular idealist, have decided to define what a Muslim and Islam means to me, for the simple reason that I live in a multicultural society and have friends practising different religions.

I feel I owe it to them to clarify my stance on how I perceive Muslims (which is, I feel, a very restricting description of a person), following several attacks by Jihadists, who belong to a religion which is coincidentally practised by peace-loving people around the world. Continue reading

Whitewashing my kitchen

The walls have gotten stained from years of cooking, throwing liquid waste into the bin. The gooey brown stuff has left stains on the wall. Little brown droplets of tea from the leftover water in the teabags have splashed all over like little flagellating fish gasping for breath after they have been taken out of the water.

My little Mesmer black tea bags, Assam, Ceylon, Darjeeling, but mostly Earl Grey. The teabag fish have stained labels from being dipped in water for too long before I decided my tea was strong enough and the milk and water was not just a brown liquid with no flavour. There are turmeric stains, from the constant frying, stains from freezer bags that I once took out, stains on the walls Continue reading