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Jakob Steiner

... lived, worked and studied in Australia, Europe and Asia.
Jakob Steiner has written 76 posts for Rug Pundits

foreigners’ language proficiency in pakistan – not just a utility

Even if you are one of those journalists who base their stories basically on what the taxi driver from the airport to the hotel tells them, it would give you the chance to understand what he really has on his mind, and not just what remains when you pit together the few English phrases he happily produces. Continue reading

The range of the Pakistani Left – recent commentary

When one talks about the Left in Pakistan (also when it talks about itself) one is pretty quick wuite far on the left, with comrades and worker’s struggle. Continue reading

Lahore Observed (II)

Lahore is great for hitch-hiking. Continue reading

Sparta’s Angst und Pakistan’s Wunschdenken – Teil III der Sino-Pak Serie

In den USA (und Europa) gefürchtet, in Pakistan selbst immer wieder beschworen, lautet das einfache Szenario, überall wo sich die USA aus einer Kooperation mit Pakistan zurückziehen oder ganz einfach scheitern, übernimmt China dankend. Bei den einen nährt das die zunehmende Besorgnis vor einem rising China, für die anderen ist es die Sicherheit, dass man auch ohne die USA einen starken Partner im Rücken hat – noch dazu einen der keine moralischen Fragen stellt. Während die USA ihr Bündnis mit Pakistan immer mehr vom Untergang bedroht sieht, versucht man zumindest noch vom sinkenden Schiff jeden Bericht gescheiterter chinesischer Vorstösse als Indiz darzustellen, dass China nicht anstelle der USA vor Karachi (Gwadar oder am Kabul Fluss) Anker legen wird. Pakistanische Medien nehmen ähnlich singuläre Vorkomnisse der erfolgreichen Sorte zum Anlass, genau das zu bewiesen. Continue reading

Pakistan’s Army and piety

Dexter Filkins, in his recent article for the New Yorker, makes a rare foray into accusing the US of complicity in the disappearance of Pakistani journalists, in this case of Saleem Shahzad. Continue reading

schmidle and fair on the laden raid – that imagination

Hoping to look into the role of exciting, exotical and eastern mountaineering as part of careers in the east that have become part of our understanding of the area that is belted by Hindukush. Karakoram and Himalaya, I am currently with Francis Younghusband in Tibet. While he was determined to understand the locals here, he always manages to portray the locals as backward through narratives that are a mixture of empire-supremacy, political opportunism, ethnology and heart-felt-love for or heart-felt-despise of the people. I smirk now and again at his descriptions – after all, that was a whole century ago. Todays’ writing that becomes polciy relevant like Younghausband’s did in it’s day is, chastened by the ever present threat of being accused of Orientalism or breach of political correctness, a lot less obvious in such revealings of imagination. But when it does come up, it leaves me with a cringing smirk. Continue reading

Debate Culture Pakistan – the danka-nama

The idea is though to make this newsletter, as the danka-nama, into a platform to debate anything that includes the concepts of culture and Pakistan (these terms of course also being the basic premises of the whole site). Yes, that is a wide and vague scope, but one that comprises a lot of interesting and controversial potential. Continue reading

‘Am Hindukusch’ – europäische Narrative nach amerikanischer Vorstellung

Als der deutsche Verteidigungsminister Peter Struck im Dezember 2002 verkündete, “Die Sicherheit Deutschlands wird auch am Hindukusch verteidigt”, zementierte er eine Narrative für die deutschsprachige Medienlandschaft – Afghanistan ist ‘der Hindukusch’. Während mit Fortdauer des Krieges auch Pakistan immer mehr in den Fokus der Aufmerksamkeit rückte, wurde nicht etwa die alpinistische Narrative um ‘am Indus’ oder gar ‘am Arabischen Meer’ erweitert, nein, Pakistan ist nun ganz einfach auch ‘am Hindukusch’. Manan Ahmed’s erstes Buch, ‘Where the Wild Frontiers are’ gibt Einblick in die Bildung solch einseitiger Narrativen. Continue reading

Aid, a weapon?

Especially the rural poor will often not give a damn what happens outside their brick kiln geo-politically and confronting them with opinions on radical islamist outlets may be of little benefit for assessing general support of these groups. On top of that, if they have an opinion, they may have a totally different conception of these groups’ connections (the authors offer four choices: Kashmiri tanzeem, al-Qa’ida, TTP, sectarian outfits). The understanding of Pakistani militant groups is very poorly developed in Political Science courses in the West and even less understood is how the am log perceives them (before they are even asked to judge them as good or bad). Continue reading

Angrez Writing on Pakistan’s Current Affairs – a future benchmark

In my eyes this is the most remarkable aspect of this book – in a time where he can be sure to sell adventure stories easily (and the title of the book pointed in this direction) to media that wants it’s chliche-lust satisfied (Greg Mortenson is I think the best latest example), he stayed sober and reported what was to report. On the other hand, his trip to Sehwan does not turn into a cheap defence of Pakistan as a sufi-not-terrorist country and while travelling he does not see the need to portray that beauty of the country at which foreigners marvel who expected Pakistan must look like hell considering what they read in the daily news coverage. Continue reading

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