C. Christine Fair

This tag is associated with 5 posts

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

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

Hitchens on Pakistan – on the frontier of poor polemics

It’s important to note, since Hitchens, in his to date last article on the issue, uses Rushdies’ Shame and the narrative concept of his Midnight’s Children, to transfer the appaling misconceptions he has so far introduced for the rather impersonal country (with it’s elite as a concept, not so much a Pakistani person) to the Pakistani as a person, or in a wider sense as a society. Continue reading

swooping broad brush theories – refuting conventional wisdom

Two rather recent papers by Christine C. Fair and Jacob N. Shapiro aimed at investigating the foundation for militant and violence support in Pakistan, after in recent years studies in this direction have become numerous, but most were not so clear when it came to data aquiring and whether this would be representative for Pakistan. The most important problem was that ‘conventional wisdom’ on Pakistan is often taken as granted and used as a basis for such studies without further testing. Mainly conducted in urban areas and without considering the huge differences between the provinces, these studies become next to worthless – but they shape international policies. Fair and Shapiro have attacked these conventional wisdoms and I believe do give some scholarly backing to observations that are rather obvious to people with experience in Pakistan. Continue reading


January 2023