The civilians are left to pay the price for this colossal misadventure

Kids on a Kabul Street, June 2002. Photo by author.

June 2002. I was on my first visit to Kabul. People were trying to put together their lives with a new hope. Kids seemed happy and curious. Some were walking to whatever remained of the schools. Some were playing on the streets, while some others were curiously watching the foreigners.

Fast forward to 2021. June 15. Armed men gunned down five polio vaccinators and injured several others in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province. June 9. Masked gunmen stormed into an office of HALO Trust, a charity engaged in mine…


Your health and well-being depend on the answer

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay.

“Quick, Matt has collapsed at his desk!” I ran three floors down the stairs to Matt’s office. Despite my frequent warnings, he had continued to work long hours, and now my worst fear seemed a reality. A wailing ambulance raced with him to the emergency.

Matt’s incident got me thinking. In 2016, long work hours had killed 745,000 people worldwide, reported the World Health Organization (WHO) in May this year. For these people, sustained long hours triggered stroke and heart disease, both fatal. It’s not entirely new information, though. A French research…


The answer is glaringly simple

Modern Times, a 1936 movie by Charlie Chaplin, the director famous for his distinctive ways of presenting the harsh realities of life, portrays how a factory worker is caught in an ever-accelerating assembly line. Eventually, he suffers a nervous breakdown, gets stuck in a machine, and lands at a hospital.

Still from Modern Times (1936). By United Artists — ebay, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29131104.

Almost 90 years later, the scenario is still the same. As we go up the corporate hierarchy, the salary and other benefits increase as well. But at the same time, our workload increases along with stress levels. This stress level, in turn, impacts our health…


This Dutch technique of doing nothing may increase your productivity

Photo by Matheus Queiroz on Unsplash.

“I am busy all day, trying to complete my to-do list before calling it a day. Yet, some things always remain undone, and, worse still, new things pop up. I go to bed tired, with the dissatisfaction that I couldn’t do what I set out to during the day.”

These are Sami’s words as I listened to him in a quiet coffee shop. I am sure it rings a bell with many of you, especially those working at large corporates and juggling family and work.

Charlie Chaplin’s 1936 movie “Modern…


Craft a more satisfying career for yourself

When we start our tertiary education or graduate from a university, our usual aim is to secure a job. To most of us, that job becomes a lifelong career. But can we always say that we are doing what we enjoy doing?

An overwhelming majority of us work in a single track, such as an engineer, a doctor, a journalist, a teacher, a lawyer, a horticulturist, a veterinary surgeon, or whatever. The tasks related to the job slowly but surely take up all our time and effort to the point that we give up all our pleasure-seeking endeavors, such as…


The world owes Bangladesh a standing ovation for taking in an astonishing 1.3 million Rohingyas bearing humanity’s burden

If Rutger Bregman, author of the best-selling book “Humankind: A Hopeful History,” needs another example to support his argument that “Most people, deep down, are pretty decent,” Bangladesh is a perfect candidate.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh. By John Owens (VOA), Public Domain.

This year, on its 50th birth anniversary, pundits are applauding Bangladesh for its spectacular performance on social, economic, agriculture, and food security fronts. But the world failed to take notice that it has also taken a giant leap of humanity by caring for 1.3 million Rohingya refugees since 2017.

In…


What does it Indicate for Myanmar?

After Aung Saan Suu Kyi’s recent arrest, there was an outpouring of support shown to her by various ethnic groups in Myanmar, despite her outrageously disappointing disregard for their rights. They have taken to the streets in large numbers, alongside the Bamars, reported Reuter, demanding a return to her civilian government. Why?

A group of uniformed schoolteachers protesting in Hpa-an in Kayin State on 9 February 2021. By Ninjastrikers — Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=99691099

Suu Kyi rose to international stardom during her years of struggle for democracy. Those who hoped for an end to the long streak of military rule and consequent marginalization of ethnic minorities in Myanmar applauded when her party, the National League for…


Its benefactor and namesake, Elihu Yale, made a fortune from slave trading and plundering of Indian resources

Inscription at the Tomb of Elihu Yale (5 April 1649–8 July 1721) at the churchyard of the parish church of St Giles’ Church, Wales.

Whoever wrote this epitaph must have been acutely aware that someday Elihu Yale will come under severe scrutiny.

Over the last few years, there has been fierce debate about whether Yale, a leading Ivy League School, should rename to detach itself from its namesake. The reason? Elihu Yale made money from the slave trade and plundering of Indian resources by unethical means.


The state of the Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic

The world needs wise leadership. Image by GraphicMama on PixaBay.

Pakistan’s prestigious daily The Dawn has recently published an opinion piece about the much-publicized China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The opening sentence of this piece correctly states how it has been “peddled to the people as a game-changer.” However, it quickly switches to a grimmer picture, saying: “the projects in its first phase have failed to usher in the level of prosperity that was promised to the people.”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is ailing, and Islamabad is genuinely alarmed. A report by the Center…


An utterly gorgeous Sufi spy in the British secret service during World War II did just that

Portrait of Noor Inayat Khan in uniform. Source: World War II Database.

“Liberté”

That was her last word as an SS officer shot at the back of her head at Dachau concentration camp, about 25 km northwest of Munich. It was September 14, 1944. She was Princess Noor Inayat Khan, an agent of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).

Noor was one of four women kneeling against a mound. One by one, the officer executed all four. …

Sayeed Ahmed

Travels and writes as a hobby on history, culture, politics, and contemporary issues.

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