Below: links to some of my recent articles, including about the 'blasphemy law' and secularism in Pakistan, followed by an appeal from Avaaz.org that I'm re-producing in full (followed by some links) because it's not easy to find on their website, although the call to sign their campaign is on the front page.
I also recently showed the DSF film that Sharjil and I made to a rapt audience in Islamabad at Kuch Khaas, the wonderful space set up by my old friend Poppy (Shayan Afzal Khan) they hold film screenings, seminars, book launches; hold classes in dance, music etc (with a percentage of the admissions being reserved for underprivileged children who attend on scholarships).
My Mukhtiar Mai film was part of a couple of events held to commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. It was screened at the `No Honour in Killing' exhibition curated by Niilofur Farrukh now in Karachi at V.M. Art Gallery till Dec 20th (has been to other cities including Larkana and Jamshoro). It was also part of the Take Back the Tech event linked to 16 Days, at a discussion held at The Second Floor in Karachi (www.t2f.biz).
Below, links to my recent articles & others, followed by the Avaaz appeal:
BLASPHEMY in Pakistan: time to repeal a flawed law - my OpEd in Common Ground News Service http://bit.ly/fWxRoW
I compiled several articles on the blasphemy law in Pakistan at this link: http://bit.ly/bundles/beenasarwar/2
SECULARISM PAKISTAN: My article "Secularism Not a dirty word' for The News on Sunday's series on the issue at http://bit.ly/gJm0FL
Other articles in that series are at http://bit.ly/gwr68W
Over to Avaaz for the WIkileaks issue:
ACT AGAINST WIKILEAKS CRACKDOWN
The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere.
Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world's leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.
The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone -- let's get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!
WikiLeaks isn't acting alone -- it's partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.
The US government is currently pursuing all legal avenues it has to stop WikiLeaks from publishing more cables, but the laws of democracies protect freedom of the press. The US and other governments may not like the laws that protect our freedom of expression, but that's exactly why it's so important that we have them, and why only a democratic process can change them.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether WikiLeaks and the leading newspapers it's partnered with are releasing more information than the public should see. Whether the releases undermine diplomatic confidentiality and whether that's a good thing. Whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has the personal character of a hero or a villain. But none of this justifies a vicious campaign of intimidation to silence a legal media outlet by governments and corporations. Click below to join the call to stop the crackdown:
Ever wonder why the media so rarely gives the full story of what happens behind the scenes? This is why - because when they do, governments can be vicious in their response. And when that happens, it's up to the public to stand up for our democratic rights to a free press and freedom of expression. Never has there been a more vital time for us to do so.
Ricken, Emma, Alex, Alice, Maria Paz and the rest of the Avaaz team.
Law experts say WikiLeaks in the clear (ABC)
WikiLeaks are a bunch of terrorists, says leading U.S. congressman (Mail Online)
Cyber guerrillas can help US (Financial Times)
Amazon drops WikiLeaks under political pressure (Yahoo)
"WikiLeaks avenged by hacktivists" (PC World):
US Gov shows true control over Internet with WikiLeaks containment (Tippett.org)
US embassy cables culprit should be executed, says Mike Huckabee (The Guardian)
WikiLeaks ditched by MasterCard, Visa. Who's next? (The Christian Science Monitor)
Assange's Interpol Warrant Is for Having Sex Without a Condom (The Slatest)