Pakistan's "Cowed" Majority: "One Guy Who's Willing To Die Is Equal To 100 Who Aren't"
In a recent NPR interview, National Book Award finalist Daniyal Mueenuddin spoke with arresting candor about Pakistan, using the word "feudalism" to describe the structure of life in the Indus River Valley where his family owns land.
This exchange between Mueenuddin and NPR host Steve Inskeep especially struck me:
INSKEEP: Does anybody think that the system in Pakistan is fair, is just?
Mr. MUEENUDIN: No, nobody thinks that. In Pakistan there's just such disparities in wealth. There's so many who don't have enough and there are few who have way too much.
INSKEEP: Do people widely believe in Pakistan that if a poor person or a poor family works hard, works honestly, and plays by the rules that they could someday get ahead?
Mr. MUEENUDIN: No, they don't. One of the things I've observed in Pakistan is that because people for generations have been living just at the edge of true desperation, they're very, very averse to innovation.
At my farm, for example, you'll see a guy who's, say - I'm exaggerating, but he's moving dirt from point A to point B and he's carrying it in a little bucket. And I'll say, hey, why don't, like, four of you get together and get a big platform, put all the dirt on that platform and then pick it up and move it over to the other place, wherever you want to move it? And they're reluctance to do it is puzzling and exasperating. And I think the reason is that innovation is dangerous. If you aspire, you can achieve, but you can also fail, and I think that failure is much more costly in a place like Pakistan than it is in, say, America.
INSKEEP: You have no margin for error.
Mr. MUEENUDIN: Exactly. If you do something new and it turns out to be a bad idea, you could fall very far.
Yet, Pakistan finds itself afflicted by terrorism — some of it carried out by suicide bombers, zealots who embrace a new, bad idea and "fall very far" all the way to death.
Mueenuddin explained the disproportionate power of violent extremists like this:
You see, one thing that you have to understand is that one guy who's willing to die for his belief is equal to 100 who aren't. These guys are fanatic, and therefore I think that you can't underestimate the threat from them, especially in a poor country like Pakistan, where most people are cowed and are unable because of their circumstance to resist.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
No, the Syrian civil war is not over. But it might be soon. Time for a recap
- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Sarco assisted suicide pods come in three different styles, and allow you to die quickly and painlessly. They're even quite beautiful to look at.
Death: it happens to everyone (except, apparently, Keanu Reeves). But while the impoverished and lower-class people of the world die in the same ol' ways—cancer, heart disease, and so forth—the upper classes can choose hip and cool new ways to die. Now, there's an assisted-suicide pod so chic and so stylin' that peeps (young people still say peeps, right?) are calling it the "Tesla" of death... it's called... the Sarco!
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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