Hasan Zaidi Profile picture
15 Sep, 15 tweets, 4 min read
The ethics of public hangings and castration have been called out quite adequately I think. But in this thread I want to focus on the other red herring thrown up by Imran Khan in his interview yesterday, mainly because I have heard this too often from poorly educated people: ...>
...That films with ‘vulgar content’ cause rapes. Imran Khan went to the extent of saying that Delhi had become the “rape capital of the world” because of Bollywood films.

There is a lot to unpack in this assertion but the first thing to understand is that there is ZERO...>
...I repeat, ZERO/ ZILCH/ NADA cogent evidence for it. Literally.

1. It may be the desire of some - esp filmmakers - to believe that films can lead to direct action and change, but unfortunately (or fortunately, as the case may be), the incidence of films making a causal...>
...impact (ie which can be linked unquestionably to a particular film) is very, very rare. At best, films that are seen to have been markers of social action have helped galvanise an existing movement, solidified a growing consensus or helped change the mindsets of a few ...>
...already questioning or inclined to be open to a film’s suggestions. It’s an incremental change. Note that we are talking about adults, not children. We can argue about bad messaging in films but the causality has never been established in any rigorous manner.
2. There is also ZERO evidence that Bollywood films or (that oft-repeated canard) ‘item numbers’ actually lead to rapes. It is purely an emotional reaction, usually from people who haven’t seen much of Bollywood cinema.

First of all, IF Bollywood films were a cause of rapes...>
...because of their ‘vulgarity’, surely the incidence of rapes would be far higher in places where real porn is easily available for a long time, such as Europe. This is, in fact, not the case. In fact, in some places, the proliferation of porn has actually led to a *decline*...>
...in cases of sexual assault.

Here’s one round-up, from Psychology Today: psychologytoday.com/us/blog/all-ab…

Here’s another, from the BBC: bbc.com/future/article…

Here’s an actual paper from the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, which delved into whether sexual crime in India is influenced by pornography: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/P… ...>
It’s conclusion:
Here’s another bit from a Huffington Post review:


I have focused on porn simply bec I assume those leading the charge would agree that porn is a bit more ‘fuhash’ than Bollywood films and bec there is no evidence backing up their Bollywood assertions.
The linkage between porn/ obscenity and sexual assault was built up by first wave Western feminists such Andrea Dworkin, Catharine McKinnon etc. But they were challenged by second and third wave feminists such as Ellen Willis, Camille Paglia et al who saw it simply as censorship.
...And also taking agency away from women.

I’m not going into details of the arguments here but the point is, these claims of what impact subjective terms like ‘vulgarity/obscenity’ have on promoting violence against women are highly contested.
3. Finally, making these sort of causal leaps is a long tradition within purveyors of ‘morality’. You can argue all you want about the deleterious effects of ‘fahashi’ and how it leads to ‘objectification of women’ and thus supposedly to rape, but have the decency to admit...>
...that your opinions are based on your ‘moral/ religious convictions’ or your prudishness, not on any real evidence that has stood up to scrutiny.

And stop scapegoating films for everything wrong with governance.

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More from @hyzaidi

12 Jun
Some uplifting news: Remember this @eosmagazine cover story back in March? Fahim Zaman had argued that the Karachi Circular Railway could be revived for under Rs 30b rather than the Rs 300b being projected by the govt. dawn.com/news/1540874
The huge cost was the main reason the KCR plan has been in the doldrums for so long. Well, it looks like someone finally took notice. A number of federal and provincial govt officials called and listened to Fahim’s pov. And now this news brecorder.com/news/1003327
The new plan brings down the cost (minus the trains) to Rs. 8.31b. Add in the cost of locally manufactured trains and cost still stays below Rs 15b. The financing will now be done from Pak’s own resources rather than from expensive foreign loans, which make such projects too...>
Read 4 tweets
20 May
If any further proof were needed of this PTI government’s economic incompetence, it was brought out in @GeoASKKS - which ran the claimed vs actual growth figures for the last 7 years.
Whereas since 2013, the claimed vs actual growth figures varied at most by 3-5% - sometimes actual were in fact more than the initial govt claims - in PTI’s first year (2018-2019), the actual figures have turned out to be 42% (!!!) less than what the govt had claimed.
Not only has the National Accounts Committee revised the growth figures for 2018-19 from the 3.3% claimed earlier by the govt to 1.9%, it has also endorsed the PMLN’s claims of growth being 5.5% in 2017.
Read 5 tweets
15 May
@omarali50 @shakirhusain @XilleIlahi @vjgtweets @mazdaki @Ziyad_F @microMAF @odysseuslahori @saeedma08417161 So if I may, my take is that it was a combination of factors but the rot had begun to set in after the banning of films from Bollywood in 1960s. This protectionism helped Lollywood initially but also set in motion the charba (plagiarism) culture and lack of competition ...>
@omarali50 @shakirhusain @XilleIlahi @vjgtweets @mazdaki @Ziyad_F @microMAF @odysseuslahori @saeedma08417161 ...eventually became our undoing. The second huge blow was the secession of East Pak, which deprived us of a huge market and very talented filmmakers. Then came the tech revolution brought by the advent of home videos. This was a major challenge for cinema everywhere but...>
@omarali50 @shakirhusain @XilleIlahi @vjgtweets @mazdaki @Ziyad_F @microMAF @odysseuslahori @saeedma08417161 ...while cinema around the world rose to the challenge (trying to making films more of a cinematic experience), we were hobbled at the same time by Zia’s antipathy to film (harsh censors, lack of support, marginalisation of filmmakers as a ‘bunch of fornicators’) and the...>
Read 6 tweets
24 Apr
Khalid Mahmood of Getz Pharma may have created one of the most important stratified random data sets of coronavirus spread by testing all the employees in his factory. So far the company has tested about 1,000 of its 1,650 employees at all levels. The remaining ...>
...will be tested in the next day or two. The results so far show that 7% of the 1000 employees tested so far were infected. But many of them were asymptomatic. Those testing positive have been told to isolate and the company is carrying out an aggressive contact tracing...>
...policy too, moving to test the families as well. This is probably the largest such data set available in Pakistan so far and has required shutting down production for a week, plus will involve retesting negatives again within 5 days.

While I’m not sure if the results can...>
Read 5 tweets
16 Apr
I’ve been intrigued by the Covid-19 modeling the federal govt has been talking about, which both Imran Khan and Dr @zfrmrza say Pak is well below. No details have been provided about what assumptions went into these projections.

But I decided to go back to the original...>
...projections we had presented in @eosmagazine on March 22. Remember that these were based on the following assumptions:

a) That NO mitigation measures such as lockdowns were initiated
b) That based on various epidemiological studies around the world, numbers of infections...>
...would double every 6 days
c) That we were looking only at confirmed cases (actual cases would be about 8-10 times as many)

Now let me present our projections versus what actually happened...
Read 8 tweets
15 Apr
“More than 300 such patients have been brought to different public and private hospitals in the past 15 days — all of them either dead on arrival (DOA) or extremely sick with “pneumonia-like symptoms”, who died within hours of their arrival.” This is a very important story!
Dr Seemin Jamali of JPMC says on @GeoASKKS that while overall number of people coming into emergency has declined by 50% over same period last year (prob bec of the lockdown), the number of people being brought in DOA or near-death has risen by about 21%.
In most cases, the patients who died getting to the hospital or soon after arrival, are not tested for Covid and their relatives take away their bodies without allowing an autopsy.

There is already talk in the US eg that looking at the ‘excess death rate’ might provide a...>
Read 7 tweets

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