Slowly but surely, the world of literature and television is finally becoming more diverse. People from marginalized populations are now gaining some representation, especially in global mainstream media. Last year, for instance, Sesame Street introduced their first Afghan member Zeerak. But things are also at work internally. The Middle Eastern comic book world is not far behind with Sarah, a female Pakistani superhero.
The creator, [Hassan Siddiqui], of the English-language comic says he hopes the superhero will give young girls across Pakistan a role model and embolden them to fight corruption and violence in a country where crime is rife in major cities and corruption is the norm.
It’s a step towards abolishing gender discrimination in a country where honor killings are frequent. The comic does not only tackle crime and corruption, but even zooms in on gender-based violence and domestic abuse, shedding light on very important issues.
But while the online community has received “Pakistan Girl” with open arms, local readership could be a problem. Illiteracy rates are at an all-time high. However, believing in its significance, schools across the nation are now implementing the comic into curriculums.
“I think we should be teaching them through this kind of literature because that’s actually the tender age when they are building their own images of their future life,” said [new comic book fan and school principal Saadia Adnan] after browsing through a bookstore copy.
Siddiqui’s previous works include “The Burka Avenger” and “Pakistan Man”, with both titular superheroes combating the crisis of corruption. But as “Pakistan Girl” targets gendered issues and provides a different representation, I hope that Sarah, the female Pakistani superhero, becomes to young women all over the region a great figure to look up to.
With the future of this world in the hands of young ones, inspiring respect and dignity seems the way to go.
With bee populations at risk, moves to ban pesticides and upgrade beekeeping technology are on the rise. Still, in spite of such grand efforts, trouble loomed over Wild Hill Honey. Vandals ransacked the business of $50,000 in damage, unrecoverable — at least until the community stepped in.
“Some vandals came up and they destroyed all of our beehives and most of our beekeeping equipment. They tried to batter their way into our shed but eventually they piled some stuff up and went in through the window,” says [owner Justin] Engelhardt.
Legally, bees can’t be insured, and repairs are covered by personal expenses. But, in just a few days, neighbors raised $35,000 for the Engelhardts — over half of what was needed. Even better, police easily secured a lead.
“The police response was fantastic. We called and they came right away and they dusted for fingerprints at the shed, and there are some footprints that they’re using to try to further the investigation and hopefully that leads somewhere,” says Engelhardt.
Thanks to the donors, Wild Hill Honey will resume operations in the spring. A buzzing little heart sure does go a long way!
While sketch artists are vital in the world of crime-busting, witnesses may not always be the most accurate. After all, we don’t all have the best memory, especially in times of trauma. With this new technology, we may not be needing witnesses in the sketch room any longer. DNA phenotyping can determine a person’s characteristics, thus producing a fairly precise depiction of a suspect.
DNA phenotyping can fill in some physical traits. “Eye color, hair color, and skin color are all doable,”
Because the technology is still fairly new, those who use it can’t say it’s 100% reliable.
“Our knowledge about inherited diseases is currently more advanced than on how we look,”
While scientists have identified new genes for traits like hair texture, ear shape, hair loss, and height, translating these discoveries into reliable forensic tools remains a challenge.
Additionally, DNA cannot account for environmental factors that affect our appearance such as drinking or smoking. While phenotyping is not an exact science, it can at least provide investigators with strong resemblances. After all, a lead is better than nothing!