Letters To The Editor

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Depression: A lonely, often silent killer

Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects on your life, how you feel, how you act and how you communicate with those who you once loved to talk to. Depressed people feel sad, take no interest in everyday activities, have trouble sleeping, feel guilty, avoid communication, and are often lost in suicidal thoughts. Thinking about death is the most dangerous and severe stage of depression. It can occur at any time but on average, it first appears during the late teens to mid 20’s. The burden of depression and other mental health conditions is on the rise. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression. 800,000 people attempt suicide every year due to depression. This is the second leading cause of suicide which occurs in 15-20 years old ages of youth. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. In Pakistan, 25.5 per cent men and 57.3 per cent women are affected by this disease. 43.9 per cent in Quetta and 35.7 per cent in Karachi whereas Lahore is the highest rated city in depression with 53.4 per cent patients. But unfortunately, we live in a society where talking about depression or other mental health illnesses is nothing or you can say that it’s completely not acceptable in the surrounding. Some of us think that it doesn’t exist; also most of us think that if we talk about this people would consider us as a “psycho” or make fun of us. Fear of these situations force us to zip up our mouth and keep our illness to ourselves. We shouldn’t have to stay quiet, we have to talk about it in order to raise awareness and help others suffering from this disease. We need to destroy the stigma attached to depression and help each other.

Warda Hasan,

The rise of soft power

China has long been using soft power for persuasion and influence on other nations. A prime example of Chinese soft power could be its infrastructural investments and trade with various African countries. The Belt and Road Initiative is central to Chinese interest in such politically weak but mineral-rich countries. China has seen great potential in Africa and believes that it is an emerging and growing market despite the high-risk environment. An important component of the Chinese business philosophy is the notion of creating relationships through mutual favours and nurturing personal connections. Africa can also provide geostrategic benefits to China by helping advance its agenda on the international stage. It is an open secret that it is home to the largest single bloc in the United Nations. China has also funded $200 million for the African Union headquarters to reinforce its interest in the region as well as to strengthen diplomatic ties. The Chinese premier has pledged a further $60 billion worth of investments in the region. This has rendered China Africa’s largest trade partner by far, posing another mighty challenge to the Western world. China is going to be an economic savior for cash starved countries around the world, and provide necessary funding and technical assistance for development of much-needed infrastructure to unleash desperately needed economic progress. China’s investments in the African continent is one such example. China is not employing any military or economic tactics which can be deemed coercive in any manner. One primary aim is to create goodwill among people through economic largesse and make these partnerships a win-win game by fueling trade and investment in the region. Africa embodies an environment struggling with weak economies, governments, and disenfranchised citizens. China sees an excellent opportunity to usher in a new era of economic progress, lifting millions out of poverty and subsequently reaping apparent economic benefits as well as hidden long-term political benefits. This is the epitome of soft power. The long-term geo-strategic benefits which can accrue to China rattle the West. Western influence will not vanish overnight but with time it can fade. The emergence of the soft power of China will play out in the years to come. The benefits will be easier to calculate. That cannot be said about the costs.

Mohammad Sameer Nasir,