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Loved back (a Sneak-peek into a teen's love-life)
Based on a true story

Time: 12:10 a.m
Venue: Cybernet
JS: "Sure. I'll write one for you, I promise."
SARA: "I love it when you say promise, you know that?"
JS: "What's not to know? You literally love everything about me. hahaha!"

Once again, her face darkened with a sad expression. This guy didn't react in the same way he once used to. There was this emptiness in their so-called wonderful relationship nowadays. She was the one always cheering him up when he was down, making him smile but he never seemed to be around when she needed him. Ever.

But then, she knew she loved him, and that's what mattered, right?

Every time she said this in her mind, she had to convince herself because she knew it wasn't the same when you love someone so much and you are not loved back.

Her mobile phone rang and brought her back to the real world. She picked up the cell, and was surprised to hear her best friend's voice at the odd, late hour. She set her messenger status to 'Be Right back', and answered the call "hey, watsup?"

And Sara knew what had happened. She had known Saniya for years, and knew only too well, when her voice sounded like this.

Saniya, her best friend for the past 12 years, was more a sister, than a friend. A companion for life. Among the two she was the stronger one, always ready to face what came up and what lay ahead. According to their gang of friends, she was the 'can-handle-whatever-comes-my-way' sort of girl. And yet, at such points, the most practical and headstrong teens were at a loss to deal with things, when it came to the bitter-sweet, complicated subject of teenage affairs.

"San? What's wrong? Did the jerk say anything?"
"Well, nothing much except---'Hey hey I never made any commitments. We're just friends ok?'"
"WHAT? After what he said all this time?"
"Exactly" said Saniya, through pained sobs.

"Look, this is really sad and everything, but unlike other times, I am not going to sit and listen to you cry your heart out for someone as worthless as him. You should have dumped this idiot the first time he started playing around like this. Look, I know it's difficult, but this is the limit. You have to get rid of this guy once and for all. You're just hurting yourself and I'm not going to let you do it any more, ok?"

"But, it's not so easy."
"I know, but you just got to do what you got to do. And remember, I'm always there when you need me ok? Bye"
And she hung up. Still feeling terribly sorry for her friend, Sara turned back to face the monitor screen and changed her status back to 'online' again. Instantly, she saw a minimized message box in the lower toolbar blinking.

Immediately, a smile appeared on her face as she read the message.
SANJAY: "Hey, looks like you are finally dead! Party time!"
SARA: "You know, I wish I were dead, at least I wouldn't have to listen to you blabbering all the time."

And their routine teasing and taunting began and Sara realized how different it was with Sanjay. Just talking to him would lift her mood. Just as she thought about this, her so-called boy friend's message appeared in another window. Ignoring what Sanjay wrote after this, she dived for the mouse and clicked to see what her bf had typed.

JS: "OK, I'm going to go out with a friend of mine now."
S: " With that Wilson girl again?"
JS: "Yes, so? You can't rule my life you know. Bye"
And before she could say one more word, his icon became offline again.

Sanjay: "Hello? Are you there? Your creep of a boyfriend is online again I bet, hahaha just kidding!"
"Yah well, been having our typical arguments as usual you know"
"Oh good. Actually its great! Remember, if you guys ever break-up for some reason, I am next in line, hahah"
"Uff.Sanjay yaar.."
"Chill babes…."

She smiled again, and then it hit her hard. Oh my god, she thought. What am I doing?
I'm telling my best friend to handle her problems bravely, when I myself am acting like a total loser. She realized her own position, and a tear dropped from her eye. It was very difficult to love someone so much and not be loved back.

A loud 'buzz' sounded from her speaker. Sanjay had sent her a "nudge", according to msn language.

"Hey Sara, for god's sake don't tell me you're still upset because of the argument you had. If that jerk made you cry again, I am going to kill him"

"Hey, no no I'm fine. Really, I am. "
"Fine, I'm calling you now, and if you sound okay then I won't kill the git after all."

"Hey, I'm fine. REALLY. And why do you care so much? You shouldn't ." And then, she broke down. "Oh Sanjay, its just not fair. It's so darn painful to love someone so much and not be loved back."

Sanjay just stared at his monitor screen.
Who could know better.

By Faria Ahmed

The haves vs. the have-nots
Economic conflicts of the World

Mankind has made its history a chronological list of stories of one person or group dominating another. This dominance comes in various forms, usually involving conflicts at some point or another, and usually for the acquirement of power; be it politically, socially or in monitory terms. People have been literally slaughtering each other just for 'a bit more' of everything. Having 'a bit more' than another has created conflict on both individual and international terms; economic advantages have influenced greed in the party that has it and jealousy in the party that does not. The following presents a very brief analysis of the many conflicts that had been aroused due to a very basic concept in economics unlimited demand people just can't seem to have enough!

Colonization, the Commercial Revolution and Slavery
The pro of the Age of Exploration is that it started the linkage between the countries of the world but the con is that it also initiated colonization, leaded by none other than Europe. Spain controlled vast amounts of North, Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. This brought Spain into conflict with many of the native people of these areas, especially the Aztec of Central America (now Mexico) and the Inca of South America (now Peru). These two well-established cultures were completely eradicated by the Spanish conquistadors, the justification of which was simple: gold.

In conjunction with Colonization, drastic changes were occurring in economics and were called the Commercial Revolution. The monarchs of Europe became fabulously rich and power hungry gaining absolute power in their rising nation-states. Money was made through world-wide trade. The European countries also began instituting a policy called mercantilism, in which a country imported less than it exported, thus being able to horde vast amounts of gold. Talk about selfishness to the maximum. This was the beginning of free-enterprise and the foundation for capitalism.

Eventually, captured and native people of colonized countries became goods for the Spanish. However, as the “goods” started causing diseases such as smallpox, a new labor source was searched for and Africa was the answer. Goods were produced and traded for more goods, the effect being a triangular trade that crisscrossed the Atlantic; raw materials from the Americas, manufactured goods from Europe and slaves from Africa. Greed dominated and sustained the African Slave Trade for a 300-year period of conflict.

The Meiji Restoration and the Rise and Fall of Japan
Japan remained isolated from the rest of the world for a long time existing in the feudalistic system under the Tokugawa Shogunate (the Age of the Samurais), with very little technological or cultural progress. However, in around mid-1800, United Stated arrived in Japan to open trade boundaries between the two. While Japan had slept, Industrial Revolution had transformed the rest of the world, leaving Japan far behind. Fearing the Europe or America would imperialize their nation, Japan decided on a rapid development in the areas of technology, industries, government, education and military. This, called the Meiji Restoration, was an astounding success but was the catalyst for the conflicts in the 20th century.

The Meiji restoration caused Japan to become what you may say “power-hungry”. Japan began expanding its territory through imperialism. The Russo-Japanese War saw Japan taking territory from Russia. Also, Japan used the World War I to take German-held territory in China by allying with Great Britain. In the1930s Japan invaded China as a whole. Finally, after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japan went to war with another “power-hungry” United States in the World War II. The dropping of the American atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end, marking the end to an empire that began nearly a century age, and also the epitome of the super-power establishment of United States, with the death toll of millions.

The Conflicts over the Black Gold
The global dependence on petroleum can be considered as an offshoot of the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Imperialism. This meant that whoever controls the oil enjoys a fair amount of political, economic and even social power; and as we know, much of the world's oil supply lies in the Middle East.

In the first half of the 20th century, Middle Eastern nations had the oil, but did not have a way to procure, refine and distribute it. Foreign governments, like USA and Europe provided this with a cut in oil prices. However, in the 1970s it was decided no such aid in oil extraction will be further taken and no cut in oil prices would be given, so that the Middle Eastern could earn more and improve their standard of living. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed to further control the oil and reduce foreign influence; some nations of OPEC also used this as a political weapon. This is a prime example of greed and jealousy; rising greed in OPEC and rising jealousy in USA and Europe.

The Middle Eastern oil-producing nations stopped the flow of oil to the United States because of its support of the Jewish state of Israel. Wars were fought over oil with many conflicts erupting among the members of the OPEC. Iraq attacked Iran in the 1980s and occupied Kuwait in 1990, gaining the Kuwait oil fields and Persian Gulf. At the same time, USA had its eyes on the oil fields, and under the sanction of the United Nations, attacked the Iraqi forces giving rise to the Persian Gulf War. The war ended within weeks as the Iraqi could not withstand the US onslaught. However, the Kuwaiti pipelines were set on fire prior to being ousted, not only ultimately ruining the resources, but also creating a huge environment disaster.

Every nation had their role to play, diving in their own greed and jealousy, for the disaster. The Oil conflicts have been occurring ever since.

Too little or too much of anything is bad. Unluckily, us humans refuse to learn from our past mistakes and are foolish enough to fall into this continuous struggle between the haves and the have-nots. As far as it goes, it seems that as long as lust for power, greed and jealousy is present, history is bound to repeat itself.

By Adnan M. S. Fakir


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