un cahier perlé

February 14, 2017
by mara.ahmed

toronto – feb 10 to 12, 2017

with my BFF in toronto

the aga khan museum

exhibition on syria

coffee and chinese teas at jule

kathy wazana and mara ahmed

lia tarachansky and mara ahmed

persian brunch

iranian restaurant in toronto

February 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed

Watch A Tribe Called Quest Show the Grammys How Political Statements Are Done

David Canfield: Busta directly saluted Trump as “President Agent Orange” before “congratulating” him on his unsuccessful Muslim ban (a subject that’s very personal to Tribe members Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, who are both Muslim). Integrated seamlessly into the performance of their song “We the People”—itself a fierce denunciation of fear and intolerance—the performance made for the kind of genuinely moving political statement that awards shows all too rarely provide, as the group used their platform to bring Muslims onstage as a visible reminder of the very real victims of these actions. And while brief statements of unity were sprinkled throughout the evening, the song’s devastating hook (written in the voice of a very Trump-esque hatemonger) brought all these messages together:

All you black folks, you must go
All you Mexicans, you must go
And all you poor folks, you must go
Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways
So all you bad folks, you must go
The final word of the performance, delivered with black-power salutes in the air, surely would have made Phife Dawg proud: “Resist.”

More here.

February 13, 2017
by mara.ahmed

#Milosexual and the Aesthetics of Fascism

DANIEL PENNY: Sometimes called “cultural libertarians” or “free speech fundamentalists,” these memers, having emerged from the swamps of 4chan and Reddit, are united by a shared desire to say shocking and offensive things, and steadfastly believe that their right to do this is inalienable.

[…] Milo’s alt-right fans flock to his events not in spite of his sometimes outrageous appearance, statements, and flaming sexuality, but rather because of them. Like the Emcee in Cabaret, performing his deviance to the delight of a Nazi audience, Milo’s carnivalesque presence within the sphere of the alt-right is exciting and transgressive, signaling the inversion of the established order. In another context, Milo’s personal identity could be cause for his audience to assault him, yet on the stage, making fun of the alt-right’s enemies, Milo’s contradictions are permitted and celebrated as “edgy.”

[…] Milo can say things like “faggot” because he is gay; therefore his fans are permitted to use the same language, as they could not possibly be homophobes themselves by virtue of adoring him. This reinforces the “it’s all a joke” logic that allows so many on the alt-right to playfully dabble in hate speech while retaining a sense of moral integrity. Objectors are then positioned as humorless, oversensitive snowflakes. More here.

February 12, 2017
by mara.ahmed

Frederick Douglass’s 199th birthday is coming up

American writer, abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass edits a journal at his desk, late 1870s. Frederick Douglass’s 199th birthday is coming up on Feb 14th. Pls join us for a celebration of his life and work:

Tuesday, February 14 at 11:45 AM – 1:15 PM
Mount Hope Cemetery – Rochester
1133 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester, New York 14620

Frederick Douglass

February 11, 2017
by mara.ahmed

in toronto

spending the weekend with my BFF and recharging for the continuing challenges ahead. we all need to unplug sometimes, and enjoy the best pakistani food in north america 🙂

February 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed

Celebration of the 199th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s birth

The #ROCDouglass Consortium presents a celebration of the 199th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’s birth on February 14, 2017 at his gravesite in Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York.

According to New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, “Douglass was one of the most brilliant thinkers, writers, orators America has ever produced. Furthermore, he harnessed and mastered the media of his day. Writing an acclaimed autobiography, establishing his own newspaper and becoming the most photographed American of the 19th century.”

Blow is not alone in his esteem, President Abraham Lincoln called Frederick Douglass “one of the most meritorious men, if not the most meritorious man in the United States.”

Frederick Douglass was a citizen of Rochester, New York, during one of the most consequential chapters of his illustrious life. He established The North Star, an anti-slavery newspaper, in the city in 1847. The newspaper’s motto was prescient, with a 21st century-like understanding of the intersectionality of oppression. Its motto was “Right is of no sex-Truth is of no color-God is the father of us all, and we are brethren.”

Unlike more modern men and women who can tell the day and exact time they were born and under what moon, it seems especially important to commemorate Douglass’ bicentennial because of the relative inconsequentiality of slaves’ births. In the “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” Douglass said – “I never met with a slave in that part of the country who could tell me with any certainty how old he was. Few at that time knew anything of the months of the year or the days of the month. They measured the ages of their children by spring-time, winter-time, harvest-time, planting-time, and the like. Masters allowed no questions concerning their ages to be put to them by slaves. I suppose myself to have been born in 1817.”

Frederick Douglass was born in either 1817 or 1818, but per his autobiography, “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” he was born in about 1817.

The event producers, #ROCDouglass Consortium – consists of three members/organizations, including:
· Neelum Films, Mara Ahmed (Founder)
·, Amanda Chestnut
· 21st Century Arts, Rachel DeGuzman

Produced in affiliation with Flower City Arts Center, Writers and Books, North Star Players, DUNWOOD? Visual Consulting, PeaceArt International, the M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, City of Rochester Mount Hope Cemetery, the Frederick Douglass Institute for African-American Studies: University of Rochester and more.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 – 11:45 am to 1:15 pm. The program will begin promptly at noon.

Mt. Hope Cemetery, 1133 Mt. Hope Avenue, Rochester, New York 14620. Douglass’ grave is in section T, plot 26. Attendees will enter the cemetery in the south entrance opposite The Distillery Restaurant. The address for the office is 1133 Mount Hope Ave. Drive in and take a right where the drive-in road ends. (very short distance). Go to the first intersection but continue going up the slight incline. The next marker is a small pond on your left that is having work done on it. Guests should park in that area and continue walking a short distance up the road (keeping to your right) There will be a historic marker with Frederick’s name on it and right next to it a gravel walkway. Go down the walkway towards Mt. Hope Ave. a short distance and you will see the walkway goes to the left. Follow that to the end. It ends at Frederick Douglass’s grave.

· Welcome and introduction to Frederick Douglass
· Contemporary inspirations/testimonials including Spiritual by Thomas Warfield,
readings by Banke Awopetu-McCullogh, Shawn Dunwoody and Lu Highsmith
· Attendee participation/recitation of Frederick Douglass quotes
· Frederick Douglass reenactment by David Shakes/North Star Players
· Interfaith prayer by Melanie Duguid-May

Handout text:
On December 3, 1947 Frederick Douglass published the first issue of the anti-slavery The North Star newspaper in Rochester, New York. Its motto was “Right is of no sex-Truth is of no color-God is the father of us all, and we are brethren.”

frederick douglass

February 9, 2017
by mara.ahmed

US appeals court upholds suspension of Trump travel ban

A federal appeals court refused Thursday to reinstate President Donald Trump’s ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, dealing another legal setback to the new administration’s immigration policy.

In a unanimous decision, the panel of three judges from the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible.

The court rejected the administration’s claim that it did not have the authority to review the president’s executive order. More here.

February 8, 2017
by mara.ahmed

Refugees crossing into Canada from US on foot despite freezing temperatures

Ashifa Kassam: A growing number of asylum seekers are braving freezing cold temperatures to walk into Canada from the US, driven by fears of what Donald Trump’s presidency will mean for refugees, advocates say. Last week, amid the chaos and uncertainty triggered by Trump’s travel ban, one agency dedicated to resettling refugees and immigrants opened an unprecedented 10 refugee claims in one day. Eight of the claimants had walked into Canada in order to avoid detection by border officials. On Tuesday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said another 22 people had walked across the border and into Canada over the weekend; 19 of them on Saturday and three on Sunday. “They’re not crossing at the actual point where there’s an immigration and customs offices,” said Rita Chahal of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council. “They’re walking through prairie fields with lots and lots of deep snow. In Europe we’re seeing people in boats; now just imagine a prairie flatland and snow for miles and miles.” More here.


February 7, 2017
by mara.ahmed

What Non-Black Latinxs Can Learn From this Debate Between Salma Hayek and Jessica Williams

Amanda Alcantara: There’s a lot to take away from this exchange. Both Hayek and MacLaine were essentially likening black feminism to victimhood, suggesting that acknowledging your identity, including the ways in which the world perceives and oppresses you, is self-victimization. This ignores that for some women, shedding these aspects of their identity is simply not possible. It also ignores that the many layers in a person’s identity are not always a hindrance, but can in fact be a source of power—these layers and complexities are at the core of intersectionality. Moreover, in a society where whiteness is hegemonic, asking someone to strip themselves of their identity is tantamount to asking for whiteness. White art is often considered a blank canvas onto which a universal human experience can be projected, as opposed to blackness, queerness, or other non-white experiences, etc.

Even within the broad range of non-white experiences, we must acknowledge that not all people of color face the same challenges.

[…] In this time of Trumpismo, one in which solidarity between minority communities is critical to resistance, we must learn to listen to one another. Listen to those who are more marginalized than you are, take the time to de-center your own experiences, to understand that oppression can be experienced at different levels of intensity. More here.

February 6, 2017
by mara.ahmed

The legislation that will be used to intimidate and imprison members of the Muslim community has been introduced

“Concerned about a Muslim Registry? This is the registry. This is what will be used to intimidate, silence, and imprison members of the Muslim community. This is what needs to be opposed. This is when resistance action is needed. It is easy to say you will support your Muslim brothers and sisters, but when they start screaming terrorism will you still stand in support? That is when you are really needed.” More here.

February 6, 2017
by mara.ahmed

About Bowling Green

From Masha Gessen:

“Some facts about Bowling Green that I don’t find particularly funny. Conway was referring to (ok, fantasizing on the basis of) a case in which two men who came to the U.S. from Iraq on refugee visas were accused of “attempting to provide material support to Iraqi insurgents.”

Note the “attempted to.”

I have covered cases based on this kind of vague accusation; in these cases the defendants were immigrants from Muslim countries who had been “caught” sending money home. I don’t know if this was that kind of case – these men never got a trial. They pleaded guilty to federal terrorism charges. Never mind that the accusations against them – that they were supporting insurgents in Iraq – fits no one’s definition of terrorism (there is no single definition, but no one thinks that fighting against armed soldiers is terrorism).

One of them was sentenced to life in federal prison. He was 25 at the time of sentencing, 23 at the time of arrest. The other was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison, followed by life of “supervised release” (this was a “reduced” sentence in exchange for cooperating with the prosecution). These are not entirely atypical sentences for people who are serving time on terrorism convictions in the U.S. There are roughly 500 such people in American federal prisons right now. In the vast majority of cases, they were entrapped by the FBI.

One of the Bowling Green defendants’ lawyers claimed that this was what happened in this case as well – but, of course, we have no details because they took the plea, which is also typical. The most serious charges that the men pleaded guilty to – out of a total of 23 counts – were: “conspiring to kill U.S. nationals abroad; conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against U.S. nationals abroad; distributing information on the manufacture and use of IEDs; attempting to provide material support to terrorists and to AQI and conspiring to transfer, possess and export Stinger missiles.”

Note that they are charged with intent, not with commission of a crime.

All this happened during the Obama administration. I am glad that this country is finally waking up to the insanity of its current Islamophobia. It would be good, too, to wake up to the insanity of the War on Terror, which paved the way for Conway’s fantasies and so much more.”