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October 24, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Kundiman at the Spirit Room: A Fall Reading

Dear friends, I am honored to be #reading my work with #Asian American writers and poets Albert Abonado, Chen Chen, and Margaret Rhee at The Spirit Room in #Rochester #NY on Sunday, Oct 28 at 7pm. I’ve written a brand new piece about the languages I love and live in. I am thrilled to share it with u. Hope u can make it! Thank u Sejal Shah for organizing this.

October 24, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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ON THE BANK by Arseny Tarkovsky

Translated from the Russian by Robert Chandler

He was sitting by the river, among reeds
that peasants had been scything for their thatch.
And it was quiet there, and in his soul
it was quieter and stiller still.
He kicked off his boots and put
his feet into the water, and the water
began talking to him, not knowing
he didn’t know its language.
He had thought that water is deaf-mute,
that the home of sleepy fish is without words,
that blue dragonflies hover over the water
and catch mosquitoes or horseflies,
that you wash if you want to wash, and drink
if you want to drink, and that’s all there is
to water. But in all truth
the water’s language was a wonder,
a story of some kind about some thing,
some unchanging thing that seemed
like starlight, like the swift flash of mica,
like a divination of disaster.
And in it was something from childhood,
from not being used to counting life in years,
from what is nameless
and comes at night before you dream,
from the terrible, vegetable
sense of self
of your first season.

That’s how the water was that day,
and its speech was without rhyme or reason.

October 23, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Fiction: Songs of Silence

Muneeza Shamsie: The quietness with which Hussein portrays turmoil and self-doubt adds to the power of his stories such as the tight, intricate and moving ‘Lady of the Lotus’. This multi-layered tale vividly recreates Karachi in the 1950s: its elegant parties, cultural evenings and soirees. Hussein interweaves brief jottings from the diaries of his gifted mother, Sabiha Ahmed Hussein, capturing her profound love for classical music and her singing lessons by famous maestros. The narrative is skilfully constructed through a series of vignettes in the first- and third-person, which weld past and present to great effect, to tell of creativity, self-expression, self-doubt and loss. A brief reference to her longing for rain — so rare in Karachi but so abundant in her native Malwa, India — imbues the story with a myriad of metaphors, including an intertextual engagement with the famous Malwa folk legend which gives Hussein’s story its name. Music as an innate expression of the human experience also runs through ‘The Hermitage’. Here, the loud joyful singing of a nun and the painful soaring voice of a monk, juxtaposed against the disciplined, traditional chanting of their colleagues at a monastery, release the abbott Siddhant’s suppressed memories. More here.

October 23, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Saudi prince admits US told monarchy to spread extremist Wahhabi Islamist ideology to combat communism

Ben Norton: Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has admitted that the monarchy spread its extremist far-right Sunni Islamist ideology known as Wahhabism throughout the Muslim-majority world, at the behest of its “allies.”

The Saudi regime did this expressly in order to undermine the growing influence of communism and progressive secular Arab nationalism, the prince acknowledged.

The allies who ordered the Saudi regime to propagate this fascistic form of political Islam were not specifically named, but it is clearly a reference to the United States and the United Kingdom, which supported right-wing Islamist movements throughout the Cold War.

Mohammed bin Salman, known popularly as MBS, confessed this quietly in an interview with The Washington Post, published on March 22nd. More here.

October 23, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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10 days, 10 films – day 6

10 days, 10 films that move me. just a picture, no title, no explanation. thx for the tag Pascale Lorette and Jean-Claude Maurer. here’s the 6th film, in no particular order.

October 22, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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10 days, 10 films – day 5

with some delay – 10 days, 10 films that move me. just a picture, no title, no explanation. thx for the tag Pascale Lorette and Jean-Claude Maurer. here’s the 5th film, in no particular order.

October 20, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Saturday in Toronto

Amazing day. Met one of my dearest friends and her beautiful daughter after 12 years. So much to talk about, discuss, share, while enjoying a lovely lunch. Then a sumptuous dinner with my cousin and his fabulous fam, along w my mom and dad. Lahori hospitality and love right here in Canada ♥

October 18, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Mara Ahmed’s unwavering lens

Am so very moved by and thankful for E.C. Salibian’s attentive, honest, and profound writing about my work. Published in the first issue ever of the Rochester Beacon (a group of veteran journalists and others with deep ties to the Rochester community providing local news coverage and analysis), the article quotes/mentions so many people I love and am grateful for. This gives me more pleasure than anything. Thank you Nilofar Saleem, Saleem Murtaza, Aitezaz Ahmed, Gibran Ahmed, Mimi Ahmed, Muhammad Shafiq, Cat Ashworth, Rajesh Barnabas, Mariko Yamada, Joyce Edwards, Surbhi Dewan, Donna K. Khorsheed, and Tonya Noel ♥

Read article here.

October 18, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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prelude to ballet performance at tryon park

#gorgeous #dance #shoot at #tryonpark today in #rochesterny for The Injured Body: A Film about Racism in America
a #prelude to a #ballet #performance that #celebrates the #fall

#inspired by the #work of #artist #maimounaguerresi

#performed by María José Rodríguez-Torrado
#choreography by Mariko Yamada
#cinematography by Rajesh Barnabas
#directed by Mara Ahmed