maraahmed.com

un cahier perlé

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Hassan Hajjaj

The New York Times sees shades of Matisse and Koons. ArtNet is convinced he’s the next David LaChapelle. But Hassan Hajjaj, the Moroccan stylist and photographer, started out simply wanting to capture the essence of his home country in ways his buddies back in London would appreciate. The 53-year-old multidisciplinary artist was born in Morocco and moved to London in his teens, at the height of the punk craze. For the last 15 years, he’s joined the two cultures, splitting his time between Marrakech and London as he turns out densely textured portrait photography that plays well in the West but requires North African artistry to even exist at all. More here.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Bring on Scottish Independence

Chris Bambery: What position should anti-capitalists take? Historically, of course, there is scarcely a trouble spot in the world that was not caused by the British. From Cork to Calcutta, few would shed a tear over the demise of the British state. The break-up of Britain by whatever means would be a step forward for humanity. In addition, the sight and sound of corporate Britain charging into battle to threaten, cajole, and bully Scottish voters, backed up by the International Monetary Fund, Goldman Sachs, the European Union, and Deutsche Bank, tells us which side our enemies are on. That’s why we should be cheering on Yes. It would be a small but not insignificant blow to the British and global elite. Bring it on.

More here.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

The black Victorians: astonishing portraits unseen for 120 years

Sean O’Hagan: In Black Chronicles II, the resurrected photo albums and carte de visites, plus a slideshow of black British soldiers and portraits culled from the Hulton Archive and the National Army Museum all add up to an impressionistic history of black British experience – but, more tantalisingly, tell the extraordinary individual stories that underpinned that collective cultural experience. Fittingly, the exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Stuart Hall, the influential left-wing cultural theorist who died this year, and whose writings underpin The Missing Chapter project. “They are here because you were there,” he wrote of the black British people whose experience he illuminated. “There is an umbilical connection. There is no understanding Englishness without understanding its imperial and colonial dimensions.” The excavated images in Black Chronicles II provide a crucial and, until now, overlooked way of further understanding that complex connection. More here.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Israel routinely blackmails Palestinian gays to make them informants

Philip Weiss: Israel has sold itself internationally as a gay Mecca. (Here, here, and here, for instance.) This freedom is regularly cited by advocates for Israel in the west, making stark comparisons to Muslim societies that repress gays. Well here’s a new spin on that claim: reports that Israeli intelligence pried into Palestinians’ phone calls and internet activity so as to identify and blackmail Palestinian gays and turn them into informants against other Palestinians. More here.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

From Adam Hudson

If you’re black in America, you can’t…

— reach for your wallet
— wear a hoodie
— keep your hands in your pockets
— run
— wear baggy or saggy jeans
— wear anything remotely “threatening” (which can mean different things in different contexts)
— walk anywhere you want without people getting suspicious of you
— make out in your own car
— use or possess drugs
— pick up a toy/BB gun in a store that sells them
— walk around with a sword as part of your cosplay attire
— sell untaxed cigarettes
— jaywalk
— mind your business
— be a big, husky man

…without police profiling, harassing, detaining, arresting, or killing you or without random people profiling or suspecting you and, potentially, reporting you to the police.

But repeat after me, “You are free”.

September 17, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Rochester Fringe Festival – My Name is Rachel Corrie

Sept 21 at 12:00pm and Sept 22 at 8:00pm: MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE is the story of an American peace activist who traveled to Gaza during the Second Intifada, where she worked to protect civilian homes from being demolished by Israel. On March 16th, 2003 – less than two months after arriving – Rachel was crushed to death by an Israeli Defense Forces bulldozer. All the words of the play are taken from Rachel’s own writings, and were compiled by actor Alan Rickman and journalist Katherine Viner. The Witness Palestine Film Series helped bring this event to Rochester. More here.

September 14, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Dreamy Portraits Capture Hijra, Bangladesh’s ‘Third Gender’

Ellyn Ruddick-Sunstein: For Call Me Heena, Bangladeshi photographer Shahria Sharmin intimately explores the country’s Hijra community, composed of people who were assigned male anatomies at birth but identify as being internally female. Sharmin explains that the Hijra identity exists outside of Western definitions like transgender and is perhaps better described as a third gender. Hijras adopt traditionally female roles, becoming mothers and wives, although their marriages are not recognized legally. In mainstream society, Hijras are met with prejudice and incorrectly labeled as hermaphrodites and eunuchs. Growing up, Sharmin herself was taught to see Hijras as aberrant and sub-human. She met a Hijra named Heena while pursuing project on garment workers, and as their friendship grew, she began to see the beauty of the the Hijra community. Heena shared her dreams of being a wife and told Sharmin that she felt like a mermaid, with her anatomy in disagreement with her mind’s feminine identity. More here.

Call Me Heena by Shahria Sharmin

Call Me Heena by Shahria Sharmin

September 14, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Omar Robert Hamilton: After the Ceasefire

On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following:

1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land
2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue
3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire)
4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions
6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding
7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head
8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation
9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza
10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother

The list continues here.

September 14, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

Karl reMarks: We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment

These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article. More here.

September 14, 2014
by mara.ahmed
0 comments

A fascinating map of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries

i’m not a particularly devoted admirer of statistics and graphs but it’s interesting to read something unexpected about countries maligned by the west (such as pakistan). this might be the “cartography of bullshit” but other accepted/respected narratives about the civilized (human rights obsessed) west vs the barbaric orient are equally excremental.

when people throw stats at me i usually just smile. i go even further than that. i question all the so-called truths that we’ve been told about the world and ourselves since most of our education is based on western textbooks and western notions of the “developed” nations vs the primitive “developing” ones. if one studies the mechanics of colonialism and colonial education, it’s quite easy to see how the colonized came to hate themselves and see their colonizers as primarily their superior. too many stats and graphs and literature and scholarly research with an orientalist twist.

what i’m trying to say is that i don’t trust western assumptions anyway. this map is also produced by the west (swedish scholars etc) so it’s telling that it’s worth more thought and more push back than other accepted western “data” which is steeped in racism.

Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier: Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance – sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices – only 6.5 percent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch. More here.