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un cahier perlé

September 17, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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A Thin Wall screenings in Taipei on Oct 7 and 9

#AThinWall is coming to #Taipei, #Taiwan, on Oct 7 and 9: Every edition of NNFF includes the “History Re/Vision” series, in which we present films that highlight forgotten or overlooked historical and political events. This year’s series continues to focus on Southeast Asia, and extends to the Indian subcontinent with the screening of “A Thin Wall.” This film looks back at the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan and the historical scars that linger today, affecting national identity, religion, and class. More here.

September 16, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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#JusticeForBerta

Berta Cáceres, Honduran environmental activist, indigenous leader, and co-founder of the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras. Born in 1973. Assassinated on March 3, 2016.

September 16, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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We All Write at Geva and Barakah Muslim Charity event

yesterday i was lucky enough to experience We All Write Presents BirthWrite at Geva Theatre – what a rousing cocktail of truth, empowerment, vulnerability, humor, wisdom, sisterhood, and magnificent words. thank u Tokeya C. Graham, Lu Highsmith, Reenah Oshun Golden, Selena Fleming and Kristen Gentry for ur artistry.

today i attended a plaque dedication followed by lunch at Barakah Muslim Charity on jefferson ave in rochester. not only was it wonderful to see many activists and friends, but also to witness barakah’s work expand with their neighborhood soup kitchen, backpack drive, and support for refugees. thank u Irshad Altheimer, Munye Abanur and dr Muhammad Shafiq for ur hard work and dedication.

We All Write photograph by Ralph Thompson

September 14, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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i wrote this two years ago – to my brother and sisters ♥

this past weekend, we went to visit my brother, his family, and my mom and dad. we made this trip to celebrate my multi-talented musician nephews at a concert. drums, bass, electric guitar, ukulele, vocals – u name it, they excel at it. hanging out with my brother was trippy, as always. it’s not just his bright sense of humor or his ability to weave hilarious, legendary stories out of almost nothing, it’s also that many of his memories of our common past complete and restore mine. he, and my sisters, complete my story, my sense of identity. it’s an amazing thing. like existing as some kind of impressionistic painting, spread across states and continents, illuminated point by point by the recollections of those we love. we forgot to take the mandatory selfie, so here’s an older picture from a few years ago. it’s an homage to my brother and sisters who are an indelible part of who i am ♥

September 14, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Protest against pipeline in Louisiana

Water protector Cherri Foytlin, who is Din’e, Cherokee and Latina, was violently arrested for protesting a pipeline that will go through her home, the bayous of Louisiana. It’s part of the same network as the Dakota Access Pipeline which was resisted at Standing Rock.

UPDATE: Construction has been halted, for now, on a section of the pipeline.

September 10, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Noura Erakat will be in town

The brilliant Noura Erakat will be in town and in dialogue with Dee Ponder about justice and law both in Palestine and the US. Sun Oct 14, 2:00pm, at the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word, 597 East Ave, Rochester, New York 14607. Don’t miss it.

September 10, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Native Resistance and the Carceral State

Nick Estes: …the second amendment was passed in the context of The Battle of Wabash, wherein the Shawnee Confederacy, alongside allied Miamis, essentially wiped out the Continental Army following the so-called Revolutionary War of Independence. So what happened is that the standing army of the so-called the United States was like in shambles. It was almost nonexistent. And so the second amendment was passed to arm everyday settlers and to federally subsidized the armament of those settlers to essentially carry out Indian killing. To continue taking land. Because if we understand historically, as Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in her new book, Loaded, argues: the second amendment was created to facilitate the taking of indigenous land and territory because the revolutionary war was not fought for, as we were told, as a war of independence from Britain, but it was fought as a war to expand settlement west of the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains and thus expand the institution of slavery.

And so, out of these well-regulated settler militias, you have the formation of the first forms of law enforcement on the frontier, to essentially bring order to a savage land. And so we can see the foundations of the carceral system as we know it today, as being literally codified in the founding documents of this nation; and unlike other so-called republics –capitalists republics– the U.S. Constitution has never been changed, right? It’s one of the few documents that exists in the modern world that hasn’t changed since it’s inception or deviated from what Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz calls “the cult of the covenant”.

So we can kind of see this ideological groundwork being built from the very inception of the United States onwards, and so if we think of modern police departments, but also the arming of everyday settler-citizens, we can think of this society as from the get-go, a carceral society that was –incarceration we tend to think of, as many in the black radical tradition have highlighted in the abolitionist framework, as one that essentially in prisons bodies to steal time from people that are alive, but often missing from that framework is the understanding of the role of indigenous elimination to essentially clear the land so that this capitalist project, the settler project can grow and can continue to expand. And so we have to see incarceration, mass incarceration, as essentially a sort of a logical outcome of the system. Because we don’t, when we talk about carceral studies, most people don’t consider the reservation system as one of the founding systems of control and containment. So yeah, I think the idea of studying but also in challenging the carceral system we have to actually talk about settler-colonialism as foundational to it. More here.

September 9, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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US Open final

Re-reading Claudia Rankine’s “Citizen: An American Lyric,” the inspiration for The Injured Body: A Film about Racism in America, and the chapter on Serena Williams resonates so deeply in the context of what happened at the US Open final.

“Yes, and the body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness–all the unintimidated, unblinking, and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through…”

serena williams and naomi osaka

September 8, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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long table convo on anti-muslim racism

#longtable #convo on #antimuslim #racism and the #collapsing of #muslim #identities today at #gallery74 in Rochester, New York with Rachel Y. DeGuzman, Ralph A Thompson, Muna Najib, Aisa Purak, Obaida Omar, Mahreen Mustafa George, Fatimah Arshad, Halima Aweis, Ema Amatullah Shabazz and Fadak Al-Salami.

#great convo starters #attendance #food and #discussion
a wonderful #community #event 🙂

an event of At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice initiative




September 6, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Folding a Five-Cornered Star So the Corners Meet by Li-Young Lee

And the sorrow we bear together is none of ours.
Maybe it’s Yours, God.
For living so near to Your creatures.
For suffering so many incarnations unknown to Yourself.
For remaining strange to lovers and friends,
and then outliving them and all of their names for You.
For living sometimes for years without a name.
And all of Your springtimes disheveled.
And all of Your winters one winter.

More here.

September 6, 2018
by mara.ahmed
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Anti-Muslim Racism: A Long Table Conversation and Installation

A diverse and brilliant group of Muslim women will be the conversation starters at this Long Table. Pls register and join us this Saturday 3-6pm!

Participants, in alphabetical order:

1- Mara Ahmed is an activist, artist and filmmaker who has lived and been educated in Belgium, Pakistan and the United States. Her first documentary, “The Muslims I Know” premiered 10 years ago and started a dialogue between American Muslims and people of other faiths. Her third documentary, “A Thin Wall,” a film about the partition of India in 1947, was released in 2015. She is now working on a film about racism in America, focusing on the voices of women of color. Her production company is Neelum Films.

2- Fadak Al-Salami was born in Iraq. Her family moved to the US in 2014, by way of Syria. Fadak is in 7th grade. She likes going to the mall with friends and plays soccer.

3- Fatimah Arshad is a junior majoring in Public Health at the University of Rochester. As a young Muslim woman living in today’s world, she wants to play her part in contributing to a society that accepts and encourages diversity. She also wishes to help dissipate stereotypes against Muslims and other minorities that are victims of racism.

4- Halima Aweis graduated from RIT in May this year. She majored in Biotechnology and Molecular Biosciences and plans on going to graduate school after a gap year. Her family is originally from Mogadishu, Somalia, but Halima was born in Missouri. She is interested in anti-Muslim racism because as a Black Muslim woman who wears the hijab, she contends with discrimination frequently, both inside and outside of the Muslim community.

5- Mahreen Mustafa George was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, to a traditional Muslim family. After immigrating to the US and raising her own children, she is keen to discuss the differences between the culture she grew up in, and the one she’s raising her own family in. Mahreen is actively involved in racial justice initiatives in the Rochester community, notably as a founding organizer of the Black Lives Matter at School initiative, as well as collaborative work with the Islamic Center of Rochester.

6- Obaida Omar is a manager at the Catholic Family Center’s Refugee, Immigration and Employment Services. She was born in Afghanistan. Her family fled to Pakistan in the 1980s, during the Soviet invasion, before resettling in the US. She has a Baccalaureate in Social Work from SUNY Brockport and her passion is to help other refugees.

7- Aisa Purak was born in the small village of Jastrebac in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She came to Rochester as a refugee. Her book, “Bosnian Immigrants: Opportunities and Challenges,” is a study of 100 Bosnian families who immigrated to Rochester and found a way to adapt to life in a new society. She leads the Bosnian female choir and holds Quran classes for women.

8- Muna Najib Taha is a Rochester humanities student, activist and researcher by way of Chicago and Palestine. As a Muslim woman, she is honored to teach and engage with others about Islam in a way that debunks Islamophobic and xenophobic narratives.

9- Ema Amatullah Shabazz is retired. Her interests include childhood development, drawing and painting. She is African American and a revert to Islam. She is interested in people’s reactions to her being Muslim.