Twenty Years Since 9/11: An Activist Filmmaker’s Take

Although I’ve written for the Socialist Worker, Mondoweiss, Counterpunch, Mason Street and other publications, I had never written for an academic journal before. The wonderful Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt changed all that when she asked me to be part of a segment she was curating for South Asian Review, for the upcoming 20th Anniversary of 9/11. The full print issue, with essays by Mohamad Junaid, Deepa Kumar, Maimuna Islam and myself, will be out in December.

Here is my piece, written from the perspective of an activist filmmaker and someone who tries to unpack Islamophobia. I so appreciate Reshmi’s curation (her excellent introduction is here) and her willingness to open up the conversation and hear from culture-makers. I enjoyed working on this short piece even though citations are a killer:) It’s almost 20 years since 9/11…

“I became an activist in the run-up to the war on Iraq. The Bush administration’s battle cry was transparently depraved and indifferent to facts or anti-war protests. Mainstream media became obsessed with Islam and Muslims even before the War on Terror hit its stride. They dispensed images and soundbites surreal in their exaggerated reincarnations, ripped from their political contexts, and glued to the air we were breathing. It became hard to read the news or negotiate a cultural milieu choked by anti-Muslim bigotry.” More here.

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