All posts by mara.ahmed

the end of america

last section of an 8 part series, “the end of america”, written by naomi wolf. on the loss of civil liberties: “civil liberties don’t swing back like other issues. civil liberties is a v precious commodity, when u lose them, it tends to run out of ur hand like sand and it’s hard to get it back” (jonathan turley, constitutional law expert).

“the muslims i know” on PBS (rochester)

my film on PBS, may 12th, 8 pm! u can also buy the dvd at:

Take a journey into the much talked about but little known American community in Mara Ahmed’s personal documentary that focuses on the Pakistani American community in Rochester.

The Muslims I Know airs Tuesday, May 12 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (DT 21.1/cable 1011).
Immediately following the broadcast, Ahmed will participate in an online chat about the production at

The Muslims I Know aims to become a dialogue between Americans who might not otherwise interact by exploring the similarities between Islam and other Abrahamic Faiths. The documentary also celebrates the cultural richness and diversity brought into the American mix by Muslim communities. By asking Pakistani Americans questions non-Muslim Americans have framed through vox pop interviews, Ahmed aims to break the stereotypes that have become well-entrenched since 9/11.

Filmmaker Ahmed, who also narrates the documentary, has a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Hartford, Connecticut, and another Master’s in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration in Pakistan. In spite of her training in finance and economics, Mara was always interested in writing, art, and film.

Ahmed’s film training began in 2006 at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She started shooting her first film, The Muslims I Know, in 2006. With the assistance Professor Cat Ashworth of the Rochester Institute of Technology, Mara went from 30-40 hours of uncut video to an hour long film during an 11-week period.

Ahmed’s production company is Neelum Films. She is a member of Rochester Women in Film and Television and of Rochester Film Lab since 2007. The Muslims I Know premiered at the Dryden Theatre in June 2008, and will broadcast on WXXI-TV as part of the Rochester High Falls International Film Festival.

The Muslims I Know

Obama’s Axis of Obedience

good analysis:

Conflating Afghanistan and Pakistan
Obama’s Axis of Obedience

“The question at hand is not whether Pakistan is on the verge of a takeover by reactionary religious extremists from Afghanistan. It is not. Conflating the situations in Afghanistan and Pakistan only confuses people. Pakistan is, however, experiencing an extraordinary upheaval of popular discontent. In a word, it’s the emergence of democracy. Left on its own, the Pakistani army could probably crush the resistence. But with Washington’s help, nearly anything is possible. The real question is, what form will the next series of political changes take.” Full article here.

Chris Floyd: A Full-Court Press for Pakistan War

finally someone who sees it clearly – the case that is being built for war in pakistan. nothing new. same MO: the press creates gradual hysteria (although everything seemed to be alright in pakistan when the swine flu first struck), the military experts start coming out of their holes to sell the war, the govt starts talking about where the next terror attack will come from and how we need to preempt, and finally the public comes to believe that there is no other solution – war is inevitable. do we have such short memories? we just went thru this same process with bush and iraq?

Rolling Out the Product Again
A Full-Court Press for Pakistan War

We asked for signs,
And signs were sent.

— Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”

We are now in the midst of a full-blown campaign to “roll out the product” for a new war: this time, in Pakistan. Anyone who lived through the run-up to the invasion of Iraq should be able to read the signs — anyone, that is, who is not blinded by partisan labels, or by the laid-back cool of a media-savvy leader far more presentable than his predecessor. Full article here.


the torture issue: denial of the humanity of others, contempt for accepted morality.

“It Plays Into the Hands of Al-Qaida”
Torture? It Probably Killed More Americans Than 9/11

“The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology,” says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It was the team led by Major Alexander [a named assumed for security reasons] that obtained the information that led to the US military being able to locate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qa’ida in Iraq. Zarqawi was then killed by bombs dropped by two US aircraft on the farm where he was hiding outside Baghdad on 7 June 2006. Major Alexander said that he learnt where Zarqawi was during a six-hour interrogation of a prisoner with whom he established relations of trust. Full article here.

What is Fascism?

Fascism is a unique phenomenon and has unique traits: the notion of being a “superior nation”, the denial of the humanity of other nations and national minorities, a cult of the leader, a cult of violence, disdain for democracy, an adoration of war, contempt for accepted morality. All these attributes together create the phenomenon, which has no agreed scientific definition.

Saints and Sinners: The Science of Good and Evil

People who are emotionally secure, who view life’s problems as manageable and who feel safe and protected tend to show the greatest empathy for strangers and to act altruistically and compassionately. In contrast, people who are anxious about their own worth and competence, who avoid close relationships or are clingy in those they have tend to be less altruistic and less generous. Such people are less likely to care for the elderly, for instance, or to donate blood. Full article here.