Category Archives: self-authored

Filming Liz and Lauren

what an incredible day today! shot b roll with Rajesh Barnabas. first we filmed liz nicolas doing yoga in her beautiful garden, then we shot lauren jimerson and her son angel processing corn and creating art at the iroquois white corn project in victor, finally i had dinner with the beautiful Kristin Hocker and Pamela Kim at sinbad’s – ate excellent food and talked and talked until they closed. why i love rochester so much.

My workouts

wanted to give a shout-out to my trainer Julie Zobel. with all the changes in my life – leaving a community that’s home to me, trying to settle in long island in the midst of a pandemic, being in a small space with all the books/objects that provide continuity, familiarity stored elsewhere, getting used to a different rhythm, pace, place, people and accent (!!!) – the one thing i’ve counted on are my workouts. we do them in a smallish space in my bedroom, but they’re still challenging, designed for me specifically, and never boring. all i use is a mat.

i trained with julie at a gym for a long time, and the transition to virtual workouts has been seamless.

it’s safer to exercise at home. message Julie Zobel to get more info.

My vote

I wrote this weeks ago. I will be voting for Biden. It was hard for me to write this, but I’ve been transparent about my political thinking, so here goes. I have absolutely no faith in Biden and I will not be holding my breath for him/Harris to fix the catastrophe that is America. We must do so ourselves.

I will vote for Biden as a f–k you to Trump Nazis – to all the white people with ‘Trump 2020’ stickers on their cars and ‘Make American Great Again’ signs outside their homes. The RNC had KKK vibes, the MAGA procession I saw yesterday was so full of itself – white supremacy must be disrupted, even if it’s with something as wedded to the system as Biden (I know this is what the Dems are depending on, but who cares). People of color make up 40% of this country. Let’s make them feel it.

Let’s not delude ourselves. Dems count on their privilege just as much as Republicans. They will never overhaul a system that codifies that entitlement. How can any decent human being oppose Medicare for All in the midst of a pandemic? It’s beyond belief.

Also, representation doesn’t go very far when it’s only a symbol of individual success. Unless POCs in power challenge existing systems and try to make life better for the marginalized, their ‘diversity’ is just about optics.

Finally, Democrats love war. If they win (and that’s a big if), they will be jonesing for more bloodshed abroad. Just remember that imperialism IS racism. If they kill Black and Brown people over there, they will also murder them locally. Probably with the same military equipment, and by appealing to similar fears. So don’t buy any War on Terror bs or get all nostalgic about Obama, the drone president.

Vote for Biden to get Trump supporters out of our faces. They don’t even wear masks.

Trump rally

we decided to go to a car wash on jericho turnpike today and got stuck in the middle of a huge trump 2020 rally. 100s of trucks, jeeps and cars, all fitted with flags, honking aggressively, white people sitting in the back of pickup trucks shouting and waving banners, women screaming ‘four more years’ from their car windows, cheerleaders in full trump regalia cheering them on at major intersections. the procession was never-ending. went on for almost an hour as i stood by the side of the road taking pictures. what was more unsettling than the rally itself were other drivers honking to show their support and brandishing their fists in the air. a veritable nazi spectacle.

violence on women’s bodies

whether violence is related to the state and its need to control/suppress, capitalism and the policing of racial and caste hierarchies, or patriarchal iterations of societies and religions, somehow it always ends up being inscribed intimately on the bodies of women.

from the gang rape in pakistan where a woman was dragged from her car and assaulted in front of her children, to the story of an 86-year old grandmother raped and brutalized in india, from the sterilization of women via large numbers of unexplained hysterectomies in american concentration camps run by ICE, to the use of tear gas and other chemical weapons on protestors when they disrupt women’s menstrual cycles and are linked to higher rates of miscarriage and stillbirth, the spectacle of sadist transgressions against women’s bodies and minds continues. it’s hard to take.

Any resistance to state violence is heroic

I was disturbed to see a Rochester media personality (no name necessary) talk about how ‘outside agitators have our city in their crosshairs. They’re bloodthirsty. They’re hell bent on spreading lies. They couldn’t care less about #DanielPrude.’ She went on to pray for Rochester. 1000 likes on twitter and many messages of support from a lot of white people.

Since the uprising started, there has been an effort to distinguish the ‘good’ protestor from the ‘bad’ protestor. Let’s not. It’s the surest way to paint oneself into a corner.

We, Muslims, have been labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for a long time, especially as the wars on our bodies/humanity were ramped up. We’re either Islamists or secularists, moderates or extremists, people the West can work with or threats it must contain. It’s a known strategy.

‘This categorisation [is] not new. Literature produced during the colonial era, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially by orientalist scholars in Britain and France, depicted Muslims in the same binary manner. “Good” Muslims were those who either collaborated with the colonial enterprise or accepted the values and customs of the dominant power. The rest, the “bad” Muslims, those who “resisted” religiously, culturally or politically, were systematically denigrated, dismissed as the “other” and repressed as a “danger”. Times have changed, but the old mindsets and simplistic portrayals continue to cast a shadow over today’s intellectual, political and media debate about Islam.’

The thing is, whether they put us down as ‘good’ protestors or ‘bad’ ones, the war against our existence is not going to let up. Let’s not fall for their categorizations, their language, their instinct to divide and co-opt.
The state commits surreal, incomprehensible violence – on the streets, at the border, at detention centers and torture sites, through mass incarceration and the criminal justice system, and with actual bombs tearing into human flesh. Any resistance to state violence is heroic.