maraahmed.com

un cahier perlé

March 2, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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Ernesto Cardenal (Jan 20, 1925 – March 1, 2020)

His poetry is ‘so deeply engaged with the historical, political, and spiritual landscape of his life that biography and bibliography seem almost arbitrary distinctions. Priest, social activist, and the former Minister of Culture in Sandinista Nicaragua, Cardenal is the most urgent and eloquent voice in a country of poets and revolutionaries, a cultural icon whose life and writings have altered history.’

From Cantiga 2: The Word:

Each person is for another person.
I am not I rather you are I!
One is the I of a you
or one is nothing.

I am nothing more than you otherwise if not I am not!
I am yes. I am Yes to a you, to a you for me,
to a you for me.
People are dialogue, I say,
if not their words would touch nothing
like waves in the cosmos picked up by no radio,
like messages to uninhabited planets,
or a bellowing in the lunar void
or a telephone call to an empty house.

(A person alone does not exist.)
I tell you again, my love:
I am you and you are me.
I am: love.
[Translated from the Spanish by John Lyons]

February 28, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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choreographing a piece about micro-aggressions

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taught @my.marikoyamada’s ‘dance performance and collaboration’ class today at @nazarethcollege. i talked about #TheInjuredBody: a #film about #racism in america, showed students clips from interviews. i explained #microaggressions, double consciousness and franz fanon’s work on the ‘muscular contraction’ of the colonized body. we read a poem from ‘citizen: an american lyric’ and saw the film projection from a fringe festival piece that mariko and i collaborated on in 2017. i asked students to use the words, concepts and images we had discussed to choreograph a multimedia piece. they did an incredible job in just 30-40 minutes. this is a v rough presentation of the individual choreography as well as a tiny bit of the collaborative ‘phrase’ they came up with ?

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February 26, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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Speaking out about the Hindu Nationalist attacks against Muslims in Delhi

Thenmozhi Soundararajan: Bernie Sanders has the moral clarity that we need right now. There are so many opportunities for so many other candidates to take a firm position on this issue and, other than Warren, everyone has been chillingly silent. There is a political calculus made about talking about a pending genocide that silences so many others. That is why I am grateful to Bernie for taking this stand now. Thank you for standing up and speaking out about the Hindu Nationalist attacks against Muslims in Delhi. The failure of #Trump is a reminder that you are the only candidate who fights for all of us. #JaibhimBernie #Bernie2020

February 26, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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coffee with heather

with the incredibly talented Heather Layton at Starry Nites Cafe this afternoon – we talked about teaching, art and activism, grants and future projects, saudi society and how it’s changing, US presidential elections, as well as our personal lives. so happy to catch up dear heather, and see u in long island 🙂

heather layton and mara ahmed

February 26, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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Toxic sofas are a secret scandal – and an ‘EU red tape’ bonfire will make it worse

George Monbiot: Every night, millions of children and adults sleep on mattresses treated with a class of chemicals that was long ago banned from sheepdips and pesticides. Every day, we sit on furniture containing the same toxic compounds, absorbing them through our lungs and skin. According to parliament’s environmental audit committee (EAC), mothers in the UK and the US have the world’s highest recorded concentrations of a toxic class of flame retardants in their breastmilk. Banned fire retardants have recently been discovered in umbilical cord blood. We have no clear idea of how they might affect the development and future health of foetuses. But we know that they are persistent, accumulative and associated with cancer and disruption of the hormonal and reproductive systems. More here.

February 25, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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hindu mobs desecrate mosques

in india: mobs attacking muslims, looting their businesses and desecrating their houses of worship.

“Stop what you’re doing, watch this video & read about what’s happening in India. As Trump and Modi parade across the country, mobs are openly attacking Muslims, looting their businesses & desecrating houses of worship just like you see in this video.

February 25, 2020
by mara.ahmed
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The Failed Russiagate Playbook Can’t Stop Bernie Sanders

Aaron Mate: For more than three years, US audiences have been flooded with fearmongering about a supposed “sweeping and systematic” Russian interference campaign, and even more intense speculation—since shown by Robert Mueller to be baseless—that the Trump camp conspired with it. A core goal has been to help US elites, particularly in the Democratic Party, avoid challenging the corrupt system that gave rise to Trump’s presidency. Such a challenge would threaten their own status and power inside that system. For national security state officials, it doubled as a means to undermine Trump’s calls for better cooperation with Russia and stigmatize the appeal of his campaign-trail promises, however insincere they were, of ending regime change wars abroad.

The Russiagate playbook has been a mirror image of what its adherents ascribe to Russia: to “sow chaos” and “undermine confidence in American election systems” by spreading disinformation and hyberbolic warnings. The Russians, via their “dark arts,” are all-powerful, able not to just install a president in the White House, but to hack into voting systems, cut off heat during frigid temperatures, and help “convince blacks not to vote in Michigan.”

Embedded in this playbook is an elitist condescension toward the public targeted by it. Critical issues that affect regular people’s lives are relegated to the margins, replaced by breathless panic that presupposes them to be malleable enough to be duped by Russian memes and bots. It also has no relationship to the reality of what this supposed Russian operation actually amounted to: juvenile posts on social media that few people actually saw and that seldom mentioned the 2016 election. Contrary to claims that the campaign was “Russian intelligence-backed,” the Russian social media ads were the product of a private firm with no established ties to the Russian government, as Mueller’s prosecutors have conceded in court. If Russian intelligence indeed stole Democratic Party e-mails (and I do not think that has been proven to date), then that would mean it is guilty of a cyber-crime that exposed accurate information about Democratic National Committee corruption—not fabricated propaganda.

The fact that this cynical playbook is now being used against Sanders and his presidential campaign should be no surprise. Sanders’s policy agenda is a threat to the same forces behind Russiagate. In fact, he is a far more dangerous threat than Trump ever was.

A politics rooted in real issues and real people is far more powerful than the cynical methods that brought us Russiagate. More here.