Ayesha Kazmi

Archive for the ‘The Personal’ Category

Inside Islam

In The Personal on 01/02/2012 at 00:22

The original version of this article appeared at “Inside Islam

They say the onset of authoritarianism happens through a process of incrementalism. If indeed that is the case, I have missed a lot in the 6 years I spent in the United Kingdom away from the United States.

My first few years in the UK were spent wallowing in my new identity as a Paki. In much of the time I spent wallowing, I did a great deal of idealizing my former American Muslim life – one of relative privilege compared to Muslim life in other parts of the world, including Europe.

Muslim life in Britain was different than anything I had experienced prior. American Muslims are more educated Read the rest of this entry »

Why Lowes Has Made My Day

In The Personal on 13/12/2011 at 21:51

I would like to use my blog space to thank Lowe’s for the events of the past few days that led to the internet storm over the weekend.

So here is my heartfelt “thank you”: Thank you Lowe’s for exposing your bigotry for the whole world to see.

On Saturday, I began seeing my twitter feed fill up with tweets from Ali Abunimah, of Electronic Intifada, with the hashtag #LowesHatesMuslims. Quite naturally, that caused me investigate what was going on. To my dismay, found the email exchanges between Lowe’s and the FFA that provoked Abunimah’s twitterstorm Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Am Not Protesting at Occupy

In The Personal on 06/12/2011 at 21:29

For those who have known me, my keen interest in the Occupy movement comes as no surprise. For those whom I have met only recently know me as the researcher, freelance journalist and blogger who has been making it a strong point to let everyone know that I am merely observing protests from the sidelines and not participating as a demonstrator.

Since the beginning of Occupy at Wall Street on 17 September, I have stood on the peripheries of encampments observing a democratic movement unfold before our very eyes: from marches, to GA meetings, Read the rest of this entry »

From Freshie to British Muslim

In The Personal on 13/10/2011 at 23:59

Fresh off the boat with £3 in his pocket. That’s how my dad arrived in the UK back in the summer of ’65, leaving his home, country and family five thousand miles behind him to start a new life on British soil.

My father’s story is not unique. It’s the story of thousands of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis migrating to the UK in the 1960s, many responding to the call of the British government which sent employment vouchers to tackle the severe shortage of doctors and teachers in Britain at the time. My father took up a teaching post in a rural Kent village, where I live to this day. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hijab and I

In The Personal on 01/08/2011 at 22:34

Me and my hijab have had an interesting journey together. It started when I was eighteen and about to enter a new phase of my life in two respects: embracing an existence as a ‘raghead’ as well as beginning university.

I had enjoyed all the freedoms I could ever have wished for at home, but living away on a university campus offered me the opportunity of real independence and self-development. Read the rest of this entry »

A Caveat to All the Goras and the Pakis

In The Personal on 01/08/2011 at 22:03

Boston, compared to London, is relatively tame. It’s only a fraction of the size and appears, on the surface, to be fairly manageable.

London, by contrast, is a massive zoo. When I lived in South London, it would often take me over an hour to get places in and around central London. And it’s gritty. Really gritty. The grit got to me at first – Read the rest of this entry »

My First Paki

In The Personal on 18/04/2011 at 22:21

I’ll never forget the first time I got called ‘Paki’. I was five years old, and the sun was smiling down on me and my family as we made our way to a country fair, not far from home.
We were the only brown people in the village. My parents had left their big Indian city (population three hundred and seventy thousand) to settle in a little English village in Kent (population circa two thousand), in the late 60s, early 70s. Read the rest of this entry »

I Miss White People

In The Personal on 27/03/2011 at 16:05

It occurred to me within the first two years of moving to Britain that my life was lacking something: white people.

To be fair, while I may have lived in a neighbourhood that was often described as a Muslim ghetto, it wasn’t only filled with Muslims. Muslims weren’t even the majority. The Asians were even diverse. There were many Sri Lankans living in my neighborhood with their produce shops and restaurants, Mauritians, Sikhs, and Hindus. Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming a Paki

In The Personal on 27/03/2011 at 12:05

I was excited at the prospect of moving to a city where there would be a lot of people who looked like me. Before moving to London, I didn’t know any different – perhaps, rather, I didn’t know what this would mean.

My 28 year old self knew well that Pakistanis, Indians, and Bangladeshis made up the largest minority population in the United Kingdom. I even knew that they were referred to as “Asians” – whereas in the US, the term “Asian” was used for Read the rest of this entry »

We all Call Each Other Paki

In The Personal on 19/03/2011 at 00:53

It’s true.

It follows the same logic that African Americans follow: it’s ok when it comes from one of ‘us,’ but if it comes from a gora, then it’s racist.

I think the first time I used the word ‘Paki’ was when I was with a few of my friends from my previous job as a magazine editor. I worked with several Pakis – well, one Indian, and three Bangladeshis, an Afro-Caribbean, Read the rest of this entry »