Ayesha Kazmi

Archive for the ‘The Political’ Category

Reflections from a Cairo cab

In The Political on 08/06/2012 at 16:05

I wait for less than a minute before a white taxi pulls up by my side. ‘Masr al-Gedīdah min fadlak,’ I tell the driver, sliding into the sun-warmed leather seat. I roll down the window, swig a thick gulp of air swollen with heat and smog, and sit in anticipation of the eight mile jaunt from the ex-pat haven of Zamalek to the buzzing district of Heliopolis.

I’m in Cairo on a work project, and I brace myself for the daily commute in the notorious Cairene traffic. We begin well. To my right sprawls the Opera House with its seven theatres built in the late 1980s. The city’s former nineteenth century opera house, which staged the first ever performance of Verdi’s Aida, was entirely destroyed in a fire. I imagine the ghostly soprano voices resonating within its former grandeur – the building was intended to be an enduring symbol of the arts. Egypt continues to lead the Arab world in a spectrum of arts and culture, Read the rest of this entry »

The function of the Muslim woman victim in western feminism and the war on terror

In The Political on 18/05/2012 at 17:32

This piece was originally published at e-feminist. You can find it here.

The declaration of the War on Terror has done much to shed light on the plight of women in the Muslim world. Since, western feminists have actively chided the unfathomable illiteracy rates in nations like Afghanistan, the long dark robes covering women’s bodies in theocratic Muslim regions, the choking of freedom on account of not being able to drive in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps the most harrowing of all, the mutilation of young girls private parts thus preventing them from enjoying their sexualities as adults in parts of the African continent. The war on Muslim patriarchy has given the broader feminist movement a sense of common purpose. It has also provided them with a strong sense of what and who they are not. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh, Mona!

In The Political on 24/04/2012 at 22:27

Since yesterday it appears Mona Eltahawy has had her hands full fending off the massive outrage her Foreign Policy article entitled “Why do they hate us? The real war on women is in the Middle East provoked. Even much to the dismay of disappointed feminists, her tweets suggest those disagreeing with her have not bothered to provide intelligible debate. However, it was pretty clear, even yesterday, this was certainly not the case.

I realise Mona has likely been quite swamped with responses. But her tweeting patterns suggest that she is responding mainly to two types of people: those that are lauding her work, and those that have been shamelessly slandering her. The problem is that there is a whole host of people in between who want to engage with her intellectually and respectfully while explaining to her precisely why they disagreed so deeply with her piece. Read the rest of this entry »

Anonymous: How techies became ‘terrorists’

In The Political on 20/04/2012 at 22:55

The original version of this article was published at www.cageprisoners.com

Our persistent concern with the threat of terrorism recently brought the public eye to Toulouse, France. On 19th March, a gunman opened fire on the premises of a school killing 4 – including 3 young children – the same gunman, it is believed, having previously killed 3 French Soldiers. Two days later, a standoff ensued between police and the suspected killer, 23-year-old mechanic Mohammed Merah, who the French police and media claimed was an “Islamic extremist” inspired by Al Qaeda having travelled both to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the days after, a standoff between French police and Merah ending with his death, Muslims worldwide braced themselves for a backlash. Read the rest of this entry »

My Interviews with Anonymous: Musings

In The Political on 19/04/2012 at 20:44

Published here are two of three interviews that I conducted to write my report entitled Anonymous: How Techies Became Terrorists. Since the publishing of my interview, I have seen twitter buzzing with tweets calling out the folks at “YourAnonNews” for their apparent “ego-fag” behaviour. I am not wholly aware of where this is coming from, but I have become somewhat annoyed at seeing my work used as “evidence” in order to advance some of the infighting between Anonymous actors.

My work stands alone. I was offered these interviews by members and former members of the “CabinCr3w” many months ago – in fact, in November to be exact. Read the rest of this entry »

Home Office Stop and Search Policy Consultation Submission

In The Political on 29/03/2012 at 16:20

As a part of a grander body of research, chapter two of our fuller report is intended to explore how counter terrorism broadly affects Britain, as opposed to the misleading idea that counter terrorism only affects British Muslims, has been submitted to the UK Home Office for a policy consultation on counter terrorism stop and search.

Philip Brennan’s and my research found that counter terrorism stop and searches, as defined by Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (now suspended and replaced by Section 47A), disproportionately targeted ethnic minorities, especially the black community. To be specific, in looking at 187,671 stop and searches between 2008 and 2009 in all of London, including stops and searches conducted both by City Police Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Birthday AmericanPaki!

In The Political on 16/03/2012 at 22:15

Today marks 1 year since I started my blog AmericanPaki.

This blog piece is to acknowledge my readers and followers. The year has been absolutely incredible and has far exceeded my expectations.

I started AmericanPaki as a relatively simple and experimental concept. From that, its scope has broadened farther than what I had ever expected. I have my readership to thank!

Many of you have noticed and commented that I have not been as active on AmericanPaki as of late. There is a very good reason for this that I shall now explain to all of you. Read the rest of this entry »

Kurds: The Muslim World’s “Unworthy” Victims

In The Political on 13/02/2012 at 15:55

The original version of this article appeared on the Peace in Kurdistan campaign website

2011 marked the shift manyMiddle Eastobservers had been anticipating. Since their formation, nations stretching between the Maghreb and beyond theLevanthave endured decades of authoritarian rule. Mohamed Bouazizi’s self immolation within the last year in Tunisia was the ground breaking spark producing an unprecedented defiance to the status quo and has since made revolutionary language requisite to discourse all over the Muslim world – a much needed air of refreshing change.

As protesters demanded fair elections, freedom of speech and expression, Read the rest of this entry »

Guantanamo 10 Years on: Who Is A Terrorist?

In The Political on 11/01/2012 at 19:14

The following was a guest blog I wrote for the ACLU’s PrivacySOS site

In 2010, the director of Cageprisoners, former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, hired me to work on a project he had been formulating for about a years’ time: How the UK’s anti-terrorism laws affect wider British society. I have been working with Moazzam as my boss for 18 months now.

Contrary to what the right wing American websites will attempt to tell you about the organization, Cageprisoners is in fact a London based non-governmental organization (NGO) and a human rights group. Read the rest of this entry »

The Quintessential Terrorist:16-Year-Old Emily Kay Six

In The Political on 03/01/2012 at 06:16

The original version of this article was published at Cageprisoners.com

16-year-old girl next door Emily Kay Six is not the “new face” of American terrorism. Rather, she is the quintessential American terrorist.

What did this rather docile looking, church going, volunteer enthusiast high school student from Ottumwa, Iowa do to land behind prison bars on conspiracy to commit terrorism charges? Six was plotting against her fellow classmates at school.

According to authorities, the young girl had Read the rest of this entry »