Book Review: I Am the Beggar of the World

Image via Slate.

Last month, I looked at Eliza Griswold and Seamus Murphy’s work profiling Afghan women poets particular form of poetry, the landay. Their work, as they presented it in an article on Slate, came across as nuanced and reflective (my own words) of Afghan women’s experiences. I was eager to review their book, I Am the Beggar of the World, which is available this month and was kindly provided by the publisher.Griswold worked with Pashtun women translators to find and present poems that would t … [Read more...]

Words and Images of Afghan Women Poets

Image via Slate.

Earlier this month, Slate featured a photography-poetry project, “The Secret Lives of Afghanistan’s Female Poets.” The photography-poetry collaboration stems from the work of journalist Eliza Griswold and photographer Seamus Murphy, who reported “Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry” for the New York Times magazine in 2012. Griswold and Murphy’s work will be published in a book, I Am the Beggar of the World: Landays from Contemporary Afghanistan, next month.In the New York Times articl … [Read more...]

Countering the “Musulmacho:” Drawing the Line between Humour and Inappropriate Commentary


A few months ago I was invited to like a Facebook page called Memes Feministas Islámicos. The page targets mostly Spanish speakers, and it claims to be countering Muslim patriarchies online. Their “About us” page reads: “Nos sumamos a la tarea de contrarrestar el machismo en el cyber espacio y al igual que nuestras compañeras feministas del mundo, nos reímos mientras desmantelamos Patriarcado en el Islam.”“We aim to counter macho-like behaviours online, and just like our feminist comrades ar … [Read more...]

Book Review: And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

and the mountains echoed

Like Khaled Hosseini’s two earlier novels, The Kite Runner (2003) and A Thousand Splendid Suns (2007), which spent a combined total of 171 weeks on the bestseller list, his latest novel, And the Mountains Echoed has received wide acclaim, and has been described as “heartbreaking,” “emotionally resonant,” and the writer’s “most ambitious work yet.”The novel begins with a folk tale about a div, a giant of Afghan folklore, who steals the youngest son of an impoverished family in a village blight … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Honey Thief


 “When I sleep, I dream like a Hazara” (The Honey Thief, p. 6). The Honey Thief is a successful collaboration between authors Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman, featuring a host of interesting characters and places from Mazari's native Afghanistan.  Winner of the 2005 Australian National Biography Award, Hillman came on board initially to  co-author Mazari's personal story in The Rug Maker of Mazar-e-Sharif.  Their first collaboration together describes Mazari's escape from imminent persecution at … [Read more...]

Muslim Women and Graffiti: Taking Art, Politics and Gender to the Streets

Graffiti in Egypt targeting sexual attacks - Via Amnesty International

When I was a teenager, my dad and I used to enjoy looking at the graffiti painted all over Mexico City. While my dad was a critic of the graffiti that was just scribbles and swear words and obscene signs, we enjoyed those graffitos that were not only truly artistic but also political. Graffiti was, and continues to be, widely spread through Mexico as political and economic turmoil were the themes of the 90s and the early 2000’s.Graffiti, which remains illegal in most states in Mexico, is a d … [Read more...]

Afghan Women Post-American Occupation and the Saviour Discourse


After the almost 12-year American occupation, there has been a lot of speculation on the future of Afghanistan. While some have deemed the war “unwinnable”, others have talked about responsibility specifically in terms of Afghan women. Upon the close withdrawal of American forces (if they do not delay it again), Canadian and American media articles continue to inquire on the future of Afghanistan without Western guidance.In an attempt to justify the importance of Western presence in Afg … [Read more...]