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  • Books & Arts

    BOOKS & ARTS Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • FLUX · A Panel on SAAG, So Far

    INTERACTIVE FLUX · A Panel on SAAG, So Far VOL. 1 EVENT Four editors reflections on our beginnings in 2020 & look ahead. SHREYAS R KRISHNAN · KARTIKA BUDHWAR · NUR NASREEN IBRAHIM · AISHWARYA KUMAR FLUX: An Evening in Dissent Aishwarya Kumar moderated a panel with fellow editors Kartika Budhwar, Shreyas R Krishnan and Nur Nasreen Ibrahim to discuss our early interview series as well as reporting, fiction, comics, zines, and the broader community-building efforts that motivated us and continue to. Jaishri Abichandani's Art Studio Tour Kshama Sawant & Nikil Saval: A panel on US left electoralism, COVID19, recent victories, & lasting problems. Natasha Noorani's Live Performance of "Choro" Bhavik Lathia & Jaya Sundaresh: A panel on the US Left & its relationship with media in the wake of Bernie Sanders' loss. Tarfia Faizullah: Poetry Reading Rajiv Mohabir: Poetry Reading DJ Kiran: A Celebratory Set SUB-HEAD ​ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: SHEBANI RAO A Freelancer's Guide to Decision-Making JAMIL JAN KOCHAI A Premonition; Recollected Watch the event in full on IGTV. SHARE ARTICLE: Event The Editors FLUX Shreyas R Krishnan is an Assistant Professor in illustration, comics, and visual storytelling at Washington University in St. Louis. Kartika Budhwar is a literary scholar at the University of Houston, writer, and educator for Writers in the Schools. She is based in Houston. Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a journalist and writer currently a Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers Workshop, and a television producer formerly at Al-Jazeera and Patriot Act . She is based in Brooklyn. Aishwarya Kumar is a feature writer for ESPN and National Geographic. She is based in Hartford. 5 Dec 2020 Event The Editors Neha Mathew is a graphic designer and interactive artist currently a Graphic Designer at Laundry Service, previously at Creative Theory Institute. She is based in New York City, Washington DC and Toronto. Experiments in Radical Design & Typography 12 Mar 2023 DIVYA NAYAR FLUX · A Preface 5 Dec 2020 INTERACTIVE FLUX · Natasha Noorani Unplugged: "Choro" 5 Dec 2020 INTERACTIVE MORE LIKE THIS

  • A Premonition; Recollected

    FICTION & POETRY A Premonition; Recollected VOL. 1 FLASH FICTION And for a moment or two she will wonder why the gunmen in her vision won’t go home and huddle in the warmth of an old blanket... JAMIL JAN KOCHAI MANY years later, Mor will think back to her vision of two gunmen, whom she will not remember murdered her brothers, and she will see the gunmen in the night, in the snow, huddled at the base of a mulberry tree, at the end of a pathway, waiting for two orbs of light, orbs like spirits, like twin souls, floating through dark and snow, falling snow, and she will see the cold mist of their breaths, the frost collecting at the tips of the strands of their black beards, and she will see their chapped lips, their gentle eyes watering, and for a moment or two she will wonder why the gunmen in her vision won’t go home and huddle in the warmth of an old blanket sewn, perhaps, by a long-forgotten mother, just a girl when she married, a child, kidnapped and beaten and forced into the bedroom of her husband, made to conceive two sons she could never wholly love, before dying in the thousandth bombing of a benevolent American invasion, her boys left behind to be raised by a war that will inevitably lead them to the mouth of an alley in the heart of Logar, and Mor will see their eyes seeing the headlights of her brothers’ Corolla tumbling down upon clay and ice and shadow, and she will see the gunmen step out from under the cover of ancient branches into snowfall, into halos of light obscuring the faces of innocent men destined to be martyred for crimes they could never imagine, and she will see the tips of their fingers, already bitten by frost, inch toward the warmth of the trigger. They must have been so cold , she will think to herself, having forgotten all else. ▢ SUB-HEAD ​ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: AUTHOR A Freelancer's Guide to Decision-Making SHEHAN KARUNATILAKA A State of Perpetual War: Fiction & the Sri Lankan Civil War Artwork by Sana Ahmad for SAAG. Digital media and animation. SHARE ARTICLE: Flash Fiction Afghanistan The Haunting of Hajji Hotak Logar JAMIL JAN KOCHAI is the author of 99 Nights in Logar (Viking, 2019), a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. His short story collection, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories (Viking, 2022) was shortlisted for the National Book Award. He was born in an Afghan refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan, but he originally hails from Logar, Afghanistan. His short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Zoetrope, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Short Stories . His essays have been published at The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times . Kochai was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was awarded the Henfield Prize for Fiction. Currently, he is a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. 18 Oct 2020 Flash Fiction Afghanistan SANA AHMAD is a graphic designer and artist residing in Karachi, Pakistan. She majored in Communication Studies and Design and has been working on various projects in both fields for the past two years. Her work has been displayed internationally at Sharjah Art Foundation for Focal Point 2019 and for Art Book Depot 2019 in Jaipur by Farside Collective , as well as various local group exhibitions throughout the country. She currently works as a Content Executive for Unilever Pakistan, and is based in Karachi. Chats Ep. 1: On A Premonition; Recollected 13 Nov 2020 JAMIL JAN KOCHAI Climate Crimes of US Imperalism in Afghanistan 16 Oct 2022 THE VERTICAL Everyone Failed Us 24 Feb 2023 THE VERTICAL MORE LIKE THIS

  • Everyone Failed Us

    THE VERTICAL Everyone Failed Us VOL. 2 ISSUE 1 OP-ED Solidarity failed when it came to a dire Afghan refugee crisis, decades in the making. ARASH AZIZZADA · IRENE BENEDICTO “A group of women leaders are badly in danger and one of them is my mom. I really searching for a person who can help us. They attack our home at first…. I hope you can help us. Every one of us really get depressed, please help us to get out of here.” THE BARRAGE of messages I receive, like the one above from western Afghanistan on almost a daily basis has not stopped, even a year later. Desperate daily emails from Afghans seeking refuge and safety flood our inboxes. Some are social activists, human rights defenders, former interpreters, and women leaders at risk of retribution from the Taliban. Other marginalized groups such as Hazaras and Shias have already been victims of ethnic cleansing by the Taliban and remain targets of ISIS attacks. Women activists have been disappeared by the Taliban authorities. Afghans seeking evacuation hold onto hope in what seems to be a hopeless situation. No longer expecting the international community to come to their rescue, for governments and institutions to do what they’re supposed to do, they rely on community organizers like myself and others. For two decades, America bragged about what it was building in Afghanistan. Last summer, the “Afghanistan project” was exposed for the facade that it was: a hollow rentier-state that only held ever legitimacy with Western donors and not with the Afghan people. Despite obvious bubbles of progress where hope flourished amidst the violence, the impending threat of a drone strike or Taliban suicide blast was always around the corner. Some rural areas were battered and mired in misery due to violence and poverty; others flourished, led by Afghan women and marginalized communities. The only constant was never-ending conflict. It seems as if the U.S. built a house of cards in Afghanistan, created in its own image, a house that started falling when the chains of dependency were challenged. The alliance with human rights abusers, the elevation of notorious pedophiles, and funding of endemic corruption brought back to power an oppressive, authoritarian regime that is erasing women, marginalized ethnic groups, and the disabled from public and daily life. The U.S. ran prisons where innocent Afghans were tortured. Entire villages were wiped off the map, and this was excused away as collateral damage. The U.S. spent years telling Afghans to pursue their dreams, break barriers, and challenge cultural norms. Then, it turned its back on them and betrayed them. Perhaps those of us who dreamt of a better Afghanistan were at fault for having expectations of a country whose very existence was kickstarted by genocide, a country where American presidents attempt brazen coups and its own citizens storm its political headquarters. The grim reality that we bore witness to these past few months is one that anyone who has paid attention to Afghanistan could have seen coming. There is even a U.S. agency–the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR)--which is dedicated to overseeing how reconstruction money was used in Afghanistan. In report after report, year after year, quarter after quarter, SIGAR wrote about the ghosts that the U.S. created–schools and hospitals that didn’t exist and a 300,000-man army that only functioned on paper. The Washington Post even devoted a series titled “The Afghanistan Papers, ” to showcase how policymakers and Pentagon officials had lied and deceived the American people about its success and accomplishments for 20 successive years. Nobody cared. The failure to value Afghan lives, however, lies not just with policymakers and elected officials. Certainly, the list of those responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan is long, ranging from Afghan elites to American elected officials from both parties going back four decades. Administration after administration has deprioritized Afghan lives and centered the needs of American hegemony. Congress held hearings on Afghanistan and yet rarely featured any Afghans. Policy discussions on Afghanistan in Washington D.C. at influential think tanks left out Afghans entirely. Afghans were left invisible in an occupation that lasted so long that it became not the “forever war” but rather the “forgotten war.” Afghanistan had disappeared from the psyche of the American people. Even when SIGAR released a report on rampant corruption that was wasting billions or when the Washington Post talked about lie after lie coming from the Pentagon, America just didn’t seem to care. The right-wing was too busy destroying democracy, the Democratic party was too busy fundraising from defense contractors, and the anti-war Left was too white to put Afghans and other impacted communities at the forefront. In our own Afghan American community, too many in our diaspora were profiting off the occupation. Their kids will go to prestigious American colleges, while Afghan girls will not be able to go to school at all and are robbed of a future. An international audience did finally pay attention to us last summer. American media, though, centered on the feelings of almost a million veterans who served in Afghanistan rather than asking Afghans how a withdrawal would impact them. The images of Afghans clinging onto the bottom of a military cargo plane had the world hooked. What does it say about our humanity that it took those tragic images for everyone to ask what we can do to help? For just a few days, people across the globe valued Afghan life. But moments like that are fleeting–Afghan history is littered with broken promises. Some of us have read enough history to know that the international community will not learn the lessons of its failure in Afghanistan and begin centering on the needs of the Afghan people. The Taliban spends every day perfecting its repression while the world has moved on, despite empty tweets and statements of solidarity. Today, as a year has passed since the chaotic withdrawal, wide-ranging sanctions on Afghanistan and theft of Afghan assets by the U.S. continue to inflict immense pain on innocent Afghan people, causing a humanitarian crisis that will likely lead to mass-scale death through malnutrition and starvation, a policy that disproportionately impacts Afghan girls and women. The United States’ attitude remains the same: focusing only on self-interest, even if it harms Afghans, except now it is done through economic warfare rather than through bombs built by defense contractor companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon. Afghans deserve justice and reparations for the harm America has caused in my home country. Despite that vision for the future, what America leaves behind are closed immigration pathways and a desire to pretend Afghans don’t exist in the first place. Perhaps if a few more Afghans clung onto a plane leaving the Kabul airport, someone would care. ▢ SUB-HEAD ​ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: SHEBANI RAO A Freelancer's Guide to Decision-Making JAMIL JAN KOCHAI A Premonition; Recollected Photograph courtesy of Arash Azizzada (November 2019). SHARE ARTICLE: Op-Ed Afghanistan Refugee Crisis US Imperialism The Failure of the Diaspora ARASH AZIZZADA is a writer, photographer, and community organizer based in Los Angeles, CA. The children of Afghan refugees, Arash is deeply committed to social justice and building communities. He co-founded Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress (ADEP) in 2016, aimed at elevating and empowering changemakers within the Afghan community. He recently co-launched Afghans For A Better Tomorrow (AFBT), and has focused on evacuation and rapid response coordination efforts in the wake of America’s military withdrawal from Afghanistan. He has written for the New York Times , Newsweek , and been featured on NPR and Vice News . IRENE BENEDICTO is an investigative and data reporter with ten years of experience working as a journalist. She has covered breaking news and written in-depth long-form stories, local and international news from eight different countries on three continents, including the political hubs of Washington DC and Brussels, and three investigative data projects on migration, public health, and social inequities. 24 Feb 2023 Op-Ed Afghanistan Chats Ep. 1: On A Premonition; Recollected 13 Nov 2020 JAMIL JAN KOCHAI Climate Crimes of US Imperalism in Afghanistan 16 Oct 2022 THE VERTICAL Universalism & Solidarity in a Post-Roe Landscape 23 Feb 2023 THE VERTICAL MORE LIKE THIS

  • Chats Ep. 9: Karti Dharti, Gender & India's Farmers Movement

    INTERACTIVE Chats Ep. 9: Karti Dharti, Gender & India's Farmers Movement VOL. 1 LIVE On the pragmatic reality for women's and Dalit laborers' presence in farmers' movement protests. SANGEET TOOR Karti Dharti is a women-led publication that highlights diverse voices from the farmers’ movement. Understanding how gender, the COVID crisis, and the farmers' movement in India intersect is of critical importance. Drama Editor Esthappen S. chatted with Founder-Editor Sangeet Toor in a live show in April 2021 about Karti Dharti , the history and present of the farmers' movement in India, and the magazine's focus on gender as it intersects with movements politics. SUB-HEAD ​ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: SHEBANI RAO A Freelancer's Guide to Decision-Making JAMIL JAN KOCHAI A Premonition; Recollected Subscribe to our newsletter for updates on SAAG Chats, an informal series of live events on Instagram. SHARE ARTICLE: Live Farmers' Movement India Indian Fascism Punjab Farm Ordinances Movement Organization Gender Mass Protests Media Blackout Media Delhi Chandigarh Women's Participation Displacement Sit-ins Disinformation COVID-19 Urban/Rural Urbanization Police Action Policing Citizenship Amendment Act Protests CAA Protests NRC Protests Accountability Pragmatic Realities of Protest Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Sanyukt Kisan Morcha Labor Agricultural Labor Solidarity Organic Solidarity Dalit Histories Dalit Labor Class Struggle Caste Political Economy Village Economies Domestic Labor SANGEET TOOR is Founder/Editor of Karti Dharti , a women-led publication showcasing diverse voices from the farmers' movement in India. She is a writer and reporter who has written for The Wire and Caravan , focusing on the history of land rights and peasant struggles in Punjab. 29 Apr 2021 Live Farmers' Movement Swat Youth Vanguards 24 Feb 2024 MANZOOR ALI Chokepoint Manipur 3 Oct 2023 THE VERTICAL Climate Crimes of US Imperalism in Afghanistan 16 Oct 2022 THE VERTICAL MORE LIKE THIS

  • SARAH THANKAM MATHEWS

    SARAH THANKAM MATHEWS Sarah Thankam Mathews is the author of the novel All This Could Be Different , for which she was shortlisted for the National Book Award. She is also the founder of the mutual aid network Bed-Stuy Strong, and is currently based in Brooklyn. ADVISORY EDITOR WEBSITE INSTAGRAM TWITTER Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • ZEESHAAN NABI

    ZEESHAAN NABI Zeeshaan Nabi is a composer, producer, educator, frontman of the band Ramooz, and founder of the label Meerakii Music. He is currently based in Delhi. MULTIMEDIA EDITOR WEBSITE INSTAGRAM TWITTER Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • The Vertical

    THE VERTICAL Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • NABARUN BHATTACHARYA

    NABARUN BHATTACHARYA NABARUN BHATTACHARYA (1948-2014) was a poet, short-story writer and novelist. Harbart , his first novel, won him the Narasimha Das award, Bankim Puraskar, and Sahitya Akademi Award. He published over 15 works of fiction, three volumes of poetry, and several collections of prose. The only child of the renowned writer Mahasweta Devi and theatre personality Bijon Bhattacharya, he lived and wrote in Kolkata. WRITER WEBSITE INSTAGRAM TWITTER Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • ISMA GUL HASAN

    ISMA GUL HASAN ISMA GUL HASAN is an illustrator from Lahore, Pakistan. She completed a Master’s in Illustration from University of the Arts London in 2020, and has worked on various storytelling and social awareness projects, including the critically acclaimed animated short, Shehr-e-Tabassum. Their personal work, which has been exhibited locally and internationally, explores otherworldly landscapes and organic forms, feminist dreams and longing, and visual manifestations of trauma and despair. hasan is currently living, teaching and creating in Karachi, Pakistan. ARTIST WEBSITE INSTAGRAM TWITTER Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

  • FLUX · Natasha Noorani Unplugged: "Choro"

    INTERACTIVE FLUX · Natasha Noorani Unplugged: "Choro" VOL. 1 EVENT A musical performance by Natasha Noorani in the live event FLUX: An Evening in Dissent NATASHA NOORANI FLUX: An Evening in Dissent A pre-release, unplugged version of Natasha Noorani's as-yet-unreleased single "Choro." The official music video followed by a Q&A on the video's aesthetic was subsequently featured in our 2021 event "In Grief, In Solidarity." Jaishri Abichandani's Art Studio Tour Kshama Sawant & Nikil Saval: A panel on US left electoralism, COVID19, recent victories, & lasting problems. Tarfia Faizullah: Poetry Reading Bhavik Lathia & Jaya Sundaresh: A panel on the US Left & its relationship with media in the wake of Bernie Sanders' loss. Rajiv Mohabir: Poetry Reading SAAG, So Far: A Panel with the Editors DJ Kiran: A Celebratory Set SUB-HEAD ​ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: SHEBANI RAO A Freelancer's Guide to Decision-Making JAMIL JAN KOCHAI A Premonition; Recollected Watch the event in full on IGTV. SHARE ARTICLE: Event Live Performance Pakistan Pakistani Pop Women Singers of Pakistan Pop Music Retro Music Contemporary Music FLUX NATASHA NOORANI is a musician, festival director and ethnomusicologist from Lahore. Noorani has a diverse range as a singer-songwriter, playback singer and voice-over artist. While pursuing contemporary Pakistani pop music, she has also been training in khayal gayaki, and was awarded the Goethe Talents Scholarship in 2019. Her solo EP Munaasib is inspired by r’n’b, neo-soul, and prog rock. Noorani is part of the band Biryani Brothers, and has collaborated on recordings with Strings, Abdullah Siddiqui, Sikandar Ka Mandar, Talal Qureshi, Gentle Robot & Jamal Rahman. Noorani was featured on Velo Sound Station (2020), and has also recorded on soundtracks for the films Baaji (2019) and Chalay Thay Saath (2017). 5 Dec 2020 Event Live Performance Swat Youth Vanguards 24 Feb 2024 MANZOOR ALI Pakistan's Feminist Wave: A Panel 27 Sept 2020 COMMUNITY Vol. 2 Launch Event: "Apertures" Album Release with the Vagabonds Trio 19 May 2023 COMMUNITY MORE LIKE THIS

  • KARTIKA BUDHWAR

    KARTIKA BUDHWAR Kartika Budhwar is a literary scholar at the University of Houston, writer, and educator for Writers in the Schools. She is based in Houston. FICTION EDITOR WEBSITE INSTAGRAM TWITTER Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 Heading 5 Heading 6 Heading 6 LOAD MORE

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