Forthcoming

Nov 27, 7:45 am. WBAI Radio. Russia and Syria: commentary on this longstanding relationship in the current international scene

Nov 20. A look at the new crisis created around Lebanon PM Hariri's resignation. Comments on a culture that's infused and spilling over with sexual predators.

Nov 13 Update on Kirkuk, Iraq. Veterans Day USA: Is celebration of war heros increasing?.

Nov 6, WBAI  News of Kirkuk, N. Iraq after the failed Kurdish referendum; Accusations towards male religious figures in ongoing sexual abuse exposes.

Sept 25: Syria update: the changing status quo and resulting change in US media coverage.. The Kurdish referendum

Sept 18: Myanmar's Ang San Su Kyi's eary history; beware of simplistic sectarian analyses

Sept 11: women as pawns in justifying American "wars to protect"

August 28, 7:45 am WBAI. Linda Sarsour, Arab American and US Muslim community leader: in her defence. Margo Shetterley author of "Hidden Figures"

Aug 21, WBAI Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh, stripped of citizenship and deported this week.

Aug 14: BN Review of the anti-Israel boycott action in the US Congress. WBAI, 90.5 fm

July 10:  Nepal just completed its first election in 20 years for nationwide local admin posts.

July 3, WBAI Radio. "All politics is local":-- the hard work of using local news resources.

June 26: WBAI Radio We ask why is there no anti-war movement in the US? And: “Martyrdom”—an archaic phrase but a concept we need to think about today.

June 19  On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war, and Israel's seemingly unstoppable political, diplomatic and territorial march, it’s remarkable that the Palestinian voice is heard at all.

June 12  The dilemma of 'moderate Amercian Muslims; following ReclaimNY , a child of Steve Bannon and Robert Mercer.

May 1, Workers Day, WBAI 99.5 fm. BN Aziz highlights the rise of the 'gig economy'

April 24, 7:45 WBAI 99.5 fm. A check on our progress as American Muslims; and, Lynne Stewart: the Peoples' Lawyer. 

See Ramzy Baroud's assessment on how our Muslim community misuses celebrity Muslims as surrogates for their own stuggle.

 

Monday April 17 WBAI Radio, NYC. Why is there essential no anti-war movement in the USA?

April 10;  A critical look at media coverage of the US assault on Syria; and an update on ReclaimNY.

B. Nimri Aziz weekly radio commentary on events around the globe and in the USA. Listen in at 99.5 fm, or online www.wbai.org where we are livestreamed.

"We are more alike than we are different"

  Maya Angelou

March 8, Women's Day Radio Specials  10-11 am on WJFF Radio, 90.5 fm, and 11:am on WBAI, 99.5 New York: B. Nimri Aziz interviews director Amber Fares about her new film "Speed Sisters" and exerpts from 2009-2010 interviews with professional women in Syria, Nadia Khost and Nidaa Al-Islam.

 

 

As a Black writer, I was expected to accept the role of victim. That made it difficult in the beginning to be a writer.      James Baldwin

I often feel that there must have been something that I should’ve done that I didn’t do. But I can’t identify what it is that I didn’t do. That’s the first difficulty. And the second is, what makes you think you’re it?   

         Harry Belafonte, activist and singer at 89

 

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble; It's what you know for sure that just ainst so.

Mark Twain

 

You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you.

Mary Tyler Moore

 

 You can’t defend Christianity by being against refugees and other religions

Pope Francis:

 

"I don't have to be what you want me to be". Muhammad Ali

"The Secret of Living Well and Longer: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure"  attributed to Tibetan sources

Recent audio posts include interviews with Rumi interpreter Shahram Shiva, London-based author Aamer Hussein, South African Muslim scholar, professor Farid Esack, and Iraqi journalist Nermeen Al-Mufti's brief account of Kirkuk City history. Your comments on our blogs are always welcome.

 

Select Books

And The Mountains Echoed

by Khaled Hosseini
Reviewed by BN Aziz

More than a good Ramadan read, a new book by Khaled Hosseini. From the first page I was smitten.

 This Afghan-born author has done it again. I read and reviewed his first book "The Kite Runner" only several years after its release. It was unarguably a fine, fine piece of writing. I bypassed Hosseini’s second novel and chanced across this one, his latest, during a casual browse in my local library.

Besides being a well-crafted narrative "And the Mountains Echoed" is a fast-moving, disquieting story about … About what: A boy and his stolen sister? Afghanistan from 1949 to today? Loss and recovery? Daughters? Mothers? Family loyalty? East versus West values? Or, how war forever separates families?

It is hard to say which. That Hosseini’s story defies easy characterization may be a sign of his skill as a writer. Because Hosseini has certainly gone beyond any specific ‘Afghan’ experience in this novel. Employing the techniques of mystery writers, he lifts us out of one place and time, and drops us into another where, for a moment, we are uncertain of our location and we temporarily lose the thread of the narrative, only to find ourselves pondering another episode in an emerging enigma.

So "And the Mountains Echoed" is not a cultural narrative. Avoid this book if your purpose is to understand that exotic troubled land and then, at your dinner tables, compassionately lament the fate of Afghan girls.

If I can’t define the theme, I can tell you how it opens and closes. The book begins lyrically, in 1952, in a bucolic setting. A father is telling Abdullah and his sister Pari a fairy tale; it’s a fable of a loving father who challenges a child-stealing monster in order to rescue his youngest son. Although the man saves the village, he cannot reclaim his lost child and, mercifully perhaps, the monster gives the man a potion that prevents him from remembering the boy and his unsuccessful journey to rescue him.

In contrast to its opening, the book ends with a rather banal experience in a California nursing home. There, an aging woman (Pari) finds the brother from whom she was separated by a sad event in Afghanistan 60 earlier. Now in an advanced state of a kind of dementia, brother Abdullah is unable to recognize Pari (who has come in search of him), or indeed to remember anything about his homeland.

But "And the Mountains Echoed" is not a sad story. Not at all. It is filled with engaging characters of dazzling and credible diversity who Hosseini makes us care about-- from Uncle Nabi who negotiated his niece’s sale, to this same girl’s early lovers and then her husband and children in France, to her suicidal poet-step-mother self-exiled in Paris, to capricious foreign NGO staff in contemporary Kabul.

Nabi (uncle to Abdullah and Pari) is a runaway lad from Shadbagh village who finds employment as chauffeur and cook to a Kabul family. Nabi is secretly loved by his employer and remains at the grand house with the man after his flighty wife (the poet) has departed for France with their ‘adopted' child (the lost sister Pari). Nabi becomes pivotal in the narrative as a link for his fractured family. He eventually passes the task to the Kabul residence’s next occupant Dr. Markos to whom, in an early chapter, he recounts the family history in a long letter (extending 90 pages here) which finds its way to Paris and into the hands of the stolen sister of Abdullah.

Markos, a surgeon working for an NGO in 2010 in Kabul, is a caring man. But it is not in a Kabul hospital where we glimpse what underlies Markos’ compassion. Instead author Hosseini has Markos narrating another long chapter where he flashes back to his childhood in Greece, an enduring friendship with a disfigured girl his own age, and his upbringing by his mother, a wise, strong woman.

From Uncle Nabi, Markos assumes the role of envoy, joining separated generations from Shadbagh village with Kabul, then Paris, then California. We meet a classic Afghan warlord, former fighter, now village patron who has in fact stolen (and remade) Shadbagh village; but it is his young son and this boy’s chance friendship with an angry, homeless lad that somehow eclipses the ills of the warlord. We meet Amra Ademovic working in a Kabul hospital who in turn is an entry to stricken children, war veterans and touring foreigners. We also share the strange relationship of two village sisters Parwana and Masooma whose role in the story may simply be to enhance the theme that although people make some hard decisions, some less benevolent than others, no one is really judged as bad and no action is inherently wrong. There is little place for blame or remorse in "And the Mountains Echoed".



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Each generation must discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity.

Franz Fanon, "The Wretched of The Earth"

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poem "A Woman Who Reads Poetry"

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Book review
Remi Kanazi's
Poetic Injustice:Writings on Resistance and Palestine
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