Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: The Namesake

IT’S 1971 and tensions are running high at the United Nations Security Council meeting in December. Seated at the table is a silver-haired man dressed sharply in a dark suit as stiff as he—legs crossed, arms folded. A discussion begins. East Pakistan is hours away from breaking from the unity of Pakistan, and the fought-over territory is soon to inherit a new name: Bangladesh. But it comes at a cost—a genocide, India’s intervention and, ultimately, a humiliated and defeated Pakistan.

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A Continued Chaos

Former translators for the U.S. Military survived war in Afghanistan, but continue to battle resettlement in America

There’s a not-so endearing nickname for Afghanistan’s Helmand Province. “They call it hell-land,” says Ajmal Sabit, a former Pashto and Dari interpreter for the U.S. Army, Marines and Air Force. He sits comfortably in his chair—slightly slouched, arms crossed.

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Among the Lucky Ones

ON OCT. 20, the sun rose in the Kabul sky two minutes past 6 a.m. An hour later, polling stations opened and voters rushed in to cast their ballots during Afghanistan’s parliamentary election. Qader Duadzai was one such voter. A former combat interpreter for United States Special Forces who later transitioned to the U.S. Embassy, Duadzai was well aware of the risk associated with partaking in the foreign-imposed voting process that militants sought to banish. The threat of a violent rejoinder by Taliban operatives was ever-present in the American ally’s life — but especially on that day. Read the full story in The East Bay Express. 

Fighting Haryana’s Patriarchy

This bodybuilder wants to make history for India, but in Gurugram, a muscular woman is a rare sight.

Gurugram, Haryana —Most afternoons, Yashmeen Chauhan puts on a remix of the Shiva Tandava Stotram, loads impossibly heavy weights onto an exercise machine, flexes her ropey, muscular biceps, and switches into beast mode. Depending on the day, she torques her chest and shoulders as she works the chest-fly machine; squats 130 kg; does bench presses; deadlifts 150 kg — all in her relentless quest to become the first Indian woman to earn a pro-card at the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Professional League. Read the full story on HuffPost India.

Maryam’s Daughters

Is an East Bay mosque changing the face of contemporary Islam or eroding the faith?

Qal’bu Maryam — Arabic for “Maryam’s heart” — opened in Berkeley in April 2017. The mosque represents a stark departure from orthodox Muslim tradition, welcoming LGBTQ congregants, allowing women to lead prayers and deliver sermons (called khutbahs), and encouraging all genders to pray shoulder to shoulder. Bennett-Bose stumbled upon the congregation online and was drawn to its inclusivity. “I know that I was meant to be Muslim,” she says. “But I also knew that I was gay before I converted.” Although many mainstream strains of Islam shun homosexuality, Bennett-Bose took the shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith. Soon after, she visited Qal’bu Maryam. This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Magazine’s June 2018 East Bay Issue. It was later republished by Berkeleyside. Photos by Talia Herman. 

One year later: How Trump’s travel ban affected people in the East Bay


For over a decade, Ibrahem Almorisi contemplated a move from his home in Yemen to far-away America. But that would mean giving up the life that he had worked so hard to build—not just a bachelor’s degree in dentistry, a master’s degree in oral surgery and his own dental practice in Sana’a, but also a sense of familiarity and comfort for his wife and young children.

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Our Bloodstained Ramadan

Today marks the final day of Ramadan. I just broke my last fast, and by now I should have butterflies in my stomach. At this exact time, I should be setting an early alarm for tomorrow’s first Eid namaaz; I should be planning my outfit, carefully selecting pieces of jewelry to match; I should be wishing family and friends, sharing love and spreading happiness. I should be doing so much more than sitting here with a gaping hole in my heart.

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Traces of Blood

On the evening of Saturday October 24, President of the Pakistan Arts Council Ayesha Kamran welcomed guests to the USC Pacific Asia Museum, pondering over how she could introduce the celebrated panelists for Traces of Blood: Art and Activism in Pakistan Today.

The truth is, no introduction could possibly do artists Salima Hashmi and Imran Qureshi justice. Recognizing this, Kamran chose instead to quote writer and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel: “The opposite of art is not ugliness,” she recited. “It is indifference.”

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Moving Mountains

Samina Baig is four-feet-nine-inches tall. Mount Everest is 29,029 feet tall.

Yet at just 22-years-old, the unlikely mountaineer from the small, remote village of Shimshal in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan, reached the top of the world’s highest mountain. The following year, she went on to ascend the Seven Summits, the highest peaks in seven different continents, in just eight short months.

But Samina’s story isn’t just about climbing mountains; it’s about moving mountains.

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Dharkan: The Heartbeat of a Nation

A heartbeat: The steady, strong pulsation of one’s heart; the beat which blood dances to — from the atria into the ventricles, from the ventricles to the pulmonary artery and aorta.

A heartbeat: The indicator of life.

While many of us have grown accustomed to associating “heartbeat” with just the rhythm of our hearts, photojournalist Mobeen Ansari has added new meaning to the term most commonly used to define the tune that our doctor’s stethoscope plays.

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