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AAWW Radio is the podcast of the Asian American Writers' Workshop, a national nonprofit dedicated to the idea that Asian American stories deserve to be told. Listen to AAWW Radio and you’ll hear selected audio from our current and past events. We’ve hosted established writers like Claudia Rankine, Maxine Hong Kingston, Roxane Gay, Amitav Ghosh, and Hanya Yanagihara, as well as more emerging writers like Ocean Vuong, Solmaz Sharif, and Jenny Zhang. Our events are intimate and intellectual, quirky yet curated, dedicated to social justice but with a sense of humor and weirdness. We curate our events to juxtapose novelists and activists, poets and intellectuals, and bring together people who usually wouldn’t be in the same room. We’ve got it all: from avant-garde poetry to post-colonial politics, feminist comics to lyric verse, literary fiction to dispatches from the racial justice left. A sanctuary for the immigrant imagination, we’re inventing the future of Asian American literary culture. Learn more by visiting aaww.org.

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Oct 9, 2019

How do you simultaneously disappear people and their hope? Can you keep that hope alive through writing?

On this episode of AAWW Radio, we dive into the current blackout of Indian-occupied Kashmir, the history of enforced disappearances that haunts Kashmiris, and how political writing and poetry, like the work of poet Agha Shahid Ali, connects the Kashmiri diaspora to their home.

We hear from several people at the forefront of Kashmiri diasporic literature and activism: Ather Zia, Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at University of Northern Colorado Greeley and author of Resisting Disappearance: Military Occupation and Women's Activism in Kashmir, as well as Hafsa Kanjwal, Professor of South Asian History at Lafayette College and an organizer with Stand With Kashmir.

We also hear beautiful readings of Agha Shahid Ali's poetry by his sister Sameetah Agha, Professor of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute.

 

Learn more about Kashmir's history and why the ongoing struggle for self-determination and liberation is just as critical today as it was more than 70 years ago. Stand With Kashmir has compiled resources on their website. Here's a snapshot of where to begin:

 

For more of Agha Shahid Ali's poetry:

  • Agha Shahid Ali’s collection Rooms are Never Finished (2001), a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award, excavates the devastation wrought upon Kashmir and the personal devastation of losing his mother
  • Agha Shahid Ali’s The Country without a Post office, which takes its impetus from the 1990 Kashmiri uprising against India, which led to political violence and closed all the country’s post offices for seven months 
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How can you help?

Here is how you can help stand in solidarity with Kashmiris at this critical juncture:  https://www.standwithkashmir.org/stand-in-solidarity