Ten Years After 9/11

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. For those of you in Seattle and looking for a commemorative gathering, Washington’s immigration coalition OneAmerica — in partnership with Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Somali Community Services Coalition — will be hosting an event with an interfaith prayer, panel, and community discussions.

And of course groups across the country will be hosting gatherings in a spirit of remembrance and unity post-9/11. There are several compiled lists of such events, including this one from South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT).  Hyphen has also compiled its own list, plus links to educational resources and special publications here. The 9/11 Arts Project has a database of programs geared towards healing, and searchable by location here.

For personal reflections on 9/11 and its lasting impact on our nation, check out this piece at The Guardian, which includes commentary by Domestic Crusaders author and BCB friend Wajahat Ali. NPR Boston recently aired a segment with the siblings of Betty Ong, a flight attendant on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. Betty called ground operations during the hijacking and stayed on the line for 25 minutes, providing information that allowed officials to identify the hijackers (there’s also a Betty Ong Foundation in her memory).

I’ll be flying out of the New York area on a flight 11 this morning, and I can’t say I’m not a little nervous (apparently I’m not alone — this was one of the few days with ample seats available). But I think I’ll mostly be feeling grateful for my loved ones, and intensely hoping that America will progress towards peace and reconciliation with our domestic as well as global neighbors. Our humanity and survival depend on it.


The Domestic Crusaders: Buy the Book and Watch the Play


Mixing things up a bit on this Bookish Bitchin cause one of our BcB homies actually wrote this thing. So to keep out the biases and try to keep things real, I’m going to just post the following reviews by a few people you might have heard of. Be sure to buy the book from Amazon or head down to your local Dave Eggers pirate shop or time travel store to cop. And don’t forget about the play if you’re in NYC, which will run through 9/11 weekend. Tickets and info.

“This play is brilliant. Moving. Shapely. Clever. Funny.”
—Toni Morrison

“Wajahat Ali is writing about contemporary and essential matters, a source not only of laughter but, more importantly, of understanding.”
—Yann Martel

“From the deft irony of its title to the tender pain of its ending, The Domestic Crusaders is a moving story of one Pakistani family in America. But it’s more than that. By engaging us in the family’s conflicts, loves, fears and secrets, the play dissolves the easy assumptions and prejudices of the post 9/11 West. Touching; funny; important.”
—Harriett Gilbert, BBC World Service

“A multi-generational romp through the dynamics of family relationships and post-9/11 America. The characters in Wajahat Ali’s funny and biting play spare no one from their sharp barbs—including fellow Muslims. The Domestic Crusaders is what all high art aspires to do—spotlight complicated truths (and contradictions) without offering easy answers. Tension overlaps with comic relief. American pop culture intermingles with Pakistani traditions replanted in the United States. The Domestic Crusaders is a universal story about people whose dreams have carried them to a point of no return. They can’t go back to their lives before 9/11. There is only now. Watching them deal with it is to be spellbound from start to finish. ”
—Jon Curiel, San Francisco Chronicle

Domestic Crusaders is more than just a work of entertainment. It is also Ali’s response to the treatment of Muslims received in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11… it is compelling drama, and there is intergenerational conflict, humor, prejudice, and a dark family secret. The characters, in other words, are not paragons of virtue, which is intentional.”
—Ellis Cose, Newsweek

Goatmilk/NPR: Some Pakistani Americans Torn By Bin Laden News

BcB favorite Wajahat Ali was recently on NPR to speak about the Pakistani American perspective on Osama Bin Laden’s capture. For the audio and the transcript: Some Pakistani Americans Torn By Bin Laden News.

Goatmilk on Ft. Hood and McSweeny’s Bay Area Edition

Check out BcB favorite Wajahat Ali and his thoughts on the Ft. Hood tragedy:

“Whatever was in the mind of alleged shooter Major Nidal Malik Hasan is no reason to question the loyalty of Muslim Americans”

Waj has this article on the shooting and folks’ reactions as well.

And if you haven’t heard, Waj is in Dave Egger’s latest issue of McSweeney’s, a special Bay Area newspaper edition:

Click on the image to order (Bay Area folks should wait for the special “local” price, hopefully $1.25???) and click here for a PDF preview of the issue.

Domestic Crusaders NYC

After hearing nothing but good about the play Domestic Crusaders by Wajahat Ali (also AZN’s high school buddy and the guy behind Goatmilk), me and SJ went to check out the nyc installment. Held in the legendary Nuyorican Cafe, the spot was packed to the gills on a Friday night.

NYC Cast

NYC Cast

We blessedly found ourselves sitting mere inches behind an oochie boochie couple who somehow found a Muslim Pakistani American family dealing with media scapegoating and household friction post 9-11 extremely romantic. However, the noisy lip-smacking, vigorous rubbing of bare feet, and intense cootie factor — although tremendously distracting and vom-inducing — did not detract from the quality and brilliance of Domestic Crusaders.

Wajahat also joined the cast at the close of the show to describe its equally-compelling history: from its beginnings weeks after 9/11 as a Berkeley English paper, to Waj’s years-long international search for a theater with enough balls and integrity to house the play.

I scuttled up to the stage afterwards to say wassup and thank Wajahat for his ongoing support of BCB — and he was awfully nice (and nice-looking…heads up single Muslim ladies! If you missed it the 1st time round, feast your peepers on the below):

Domestic Crusaders is funny, engaging, thought-provoking, humanizing…. and uh, I’m not really a good theatre critic, so I will just say get thee to the Nuyorican before the show closes on October 11th and you feel like a total hosebag. The New York Times even featured it!  Tickets here. You can also help support this incredible show by donating here.



Asian Americans in Cinema: A Conversation at Goatmilk

Check out Goatmilk: An intellectual playground edited by Wajahat Ali (writer, blogger, playwright extraordinaire) for a piece Cbruhs and AznHeartThrob did on Asian Americans in cinema as part of Waj’s new series, “Minority Report”, a series of blog entries on minority issues. Enjoy it here at GOATMILK.

And don’t forget to support his play, Domestic Crusaders, playing at the Nuyorican starting on September 11.

Domestic Crusaders in NYC and on NBC

Not sure what it is about an all-boys Jesuit catholic high school in Silicon Valley that can turn out a non-practicing lost-the-faith Catholic like myself and a devote Muslim American who writes an extrodinary play like the Domestic Crusaders. Fr. Murphy and co didn’t sell us on the priesthood that well I guess…

Either way, their loss is your gain as Wajahat Ali from Goatmilk fame, frequent blogger on the always correct HuffPo dot com, has a play opening up in NYC on September 11th (which we’ve promoted and fundraised for in the past). Info on tickets and showtimes can be found here. Peep Waj on NBC Weekend Today if you’d like to see him blink 188 times in 4 minutes (he pointed this out, and I’m just sayin’).

Times like this, I wish I could be in NYC, the most ideal place for a play with this message. I’ve seen it 2 times already, you won’t be disappointed.

And props to Rusty for doing a kickass poster design.