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Seema Jilani

Entries by Seema Jilani

My Racist Encounter at the White House Correspondents' Dinner

(2626) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 3:00 PM

The faux red carpet had been laid out for the famous and the wannabe-famous. Politicians and journalists arrived at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, bedazzled in the hopes of basking in a few fleeting moments of fame, even if only by osmosis from proximity to celebrities. New to the Washington...

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Who Wiki Cares Anymore?

(21) Comments | Posted December 7, 2010 | 6:10 PM

"Reality TV" has infiltrated even some of our best newspapers. Hillary said what? Oh no, Ahmadinejad didn't. Putin and Medvedev are Batman and Robin? For all the breathless attention they have received, the much-touted WikiLeaks have revealed very little of any significance that we didn't already know. Many of the...

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Failing the Victims of Genocide in the Balkans... Again

(129) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 5:28 PM

The chic, blond-haired, blue-eyed woman lit her cigarette with a flare reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich as we chatted in a Sarajevo café a few years ago. "I was twenty-eight years old when I lost my love, my husband," said Zlata Mujic, a Bosnian Muslim. She lost a total of eleven...

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Weaving Our Stories Into the Carpets of Afghanistan

(9) Comments | Posted September 17, 2010 | 4:46 PM

I am as American as it gets and a bit too Texan for my liking: "y'all" occasionally creeps into my colloquialisms. But originally, my family hails from Pakistan. In my culture, we have a great love of carpets. Carpets, spicy food and colorful, kaleidoscopic clothes with too much bling. Yes,...

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Pakistanis & Afghans: Brothers in the Dysfunctional Family of Muslim Countries

(8) Comments | Posted September 8, 2010 | 11:45 AM

As politically incorrect as it sounds, every nation has its Mexicans. The more borders, the more Mexicans. They are treated like all immigrant worker populations are, as though they are pariahs on civilized society. They are the unwanted, the untouchables. Often fleeing nightmares in disintegrating countries, they are blamed for...

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Fatalism Is Contagious in Afghanistan

(6) Comments | Posted September 2, 2010 | 4:01 PM

When I first arrived in Afghanistan, I spent much of my time swatting away flies that lived on my pediatric patients. Now I let them sit, unless they are on a baby's face. Soon I think I will just ignore them, knowing that they are drooling multitudes of filthy bacteria...

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Virginia Woolf's Spirit Lives in Afghanistan

(2) Comments | Posted August 30, 2010 | 12:34 PM

I am convinced that Virginia Woolf must have traveled through Afghanistan. "For most of history, 'Anonymous' was a woman," she once penned. Women in Afghanistan remain an anonymous sector of society today. They are the enduring, courageous force that continues to prop up men, writhing in a silent, but strained...

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Decisions for the Babies of Kabul

(0) Comments | Posted August 24, 2010 | 1:15 PM

Afghanistan is a country where the absence of normal is ordinary and the presence of normal is extraordinary. The drive to CURE International Hospital tells its story -- leftover Russian jeeps plow through tornadoes of dust, U.N. trucks and Afghan policemen, equally armed, all sit at the foot...

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Crown Jewels or Spoils of War?

(29) Comments | Posted August 19, 2010 | 11:36 AM

When I go to London, where much of my family lives, I still enjoy walking the touristy grounds of the Tower of London, where Anne Boleyn was beheaded, where political prisoners' anguished carvings still remain in prison cells and where one can feel the ghosts of yesteryear. To this day,...

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An American Doctor Packing Scrubs for Afghanistan

(2) Comments | Posted August 17, 2010 | 6:33 PM

My love affair with scary areas in conflict mirrors those in my life. Both toxic bachelors and turbulent areas offer the same chaotic excitement, infused with frenzied passion and intensely exhilarating moments along the way. The travels offered more life lessons, but the relationships imprint more soulful memories. The travels...

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The Algerian Six

(4) Comments | Posted August 24, 2009 | 5:27 PM

Seven months after his release from Guantanamo Bay, Mustafa Ait Idr cautiously sips coffee in a Sarajevo café. His face is still partially paralyzed and numb from when guards pinned him onto gravel and jumped on him. He is nursing a broken finger -- punishment for refusing to strip naked...

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