This is yet another highly critical piece which, in a series of similar literature, I find eye-opening and ‘jolting’ as described by Dr Olson. In this article which provides a glimpse of her larger project on ‘Expulsions’, Dr Saskia Sassen of Columbia University explains how we have effectively entered the age of advanced capitalism. What’s important is how Sassen employs the term of ‘expulsion’ differently from ‘social exclusion’. She explains how social exclusion means a phenomenon within the system, a phenomenon decided or controlled by participants and as such open to be ‘reduced, ameliorated or even eliminated’.[1] On the contrary, she employs expulsion to show how systems have developed edges in which poorest and most vulnerable of humans are losing their essence even as consumers or workers. People are pushed to the edges and as such they are surplus. She further broadens this scope and application of this idea to suggest that such negative transformations are taking place in the economic, social as well as bio-sphere.

Dr Sassen elaborates on her idea with data on debts of the countries in the Global South. She explains how one phase of capitalism prepares the ground for the next phase and how advanced capitalism thrives on destruction of traditional capitalism with its Kynesian values. On a different level and coming from a different cultural context, I can see the very focus on humans as ‘Human Resource’ can slowly poison the discourse to focus more on ‘huamns as resource’ than ‘humans as humans’. This takes me back to a series of deep conversations I have had over the past couple of months with Professor Bauman who is seemingly frustrated by the industrial trends in which humans are perceiving nature merely as a ‘resource’.  In our conversations, Prof Bauman and I have questioned the very idea of ‘growth’ vs ‘sustainability’. Removed from the technical discourse, I struggle with ontology and morality of growth. How long can we keep ‘growing’? Doesn’t growth have a limit? Why is ‘GDP growth’ the holiest terms in modern economy? If the law of preservation of mass is valid, shouldn’t growth comes at the cost of inequality? As such, is it growth-in-a-specific-economic-unit or inequality-of-the-overall-system that we celebrate?

My experience with the development sector has familiarized me with the cliché of ‘sustainable growth’. Apparently, ‘sustainability’ has been acknowledged and endorsed as a heavyweight term earning more credibility to the capitalist discourse but I wonder, like a child who lacks articulation but still has his intuition, how long can the oxymoron of ‘sustainable growth’ survive.

[1] Sassen, Saskia. 2016. “At the Systemic Edge: Expulsions.” European Review; Cambridge 24 (1): 89–104. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1062798715000472.



People, Not Shadows


Comment on Jason De Leon’s ‘The Land of Open Graves’[1]

By Sajjad Hussain


Jason De Leon’s book is a recent addition to the scholarship around unauthorized immigrants entering United States of America through its southern porous border with United Mexican States aka Mexico. Acknowledged in 2013 as National Geographic Emerging Explorer, Leon directs a long-term study on immigration on US-Mexico border entitled Undocumented Migration Project (UMP). This book is a compilation of five years of fieldwork in the southern towns of Arizona and northern Mexican towns of Nagoles and Ciudad Juarez for most parts. Trained as anthropologist with particular focus on archaeology, what makes his work enriching the overall discourse in unique ways is that he employs a free range of anthropological tools at his disposal such as ethnography, linguistics, and forensic science in additional to archaeology. He also compliments this study with photoethnography facilitated by his friend and collaborator Michael Wells.

Focused on his aim at exposing how ‘Prevention Through Deterrence’ policy employs structural violence that causes painful deaths to thousands of vulnerable travelers in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, heframes his study starting in 1993 when this policy was first employed by Texas and which has gone so far to become a much-preferred federal policy. This book is full of gripping accounts of violence experienced by unfortunate travelers. Going through these accounts, I could relate as conflict and violence has also pushed thousands of Shia Hazara from Pakistan to enter Australia via unseaworthy boats. Those journeys remain even lesser researched and documented. The stories shared by survivors and community members who served as interlocutors are extremely graphic. “When the boats tear down, lucky ones die immediately. Many of those who hang on a plank or life jacket, eventually have to cut their veins with broken pieces of wood to bleed. They cannot cope with extreme thirst, despair, and trauma. As soon as they bleed, large fish come to their rescue.”, described the interlocutor when I met him in July 2017. Currently, there are hundreds of families who have lost theirsons en route to Australia and yet an undiscussed silence of denial rules the community. Privately, aging parents cry and wish for at least confirmation of death of their sons, so they could at least perform due funeral rituals. A tinge of hope continues to elongate their suffering indefinitely.[2]


Note: Photo taken from Dawn.com which in turn credits Hazara photographer Barat Batoor.

As I reflect upon Leon’s book, I admire the essence of documenting what happens on these clandestine journeys. Such projects tendto document an ignored but highly important segment of human history which is of particular essence to those individuals and communities who embark on these journeys.  Future generations can at least turn to some scholarly piece of research and know what happened to their earlier generations. This is a privilege I am not sure if the future generations of my own community will have.

The sole purpose of the study to explain how violence has been strategically employed by federal policy of ‘Prevention Through Deterrence’. While this policy has been celebrated by anti-immigrant populations for declining the unwanted visibility of these emaciated, exhausted, brown skinned travelers in the downtowns across the southern states, and this serves a narrative of ‘mother nature doing justice to those illegal migrants’ far removed from public eyes, Leon challenges the conscience of humanity with full rigor. If the aim of this study is to change the aforementioned federal policy, I am not sure if any piece of anthropology can do that on its own. But one thing this study does effectively is that it challenges the federal policy of employing structural violence to pass without tough questions.

[1] Leon, Jason De, and Michael Wells. The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. Univ of California Press, 2015.

[2] “Dawn.Com Special: ‘I Am Hazara’ in 2012 – YouTube.” Accessed February 14, 2018. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-mzczyV-7_8.


Note:  This blog was submitted to Dr Angela Stuesse as a scholar of Global Migration at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill on February 14, 2018.


احساس از قائم چنگیزی

خدایا، میں نہیں کافر

نہ مجھ کو کفر بکنے کا ہے کوئی شوق
۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ پریشاں ہوں

خدا میرے، تو مجھ سے چاہتا ہے کیا؟

اسیر ِ زندگی مجھ کو کیا اور مجھ سے نا پوچھا


اگر اک روز تم اُس عرش ِ بالا سے اُتر آو

کسی افلاس کے مارے کا کوئی چیتھڑا اوڑھو

غرور اپنا اگر روٹی کے اک ٹکڑے کے بدلے میں

کسی جاہل، کسی سفاک کے قدموں میں رکھ دو تم

اور اپنا دن  اوراپنے دن کی سب گھڑیاں

  مشینوں کی  مسلسل اور لاحاصل سی گردش میں کچل دو تم

مگر پھر بھی ڈھلے دن جب

تھکا ہارا ۔۔۔۔۔۔

نہ کوئی شے ہو ہاتھوں میں

نہ کوئی حرف ہو لب پر

۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ جو یوں تم گھر کو لوٹو تو

۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ زمین و آسماں کو کفر بولوگے

نہ بولوگے؟


اگر تم گرمیوں کی چلچلاتی دھوپ میں آوارہ و تشنہ

کسی بوسیدہ سی دیوار کے سائے میں بیٹھو اور

کسی گندے سے برتن کے کنارے رکھ کے ہونٹ اپنے

پیو پانی جو گدلا ہو

وہاں دیکھو ، تمھارے سامنے اونچے محل

مر مر کے سب وہ قصر ِ عالیشاں

۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔۔ زمین و آسماں کو کفر بولوگے

نہ بولوگے؟


اگر اک روز تم انسان بنو

انسان سا محسوس کر لو تم

پشیماں ہو گے تم خود اپنی خلقت پر

“یہ آخر کیا کیا میں نے؟”

“یہ آخر کیوں کیا میں نے؟”


تری دنیا میں انساں ہونا اور رہنا

بہت دشوار ہے مولا

بہت ہیں غم

بہت غم ان کے حصّے میں

جو انساں ہیں

اور، جو احساس رکھتے ہیں

شاعر: کارو

منظوم ترجمہ: قائم چنگیزی

  جنوری 2014

اسلام آباد 


مندرجہ بالا آزاد نظم، ایرانی شاعر کارو کی ایک طویل نظم “کفرنامہ” سے ایک اقتباس کا منظوم ترجمہ ہے۔ فارسی میں نظم کا   اقتباس پڑھنے کے لیےنیچے دئیے گئے لنک پر کلک کریں


دلچسپ بات یہ ہے کہ اس نظم کی انھی حصّوں کا منظوم  ترجمہ میرے بڑے بھائی اوراستاد، علی اکبر نے بھی کیا ہے۔ از راہ ِ لطف ان کا ترجمہ بھی اس بلاگ پر اپلوڑ کیے دیتا ہوں۔ ان کے لیے ذیل میں لنک پر کلک کریں۔

احساس، منظوم بہ قلم ِ برادرم علی اکبر



کفرنامہ از کارو

خدايا كفر نمي گويم /پریشانم
چه می‌خواهی‌ تو از جانم؟!
مرا بی ‌آنکه خود خواهم اسیر زندگی ‌کردی

اگر روزی‌ بشر گردی‌
ز حال بندگانت با خبر گردی‌
پشیمان می‌شوی‌ از قصه خلقت از این بودن، از این بدعت
اگر روزی ‌ز عرش خود به زیر آیی
لباس فقر پوشی
غرورت را برای ‌تکه نانی
‌به زیر پای‌ نامردان بیاندازی‌
و شب آهسته و خسته
تهی‌ دست و زبان بسته
به سوی ‌خانه باز آیی
زمین و آسمان را کفر می‌گویی

اگر در روز گرما خیز تابستان
تنت بر سایه‌ی ‌دیوار بگشایی
لبت بر کاسه‌ی‌ مسی‌ قیر اندود بگذاری
و قدری آن طرف‌تر
عمارت‌های ‌مرمرین بینی‌
و اعصابت برای‌ سکه‌ای‌ این‌سو و آن‌سو در روان باشد

و شايد هر رهگذر هم از درونت با خبر باشد
زمین و آسمان را کفر می‌گویی

خداوندا تو مسئولی
خداوندا تو می‌دانی‌ که انسان بودن و ماندن
در این دنیا چه دشوار است
چه رنجی ‌می‌کشد آنکس که انسان است و از احساس سرشار است

شاعر: کارو

احساس از اکبر

شاعر: کارو

منظوم ترجمہ: اکبر


نہیں بکتا ہوں میں ہذیاں،
پریشاں ہوں،
تو مجھ سے چاہتا کیا ہے؟
بنا پوچھے مجھے تو نےاسیر زندگی کردی،
اگر اترو زمیں پر آسماں سے تم کسی دن،
اور لباس مفلسی تم زیب تن کرلو،
انا تیری کچل دے چند نامَرد،
وجہ روٹی کا ٹکڑا ہو،
پریشان و تھکاہارا سرشام،
خالی ہاتھ، لب خاموش،
جب تم گھر کو لوٹوگے،
زمین و آسماں پر “کفر” بک دوگے،
نہ کردوگے؟؟
کسی صحرا کی سی تپتی ہوئی گرمی کے موسم میں،
جو لمحے کو کسی دیوار کے سایے میں بیٹھوگے،
اور اپنے ہونٹ تانبے کے کسی میلے سے برتن پر رکھوگے،
لیکن دور٬تھوڑی دور اس پار،
محل شیشے کے ہوں لیکن،
تمہارا دھیان اک سکے کے گرد محو سفر ہو،
زمین و آسماں پر “کفر” بک دوگے،
نہ کردوگے؟؟
کسی دن گَر بَشَر ٹھرو،
ہمارے حال سے تم باخَبر ٹھرو،
پشیمانی یقینا ہوگی تجھ کو،
اس خِلقت کے قصے سے،
اس جینے اور اس “بدعت” کے قصے سے،
تو ہی ملزم، تیری ہی ذمہ داری ہے،
خداوندا تو واقف ہے،
کہ اس سنسار میں انساں ہونا اور جینا،
بہت مشکل ، بہت دشوار ہوتا ہے،
بہت تکلیف میں ہوتا ہے جو “انسان” ہوتا ہے،
کہ وہ “احساس” سے سرشار ہوتا ہے.”


مندرجہ بالا آزاد نظم، ایرانی شاعر کارو کی ایک طویل نظم “کفرنامہ” سے ایک اقتباس کا منظوم ترجمہ ہے۔ فاسی میں نظم کا  ذیل اقتباس پڑھنے کے لیے ذیل میں لنک پر کلک کریں





‘What’s the problem with grave diggers? Every day they want someone to die.’

(A Hazaragi joke)

       At what point in an adventurous social entrepreneur’s life does that gigantic shift happen when he/she realizes that actually problems are profitable businesses and there emerges an immoral desire for the problem never to go away? This is one of the many moral questions in my mind instigated by Ruben Andersson’s powerful critical perspective on Europe’s over-reaction to incoming migrants from its not-long-ago-colonies in Africa.

       In this anthropological endeavor, Andersson laments how in the age of globalization which we associate with increased mobility, a whole bunch of profiteers are hell bent upon criminalizing mobility of the poor. What sets this work apart from general scholarship on migration is that Andersson doesn’t rush to explore anthropology of ‘refugees’ but employs anthropological tools to explore how a mammothIllegality Inc. ‘industry’ is producing profitable careers around ‘illegality of migration’. In contrast to previous scholarships that express how migrants are treated with indifference, Andresson posits that these travelers are indeed sources of fascination to a wide variety of professionals. Populist politicians need them to beat the drum of nativism and fear of the Other and win elections. Media personnel need incoming migrants and their profile in a specific way to sell their papers.  Bureaucracies, private defense industry, African and European governments, border police and guards, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) winning contracts for running detention centers and refugee camps, all are part of this growing industry. In his extremely honest critique, Andresson goes as far as to include even academia researching migration and pro-migrant activists among those who benefit from migration illegality. This reminds of a frank comment by a Hazara asylum seeker who said to BBC’s Mohammad Hanif, “They keep asking about smugglers. These UNHCR guys, they are real smugglers. What have they done for us all these years when they have been receiving thick salaries? And you… what will you do? You will write my story, sell it to your readers. What will happen to us?[2]

       Andresson strives to show how Europe’s disproportionate response to the phenomenon of incoming migrants has helped create a whole industry that would definitely not sustain if all goals of ‘curbing or transforming illegal migration’ are achieved. He solely depends on anthropological tools to claim how this industry rubs against its purposes. While anthropological tools do show how involved individuals perceive different acts and roles and hence Andersson partially succeeds in pointing towards some key areas in the political economy of ‘illegal migration industry’, I suspect conclusive claims can be made in absence of empirical evidence. While powerful critique by Andresson focuses on the system and raises valid questions on the moral intentions and hence efficiency of this industry, it would require empirical evidence to suggest an alternate policy recommendation which is understandably beyond the scope of this book.



[1] Illegality, Inc : Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe. 2014. Berkerley: University of California Press. Accessed February 7, 2018. ProQuest Ebook Central.

[2] (Hanif, 2016)



PRESS RELEASE – January 22, 2014


Another blast on a bus carrying #Shia #Hazara community members and 30+ are dead with another 30 injured. As can be seen on the front pages of not only local papers but national papers, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (led by Maulana Ramzan Mengal under the title of Ahl-e-Sunnat wal Jamaat in Balochistan) has audaciously proclaimed the havoc and has warned for more. What’s that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi wants Hazara community to do? It’s simple, (thanks to LeJ for clarity) that Hazaras should not be Hazaras, Shias should not be Shias; they should not exist.

As United Nations “1948 Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” defines,

The convention defines genocide as any act committed with the idea of destroying in whole or in part a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. This includes such acts as:

  • Killing members of the group
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
  • Deliberately inflicting conditions calculated to physically destroy the group (the whole group or even part of the group)
  • Forcefully transferring children of the group to another group

Hazara community which makes 0.25% of Pakistan’s total 200 million estimated populations has witnessed 1400+ killings of its community members at the hands of banned militant extremist outfits, categorically Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (also known as Sipah-e-Sahaba, and currently as Ahl-e-Sunnat-wal-Jamaat). Another 1400+ community members have died in the desperate attempts to flee the systematic genocide at home, in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. Singling out passengers from buses, identifying them on the basis of their sects and ethnicity carry clear hallmarks of genocide and it’s time for international community and United Nations to acknowledge it so.

It’s not about Hazaras only. Shias all across Pakistan have been targets of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Tahreek-e-Taliban and Jaish-ul-Islam. #ShiaGenocide is a reality in the forms of target killing of Shia individuals, bomb blast on Shia processions and Imambargahs. International community should not wait for ‘6 million deaths’ to diagnose these crimes as ‘genocide’.

We request you to highlight a single demand “Action against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and all its off-shoots”.

We do not demand compensations, we do not want impotent condemnations of acts, we want action against those who proudly claim the responsibility and reiterate their commitment to go for more. Despite all these deaths of thousands of men, not a single member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has received justice. Recent stay-order for hanging of three such murderers is clear proof.

Holding Pakistani military responsible for treating these militant outfits as ‘strategic alliances and assets’ we demand Pakistan military to launch clear and transparent operation against Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Tahreek-e-Taliban. We demand Pakistan judiciary to deliver justice.

By Awami Workers Party (AWP), Hazara for Humanity (H4H), Islamabad Civil Society