Auto-ethnographic writing: Pakistan, Islam, and the 1990s

I’m writing. I’m working on a draft that is now covered in barnacles from multiple attempts and attacks. I’m trying to slough off a state of mind regarding this article, and to refresh my writer’s vision.

Writing this piece entails plunging into the cold waters of memory, and I keep coming up with strange forgotten sea-shells from my youth, my time at college, at university, in Islamabad, in Cambridge, in London, and Bloomington. Internet research on some of my employment activities yields information that is a tad concerning, but it was a different time, and I didn’t know the big picture. The present day U.S. political climate makes writing about these things a little – iffy, shall we say? The U.S. project in Pakistan and Afghanistan in the 1980s did not age well into the 1990s, and Muslims were left with a mess that was pinned entirely on them, as if memory and history were dead.

We need more personal-historical memoirs of the 1990s.

But my deadline is closer than the whole emotional and intellectual experience allows. So I keep writing. I’m not sure what will come out of this period of gestation. I’m not even sure it will yield anything I am willing to share.

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