Panel Discussion: The American Sphere of Influence in South Asia and Local Resistance

Thu, May 29, 2008 7:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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A Panel Discussion with David Barsamian, Umar Cheema and Sahar Shafaqt

Free and Open to the Public

Sponsored by the Arab and Middle Eastern Journalists Association:

The American presence in South Asia has a long history. Over the last several decades the U.S. sphere of influence has taken a particularly militaristic turn. Pakistan with its long and poorly defined border with Afghanistan has become a central focus of U.S. strategy, insuring vital support of the Pakistani dictatorship. The expansion of massive military bases on Diego Garcia and the Chagos Archipelago serve as hubs for operations in Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Concurrently, the ascendance of India in the global economy and the emergence of satellite islands of capital in Gulf Emirates as conduits for Asian and Middle Eastern economic flows have created profound economic and social upheavals. Together, these factors have made the region one of the most politically volatile in the world. Based on recent visits, our speakers offer critical perspectives on the political dynamics of the region, ranging from acquiescence to resistance, illuminating areas that are rarely examined in mainstream U.S. discourse.


David Barsamian is the award winning founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent weekly series based in Boulder, Colorado. His latest books are Targeting Iran, and What We Say Goes with Noam Chomsky; Speaking of Empire & Resistance with Tariq Ali; Original Zinn with Howard Zinn. His earlier books include The Checkbook and the Cruise Missile with Arundhati Roy; Imperial Ambitions with Noam Chomsky; Eqbal Ahmad: Confronting Empire and The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting. He is the winner of the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Award and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. In December 2007 he delivered the prestigious Eqbal Ahmad lectures in Pakistan in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore.

Umar Cheema is a reporter for the Karachi-based The News International, covering politics, resistance, and the intersection of religious extremism with political opposition. He served as Secretary General of the Islamabad chapter of the South Asia Free Media Association, and is writing on a book about the history of suicide bombing. Cheema is currently the Daniel Pearl fellow at the New York Times.

Sahar Shafqat is a specialist in comparative politics. Her main areas of expertise are ethnic conflict, democratization, and gender and development. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a bachelor's degree in International Relations and Economics. She has a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas A&M University. She is currently Associate Professor of Political Science at St. Mary's College of Maryland. Sahar recently returned from Pakistan where she was active in the movement to restore the judiciary.

Last updated: 2008-05-28 16:16:27

Aerial Photograph of American Base in Diego Garcia
Aerial Photograph of American Base in Diego Garcia

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