Photo by Artem Kniazon Unsplash

It is that time of year again, another new year begins, a sense of renewal, second chances and of course a fitness regimen that will transform all of us into the Victoria’s Secret models we truly are. So naturally, I think about death. It’s my fatalistic tendencies. I can‘t help it. Every year at this time I think about what people will say about me at my funeral and work myself into an advanced state of self pity because of course, I was SO misunderstood in my lifetime. Oh, and utterly unappreciated for my obvious genius.

Then I got to…


In the wake of the worst terrorist attack in New Zealand history Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern showed us how a leader is supposed to behave. In a world where powerful men and women place a low premium on compassion, and spend exorbitant time, money and energy to send a clarion call out to the hateful masses to hurt others, Ms Ardern is expending just as much energy to subvert them.

Seeing her, donning a hijab, which she explained to a journalist recently, she did without really thinking — it just seemed appropriate — and holding close to her the survivors…


Photo by Ahmed Hasan

When I would visit Dhaka in the summers growing up, my family stayed in their middle class enclave in Mirpur, near the big stadium and visited our mostly middle class relatives. There was no running hot water and at least one squat toilet. The cognitive dissonance was this: I viewed myself as kind of fancy, namely because I spoke with an American accent and was a brassy, bossy firangi — foreigner. My own private colonial mentality. But, in Bangladesh my family was not part of the elite. My father, a retired UN diplomat, moved back to Bangladesh after 40 years…


Photo by Robert Hickerson

There were no stomping black boots or whistles. No lights were shone in our faces. We were not wrenched out of our beds and shoved onto cattle cars in a gray winter dawn. We were not herded into ghettos ringed with barbed wire. The killings and torture were done in secret. We knew about that but we didn’t know all of it. I cannot say that we were not warned. As much as we were kept in the dark, much was revealed, either by design or callousness. All the signs were there as they have been in the past for…


Between the Kabaah Sharif and a Hard Place

Sharbari Ahmed TEDX talk on March 24th, 2018


The Writer, Under the 59th Street Bridge. Image: Denise Winters Photography

Hijab means curtain, for privacy, presumably between me and the world. I’m a writer who mines her imagination and observations for stories and then shares them with the wider world. I don’t want the protection. Hijab means modesty. I’m not modest. So you see my conundrum. Though this has been an uphill battle — to claim my radiance. Because I am a woman. Because the signals I am sent are to keep my mouth and legs shut, unless otherwise instructed. Not to embrace any part of myself that is overt or any part that is secret. …


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Iam trying not to look at everything through the prism of race but lately it’s hard not to. The collective euphoria around Black Panther’s release from mostly POC but also supportive white people gives me hope but has reaffirmed how invisible non whites generally are in mainstream American entertainment and how our stories are rarely told. And when they are they are not always told authentically but through caricature and the reiteration of harmful stereotypes. …


Photo by Elvis Ma on Unsplash

Bereft. I felt bereft. That was the word that was in my head. I knew what the word meant, but it was inappropriate for the situation I was in. I wasn’t in mourning. Yet, all I felt was loss. I was lying naked next to my snoring lover who fell asleep promptly after coming inside me. I was about to come. I didn’t slow him down and ask him to bring it in, and hold me closer and kiss me and stroke my hair. I liked feeling his hips grinding into mine. He pumped away inside me, his eyes half…

Sharbari Z. Ahmed

I’m a scattalogical, Prosecco swilling Muslim American trying to tell good stories. Long suffering writer, eternal optimist.

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