anticolonial maps
for lost lovers
Asma Abbas

Karbala, Derritorial

I went looking for how I learnt how to read. The Society Imambara was the one place where, when I showed up after 19 years in 2018, I was compelled to say to that space, I am here, thanks for teaching me how to read, I think you would like what I did with what you taught me. 

My father passed away during the following Muharram, only my second since since I left in 1999. I was there the day before he passed away, getting a thread from Hazrat Qasim's mehndi, saying I wanted it for my father who was sick in the hospital. The woman told me that I should make sure he is clean. 

He died the next day. I couldn't see him because when it was my turn to go in, more people wanted to go in, so the guard kept all of us out. I wish they had let me go, just so I could see if in his last breaths, he still had the thread on him, who removed it, who threw it somewhere. 

But, I know where all his Manshoor covers were, his lifelong practice of learning and teaching to read. Then came the plates 1-20 below.

Fugue 1 splices that history of learning to read with another history of learning to sing--and of a teacher who does so. Both ways of learning what voice actually is, something often forgotten in the contemporary moment of speech-acts alone that forget how to read, recite, or harmonise, with all parts of our body, that we know of. 

fugue 1, feat. Zari Rosa and Ustad Veena Chandra

Asma Abbas

Asma is an educator and political theorist who is happiest  when someone teaches her something. 

She lives between Richmond, Karachi, and Ifrane. Falls through the cracks often. 









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