A person falls from the north tower of World Trade Center, Sept. 11, 2001. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Twenty years ago a person leaped from a skyscraper in the hope of flight, as fire engulfed everything above and below.

As an army transport plane ascended into the skies above Kabul, a spec fell off the fuselage. The spec was a young Afghan footballer clinging to freedom only to find death in return.

These moments of humans suspended in air, bookend twenty years of horror, death, destruction and the human capacity to lay waste extraordinary amounts of treasure and beauty.

Another glaring example of madness that we are prone to succumb to, justifying it all along with a false…

Havana, Cuba © AK 2018

In a nation where people barely eke out an existence, the pandemic has dealt a devastating blow. Things have become so desperate, that something unusual and extraordinary happened in July. People across Cuba poured in to the streets to protest. Their living conditions had become untenable.

In a country known for repressive crackdowns on dissent, the rallies were widely viewed as astonishing. …

I came across a friend at the corner store. I had not seen him in a while. Invariably my second question to him was,

“Did you get your vaccine?”

Other than the fact that he was deliberating on getting one, he was waiting to see which one would be ranked number one in the opinion poll. He said he could not make up his mind on which one to get. Of course he wanted to know which one I had gotten and if I had had any side effects.

I told him if he was afraid of pin pricks, he…

Israel bombs a building in Gaza that housed AP & Al Jazeera

I was born in a country that was ripped apart by the violence of religious tribalism. In 1947 the British ended their colonial carnage by drawing a line and dividing a people, leading to unimaginable slaughter and animosity.

Seven decades later, the wounds are still fresh, and the status quo feeds an arms race and incessantly widens the gulf between India and Pakistan. Peace between the two nations is fleeting and elusive as ever.

Around the same time the British withdrew from India they spawned a similar outcome in another part of the world. …

“MSP (Minneapolis/St.Paul) people, stay safe” was a message that crossed my WhatsApp feed on April 20th. The concern was not for the virus, but because the George Floyd murder trial verdict was imminent.

Many were expecting a verdict that would enrage people enmasse. Minneapolis was boarded up and the police and national guard were on high alert. Cities across the country were bracing for violence.

Derek Chauvin, the policeman who snuffed out George Floyd’s life in full view of the public, was convicted of all charges. The nation breathed a sigh of relief. …

AirIndia Boarding Pass © AK 2021

February 2020, I was at the Dubai airport transiting. I was returning from India after visiting my aging parents. We were corralled like cattle down a corridor for a security check. Everyone was literally breathing into each other’s faces. A handful of people were wearing masks. A virus shutting down a city in China was headline news. But everyone seemed confident it was a crisis, taking place in a far off place, much like an earthquake or a violent storm.

Four weeks later the whole human world came to a grinding halt.

A year later it was time for me…

Scene of the Crime, January 6th, 2021

If January 6th left me with PTSD, February 13th pretty much gutted me.

An insurrection didn’t do it. So what would it have taken for those in power to hold a president accountable?

Maybe the president explicitly calling his supporters to capture and burn down the House? Or the death of Senators instead of policemen and rioters? Mike Pence literally being hung at the gallows erected by the domestic terrorists? Probably even that would not have been enough. …

© New York Times, Jan 06, 2020

The most jarring image that crossed my screen last week, was of a man holding a confederate flag inside the United States Capitol Hill building. While everything I saw this day left me with PTSD, this image sent a chill down my spine. It sent a clear message that the forces Abraham Lincoln fought all those years ago to keep the union from breaking - were alive and well and felt emboldened to rear their ugly head, to be heard and seen as starkly as possible.

What we witnessed on Jan 6th, 2021, was in the making for many years…

The Triboro Bridge was thick with traffic. In the distance the Manhattan skyline was sparkling. The spire on the Empire State building was red and green. Things seemed like they are supposed to, this time of the year.

Then to my right a driver pulled in with a mask on. He made sure I didn’t forget that things were far from the way they used to be.

The adjustment we have had to make to a virus, has forced us to take stock of who we are as a species and how we live with the planet.

Now with a…

Abraham Lincoln

Today we meet for Thanksgiving across the United States of America.

There is nothing more American than this annual family gathering that takes place in living rooms and then dining rooms across this land.

Weeks before this day of feasting, recipes are shared on cooking shows and in magazines and between neighbors and friends and the art of baking the perfect moist Turkey, becomes the subject of many a conversation.

In a seasonally early supper, Turkey meat is carved and consumed in copious amounts and the Trypotphan mixed with alcohol puts everyone in the mood for some drowsy family time…

Anand Kamalakar

Anand Kamalakar is a Brooklyn based documentary film director, producer and editor. His latest film SALAM can now be seen on Netflix.

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