Shehryar Ahmad and Polar Levine

I almost met Sherry Ahmad. He extended an invitation to me, as part of the MediaChannel family, to attend a concert in Brooklyn by Pakistani band JUNOON this past summer. Sherry manages the band. I, unfortunately, couldn't make it but our email correspondence on the matter, though brief, was warm and intimate considering we were complete strangers. Sherry returned to Pakistan with JUNOON.

After the nightmare of September 11 and the talk of enlisting the troubled Pakistan in a risky campaign against the Taliban, I thought of Sherry -- what he might be experiencing and the danger of implosion his country faces. I sent him an email voicing my concern. I also wanted to send a friendly note from a place that might start staring ominously at Muslims around the world and at home. An ongoing correspondence resulted.

Below we discuss what's going on in our own regions and our personal takes on the The Attack and its aftermath. As JUNOON is now on a world tour, including a Benefit For Peace in New York on October 27, I asked Sherry to keep us informed on the cultural and political climate in the countries the band visits.

- Polar Levine



As you know we're now in a state of war. I live only ten blocks north of the World Trade Center. My country, my people and my neighborhood was attacked and will never be the same. I fear for my family, for my country possibly turning into a police state. I fear for innocent people here from countries in the middle east who are in danger of being scapegoated (this is already happening, I hear).

I fear for you and your country. We haven't met but in our brief communication I feel that we are connected in some intimate way. I fear the bombs that my taxes pay for might be falling on your neighborhood soon.

Besides the rage I feel toward the organizations that create this type of violence, I also feel rage toward my own government in its arrogance. For years I've been aware of the ways my people have used Moslem nations as pawns during the Cold War. How we have destroyed societies with the dictators we've sponsored and how we exploit the whole region in order to support our oil addiction. As a Jew, I've been enraged by Israel's treatment of it's neighbors. (download my song, "The Blood" from my website which addresses this issue).

Also, I'm enraged by the incredibly backward looking, bickering Moslem cultures that create terror and fantasy rather than viable, creative societies. One of the most evolved cultures in history has shrunk to a pathetic mass of envy and tyranny, where the best are jailed and the worst build palaces and bombs.

I fear for your safety. Please stay in touch with me and let me know what's happening over there.

Best of luck to you and Junoon. I hope we'll meet soon in a safer environment.

Polar Levine