In the September Meanjin, author of The Tribe and The Lebs, and founder of Western Sydney's Sweatshop writing collective, Michael Mohammed Ahmad sets down an extraordinary account of literature, race and black activism in a landmark essay 'Reading Malcolm X in Arab Australia'. Ahmad draws parallels between the early life of Malcom X, the Black American Muslim and civil rights firebrand, and his own early years before and after the watershed moment of September 11, 2001.
'Sand nigger. I was fifteen years old the first time I heard this racial slur. A man with long brown hair and pasty white skin, who appeared to be drunk off his face, screamed it out at me from across the platform at Punchbowl train station. It was December 2001 and I was traveling home from school . . .
Also in this edition, leading political commentator and author Peter van Onselen charts the turbulent waters that have all but swamped Australian conservative politics in recent years, and attempts to chart a path forward. More on politics from Katharine Murphy and novelist and critic James Bradley talks on a future clouded by the growing probability of environmental calamity and wonders how we might construct better possibilities when alternative realities are so hard to imagine. Khalid Warsame writes on The Vast Conspiracy of Memory . . . a majestic and sweeping essay on time, place, knowing, the body and the stories we tell. Plus- a brace of fresh fiction and poetry.