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Engaging Politically from the Margin 277

police, who believe they have arrested Abdullah. The novel’s ironic

and dramatic ending manifests how, in the post-9/11 United States,

Muslims simply look alike to paranoid Americans and are subject to

investigation or arrest no matter whether they are illegal immigrants or

green-card holders.

As subaltern as Abdullah, Hiroko is, however, a critical

cosmopolitan in the novel. She is neither one of the elite nor “the ‘new

diasporas’ under globalization, which mostly prove to be dispersions of

professionals and corporate personnel” (Dharwadker, 2011: 137).

Instead, Hiroko is displaced thrice in the novel, first from Japan to

British India after the atomic bombing on Nagasaki, then from British

India to Pakistan after Partition in 1947, and finally from Pakistan to

the United States in 1998 for fear of a nuclear war between India and

Pakistan. It is not the simple fact of living in several foreign countries

that makes Hiroko a cosmopolitan, as Abdullah’s case has clearly

challenged a direct and simple equation between diaspora and

cosmopolitanism. Rather, Hiroko can be argued to be a critical

cosmopolitan because of the kind of “border thinking” she shows in

her critique of aggressive nationalism and various forms of imperialism,

even before she leaves Japan. As Mignolo maintains, “[b]order thinkers

did not buy into” the idea of “a world without borders” (2011: 332);

instead, border thinking “confront[s], and delink[s], from the imperial

and colonial differences,” which, according to Mignolo, are “strategies

of classification . . . that the world is built on two poles, the negative

and the positive” (2011: 337, 330). Unlike Mignolo, whose “critical

cosmopolitanism” (2000: 723) or “decolonial cosmopolitanism” (2011:

329) simply questions Eurocentered cosmopolitanism or global

imperial designs of the West, Hiroko in Shamsie’s novel is critical of

both American ethnocentric patriotism and Japanese imperialism. The

beginning of the novel presents a sharp contrast between Hiroko’s and

Americans’ views of the atomic bombing on Nagasaki. For Hiroko, the

bombing is an “unspeakable” trauma (Shamsie, 2009a: 100), whereas,

for one of the Americans Hiroko has worked for in Tokyo, “the bomb

was a terrible thing, but it had to be done to save American lives” (63).