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Engaging Politically from the Margin 291

III. Conclusion



e and

Burnt Shadows


A God in Every Stone


Shamsie’s works show how a political event like 9/11 and its global

consequences, and a migrant writer’s geographical location and dual

citizenship, might have impacted her local and global political

engagement. In the moments when she is politically engaged, Shamsie

develops critical cosmopolitanism that arises as a result of the

interaction and tension between the local and the global. Such a

dynamic relation can be seen in



Burnt Shadows

, and

A God in

Every Stone

at three levels, all of which illuminate a universal

cosmopolitan project of diversality through border thinking and

self-transformation. First of all, in the post-9/11 era, the three books

can be read as Shamsie’s protest against the global violence of extreme

patriotism as well as the criminalization of Islam. This internationalist

message on global peace is combined on the one hand with the

domestic claims Shamsie lodges against the role that the government

plays in the rise of the hardliners in Pakistan, as discussed in



and, on the other hand, with the history of non-violent activism in

Peshawar that she traces in

A God in Every Stone

. The consequences of

the criminalization of Islam are most vividly depicted in

Burnt Shadows


as Pakistani or Muslim immigrants suffer from racial prejudice in the

United States after 9/11.

This demonstrates Shamsie’s critical cosmopolitanism at a second

level against the global design of imperialism, under the force of which

the sharp line between domestic and international politics can no

longer be drawn.

Burnt Shadows

illustrates how the domestic politics

of the United States, such as its Patriot Act, has affected immigrants

living within its national border. And, through Henry and Raza’s secret

connection with the CIA, the novel examines American interference in

Pakistan’s domestic politics since the Cold War, a problem that


deals with as well. In

A God in Every Stone

, which Shamsie claims to

have written totally outside of Pakistan, her attention is turned from

the transnational impact of American imperialism to the civilizing