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Engaging Politically from the Margin 267

migrant. Taking my cue from Kwame Anthony Appiah, Walter D.

Mignolo, and Gerard Delanty, I contend that Shamsie’s

cosmopolitanism is locally rooted, universally diverse, and essentially

self-reflective. It issues forth from the perspectives of silenced and

marginalized voices, but it does not see plurality simply as the goal

when it challenges universal norms that are essentially ethnocentric, as

exemplified by the global designs of British imperialism and American

nationalism. At the same time as it addresses uneven international and

cross-cultural relations, it also acutely concerns, from a micro-societal

perspective, changes within personal, national, and other local

identities, thereby negating a simple equivalence between

cosmopolitanism and transnationalization. It reflects internally and

reflexively on the problems of Islamic fundamentalism, divided

loyalties and nationalism, as well as gender politics in Pakistan, while

sending poignant messages on civil liberties for people of all races and

religions and on women’s rights beyond borders. Shamsie’s works

ultimately and paradoxically show that, rather than mobility across

borders, reflexive self-understanding is a core component of

cosmopolitanism, based on which connection to the world is critically

established.

I.

Offence

and

Burnt Shadows

: 9/11, Islamic

Fundamentalism, and Patriotism

While it is commonly agreed that many of Shamsie’s works are of

a political nature, 9/11 and its consequences played an important role

in provoking Shamsie to take up journalism and active protest against

criminalization of Islam, American nationalism, and xenophobia.

Shamsie “started writing for newspapers just after 9/11” (2011: 216).

Writing journalism or non-fiction in general in the aftermath of 9/11,

Shamsie was committed to making an immediate impact, reaching

global readership, and providing information while adhering to the

principles of accuracy and verification. As she pointed out in an

interview, “[I]n 2001, people began talking about Afghanistan and