Naeem Mohaiemen combines films, installations, and essays to research Bangladesh histories. Essays on the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war include "Simulation at Wars’ End,” (Bioscope, 2016), “The Ginger Merchant of History” (Witte de With, 2016), “Time of the Writing, Hour of the Reading,” (EPW, India, 2016), and “Flying Blind: Waiting for a Real Reckoning on 1971” (EPW, 2011). In India, he had solo shows at Experimenter, exhibited at Kiran Nadar Museum, and gave talks at Sarai CSDS, Jadavpur University, Seagull Kolkata, etc. He edited “Between Ashes and Hope: Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Blind Spot of Bangladesh Nationalism” (Drishtipat, 2010).
 A photograph circulates, showing five men staring out of a window. Actually, only four look out; the last man breaks protocol and looks at the camera. The light has a soft glow. The stage is a bombed building. All five men wear military fatigues; the color must have been olive green. Snapped by Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins in war-torn Beirut of 1982, the image is a teasing enigma. Arabic newspapers claim it as evidence of Bangladeshi fighters in the PLO (Fatah faction). But go a little deeper into the memory hole and sediments darken the third world international.
London yields an indifferent response, Beirut has men scared of the today and the dreaded security protocol. Talking about yesterday’s wars seems a luxury; requested by the visitor, unreciprocated by the precarious resident– still a ‘guest worker’ after twenty years.
Abu Ammar was the code name of Yasser Arafat. His Fatah faction of PLO fascinated Bangladesh JSD (National Socialist Party) leader Major Jalil, despite the clearer Marxist tendencies of the George Habash faction.
Still, the light was beautiful.
[Commissioned by Independent Cinema Office (UK) as part of a project to show artist films before mainstream cinema in British cinema halls.]