King of the World

Episode 2: Terrifying Wars

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Episode notes

The United States initiates the War on Terror in response to 9/11, starting with Afghanistan and then moving seamlessly into Iraq, despite the disconnect. Historian Dr. Huma Gupta helps us understand Afghanistan’s relationship with the U.S. pre-9/11 and its history of being a World Power staging ground. We meet Bashir Ahmad, who shares his experience joining the National Guard after being kicked out of college for smoking weed a few days before the attacks. The concept of identity is broken down by Rania Mustafa, including the conflicted, parallel, and integrated forms, and we look back at why Shahjehan and many American Muslims constantly found themselves grappling with the former at this time. Arriving at college—as his mother weeps—only perpetuates Shahjehan’s highs and lowest low, and he makes a nearly fatal decision one night. The Khan family tells us about participating in a peaceful, nearly million-strong anti-war protest in New York City, leading to a disturbing reveal from Noona. We review the costs of the still-current War on Terror—in dollars spent, millions displaced, and hundreds of thousands of lives lost.

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