Sasha Polakow-Suransky

Sasha Polakow-Suransky is a senior editor at Foreign Affairs. His book, The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, will be published by Pantheon next May.

Recent Articles

A Politics of Denial

On the sidewalk outside the Durban International Convention Center last September, members of India's lowest "untouchable" castes staged a hunger strike. They were protesting their government's refusal to let the issue of caste come before the United Nations' World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance (WCAR). On the terrace of the nearby convention-center hotel, meanwhile, their government's official delegates to the WCAR sat among the world's other ministers, presidents, and generals, lunching and chatting about cricket matches. Occasionally, the ring of a cell phone pulled one of them away from the table for an earnest conversation. To the press and the representatives of their country's most oppressed citizens, they would only say that they were busy and promise to talk about caste "when we have some time." But the Indian delegates, like those from most other governments at the conference on racism, never did find the time to discuss...

The Invisible Victims:

After seeing the twin towers collapse on TV, Maria Flores left the town of Zaragoza in northern Mexico and made her way to the border, where she paid smugglers to bring her into the United States. Her husband, an undocumented immigrant, had worked as a janitor in the World Trade Center and sent money home to Flores, her four children, and her mother. Flores, who is six months pregnant, arrived in New York on September 14. Her husband is missing and presumed dead, but Flores--who asked that her real name not be used--has little hope of capturing even a small slice of the nearly $1 billion in relief funds that federal, state, and nonprofit agencies have promised to distribute. Unable to prove that her husband was a victim, let alone that he ever existed, she has become increasingly desperate. When the World Trade Center collapsed, it destroyed the huge informal economy that surrounded it. Eight weeks later, the families of undocumented workers are still struggling to obtain relief...

Flying While Brown

Like everyone else at San Antonio airport on the night of September 17, Ashraf Khan passed through tight security before boarding Delta Airlines flight 1469 to Dallas, the first leg of a two-day journey to Karachi, Pakistan, where he planned to attend his brother's wedding. Khan, an 11-year U.S. resident with a green card, had settled into his first-class seat when the pilot announced that the plane would be delayed. Minutes later, the pilot left the cockpit, approached Khan, and asked to speak with him in the gate area outside the plane. There the pilot declared that he and his crew did not feel safe flying with Khan on board and even questioned how the 32-year-old businessman had managed to get a first-class ticket. Angry and humiliated, Khan returned to the terminal and watched the plane leave without him. Widespread fear of further terrorist attacks has led to the removal of more than a dozen brown-skinned men from flights throughout the country because they were perceived to be...