As the world is catalyzed in opposition to the American-backed Israeli genocide of Palestinians, we are experiencing a moment when critical thought, dissenting voices, demands for accountability, and conscientious acts of resistance are being brutally suppressed. In response, the editorial team at Adi Magazine has decided to dedicate our current issue to the theme of disobedience, choosing to celebrate the many ways that humanity can exceed the limits of authoritarian rule. 

Of the 450+ fiction submissions we received from writers all over the world, we have curated six powerfully crafted stories that address thematic concerns, ethical questions, and generative contradictions. Larissa Ribeiro’s textural collages guide readers through each piece. 

In Amina Kayani’s Hard Work, we encounter a protagonist who refuses to be defeated by their experience of disenfranchisement and exclusion from compulsory “ghoulish” capitalism. “We create things every day. We’re, half of us, faggots… We do everything first because of touch,” writes the speaker as they transform what bootstrap ideology ravages into resources for intimacy, defiance, and continuance. 

In Ibrahim Babátúndé Ibrahim’s Danfo Driver, we meet a vivid cast of everyday Nigerians whose lives are interrupted by a traffic accident involving a powerful figure. Ibrahim explores with tenderness the psychic cost of colonialism’s enduring legacy of corruption, state violence, and systemic poverty in Lagos, and pays homage to the power of solidarity amongst the disempowered in response to injustice. 

In Isha Karki’s In Case of Fire, a daughter is born during an explosion. “My sisters don’t say anything either; they just look at me with contempt – my bandaged hands useless with rag or duster, rolling pin or ladle, even spoons, and our mother, too often preoccupied with inserting cubes of ice into my mouth to look their way,” writes the speaker. What does a child become, imprinted by tragedy in a city, neighborhood, and family grown far too accustomed to tragedies? 

In Jamie McGhee’s Last Days of Du Bois, a mother and father are at odds over the best strategy to give their daughter the best chance of survival in a world where oxygen has become scarce and the ability to breathe has become a question of citizenship. McGhee’s incisive story erupts at the intersections where climate catastrophe, white supremacy, and militarized nationalist violence have converged to create a uniquely American apocalypse. 

In Lindsay Sproul’s The Legend of Patty Healy, we meet a young girl whose relationships with a red tanager named Bolshevik and her friend, Bridget Murphy, take us through a journey of devotion, rebellion, and loss. “Bolshevik was trying to tell them something, and it didn’t make him any less great—or perhaps it made him greater—that he hadn’t known what glass was,” Sproul writes. “Glass was stupid. It was just a weak, cruel trick humans made.”

Finally, in Lucy Zhang’s Trust Exercise, we enter a dystopian state where citizens have been genetically modified to follow the National People’s Council’s every directive, including jumping into an abyss on a yearly basis. “Most walk over the ledge like rolling marbles,” writes Zhang, but one person seems unable to jump on command. This story is a poignant examination of the relationship between disobedience and the will to live. 

We are proud and excited to share with you these stories that have given our team critical nourishment and companionship in this time of unimaginable cruelty. May these disobediences lead us to a world where every being is regarded with dignity and care, and where leaders who enable crimes against humanity in the name of “order” are held accountable by all of us. 

–Cynthia Dewi Oka, Editor-in-Chief 

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