One a day 

[comments from my colleagues at work]

Monday: “Russia did well in Syria. Yes I agree there is more collateral damage than they let on but the benefits outweigh that.”

Tuesday: “I feel sorry for pedophiles. Watching child porn is the same as watching murder videos online. Would you get arrested for the second? And anyway, watching porn is a victimless crime. It’s their sexual orientation and it’s unfair that we see them as monsters without giving them a chance.” 

Wednesday: “I don’t think the governement have gone far enough with it all [PREVENT]. If it saves even one person’s life then it’s just unfortunate other people are wrongly accused along the way.” 

Thursday: “Rihanna is damaged goods. Well didn’t she get beaten up by Chris Brown. That makes her damaged.” 

Friday: alhamdulillah I can spend the day recovering at home.  

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My name 

They spell my name wrong even when my email is my name. It is not just rude. It is lack of care. Othering. Demonstrating just how unimportant I am.

Do you have a nickname?

No. Not for you. My pet names are names my loved ones call me with care.

When we apply we have to consider changing our name. Jay. Not Jayanet. No not Jay-a-net. Never mind.

When we know they turn us down for jobs. When they assume we are already too stupid when we hand in our work. At the very least they can call us what we are.

Every time I correct you is my political warfare. I exist. I am here. I survive.

Named by my grandfather. The history of my ancestors passed through me and I carry their strength. Queens, Warriors, Mothers’ of Prophets. It surpasses above and beyond the time you exist in and cold land you know. My name is fire. It is power.

give your daughters difficult names. give your daughters names that command the full use of tongue. my name makes you want to tell me the truth. my name doesn’t allow me to trust anyone that cannot pronounce it right. – Warsan Shire

International women’s day 

I remember the strong women who have made me the strong woman I am today. I celebrate my existence and my survival. Against the odds – I was not killed for being a daughter. My mind was not killed for wanting to learn. My dreams were not killed for wanting to soar.

My mothers and my sisters. My foremothers. It is the blood they shed and the rivers they cried that means I was not killed.

I love them and cherish them. And I love and cherish every women who is here and not here so that I can be here.

But they are not all here. I remember the one in eight women in the UK who loose their lives in the hands of violent men. I remember the women who are told what they can and can not do. I remember the women who are told our pain is not important enough and our struggles petty. I remember even women who tell us our pain is not important enough to and our struggles are petty.

I remember the patriarchy. And today I vow to keep trying to dismantle it. For my sisters. For my daughters. And for my brothers. And for my sons.

What

massacre

happens to my son

between

him

living within my skin

drinking my cells

my water

my organs

and

his soft psyche turning cruel.

Does he not remember

he

is half woman.

– Nayyirah Waheed

there have been so many times
i have seen a man wanting to weep

but

instead

beat his heart until it was unconscious

– Nayyirah Waheed

Happy international women’s day. I apologise for being a few minutes late. And I apologise for ignoring my blog recently. So many things to say. So little time. So little energy. I have been very sick but have recovered and hope to be back blogging soon 🙂

Bringing down the system 

I have been invited to work for “special teams”. And by that they mean the police, ministry of defence, home office and so on (and yes even the ones I can’t name).
My immediate reaction was hell no – they won’t let me in. Then I realised, well actually they will let me in.  I haven’t broken any laws and I am a British citizen. Maybe I can change the system from the inside? So I started the process to get security cleared.

But now I am not so sure. See, I will be doing project work – not starting a one person revolution. I will be not only upholding the structures that oppress me and my community but improving them. I may be told things that will haunt me and I will not be able to share them. And let’s be honest, they very well could kill me – that is how little trust I have in those teams.  

So now I’m in two minds about the whole thing. And the guy who invited me in the first place – a white, upper class, rugby-playing lad tried to persuade me to go for it. “What are you all ‘fuck the police’?” he asked. “Yes I am actually,” I replied.

And then I described my reality with the very people who I pay to protect me. I have seen them beating up a young boy in the street while the others stand in a circle, their backs to this incident. I see them dragging students by the hair during peaceful and legal protests. I see them stopping black people for no reason whatsoever. I see them snarling at me and my friends. I see them not believing me or even caring when I reported sexual abuse. I see them to be the oppressive force that protects the rich and keeps the poor, black and brown down. Over 1500 have been killed in police custody since 1900 and not one officer has been charged. That is my reality with the police.

He listened and nodded.

A system cannot fail those it was never meant to protect

I apologise for being lost over the last few weeks. Working all day and volunteering all evening has left me with so much to say but so little energy to say it with.