2016

Looking back at this year I am honestly struggling to think of positives. This year has taken many of our greats, and has replaced them with continual wars, noticeable rise in fascism and  uncertainty.

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The year is 365 days long. Yet it is hard to think of highlights when the most recent news is filled with children dying in Aleppo, Trump and Brexit happening so recently and, on a personal level, being stuck on a project I am not enjoying at all. Our perspectives are warped and bloated – bubbles of despair far outweighing the small pockets of hope we have seen.

And there have been pockets – the election of Malia, the first Muslim women president of NUS – someone who has put liberation in the heart of all she does, #BLM, Momentum. But even Momentum is fractured and Black Lives Matter UK is working on its direction and Malia continues to work on fires caused by those unwilling to give her a chance. I am in a new relationship and it is going very well. And dare I say it, I think I am in love. But we live in two different cities and navigating our relationship long term will be a struggle.

Tomorrow will be like today. A few seconds on a clock do not bring certainty where so much uncertainty exists. Do not provide answers to questions and do not rid us of the pain we have carried for the last 365. But unlike tomorrow we have this concept of a new year. So we can pretend it is a new beginning. We can try and better ourselves at least.

Perhaps nothing will change. But for my sanity I will change. I will refresh my outlook. Go in ready to take on the battles like they are new, with new energy and new resolve. I will try again like I have not tried a million times before. And maybe, just maybe, it will all work out differently this time.

I wish everyone a blessed New year and pray you are able to overcome this year. 

An unplanned ode

Today’s my last day working from the office this year. I would love to say it’s my last day working but alas I have decided to roll over my left over holiday to next year in the hopes I will make some use of it. I did only just get back from holiday about a month ago – though how quickly a tan fades and the longing to be on a plane out of here comes back!

Given I haven’t just written in a while I thought I would do just that. I did mention in the last time I did one of these that I am now in a new relationship. It will be just three months in a few days but boy does it feel longer. It is a weird one because we have been friends for two years now, and very good friends for several months. And when I say very good friends, I mean talking to each other everyday for about 3 months before we dated. There was a lot of “does he like me”, “why did he say that”, “can he tell I like him”.

Three months ago I decided I would give him until December to tell me if he liked me. God forbid I be the one to take the leap first. A few days later he said something that melted me and I just blurted out “you and me – what’s going on?” Completely unplanned and super awkward. But we talked and of course it turned out he liked me to and the rest is history.

He’s a shy one. And when I say shy I mean significant speaking disorder, inaudible shy. In fact, barely anyone can hear him and even fewer can understand him. But somehow I manage it. When he does speak, every word is important. And when he writes, he is quick and poetic.  Continue reading

The age of automation: work less, paid more

I work to make the rich richer. Improve the technology companies use, saving them resources and ultimately costs. Old ways of working are replaced by software or more efficient robots. Ultimately this leads to loss of jobs.

With the rise of strike action happening over Christmas directly caused by this it got me wondering about the sustainability of manual work forces.

Even with my lovely starter salary I am consistently in my overdraft. With the cost of living in London is rising still and work available reducing, I wonder how the capitalistic state we live in can continue. We continue to blame immigrants for loss of our jobs. But is it computers that we forget to worry about?

We invest billions to save trillions. Do we not want to be more efficient and advanced? Of course the answer is yes. Technological advances are inevitable. The problem is those at the top are taking savings made as profit, and making those at the bottom redundant. This is only sustainable for so long before you have a nation of people with no jobs. Now do the managers care – probably not. But we shouldn’t let that stop us.

What could the solution be? Here are a few of my own musings on a Monday morning over Christmas break. No theoretical and economic backing has gone into this except my own experiences working in the industry. I would be very much be interested in book recommendations or thoughts in the comments.

Less work, more pay.

With a global world, a world where the sun never sets and boundaries are just lines on a map, why are we still sticking to the 5 day a week schedule? Why not have a timeless workforce? One where each person works less overall – say 35 hours per week. The money saved from the cumulative longer hours and more efficient work done can be poured back in to pay everyone a decent salary.

And then we will all have more time. Time to help out in our communities, grow our own food, stay fit, spend time with our families. More rest to reduce the stress induced mental health and physical health issues draining our NHS. Reduced crimes due to rise in employment. A reduction in the divide between the poor and rich.

We will take back control of our economy so that it works for us rather than we work for it.

A utopia worth fighting for.

Workers of all lands, unite!

Bullshit 

Her: I don’t like Beyoncé 

Me: oh yeh? Why not? 

Her: because she bleaches her skin 

Me: well she’s quite light skin to begin with 

Her: bullshit 

Me: and anyway there’s societal pressures for people with dark skin to lighten their skin 

Her: bullshit 

Me: it’s genuinely considered an attractive feature and something companies capitalise on 

Her: bullshit

I will never get over the entitlement of white middle class women to not only assume they know what societal pressures for *women of colour* are like but ignore information when they are given it. 

This is why your feminism is not my feminism and your liberation will never be my liberation. 

The good immigrant 

My driver this morning asked me what I thought about Brexit. Months on the conversation goes on in the radio. A polish man, was not allowed to vote himself. 

I told him I voted stay. And not because I necessarily believe in the EU – a structure designed to find strength in the weakness of others. The us against them. But because of the racists and xenophobic rhetoric. 

My boy Tom did not vote out because he wanted out. He voted to get you and I out. To keep you and I out. 

And I don’t believe in the good versus bad immigrant. Yes my people and your people built this country, died for this country and continue to keep this country running. But some of my people are unable to work. For sickness or lack of work. Others make their money through the hustle. And they too “deserve” to be here. 

Because you too have your sick, your old, your poor. 

This small island is your home. And it was your fathers home. And his father’s before him. Amongst the smoke and the concrete and the cobalt. 

My father was born in the sun, around green and blue and brown. My father lived in a mud house, in a tin house and now rules a brick house. 

He came here promised work and was given a beating and spit for free. In his 40s something burst in his stomach and he could no longer lift his arms all the way up. He sold his shares in the resturant and signed on. My father is not a good immigrant. 

And even still this too is my home. 

“Here’s to them waking up at 4a.m., calling home to hear the voices of their loved ones. Here’s to their children, to the children who despite it all become artists, writers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, activists and rebels. Here’s to international money transfers. For never forgetting home.” – first generation, questions for Ada, Ijeoma Umebinyuo

My bi brother 

My sister found my little brother’s phone still in his hand late on night. Light still on and headphones still plugged in. He was fast asleep. She reached to take the phone from his clutch and place it on the table besides him. And then she dropped it. 

He had been watching porn. And not just any porn but gay porn. 

Her little brother. 17, brown and Muslim. 

She didn’t know what to do and and came crying into my room. She gave me his phone. He had been messaging a older man. The man had sent him pictures and videos. And he had sent pictures back – but only of his face, fully clothed (as far as the pictures on record showed). 

I proceeded to printscreen and send to myself so I had this man’s number. A man who was sending naked images to minors. And accidently locked the phone. Fuck. 

The next morning my brother saw someone had messaged me the pictures. I called him into my room and explained I that I was simply worried about the pedophile and reassured him I still loved and cared for him. I apologised for going through his phone and told him he could speak to me if he wants. 

He told me he was bi. And I told him it was ok. He begged me not to tell mum and I promised him I wouldn’t. 

And I haven’t. 

But we haven’t spoken about it since. Not me and him. Not my sister and I. 

I have always been an advocate for liberation and this included LGBT+ rights as you cannot separate them. Yet as a straight, cis person – it has not been personal before as racism, disabilities, sexism and islamophobia have been. 

Since then I have been doing a lot of thinking about queerness. I do wonder if we are all born queer and socitial and other pressures lead us to live one way or another. For instance, LGBT+ communities were very prevalent and accepted in south Asian communities prior to western, Christian colonisation that outlawed it. And yet Islam specifically prohibits non-heterosexual relationships. It also prohibits all sexual relationships prior to marriage.

I guess it is easy to speak about rights that go against your culture when the two don’t have to intersect. This whole thing has made me question my allyship. Clearly more for show than I had previously realised. 

And of course this is not about me. I am sure my brother is going through a very complicated thought process, being outed without his choice and having to navigate life as a bi, brown, Muslim man. 

Yet that does not take away from me having to do a lot of learning and growing. 

Water is life 

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shore, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles over racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it. Our children are still taught to respect the violence which reduced a red-skinned people of an earlier culture into a few fragmented groups herded into impoverished reservations.” – MLK Jr. 

When money is more important that the lives and value of not just a generation bit of generations we know we are lost. Humanity should be more than this. 

The state are on the side of the oppressors. The state are on the side of the wreckers. The state is on the side of the rich. The state was never built to protect you and I. 

So it is up to us. We must rise. We must unite. 

Love me now

I asked you again and again “what do you want me to do?” And you told me you don’t want you in the centre of what I wanted to do. 

And I knew you loved me. 

You never asked me what I wanted you to do. 

If you had I would have told you I wanted you to hold me tight. Drive away any space between us. Hold me so that I can forget the people around us and the people in my head. 

Kiss me. Kiss the top of my head. Kiss me on my cold cheek. Kiss me on the lip. Make my stomach flutter and my heart burst. Make the floor beneath my feet disappear. 

Tell me you will fight for me. You will never let me go. You will not lose me. Promise me. 

But you don’t hold me. And you don’t kiss me. And you don’t tell me lies. 

And I know you love me. 

So I’m gonna love you now, like it’s all I have
I know it’ll kill me when it’s over
I don’t wanna think about it, I want you to love me now – Love me now, John Legend 

I’m still spinning 

I have not been writing for a while. I’m not sure why exactly. There are many a times when I have written a whole entry out in my head, phone in hand, yet not typed it out. A few weeks ago I even wrote a whole entry in my little black book. But I did not type it out. 

The world has kept on spinning by and my little world has done the same. 

We’ve had the inspiring protests against the American anthem, the reelection of Corbyn and his cabinet being the most diverse labour has ever had, the Tory conference, and the rise of Trump and Clinton exploiting#BlackLivesMatter. 

As for updates in my little world I am stuck on an awful project and thinking of leaving my company, I am worried about the turnout of a Black History Month event I am organising and am thinking of moving it to next month – after all why stay in October to have an event that focuses on us, I have tried to reduce the amount of “student activism” I do but feel lost in what my calling is, my brother has “come out” as bi, and I am in a new relationship but am worried about whether I should be. 

So maybe last month has been eventful. Well it’s not the first day of the month but I’ve never been good at dates anyway. For the next few weeks I’d like to get back  into the habit of posting daily. Because I miss it. And the dialogue in my head is getting pretty busy.