On being discovered 

Visit the British Museum and you’ll discover all the discoveries the British made. Walls, art, precious stones, people. The erasure and retelling of history is an act of violence. They can’t tell us colonialism was a dark spot in their history whilst simultaneously making themselves the heroes. In doing so, they continue the cycle of believing they are the better people, the more benevolent people the more courageous people. And all this makes a more entitled people. 

And all the while we are taught we are less than. The savages who were saved. The stupid who were taught. Even though it is in our lands you will find the oldest university, the invention of many tools and the building of beautiful structures. We are the discovers. They are the takers. 

It is no wonder 44% of British people are proud of colonialism and 23% hold no view. Proud (or no view) on the rape, murder, pillaging and lasting damages done to 1/5 of the world’s population. 


Language is deliberate. Discovered instead of stolen. Focusing on the finding rather than what was built and learnt. The white man praised for stealing and the black man expected to be grateful that his things were worth the taking. 

But it is history?

No. It is happening here and now. The stealing of our art, the depletion of our resources, the slavery of our people. 

But what’s more, you cannot call it the past when the past is rewritten. False truths glamourised. Actual facts denied. The stolen goods still on display for all to see. This is not the past, that is the here and now. 

We need to be taught our histories to be able to move forward and know our worth. It is why movements like “why is my curriculum white?” are so vital. Our people need to have their wealth back to be able to rebuild. That is why reparation is so vital. 

What kind of historic truths did you learn in school / museums that you later found out / knew were lies? 

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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

Home

Home is not where you were born. Home is where all your attempts to escape cease – Naguib Mahfouz

I was born in London – in fact not very far from where I live now. I am a ‘proper’ London-er by all lists and calculations. Everything outside the M25 is “up north”, I ignore all acts of friendliness in the streets and can’t stand people who don’t know how to use an escalator. London is my home.

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But I have so many conflated thoughts about it. This is my home. I have no other home. But when people ask where are you from? I instinctively know they mean why aren’t you white? But I play their game. London. No, where are you really from? Yes I was right. I have a pre-prepared answer now, “well I was born in London and lived here all my life but my parents were born in Bangladesh.”

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It is this other-ing, not just by that comments but in so many ways, like filling in forms – I will always be British something else* – my kids will always be British something else and their kids after them will be British something else, that makes me realise even though this is my home, I will never feel quite at home. I will always feel like I’m squatting.

Maybe I will be able to go a whole week without feeling it. But then something will pop up on the news, someone will say an off-the-cuff comment and I will be reminded.

*something else because what they call us changes over time.

I wonder if I will ever be allowed to feel at home. Probably not in my lifetime. But I wonder how many generations of children immigrant families have before this goes away.

Being glum

It is hard to be anything but glum.

When bombs fall like rain onto the honest whilst tyrants laugh in their chambers. I will never forget that. The sound of them chuckling after they voted to bomb people. People who, like them, have families and children. Who, like them, get terrified and are terrified. And there was nothing we could do about it. They ignored our pleas and cries in the streets. Nothing to stop this tiny island – once a beast but now a fragile shadow –  shoving in trying to demonstrate its relevance. And I know, 2 extra planes isn’t going to add anything. But one life destroyed is one too many. People are not collateral.

More news of shootings. More news of terrorist attacks not named terrorist attacks because the perpetrator was not brown or Muslim. More news of being falsely accused of terrorism – a whole route closed down because a man with a beard was on the bus, students being kicked out of class for being anti-war, a boy threatened by the police for fighting to keep his youth centre open – all suspects whilst the real terrorist live in their mansions.

Winter is here – I leave my room whilst it’s dark and watch the sunrise from the train. I leave work after it’s dark – completely missing sunset. I go into my room, usually after forced niceties,  and go on my phone to catch up with the world. A cycle of darkness. And I am left glum.

Blessings to al-Shâm, blessings to al-Shâm, blessings to al-Shâm! (yâ tûbâ li al-Shâm). Because the wings of the angels of the Merciful are lowered over it. – Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

#IAM: islamophobia awareness month 

As I waited for the train this morning I felt disturbingly aware of my surroundings. Did that man just glare at me? Is that women charging towards me? Why do those group of kids keep looking at my direction?

I felt genuine fear. I didn’t know if I should call someone or if getting my phone out would make me more vulnerable. Islamophobia is making me paranoid.
And I know it’s not just me. A good friend has asked her mum to not go out for a few weeks. She chooses to wear the face veil and had a man attack her. Can you imagine, being trapped in your own home. I would not know how I would cope if anything happened to my mum. Heartbreaking. Another friend of mine was spat at in the street as he walked home. Imagine people who think of you as such subpar and with such disgust that they can spit at you. Revolting. A woman was bottled in the street a few days ago just because she was visibly Muslim – choosing to wrap a scarf around her head. Terrifying.

This month is Islamophobia Awareness Month. The point of it is just make people aware just how real islamophobia is. It is not people playing the race card or making a big deal out of nothing. It is heartbreaking, revolting and terrifying. And it is the reality of Muslims all around the world.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9YX_yxylZqc

Write a status, blog or tweet about how islamophobia has affected you with the hashtag #IAM. Let’s share our stories, they’re real and should be heard.
And for those of you who has not experienced islamophobia yourself, ask your Muslim friends how their journey home was recently, offer to hear their fears, be a good friend.

If you’d like to find out more, check out these events FOISIS (below) and MEND (their website) have organised.  

The terror: #WelfareBill

I am terrified. Those quiet whispers of dissent now clear voices – spoken out loud and turned into policies.

But what words will let you know of my terror? How do I show you I am not the enemy? Wake you up to the twists of the media that make me the villain when it is them – the 1% – who we should be fighting? Unified by terror and hate when it should be love.

And what sense can I speak to break your ignorance. Make you see how they steal your freedom, lie about your safety and share false pride. When they simultaneously, shamelessly boast about British values of democracy when we have hereditary peers in our legislature and an unelected, taxpayer funded head of state; equality when the equalities minister voted against equal marriage.  Continue reading

Chocking heat! ☀️

Pretty accurate. From @TechnicallyRon

Unless you’ve been asleep for 2 days – and to be honest, if you’ve managed that please tell me your secret because I can barely sleep – you would have noticed the heat wave we’ve been experiencing here (here being London, but I think the midlands were also very hot). How’s the weather where you are?

It’s a pretty British thing I think to wait all year for the sun to come out – buying an entire new wardrobe of sunny attire – only for what is usually less than 5 days of actual sun! And what’s even more British is how as soon as the sun does make an appearance, we do nothing but complain about it. My Facebook is full of rants, all I heard at work were people complaining over the sound of the table fans we each had locked to our faces, and even chalkboards outside of pubs had “it’s finally hot enough to complain about how hot it is”.

It’s hilarious how unprepared we are for this kind of weather – roads melted and the trains were a mess. Despite all their upgrades I was not feeling any benefits to the aircon. Thankfully I missed rush hour – I can only imagine the sweaty horrors.  Continue reading

The tale of two terrorists

Failed logic. Source

I loudly, unequivocally condemn ISIS. I condemn them because they twist my faith, they harm more of my brothers and sisters in Islam in the global south than they do the Western World, and I condemn them because I am a decent human being.

I hate that I need to start this blog like that but I will anyway because too many times Muslims talking about the issues I am about to are told they need to do more to stop terrorism. And whilst too many non-Muslims let islamophobia go on, and too many white people let white supremacy and state violence go on, it is of course Muslims who are continuously reminded to fix our own. Now I can dedicate a whole post on how problematic this is and why statement such as the one given by our own PM a few days ago is so reckless but I’ll save that for another day.

Today I want to ask as very simple question. Why does the government have policies and strategies and spend so much time and money on stopping Muslims from fighting in Syria but allow Jewish people to fight in the IDF?

Continue reading