#ShutDown

The burden of the brutalised is not to comfort the bystander. That is not our job. Stop with all that. 

If you have a critique for the resistance, for our resistance, then you better have an already established record of critique of our oppression. If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions for those who do. 

Sit down. 

– Jesse Williams 

I extend my solidarity and support for the brave activists who #ShutDown across the UK yesterday. 

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When they try to bury us 

They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.

In solidarity with NUS (in particular Shelly Asquith) and CAGE who have been under attack for fighting against injustice. And shame on Richard Brooks who says he is “against PREVENT” but appears to have done nothing but tell people opposition is not the way forward.

Full blog on this topic coming on Monday.

No justice, no peace

A popular mantra repeated again and again by those facing injustice.

After the state kills yet another person with no one held to blame. No justice. When whole communities are obliterated for the hunt of one man. No justice. When people running away from said bombs are denied safety. No justice. When yet another loved one is brutalised but it takes more than 5 years of fighting for an inquest to take place and an eternity to find out what actually happened. No justice. When women and children seeking asylum because they are escaping trauma are locked up as criminals. No justice. When a woman finds the courage to stand up in court and name her abuser but is not believed. No justice. When our academics and mentors are fired for speaking out and demanding change so we don’t become another statistic: 80% unable to complete PHDs, 20% less likely to get a 1st or 2:1 (needed for most graduate schemes) – in both cases coming in with the same grades as our white-counterparts. No justice. When politicians you vote in on a mandate are able to break promises. No justice. When fascists can march in our streets, threaten our lives, because it is their right but we are arrested and spied on for even believing in the same rights. No justice.

No justice. No justice. No justice.

No peace. No peace. No peace.

And this is seen as a demand – a threat. No, it is simply a matter of fact.

How can there be any peace without justice? Would you feel peace if you were wronged? Would you feel peace if your family, your friend, your people were wronged? Their rights denied? Their lives seen as collateral? So why do they expect anything else?

For there to be peace there needs to be the acceptance of this statement. There needs to be accountability. Accountability of the state when it kills another person, when they go to war despite strong opposition from the people and guidance against it. Accountability of the media for spreading hate and lies which lead to women getting bottled in the street, granddads getting murdered on their walks home, women getting pushed onto moving trains.

There needs to be naming, shaming and learning. And then, and only then, will there be peace.

This eye for an eye merry-go-round that the imperialistic states are implementing is not going to get us anywhere. We all prayed for Paris. Who is praying for Syria?

You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom – Malcolm X

On the Paris Bombings: pray for the world

What happened in Paris last night was awful. I stayed up late following the news in disbelief and I am so sorry to anyone who has been affected by thee horrible attacks. The international community has responded, as predicted, by showing their unwavering solidarity with Paris.

The night before that, a bomb went off in my country, Lebanon, killing 43 people. No one prayed for us. No one kept us in their thoughts. No world leaders made late-night statements about us. No one changed their profile pictures. There was no hashtag. No option to be “marked as safe” by Facebook. Just silence.

Syria has suffered more than can be quantified in words and distilled into a Facebook status. They get nothing. Just more silence.

73 Palestinians were killed by Israel in October alone. Silence.

Nearly 100 people were killed by explosions at a peace rally in Ankara last month. Just silence.

At least 3,500 people have been killed in Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in conflict this year. Silence.

I’m not even angry at this point, just tired. Exhausted. Exhausted that an assault on an open air prison like Gaza which leaves 2300 people dead gets little to no attention but the minute something happens in Europe, something happens to white people, everyone is so (I think quite genuinely) broken up about it.

I’m not saying don’t be. I’m not saying that the people who lost their lives last night do not deserve to be mourned because of course they do. They were innocent and now they are dead. As an Arab, we know better than anyone how it hurts and we should all continue to keep them in our thoughts. But what about us? Don’t we deserve to be mourned? Are we not human enough? Are we too Arab for you? Too black for you? Too Other for you? Do you find it impossible to empathise with us because of the colour of our skin? There’s a word for that.

And then, after all of this, after all is said and done. After it hits us, just how little we matter. Just how insignificant and inferior we are as human beings. That’s when the best part comes. My favourite part.

Apologise. We are told to apologise. It is demanded of us. WE need to apologise for the actions of barbarians who have been doing their worst to us for so long now. We are the victims. What you experience at the hands of these extremists is a fraction of what Syria experiences. Of what Lebanon experiences. We put up with it every single day. And now, in some kind of sick, twisted joke, we are asked to apologise. We are to be held accountable. The main victims and refugees of this tragedy must pay. As if we have not yet paid enough in blood and land and dignity.

Sorry. We’re sorry that you have occupied our lands, pillaged them, divvied them up between you like gold. We’re sorry that you’ve robbed us of our wealth, dignity and freedom. We’re sorry that you’ve left nothing in your wake except rubble and anger. We’re sorry that those disillusioned and disenfranchised people you left in your wake hurtle into extremism. We’re sorry that you benefit from their barbarity. We’re sorry that you allow them to do these things to us, that you encourage them and provide them with the resources they need to do us harm. We’re sorry they turn against you in the end. We’re sorry they come back for you. We’re sorry. We hope you can find it in you to forgive us. – Roua Naboulsi, Lebanese student