Listen to us please

The tragedy in Manchester yesterday was a strategy explicitly targeting an audience filled with girls. Disenfranchised young men enabled by misogyny and toxic masculinity are being recruited by radical extremists who see it as their calling to rein in females and put us in our place. It’s also pertinent to note that the entertainer (Grande) has a large gay following. There is little doubt that misogyny and homophobia were two of the reasons behind this attack. The talking heads seem to be missing this.

Attempts to address the threats represented by all kinds of extremist violence, including white-christian-male-supremacist violence in the US, fall on deaf ears. Just like our outrage about pussy-grabbing, we are dismissed as being overly sensitive and alarmist in our concerns.

 

The internet is full of people offering prayers (the least effective thing one can do) and posting memes. To these people, only their religion matters, and they are blind to the fact that not everyone shares their views. Personally, I reply to their posts that the people affected by this shocking act of violence are in my thoughts and their fate weighs heavy on my heart. I end my comments by saying that our leaders must be vigilant in bringing these extremists to justice, and we must not be distracted by anyone attempting to call on a deity that believers insist can intervene after the fact, yet did nothing to prevent it.

When the privileged feel threatened

I submitted this letter to the editor yesterday (once I calmed down enough to write it).

My response to the letter “Christians are stopped from serving the Lord”.

Dear Editor,
I read this letter today and immediately knew I had to respond. I am human, so please understand when I tell you this hurt me. Deeply. Let’s get something straight. Christians are not being “stopped from serving the lord” as they please. I think what the writer actually means is that she feels threatened.
For much of our history America has been dominated by Christianity. Everywhere you turn there are symbols of the Christian faith. Christian churches are in every community in America. Hospitals funded by Christian organizations provide health care in every state. Schools and Universities named for Christian leaders teach America’s youth. Americans are free to wear symbols of their faith on chains around their necks and on their clothing. They can read religious books in public, and say grace openly in restaurants.
I never hear my Jewish and Muslim friends complain that they are unable to worship as they please in our country. I wonder why that is, especially since throughout history they have been victimized, tortured and killed (by Christians) for merely existing, much less practicing their faith.
Because others are using their voice to assert themselves in our culture, Christians are feeling offended. I think they have confused the rights of others with their own. In America, you can have an abortion or marry a same-sex partner if you want to, because it is legal to do so. If you don’t believe in abortion, then don’t have one. If you don’t want to marry someone of the same sex, you don’t have to. No one is forcing Christians to have abortions or get ‘gay married’. But, you do not have the right to tell others they cannot.
What happens when privilege is threatened? Remember what the wealthy plantation owners did when they faced losing all that free slave labor? Remember what kings and queens throughout history did to people who opposed them? Remember lynching in the south during the Jim Crow era? These kinds of things occurred because a class of privileged people felt threatened.
Since today is Sunday I assume many of you are worshiping in the church of your choosing, praying to the god you believe in, wearing the clothing you selected from your closet which I assume you bought with your hard-earned money. That is your right. But you don’t get to tell the rest of us that we must do the same, because hooray, we’re in America.

Humanity Washed Up Ashore

From the Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire:

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten
pitied

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

the
go home blacks
refugees
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
savage
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
i want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
drown
save
be hunger
beg
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
saying-
leave,
run away from me now
i dont know what i’ve become
but i know that anywhere
is safer than here

#KiyiyaVuranInsanlik        

Warning – The image you are about to see is disturbing

Humanity Washed Up Ashore

Continue reading