Thursday, February 16, 2017

On academic gas-lighting

The academy has been gas-lighting me y’all. I left a [please stand by for extreme romanticization] revolutionary space rampant where critical thinking is rewarded with cash prizes and free full means from prominent Afghani restaurants-- [I always get carried away, pls allow it], I found myself in a whitehole—

Oh right, let’s explain that one.
So basically a blackhole is a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape, according to Father Google.
A whitehole is thereby a region with no gravitational field because ITS COLONIAL AND RACIST SO IT TAKES OVER SPACE BY FORCE AND WOE IS TO US [do you like my unbiased neutrality? I keep hearing its professional].

Basically I moved from a very cushy Social Sciencey saferrrr space where basically every activity was a radical act of self-care [which I have a problem with in itself but--] into a white-majority graduate school of Urban Planning where the level of cognizance around issues of systemic racism and capitalism and thinking critically on the most basic level did not exist. It was Colourblindtopia. We were all equal humans and humanity was our unifying basis that would liberate us all. All lives matter. The white man and the 1G Sikh uncle are on the same level on the playing field.

And at first I was just like, is it me? Am I unintelligent? Has [previous institution that has been romanticized above] been lying to me? Is my analysis polarizing and extreme? Do I actually write poorly? It got so bad that I was considering taking my scarf off, considering dropping out of school, considering doing all sorts of things that people like me don’t generally consider [according to our doting fans, irl is different].

But alas, like all cliché stories about coming to find one’s self and starting a revolution I came to the realization that I am simply suffering the side effects of white supremacist capitalism. And I’m going to outline how these dynamics operated in very material terms:

1.     Professors who didn’t agree with my arguments nitpicked my grammar. Wallahi I thought I was a poor writer but mans were just telling me not to think so hard about the implications of the work I am being trained in a professional capacity to do {real feedback: “this paper is overwritten”}. I ended up burning that essay because I’m dramatic but y’all, I’m not being narcissistic. I can accept genuine critique about poor writing and flawed arguments but my argument was simple and concise and it was “over written” (direct quote) at this school because God forbid you suggest the work Urban Planners do was violence. This one I can pinpoint particularly.

2.     A general feeling of eraticness, unhingedness. I was in this space where I already felt small because imposter syndrome, but even smaller because I didn’t exist outside a romantic oppressed who needs to be treated to “coffee and pastries” after a recent tragedy [irl excerpt], a crazed homophobe [this one isn’t new to us Muzlims. Pinkwashing is pretty prevalent, uncreative and ultimately destructive] or nobody. The thing with studying such a spatial field is that you’d think that you can premise yourself in a spatial analysis if not a theoretical analysis, but no. South Asian Muslim women, who are at least allowed some model minority-ism in most academic spaces were monstrous ghosts. Let me just emphasize that I don’t appreciate identity politics without a class analysis but it has come to this.

3.     Lots of white tears, and special varieties of male tears. Y’all, if only we could send all that water to a prominent charity for one of their well projects, it would come to good use.

4.     Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Y’all, I would leave school without the ability to visually situate myself in a classroom setting. In fact, tomorrow I’m skipping class because I’m there right now. I’m exhausted.

I felt inspired to write this because someone told me that we should never stop writing especially when the racialization of Muslims [I get that we aren’t homogenous so please just take this as my perspective--] is just getting more intense and that we must take up space particularly where we are not welcome.

I’ve taken to my woes by trying to show up for rallies and by trying to take up space physically as well because I’m pretty fed up of the academy and the capitalism it operates under. Viva communista and fuck the police.


Monday, November 28, 2016

a friend

whether we leave
or we stay
if we're here or away
when joy brings you madness
and sorrow brings you sanity
when the day's moments are no longer shared
and the night's pain no longer felt
and we've forgotten one another
remember this
i've carved in me a place
for your life
a home
for my friend

Monday, September 26, 2016

be mindful

be mindful of the images shared on social media. be mindful of whose hearts might sink deeper into their chests because of the things we post. be mindful of the information we are sharing and whether or not it is true. be mindful of the fact that some videos or images may be better left unshared out of respect, love, and dignity for the people involved. out of respect for communities we may not be a part of. be mindful that we are not perpetuating pain. perpetuating stereotypes. perpetuating falsehood. find ways to convey information that don't contribute to dehumanization. be mindful of our humanity.


Your mind has rights over you, nourish it.
Your body has rights over you, be gentle with it.
Your heart has rights over you, protect it.
Your soul has rights over you - it's inclination is towards Good. Give it Purpose.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When you go back 
Don't count the fingers you
Lost getting here 
Or the limbs your neighbours lost 
Don't let the memories you caged 
Come out to play don't 
Unfold the crumpled pages
of your passport  don't
Poke your stomach and sigh
Wistfully where it crosses the 
Borders your aunties set for desirability 
Don't carry any lovers in your chest 
Don't go back, you can't go back 
Not all of you anyway

-We miss time (not places)/ we miss people (not places)

Friday, March 4, 2016

Sometimes we patch up our wounds
and so the only place we can bleed
Is from our mouths with our words
But what we forget is that with the blood
Comes fragments of the razors we were cut with


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Muslim Women

Dear Muslim women:
can we love & accept each other without tearing each other apart? Is it possible to appreciate women for being hijabi fashionistas, or wearing hella thick eyeliner without judging the content of their character? Without questioning their devotion to modesty or God? When we make these underhanded remarks under the guise of reminders I wonder how much benefit comes from it. Sometimes "reminders" can be more harmful. I have always found that reminders that are rooted in shaming people have never been productive. There are millions of muslim women on this planet and to expect that they they will all interpret and act upon things in the same manner as you is a disservice to this faith. Understanding religion differently than someone else does not make you wrong, it does not weaken your faith, it does not take away your commitment to this community or God. So can we allow for women to express themselves while we hold them gently and cheer for them along the way? Is this possible?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

To my beloved Muslims

Hi Muslims,
Make sure you're properly hydrated and eating well. Try to make time to pray regularly. And make Dua for everyone. If you, by Gods grace, wake up tomorrow say alhamdulilah. If you're feeling a little scared walking outside recite ayat ul Kursi iA its a source of protection. The weather is supposed to be a little chilly in the next few days so dress warmly. If you can, call/msg/text those who you have wronged or have wronged you and try to mend relations - it will make you feel better. Take a few minutes tomorrow and completely unplug from social media and just sit by yourself, you might gain some new perspective.
Our prophet pbuh said that our community is like one body and if one part of the body is in pain, then the whole body is affected. So what I'm saying is that I care about your well being because it is intrinsically linked to my own. Please take care of yourself and each other.
Ok goodnight. Salaams