BME

veerenda

You are exactly like all the others, whatever they say

If you were one of those people who insisted it is not Islamophobic to scrutinise Islam and Muslim people when you are neither of those things yourself then you personally contributed to the actions which led to a Sikh man being identified as a Muslim terrorist (by Gamergate trolls who exist only to torment vulnerable people cos ethics) and reported to the rest of the world before the information was even verified. This happened beacause the western world is largely ignorant of the rest of us and experiences it as a sort of quaint skewed little fairy tale which best fits their centuries old prejudices. The media were fooled because they are perhaps the most ignorant of the bunch and a brown face to them is always a terrorist. When a poc is probably responsible, as it is whenever there’s a disaster then due process becomes a privilege only afforded to white people. It’s consistent with the experience I have of the western world, where it doesn’t matter what you do to distinguish yourself from all the others, you’ll always be a paki, regardless of whether or not you are actually from Pakistan.

I’ve been asked where I’m from more times than whether I’ve had a good day, I know this much without doing the maths. Once upon a time I humoured it and asked people to guess and they did; Maltese, Greek, Arab, Iranian, Afghani, Latina, the list goes on and on. White people literally see colour before they see anything else and depending on your answer to this question draw conclusions before you need say anything further. I was always wary of saying Pakistani because I’d grown up feeling like the proverbial shit on one’s shoe for no apparent reason, it was just a feeling that was ever present. I used to say I was Kashmiri and this was partly true, my mum hails from there but I always had a sense it was preferable to identify as Indian, as all the Muslim Indians I knew liked to rub it in, for why, I had no idea, but it was there, this unspoken rule. I imagine now it was the residual tenets of divide rule and conquer which had passed down the generations, infecting us before we were even born. It’s apparent in the token few who deny our existence and experiences of the world so that white people can write us off as bullies and attention seekers, this idea that we must only object because we are jealous and not genuinely critical for the greater good. They will attach themselves to each other as allies and ambassadors for one another just to keep you out and struggling.

The ignorant world we find ourselves in is a direct consequence of white supremacists and their token allies. Every time a white person says to you you are not like all the others and you’re actually some kind of special snowflake, it is a lie. You are maybe a toy to the person who says that to you, someone they can wind up and watch make a fool of themselves but you are most definitely just like the others to all the white people you haven’t yet met, and probably most definitely the person who would say such a racist thing in the first place. If you’re a poc and you’re still struggling with observing and identifying divide rule and conquer, if Veerender Jubbal’s case has not made your blood run cold in horror, that the people in control of narratives can get it so very wrong, then you alone will be responsible for the ways in which you are abused.

A Sikh man (wearing a Sikh turban which is completely different to other brown people’s head coverings) can be thrust onto the world stage without his consent, without any viable reason for this attack on his identity (not that racist targeting is a viable reason even when the subject is Muslim), have a Quran photoshopped into his hands (replacing the ipad) and the media will probably get away with it, but we mustn’t let them. Remember that time little old me made a mistake that barely a few thousand people will have seen (though they will have most definitely witnessed my unprompted apology) yet the media acted as though I had killed someone with my false allegation of racism, the way they used it to whip me with because it was just such a terrible thing to accuse someone of being a racist shitheel. Well it’s actually worse to be a victim of racism, even more than being falsely accused in a system where actually, racism is inherent, it being a proud nation built on the looting and erasure of other people and cultures, and unrepentant in its ways.

The media is massively racist, whatever they might say. They just proved it.

reverseracism

I stand with Bahar Mustafa – Reverse racism isn’t real

I was considering jumping straight into this post but when I did so on Twitter white people got unnecessarily agitated so I shall explain first. Goldsmiths University bme students have been hounded by the white left and right of the mainstream media and beyond, for demanding safe spaces for ethnic minorities. Bahar Mustafa, a student officer has been accused of racism, with white people everywhere chucking their newly acquired race cards in for their two pennies. This post will attempt to demonstrate how ludicrous these accusations of reverse racism are. Racism isn’t about fighting back at people who have structural power and control over you or initiating spaces within which it is safe to speak about the systematic targeting of people of colour by the state or indeed institutions like universities, it’s those people in power using their wealth and position to deny non-white people freedom in all things.

If reverse racism was real and PoC had any influence this is the world we would live in.

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Edward Smith? What kind of name is that? It rhymes with dead bird shit! No seriously, look, it sounds exactly the same. Your parents obviously didn’t love you with a name like that.. Couldn’t they have given you something that sounded a bit more, well, Indian? Explains why you people don’t get very far, you’re not willing to muck in and work as hard as the rest of us. Why is that? You think you’re better than me? At least I don’t smell of bacon sarnies. At least my skin doesn’t look like I rubbed pigeon shite all over it. I don’t believe in some weirdo nailed to a cross, what kind of lost prophet allows himself to be crucified? What a weak God, must have been a paedophile. I suppose that’s the only way you people still exist, no standards y’see, just at it like rabbits, like a virus..

Hello there madam, please take your shoes off and open your bag, take off your coat, and your belt. Ahmed will search you now. What is the purpose of your visit? Why have you chosen to come to our country? You say you’re here visiting friends but why aren’t they here to pick you up from the airport? Are you lying? This name Churchill, who gave you this name? What is its significance? Oh, it’s just a name is it? Well I disagree. He put 3 million of our people to death, he was a tyrannical dictator. I think you’re hiding something. I think you want a cavity search.

Police have just arrived at the scene and are hoping to apprehend the assailant described as white with a thick west country accent following an incident in which dozens of young Asian girls were thought to have been drugged and plied with alcohol then raped whilst they lay passed out and vulnerable to other white predators. Every day we see a new case pop up, musicians, TV personalities we let into our country who repaid us by raping our daughters. When there is obviously such a huge cultural element to the exploitation of vulnerable children, is it any wonder we are in the crisis we are in today, when so many white people simply turn a blind eye and condone abuses like this? (Actually, this one is just too true)

So what do we have on our agenda today sisters? I know! Let’s demand better makeup artists on all Bollywood movie sets! It’s only right the likes of the Kapoors get only the best that capitalism has to offer. Erm, what? Why are you criticising me? Why do I care if white working class disabled people are gonna get all their benefits cut? They should have thought of that before they bothered rocking up to the Indian border with their bullshit asylum claims. Oh sure, the Irish are starving them, the Welsh have cut off their water supply, the Scots are bent on revenge.. why is any of this our problem? That’s the problem with white people, no solidarity. Only interested in themselves and now they dare try to oppress me.. I’ll show them. The gall of it all! A proper feminist doesn’t criticise other women or make it all about herself. She learns when to shut her mouth and stand quietly behind people who are smarter. Positive discrimination is for idiots who wouldn’t get through otherwise.

I see that you’re thinking up ever more elaborate excuses for not bothering to get out of bed. I don’t believe you’re depressed or in pain. I think you know exactly what an easy ride India is for scroungers like yourself and you’re playing the system. You say you’re not like all the others but you’re still leeching off the state which is paid for with MY taxes. I don’t want to bankroll you and your 13 kids. Typical whitey, with your stupid Marxist analysis. Bet he was a rapist too.

Honkies out! Honkies out! Burn all bibles! No more churches or cathedrals here! We have the right to protect ourselves and our country from this whitey invasion. You can tell the atheists to fuck off home too, just cos they don’t believe in God doesn’t mean they’re not fanatics.

Oh God, not another white terrorist incident. When they so clearly want a war, why don’t we give it to them? Oh innocent people will die will they? What about the Amritsar Massacre eh? #neverforget Let’s call it collateral damage and speak no more. I don’t care what the international community, UN or anyone else has to say about human rights violations. If we take away their human rights, there’s nothing to violate.

They said fucking WHAT? White people have the right to express their faith and beliefs through their way of life? But their way of life is savage and not for the civilised. Is that what we want? A planet overrun by crusading Neanderthals? I say we exterminate them before they sully the purity of our supreme race. Who’s gonna tell us we can’t? The good Indian citizens of our fair and just land? No course not, they’d have to be a race traitor to even consider it and worthy of the gas chambers for even thinking it.

The Christians right *slurs* They’ve got these Christianity balls that are made out of glass and they chuck them at your head really fast like, and smash into millions of tiny little swastikas that then sprout legs and crawl under your skin and baptise you from the inside out. Their Godot is a bastard, he’s not after peace but revenge.

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This is just a short example of a weird world none of us recognise. That’s because it doesn’t exist. If we reverse racism and behave as many white people do, we are perhaps no more than a hateful violent nuisance, as the white critics of Bahar Mustafa claim to be, but if we then also assign ourselves structural power and influence as journalists, academics, politicians who are white with the privileges of a national platform, well then the power imbalance is plain for all to see except hypocrites, liars and cheats. That’s racism; having the power and reach to claim you are being racially abused and people believe you, despite the everyday abuse actual marginalised people experience which you enable and nobody believes. Without power, racism is simply prejudice. In some cases prejudice is justified, for example if you’re a woman and you’re sick of men killing women or you’re non-white and tired of white supremacists killing non-whites.

When you are conditioned to fear something and you fight back, that’s not racism but radical and revolutionary.

reverse racism dictionary

reverse racism dictionary 2

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Mother, do you think they’ll drop the bomb?

“Your mother, your mother, your mother”. That was the premise of one of my favourite Islamic children’s books as a kid, referring to a hadith (kinda like the gospels) where the prophet responded to a follower that mothers take not only first place in our hearts but second and third also, with fathers coming in fourth. I may have been 8 years old but I believed in those words more than I appreciated at the time. I simply did not have a relationship or bond with my dad, I couldn’t understand the point of him to be honest but I clung to my mother and she favoured me out of the four of us, her right hand Sam, always eager to please and whip the rest of them into line.

I can’t remember exactly when we drifted apart, it was more a collection of events that drove a wedge between us until we were so estranged from our relationship as mother and daughter, we forgot how to speak to one another. I was determined to fit into the white western ideal of acceptable behaviour and presentation which at the time translated into wearing very little and getting wasted and of course this would actually frighten my very traditional mother from a village in a remote part of Kashmir, especially when daughters who go bad are often attributed to a mother’s loose morals, regardless of the actual circumstances – violent father, violent household, cultural and religious demons and attitudes, societal pressures and expectations of brown girls in a white world.

To preserve her own honour she had to reject my behaviour by turning her back on me. She was probably disgusted by me to some degree. I did fry up a load of pork sausages in her kitchen once, out of defiance which made her promptly throw up in the sink. I felt hella guilty as the severity of what I’d just done dawned on me but I had a point to prove that I was an individual with the right to self-expression, however much my mother’s stomach flipped at the thought I was destined for hellfire.

The cause of the rift between us was largely down to the society we found ourselves in. These days I see you coming, suss out your intentions within the first few sentences but as a young person, microagressions had a different effect on me. I bought into them and believed if I was more like my white peers I wouldn’t be targeted for the colour of my skin. I wore a cross, I did goth, changed into hipsters and crop tops on the bus into school or town, joined in with the paki this, paki that, keen to make the distinction between them and us but it meant denying my very being, the people who brought me into existence and the way we are perceived by the ‘natives’ of this island. They tolerate us as long as we toe the line.

In the process of rejecting all the labels required of me, and finding self-love I remembered what it felt like to feel close to the woman who had given birth to me, 2 months premature, having carried my twin and me carefully in her 5ft frame up until then, and how I could still love her after so many years apart. I reverted back to using my ‘mother tongue’ with anyone who could understand it. For years I struggled to communicate effectively in my first language, perhaps because I didn’t have the comfort of just speaking without being judged on my grammar. Like anything, you become rusty without practice and of course I was busy showing off my English language skills to demonstrate how much I really belonged here. It’s like riding a bike though, as I discovered when I sat down with my mum, for the first time in almost decade, neither of us expecting the other to apologise for abandoning one another, just two women with an understanding of the lives we’d been forced to lead; violence being a feature whether in the home or on the streets.

It was nice. She was older but less stressed and receptive to me, as me. I felt as if we’d glued together the gap in our relationship, and we could continue from this point forward without having to look back; an unspoken understanding that there was no agenda only life reminding us how painfully short it is. I was thrilled to feel at home and close to her once again. She seemed genuinely proud of every little thing I could do, without the usual expectations one has of an individual in a white western patriarchy. She doesn’t care about my lack of a job or mortgage or husband. I had surpassed her expectations by coming back to her and apologising for choosing this country over her.

When I was a kid I sneered I had no idea how I had come from her body and was composed entirely of her and my dad. I looked down upon them, thought them unintelligent and unrefined. Whilst I cannot say this has changed about my father, I take back the judgments I made about her. I judged her through the White Gaze™ and it doesn’t treat women like my mother very well. It considers them weak and unattractive, an easy target, and she was targeted, even when she had four under 5s in tow. I blamed my mother the victim for the abuse white people subjected her to. I am ashamed I put her through this.

My mother is a highly intelligent individual. She has a self-awareness that is missing in most people. She taught herself English by reading our textbooks over the years. I wasn’t even aware of her level of comprehension until one day she flipped at me for lying about my whereabouts, because she’d actually been reading an email I’d sent to my friend over my shoulder and I hadn’t bothered to cover it up assuming she didn’t have the first clue.

Never underestimate a woman of colour. We haven’t had an easy ride of it so we’ve gotten good at adapting to our surroundings. I know where I got these skills from now and it was a joy to talk politics with her over a cup of tea. I wondered what she could have been if she wasn’t a housewife and mum of four at the age of 21. What could she have achieved if she hadn’t been abused by my father and abandoned by her own family who lived thousands of miles away? They thought they had done their best by her, 1 of 8 daughters, by marrying her off and to a young man living in England too. They hadn’t anticipated the power and control that would govern her life.

This Mother’s Day, the first for me in almost a decade is a special one. I’ve bought her some comfortable shoes, biscuits for diabetics and a posh card to make up for all the ones I never sent. I’m excited about it, and looking forward to wishing her a happy one. For a while it was a day of triggers and self-hate, because under the defiance and stubbornness of underlining my grievances I actually felt unworthy of her love. I felt abandoned. I had burnt that bridge by rejecting who she was for some fake promise of acceptance if I assimilated with the white people of this land.

I was wrong and I am sorry. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom (I’m a Brummie by birth, alright?) x

feminisms

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day

Every year I think about what I’m going to do for my international women’s day post and each time I spend far longer than is necessary thinking of a suitable introduction. Wishing you a happy one never seems right, it doesn’t feel like a day for celebration rather one where we honour those who’ve died at the hands of the patriarchy by never forgetting their names and the authorities that failed them, and the struggle that continues for many more women just like them; the ones who suffer in their homes (never mind the sexual harassment in the work place, educational institutions and streets).

Over 2 years ago I wrote a piece where I pleaded with white feminists to acknowledge the rape culture on our own doorstep and whilst it received positive attention initially, certain white women became overly focused on the word ‘white’ than the double standards I was intending to highlight. That was the last time Caroline Criado Perez said anything nice to me before she proceeded to explain away my concerns as though I was just being sensitive to an otherwise sound ally who wasn’t just fishing for cookies.

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It was when I had my first run in with Helen Lewis too, she’d read my blog and agreed I’d made some good points but she’d already commissioned an Indian woman to talk about the rape problem India has as a nation. They failed to see how they were being racist by contributing to the narrative of eastern savages whilst erasing the truly brutal incidences of gang rape in the UK. They refused to acknowledge me as a woman with a foot in both worlds, belonging in neither, brimming with criticisms of patriarchy whatever the colour of his skin. Perhaps this is why Lewis chose to stamp me out before I could do any real damage to her superiority.

If my experiences of physical and sexual violence were inadequate (how, I don’t quite understand, am I not a fucking woman?) then surely my experience as a women’s worker assisting victims of male violence would be all the qualifications I’d need?

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No, even when you have the expertise of a career, training in awareness and advocacy and almost a decade’s worth of professional experience you can be dismissed and discredited as someone with a chip on their shoulder because you dared challenge the status quo. I challenged white supremacy and the same women (and men) castigating us for speaking up about abusive women (cos cisterhood) then made a very public example of me and the violence they enabled hasn’t relented since. You all know this story.

At any time any one of these white media ‘feminists’ could have advocated for me. But y’see they responded that it wasn’t about me cos I’m not a woman? People like Laura Bates freely admitted to not even knowing what feminism was before they were discovered online yet her feminism is more valid than mine; a queer disabled femme presenting woman of colour with working class roots and historical abusers intermittently threatening my personal space and sanity. Laurie Penny lends her support with the caveat that Helen Lewis is an inspiration (she uses the same words every time) for all similarly minded ignorant arrogant white feminists and we should stop bullying her cos her fragile mental health never once hearing the agony we express at their treatment of us. The ways in which these women have personally silenced me, having once been ‘comrades’ on the same side, triggers the same PTSD response in me that I feel whenever I run into an old abuser. My blood turns cold and I get a stabbing pain in my chest. The room sways. I feel the tears prick my eyes and the sinking sensation in my gut that the privileged will never face the consequences of their cruelty and hypocrisy. The fact that I know, and they know but no one else seems to care or notice.. It’s the same physiological reaction in me.

Tell me, what space should I occupy? At one time I was an operational asset, recruited to represent the ethnic division of the ill fated Feminist Party but picking that apart was the beginning of the end when I realised I could no longer ignore the injustice for my own place at the table. Pariah I may be, but I live each day with integrity, truth and humility. I have been accused of believing my own hype (cos I let men abuse me so that I could build a career on it later) and also of not being very intelligent or worthy but also super smart and privileged when they pretend they don’t believe your story (we exemplify rape culture in this country).

So it is with this in mind that I want to emancipate myself from a movement within which I have no voice. It’s not for my lack of trying, look, I told you 3 years ago the movement was fractured and we’d lose it if we weren’t honest with ourselves. I’ve had enough of feeling my heart break whenever a feminist I looked up to comes out as a transphobe or a polarising token. I cannot say there are more good feminists than there are bad. I cannot in good faith ally myself with a corrupt, vindictive subset of women wearing their £45 ‘this is what a feminist looks like’ t-shirt on behalf of us all, for all those who cannot access the internet and seek their own truth. I realise now that many of the reactions I’ve had for identifying as a feminist comes from the image the world has of feminism; white women behaving like entitled white men to the detriment of us lesser beings.

Happy International Emancipated Womanist Day from me, an ex-feminist who finally gets she can never be a feminist, not like they want me to be.

(I dedicate this post to all the Muslim women suffering at the hands of white men and feminists claiming race is not a feminist issue)

Not All Muslims

Holocaust is so last century 

holocaust-childrenCAMP

“Could you all form a queue? Women and children first. No, you won’t be needing that, not where you’re going..” This is how it goes down doesn’t it? That’s what I remember from the films rated PG, obviously the grown up ones were a little less polite and more blatantly murderous.

I was 12 or thereabouts when I first learned of the Holocaust. I remember thinking “oh my God, they mean people like me” and banishing the thoughts from my head because it was too painful. It’s fine to visit places glorifying the war dead such as the Imperial War Museum when you’re a child growing up in your coloniser’s world and you’ve been brainwashed into thinking you need protection from the state (instead of constantly fending off attacks from the state) but to think of those people, young Anne Frank for example, as people who were helpless against their attackers in the same way you’d probably be.. It was easier to distance the self from those horrific events so far in the past they could never hurt us again. I had the same sharp attack of existentialism when I found I was a carrier for a genetic disease. Playing Holocaust Bingo has been a lifelong habit of mine but I had hoped we were past such barbarism.

#KillAllMuslims is trending worldwide. I’m sure that has a lot with America coming online but still. When I reported swathes of racist abuse to the police they cautioned me with legal action over my use of the political phrase ‘kill all men’. I could be committing a crime you see, with my intentions against 4 billion men. How are they supposed to know I’m only joking, or being sarcastic to highlight an important message or venting my frustration? I’m actually professing my feelings on the gendercide of 4 billion men right? Well, I might have had the potential to do that if there was already worldwide backing in my terrorist hate campaign against the menz but there wasn’t. Perhaps if I had a militia movement with its own uniform and everything I could understand their genuine concerns but no. I had none of the support there is for a Holocaust of Muslims which has been growing steadily for decades and it’s not that we haven’t tried to warn you; it’s that people just don’t care. Will the police be cautioning the thousands tweeting those words for terrorism? Course not.

It’s difficult to refrain from drawing comparisons to a violent past when the present mimics it so vividly. Most people won’t see it, because they’re too busy paying back over inflated mortgages and struggling to heat and eat so their empty stomachs will trump your right to life. If you look back at this time a century ago though, you’ll notice the worrying number of similarities. Perhaps you think we’re too evolved to go back to a time of such cruelty and lessons have been learnt, you can be a bigot without calls for gas chambers but I disagree. Human beings are just not that sophisticated or special. There are but a handful of stories with finite conclusions. We may live in a country that is traditionally a seat of power and therefore too precious to join in on a global war (Gorbachev called it) but I don’t think that’s true. We start wars, we don’t stand back and let the others have all the fun/claim glory and many of us have been battling this for a few years now whilst the majority of the mainly white middle classes have attacked us for pulling out race cards and serving self-interests.

Will I be able to look at my nephews faces now without being reminded of Sophie’s Choice? Shall I start writing a diary now so that future generations will know we objected at every opportunity? Which of my family members will I lose? Where can I access all of my money if I needed to? Cash machines only let you withdraw so much in a day. How many friends can I count on? Who’d be the best in a violent situation? How can I protect all my loved ones with this borked back? What if I had to run? Will the piece of paper calling me a threat to myself and others (for the purpose of sickness benefits) now serve as my own death warrant? Have I made myself an obvious target by calling you all out the last couple of years? Will there still be people calling me a lunatic for catastrophising actual violence against non-white people, that is fast coming to its natural conclusion? Where can I learn Krav Maga?  Who can I trust? If I wear a bikini all day every day, will that prove my non muslimness?

Am I going to die a horrible death? If it comes to that, is it better to go by one’s own hand?

If you know a Muslim, reach out your hands to them, today, tomorrow and every day from now on. They need you to make that connection. They need to know they are relatively safe in a sea of white faces. Be brave and challenge your own and remember not all of us who look Muslim are Muslim yet we are in danger of the same dehumanisation. Sikhs, Hindus, South Americans etc, we are all under attack. Don’t let the white supremacists divide conquer and rule. Let there be only racism and not racism. I hope we can avoid the millions who’ll die for the powerful few laughing at us all right now.

idonotexist

A person like me

What is the point of social media for someone like me? When I say ‘me’ what exactly do I mean? I’m not under any illusions about my existence; I don’t see myself leading you all to revolution or winning a Nobel peace prize or anything. I haven’t the knack for self-promotion for a start. In order to do this I’d need an internal editor capable of presenting an image that fits easily in a white patriarchy; the kind that asks questions but lets you come to your own conclusions, no doubt confirming your own biases, whatever the message. No, there isn’t a place for someone like me, not when I spell it out for you that people like me are suffering, if not fighting for their lives.

I may have been heard if I hadn’t turned the spotlight around on the people mendaciously constructing a world that doesn’t reflect the reality many thousands of ethnic minorities (and ‘others’) experience on this rainy fascism island. My primary malfunction was assuming that the world was ready to hear how the individual contributes to the unjust and unequal system we find ourselves trapped in. The beginning of the end for me was initiated by another woman. A feminist no less, one of the ‘race is not a feminist issue’ brigade, as I discovered when they felt buoyed enough by the support of other white people to say whatever they liked, without consequence.

The world of social media is a microcosm of the world I cannot be a part of irl. The same white gatekeepers exist in positions of power that mark someone like me out as a troublemaker, a loose cannon. Instead of saying this though, noting that we’re all human and fallible, apologising for our prejudices and making promises to do better, it has been standard practice to obliterate the dissenting voice instead, by subjecting the speaker to all of the things they have been protesting against.

I am a survivor of male perpetrated violence and sexual abuse. I was subjected to this violence whilst I was still curled up with my twin in our mother’s womb. I am a survivor of immigration and now realise that a lot of the violence I and the other women in my family were subjected to was exacerbated by the ways in which the men of my family were treated by the British Empire. I am learning about my heritage and I can finally understand the ghosts that haunted my grandfather, a child who witnessed partition and then never spoke of it again. He was in the army, we knew that much. He had his name crudely tattooed on his arm in biro ink, in case they needed to identify his corpse I presume. On leaving the army he came to settle in Birmingham and worked extremely hard for 5 years before he could bring over his wife and 3 small children, my father being the middle one. When he eventually did call for them, they were almost lost forever when the plane they had been ordered to leave – to make space for VIPs who were given priority – crashed over France killing all those on board. My family is a miracle. They survived the empire and they made it to this country in one piece.

However, the struggle for basic survival didn’t end with them, whatever the white knights of Twitter seem to think. It’s a bit rich for these white saviours to mock us with stories of how our dark men are mutilating our vaginas and killing us for talking to boys and how much worse off we’d be if we’d been born in any of the brown countries. The fact that my female cousins had a private education in Pakistan with one of them awarded a scholarship for a doctorate in engineering isn’t something I’ve ever felt the need to share to silence the hecklers, as if they would listen or believe me anyway. I don’t need to be reminded of patriarchal violence and control; my great grandmother was beaten to death by her man. It wasn’t the Asian or Muslim in him that made him do this or ensured she was victim to it. It was power and control. Patriarchal power and control; the kind that rears its ugly head when your country is under attack and ‘your women’ are being raped, being as they are merely vessels for the patrilineage. The kind that prompts my apparently relaxed Sufi like ancestors to suddenly turn inwards and toughen their cultural praxis so that others cannot accuse them of allowing the British to bastardise their values. Of course that’s going to be amplified when they arrive in said coloniser’s country. I see the anger and disapproval they pelted me with as I was growing up as a reaction to colonial power and control and their abuse of my person as a manifestation of their own post-traumatic stress disorders and Stockholm syndrome. My grandparents were promised a home away from home but when they arrived here they were faced with severe violence and abuse yet their reaction to it was to accept their dehumanised status and suffer the blows. That pent up rage and hurt had to make its exit somewhere and it was people like me who bore the brunt of it. I forgive them though, because I know it wasn’t their fault. It was yours ‘Great Britain’.

I shunned my brown Muslim family the first chance I got, running away from home aged 15, cutting my dark waist length hair into a bob, eating all the pork products I could ram into my mouth (denouncing the Muslim God as I masticated), just out of spite. I thought the drunker I got, the more they’d accept I was one of them. I had to find a white boyfriend cos that would give me the protection I needed from both racist whites and vengeful brownies. I was annoyed at my gran for not telling us a distant cousin had married a white man (who’d converted to Islam for her) and that she’d instructed the other women to keep it a secret too. She was afraid we were ripe for the poaching y’see. She was right. Maybe if I married a white man I could have a properly white sounding name too. I was already called Sam and had dropped my uber Arabic surname because of the lack of opportunities it had lumped me with. A mere 6 hrs after I’d begrudgingly westernised my name, I was given my first interview in 3 months. That’s how racist Britain was in 2005, regardless of what we were told.

I’m not proud of the ways I have ducked and dived the judgements racism has thrown my way. I am not ashamed of it either. I am able to reason that survival is cruel and I did whatever was necessary. White people make it impossible for you to exist in a way that honours your cultural background then mock you for leaving it behind. This is the exact reason why I give up, why I’m done trying to get people to think. The issue here is not one of co-existing in a tolerant society and resistance to this liberal way of life but the shifting of goalposts so that it never matters that we do our best or bow our heads, it’s just not good enough. White Britons want us to jump through hoops like the good little Asians do, they want us to change our beliefs/personalities depending on who is calling it at the time, even if it is some beer bloated ignorant pig of a chav (I’m working class, what of it?) who thinks they’re better than you cos their ruling classes stole from yours. On this matter of working class whites, I am done with trying to understand a section of society so downtrodden and put upon by the illuminated ones “It’s not their fault they’re poor and stupid, their racism isn’t really racism, they’re just ignorant”. Stop right there and hear me on this; I left school at 16, I don’t have a formal education or trust fund and I am not a racist either. When I look at white people I don’t see degrees of racism based on their level of education/class. I see people who recognise my humanity and those who want me silenced/dead because they believe I am not human enough. Call me a paki and I’ll call you white trash.

So y’see, I know why my peers and even those with a much smaller vocabulary than me are being published in the papers, their voices resonating with all who look like them. They are the ones who know how to play the system because it has been set up to benefit them. I know how this game goes but I’m not a very good liar and it’s never been about a high flying meeja career. I want to say what I need to say and for it to be heard and believed as my lived experiences. However if anyone actually did that then they would have to admit how they benefit from the status quo and nobody wants to relinquish their privilege or share it with someone as outspoken as me (they think I think like them and want the things they want and this scares them).

I am a British Asian woman who tried to be all that was required of me but soon realised that meant I had to be dishonest and dissociate for the privilege of success in a white capitalist patriarchy. I have grown to hate this country I so loved once upon a time. I don’t want to bomb it or teach anyone a lesson, terror is terror, whoever experiences it, even the knuckleheads but I will smash anyone upside the head if they ‘do a racism’ in my presence. I am shackled and gagged on social media, I am prevented from defending myself, I do not deserve solidarity and so I give up, take it, keep it for yourselves. We’ve come too far to backtrack the racism of the past year and now I fear we’re hurtling towards the inevitable. Sticking around without the backing I need from white ‘allies’ is waving myself like a red flag to a bunch of fascist bull shits.

It’s safer to behave as though you do not exist.

IC a Muslim

As an ethnic, a large percentage of my time is spent thinking about ethnics and how they fare in the world at any given time. It’s my life so I like to take stock of my opportunities and limitations and am always aware of how the way in which we are viewed affects the ‘sliding door’ points of my journey. I like to check my privilege, or how little of it I have. I do this often.

After 9/11, my world was irrevocably changed. The white women I had previously consumed Lambrini and cake with (I made my best efforts to fit in) were now sat on the other side of a clear divide, and I’m not talking about the partition between us in the call centre. Those of us buying western propaganda and believing brown Muslims were to blame for everything and the rest of us; Muslims, brown people, people that look like Muslims and those with an easy tan. There were some who bitterly chided that the West was a fool to think there would never be repercussions, that the raping and looting of the rest of the world had inevitably come back to bite them in the ass but the majority of voices asked for calm, embarrassed that the actions of a few would have such devastating consequences for billions of people. This did not mean a thing to the white faces poring down on us, suddenly we were liars and not to be trusted. I will never forget the way I was instantly placed into the group that we must not believe. I didn’t practise Islam. I wore the clothes of my peers. But I was that beige-y brown people can’t quite place, the unnerving ‘other’; IC4 but I’m not sure what I’m seeing.

In the weeks that followed, I’d catch my breath every time I’d hear about a woman having her veil torn from her head. A group of men were aboard the first plane that turned the world on its axis. MEN. But there were many women who suffered because of it. Sikhs too, on account of wearing a turban that symbolises the East to many who do not have the education to distinguish between cultures never mind race (and this, their own construction). What could the non-white people of the world do except accept their fate and apologise for people they have no allegiances with? For my part, the first time I was confronted with the Al Qaeda/Taliban/Osama Bin Laden theory, I was shunned for asking for patience. On this occasion ‘due process’ ceased to exist. I was either in agreement that brown terrorists made this happen or on the side of the terrorists themselves. I lost ‘friendships’ and was devastated by this at the time. Of course, now I see them for the racist imperialist fucks they are and take comfort in the hard life lessons learnt; I was not born equal but I would make it my life’s mission to tell everybody about it. They can tout me as deluded or contrarian but every so often the world reveals its oppression of me and those like me. Or non-whites if we’re going to be honest.

Jean Charles de Menezes was one of them. If we had any hopes of restitution post 9/11 (not from guilt but from between a rock and a hard place) the events of 7/7 dashed any chance of rebuilding the fearful paranoid Britain we found ourselves in. Menezes was not Muslim or South Asian, or an Arab. He just shared a similar tone of skin. What about his appearance made him look Muslim? Whatever it was, he paid with his life. We can’t bring him back. An apology from the establishment doesn’t cut it, he is gone forever. But his legacy lives on; every time non-whites are scrutinised in this way, feared and monstered beyond all recognition. Yesterday, a self-identifying ‘high Tory’ held me up as an example of a Muslim preoccupied with her own safety, failing to take into account the young fallen soldier. This, as an example of home-grown terrorism, how people like me exist to serve only their own kind. Firstly, I am NOT a Muslim. As someone who was dragged up under a totalitarian extremist regime, I should by rights have the privilege of reviewing the particular sect I grew up under. It would be perfectly reasonable for someone like me to express a negative opinion on a subject I know far more about. But I don’t.  I understand the world for the vast space it is and I’m damned if I feed the trolls. Secondly, I exist for myself but also for the people around me. I cannot understand the individual expects to flourish and succeed unless everyone else is also comfortable. That is selfish, that is greed. It describes Imperialism perfectly and people tend to view the world as thinking and behaving in the same way they do. They are wrong. When you have less privilege, you are grateful for the bits you can enjoy and in my experience; people with less tend to share more. The less privileged you are, the greater the chance you will become political. Or cynical.

In recent weeks we have been subjected to one horrific revelation after another; Britain’s darlings are wanted in connection with the systematic sexual abuse and mistreatment of minors. A pattern was emerging; white, middle to upper class, members of the establishment and big names in the entertainment industry. We were oh so close to identifying a trend that, for the first time would hold white men of power to account. That just suddenly changed didn’t it?

Black men hacked a young white man to death in broad daylight. They killed him and then calmly put it to the camera that they were fighting back. The other white people at the scene seemed to hang about without the perceived threat they were ‘under attack’. The killers calmly spoke to a white woman, she had enough detail to give a full page interview.

White people, if you seriously were under attack, would there not have been a massacre instead of what is clearly a targeted attack against one individual?

British government and media, why is this being presented as an unprecedented attack on a serving British soldier on British soil?

Four soldiers were killed at The King’s Arms, also in Woolwich, at the barracks not far from where the soldier lost his life yesterday. It was November 1974. The bombings were part of a year long mainland campaign by the IRA’s Active Service Unity.

How can we allow them to lie to us like this?

I am standing at the intersection and blinking slowly whilst this all sinks in. I haven’t the time to sign a petition for women to feature on banknotes. I am hyper vigilant and unable to sleep because my fellow human is under attack. I am under attack. I checked out the RadFems hoping for righteous condemnation of the way in which society is manipulating the kyriarchy as we speak but nada.

I did not ask to be born. I did not ask for this colour of skin. I didn’t even ask to be British if you think about it. When I am angry, when I ask why you don’t understand, it is from this position of loneliness and frustration. I want equality for women, this is patently true. But I also want equality for the non-whites, the others, the ones who have to deal with the shit that has nothing to do with us.

Without it, there is no ‘equality’.

The British Government and Media: Recognise that non white Brits are currently being terrorised

https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/the-british-government-and-media-recognise-that-non-white-brits-are-currently-being-terrorised?share_id=oZoQlwdEze&utm_campaign=twitter_link_action_box&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=share_petition …