Branches of evil

 ظَهَرَ الْفَسَادُ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ بِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِي النَّاسِ لِيُذِيقَهُم بَعْضَ الَّذِي عَمِلُوا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds, etc.), that Allaah may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return (i.e. repent and reform). 
(Ar-Rum 30:41)

Why I’m not a feminist

I’ve been on the fence on this issue for a long, long time. Whenever I face an issue that I don’t have a stance on, I’m careful to not reject it or accept it outright without thorough consideration. I used to be a radical feminist as a teen, and I mean radical-man-hating-fist-thumping-angry feminist. And it didn’t help that my dad was one – in the real sense of the word. He’d always side with us girls and never our twin brothers because he believed that men have the upper hand in society de facto, so girls are in need of extra love and empowerment to make it out there. My dad, bless him, seems like a tough one on the outer, but on the inside, he’s all warm and fuzzy. I rarely see him as passionate as when he talks about the nature, animal cruelty, and kids. Anyway, when I reached my late teens, the anger that fuelled my radical feminism fizzled out and I become more mellow. Ever since, feminism has been on the back-burner, as I struggled with other issues in my life. And this morning I realized this: I don’t find the point of feminism as something I want to align myself with. I find that whenever one crucial issue in society is isolated and rallied for, it quickly turns into dogma and sectarianism. There are times where raising one’s voice,warring, and attacking is called for- but when this becomes the de facto state is when the original cause is lost. It becomes about people and power struggles. This is what I feel feminism , and other singular causes such as veganism,Green Peace, LGBT-issues, have turned into. They started out by addressing a rampant injustice, but then it attracted rebels without causes who were angry at anything and everything, and needed somewhere to channel their frustration. It’s the same thing with ISIS and their ilk.

There needs to be an overarching concept that transcends time and place. We have mental health stigma, poverty, corruption, climate change- the list is endless. We had other issues in yesteryear, and we’ll probably have more in two decades. Problems come with change and progress is dependant on how well we solve these issues. But to dwell on those issues hampers progress.

I think a nobler cause, for me personally, that I can relate to is to fight injustice in all its forms. Right now I’m concerned about the melting sea ice in the Arctic Circle that threatens polar bears who use the ice as a platform to hunt seals, and in the face of the disappearance of their habitat they are driven to the shores and land where they attack humans.

I’m concerned about this damning report on the silent plight of boys and men and the major social problems that it’s causing.

I’m concerned about how the West reacted to the Ebola crisis before and after it affected Westerners, and how trivial the thousands of Africans who were affected seem to us in the West as long as it does not involve us.

I’m concerned about Palestine and how the few on top get the last word because they got the deepest pockets.

I’m concerned about domestic abuse and the widespread misnomer about how easy it should be to leave.

I’m concerned about this war on drugs that is putting those most vulnerable at risk.

I’m concerned about these things. But they are transient. Because tomorrow there will be another issue, another crisis more acute than the aforementioned, and so I want to be adaptable and flexible. I don’t want to identify with a cause because that is extrinsic and whatever is extrinsic is finite and depletable. I want to tap into intrinsic motivation that comes from within me. 

I don’t want to embody something other than me. But I want to focus my being on things other than myself. Makes sense?

I refuse to accept this

Everywhere I turn, I see hatred. Layers upon layers of hatred is eroding humanity and we think it’s ‘them’ but in reality, hatred, all hatred, emanates from the same source within  one; fear and insecurity.

People project hatred on me because I’m a Muslim. Because I’m a woman. Because I’m a mental illness sufferer. Because I’m Somali. Because I’m Majeerteen . Because I’m a black, Muslim woman in Sweden where I supposedly do not belong.

Because. Do I need a reason to hate? Do we need a reason to hate? Hate is not triggered by someone else, it’s a visceral reaction to a deeply imbedded pain within oneself and we just assign targets and excuses to masquerade this.

I have to deal with tribalism in my Somali community. Tribalism reduced my country to a wasteland. It turned playgrounds into graves and people into empty shells where only pain resides. Tribalism was the assigned target for what happened, but in truth there was something deeper that brewed for decades leading up to the civil war. There are always a catalyst. And we often do not see the catalyst because it is within each and every one of us and that is too painful to deal with. So we project. I hear  the hawiye tribe is responsible for the demise of our country! They hate daarood! 

I hear; the isaaq tribe is responsible for dividing us because they separated themselves from us and declared autonomy.

I hear; the daarood tribe is the devil in disguise. They are arrogant and conniving pieces of garbage. Kill ’em !

I spent years trying to understand this. I was born in Sweden so I had to learn the history and culture on my own. I researched for years by making up my own hypothesis and asking countless people. I had to learn to dig deeper than the knee-jerk response of ‘ it was THEM’ .

And when I tell the older generation, my parents’ generation that tribalism isn’t the answer, I’m dismissed as being naïve and gullible. Something terrible happened, people’s families were slaughtered and their homes plundered. To make sense of it all, we pinned the killers as the raison d’etre for this madness, when in reality they were there due to the circumstances. But no, I’ll never understand it, they say. That’s true, I’ll never understand hatred because it’s not logical to begin with.

I witness xenophobia amongst Somalis. I hear how Somali girls shouldn’t marry ajnabi which basically means non-Somali, because they don’t have the same culture as us, and will run away with our children if we divorce, and we’ll never see them again. They’ll beat us and disrespect our parents. They are drunkards and stink. I’ve actually seen people speaking with those words. And believing it with such fervour. And when I ask them about Somali men who do the same, they reply; it’s different. At least you know how to approach that Somali man. He can’t run away with your kids because you can track him down.

And it makes perfect sense to them.

Everyday I hear about a suicide bomber in some Muslim country killing innocent civilians, targeting people whilst they are praying in the mosque. There was a time some years ago when people in Somalia were scared of going to the mosque or sending their kids to school because that’s where these lunatics targeted people.

In Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, SYRIA, Syria. Muslims are the #1 victims of these extremists, so if it’s because of Islaam then how do you explain that? You can’t because it’s not true.

All I hear amongst my elders and peers is condemnation of these acts. Every Muslim probably knows someone who fell victim to these acts of violence. Every one is hurting. I’m yet to hear about someone speaking favourably about these acts. In fact, whoever does it is abandoned and ostracized for supporting bloodshed.

On the other side, however, Muslims are vilified and accused of the same thing that they are victims of.

Everyone is looking for someone to place blame on.

Human lives are not equal. White, secular lives are much more precious than non-whites. It’s the sordid truth. We hear about Ebola killing thousands of West Africans and we don’t bat an eyelid. But when one of our own in the West comes down with it, we panic and cry it’s the end of the world even though we have excellent healthcare and the best doctors in the world.

We hear about the oppression of Palestinians and the ruthless Zionists who will stop at nothing and no one, and we don’t talk about it because Fox News doesn’t talk about it. Instead our focus is turned to celebrity gossip and the latest iPhone.

We hear about the disparity between the filthy rich  and the 99%, and we feel helpless and turn to Instagram to follow the rich and famous, fantasizing about acquiring such wealth one day.

We hear about police brutality and racism and sexism, and we accept it as the status quo. We feel it’s the guys on the top who should clean up this mess so we write scathing comments online blaming Obama or Cameron or whoever is in power at the time, and we go off our trolling asses after a long twitter feud and feel good that we did humanity some service. Now it’s none of our problems – it is theirs.

I think the day we accepted animal cruelty because their lives don’t matter as much, and destroying the planet to create more space for our egos, is the day that our voice of reason and humanity died.

We hear about all of this and we hate it but do we speak about it? It might seem trivial to voice your displeasure with the state of the world today because you think what is it going to change? Just go about your business and sigh every time something terrible happens.

I’m not writing this to change the world, or even one person. I’m writing this because if I keep silent in the face of all this chaos, something within me will die. And once that dies, once that humane, supportive side of me dies, then life won’t be worth living. I’m writing this because keeping silent is tacit approval and silence is a gesture. I don’t want to live in this kind of world, so I’ll resist it with all my might, if only to create a different reality for myself only.


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