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The Ascension

24 Jun

And when the sorrows of this world pulled me into the ground, it was Your love that gave me the power and the will to ascend. It was my belief in You that made me strong; strong enough to spin a tornado under my feet, to lift me over the skies and into Your warm embrace.

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Don’t Judge. Thank God.

6 Jul

You will never understand people unless you walk in their shoes. Or keep an open, observant mind when you click your heels next to theirs. We can only see a blurred full picture from a distance. But if we have not lived a life alongside theirs, we can just not hold any kind of judgement of them. We cannot be at the violet and judge that at the red of a rainbow.

We can only thank God for limiting our exposure, our experience of life and keeping us safe and our innocence intact. We can thank God for raising us where we never had to understand what pressure really looks like. We can thank God we met people who walked up a path similar to ours, so we did not have to try to empathize with who we call “rotten”, even if we had no will to sympathize with the being. We have to thank God we were not chosen to set an example or be a lesson to be learned from. We can thank him for giving us no struggles that even remotely were inflicted by society. We can thank God we had the ability to stay silent and dissolve into oppression and believe it to be a natural state of our occurence. We must thank God for giving us a life easier than majority.

A Speech

2 Jul

And the oppressed said to the privileged:

What do you know of struggle
What do you know of hanging on to life by a thread

I would sympathize with you wanting to run away
But you were not witness to your father being gunned down on the street
I would sympathize with your self-hate
But you didn’t watch your child beheaded in front of your eyes
I would sympathize with your body image issues
But you did not see your mothers and sisters brutally raped
I would sympathize with the razor cuts on your skin
But you did not have your body beaten up with stones and sticks

Oh you – born with a mouthful of silver coins –
You created your own torture cell
You inflicted pain upon yourself
Your struggles have been self-centered
You add to your own misery
What sympathy do you yearn for
When you can care not for the truly powerless and the truly weak

Sadly, You Cannot Revolutionalize Education

15 May

I did it this week. I went to the academic director and I told him every single thing that had been going on, in respect to the way management was treating the staff and about the discrimination and humilitaion they were being bullied with. I spoke to him giving my professional opinion about leadership and management and that the people he hired to be our supervisor cannot do crap without personal prejudices being how they proceed with decision-making.

And the school principal saw me in his office, and from that point on, they have done whatever they could find possible to get me to leave myself. Since they cannot fire me without the director’s approval and he isn’t going to let that happen. And there has been a silent war since then between the supervisors and myself. And today, I burst with slamming the door at one of their faces while they were in the middle of telling me to not use the word “shit” with them in speech.

It is so pathetic. I feel like just the younger teachers were actually trying to get students to learn to challenge their intellectual boundaries so they can challenge the culture’s expectations out of them. And all supervisors did the whole time was limit us in that. They did not want us to teach students anything they don’t want to learn and we cannot make exam questions where they have to use anything beyond memorization.

So, I had reached my high point. I went to one of the grades, told the students to highlight whatever they want to study, turn it into me within the hour, and I will make their exam straight out of it. Well, basically I yelled and snapped that at them, and they just kept staring at me, but obediently enough brought me what they wanted and didn’t want. And I made a 2 page exam for 50 points for them.

Because, that is what the supervisor asked of me. That is not what the supervisors asked of teachers in the boys’ section of our school. It is what is asked of teachers in the girls’ section of our school. High school students need word-to-word notes that need to be written on whiteboard, they need worksheets and worksheets that have to be solved on the board for them, and then they also need those worksheets summarized into a review worksheet for the exam. So the students never have to open the textbooks they spent thousands on.

I tried. Some of the others tried. But the supervisor tells me the three chapters I had given them for the final exam was too much for them, parents are threatening to go to the head office with the worksheets and they fear they will take their children to another school and we don’t want to lose them.

Yeah. I just stared at her face. And was like, “fine, I’ll go delete shit from the exam!” And then I got the “Mind your language when talking to me…” lecture which I walked away from slamming the door behind me at her face. And some of my students were right there, watching.

Unprofessional organizations are going to get a piece of their own unprofessionalism thrown right back in their face.

You are not allowed to do your job as a teacher here. You have to teach a 10th grade student like she is in the 6th grade. You cannot push them, encourage them, civilize them, make them use their brain, improve their thinking, motivate them to want to go to college rather than just get married and make babies when they graduate high school. You cannot revolutionize because, disgustingly enough, the women who run schools here do not bother trying to improve the living situation of the younger women. What these girls learned nothing in their 14 years of education, they learned in the 4 months the new, younger teachers taught them.

This is how poor standard of education persists. And it will only end when women stop living under a rock and succumbing to the expectations set for them. I tried. And I quit now. 2 more weeks of hell but thank God it is just examinations and corrections and then I am never going to look back again.

Why Was I Born In A Family That Is Even Remotely Brown

28 Jul

Do mothers realize just how scary it is when they tell their daughters that love isn’t necessary for marriage? That they will have to spend the rest of their lives with a man who they only half understand, let alone love? That they will have to dedicate their lives to producing children and taking care of them? To get busy at work and concentrate on that to fill the gap of a loveless marriage? To tell their daughters they might eventually begin to love their husbands, or vice versa? What kind of consolation is that anyway? Is that the best they think their daughter deserves? To eventually be loved? Sorry mama, I am not settling without love, even though it is one of the toughest things for me to come in terms with. I am not even going to think about marriage to a man I do not love before or at the time of marriage. The love I have for myself is enough to fill that void till then.

The Real Deal With Islam and Women

23 Jul

First off, I am extremely proud and supportive of Nada Al-Ahdal, the 11 year old Yemeni girl, who escaped child marriage. It was brave of her to come forward and speak out about what is happening and the consequences the child brides suffer.

HOWEVERRRR…

When people proud of her too decide to blame religion for this – when clearly this is a cultural issue – that is where I lose my temper. It is when they go all the way back to insult the Prophet (S.A.W.) is when I do not know what staying calm is.

Let me lay down some facts for you where you will see child marriage is not an Islamic tradition, but a third-world tradition.

India – a predominantly Hindu country – holds child marriages with brides and even grooms as young as 3 yrs old. When a woman tried to stop this, she was stabbed several times as a warning to stay away. By Hindus, again.

Child marriage still takes place in China and other Asian countries – I believe none of them also are not Muslim countries?

Accurate sources will tell you the age of Aisha at the time of her marriage to the Prophet was 14 or so. Aren’t 14 year old girls in pre-dominantly Christain countries already having sex? Some happily getting pregnant as well?

You want to talk about Islam being unfair to women? Really now? Islam isn’t the one redefining rape, it isn’t the one shutting down abortion clinics, it isn’t the one sterilizing women of “minority”, it isn’t the one placing glass ceilings at the workplace.

What Islam did when it first came around was stop the pagans from burying their newborn daughters alive. It laid down that heaven lies at the feet of mother and the greatest Jihad – or holy war as the West likes to call it – is for a man to love and look after his aging mother. It told men to control their urges, not point fingers at a woman and call her indecent. It gave women more justice for being raped – such that she could inherit half his property, or request the execution of her rapist too. It did not dissolve into patriarchy but actually told men to equally take part in raising children and doing chores. Islam allowed wives to take whatever money they want from their husbands and they do not need to ask their permission, and same time also gave them complete rights over her income that her husband cannot touch without her permission.

So that is Islam. You want to talk about Malala who claims to be shot because she wanted to go to school? Well, if you went to Pakistan yourself, you will see Taliban isn’t stopping them from education – it actually believes in education. Islam urges all Muslims to seek education from the cradle to the grave – both men and women.

I agree, there is injustice in some Muslim communities. But those are cultural – not religious. Those are stemmed from patriarchal beliefs – as if the Taliban mentality does not exist among the conservative American parties.

Seriously, enough with racism. Enough with misogny. Enough with anti-semitism. Enough with islamophobia. Grow some tolerance and stop being so damn ignorant.

Spread Awareness, Get Attention

30 May

I don’t just get asked out on social networks, I also get marriage proposals.

And 100% of the time, they follow after I have expressed my opinions and standings about a particular issue ever so relentlessly. Be it concerning women’s rights, or my religion, or human rights, or war.

When I reposted a picture of the damn Gangnam style happening at UN while people are dying everywhere, an internet friend showed curiosity in me and said his mother always told him to find a girl like me.

When I said something about feminism, I was actually pleasantly surprised to find support from men, but that lead to comments like pretty little girl with a big mind is kind of really sexy.

When I quoted Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali to educate about my religion, I got told by guys they like my brain and that we should just get married.

And so on.

I am doing what I am care about, I am doing what I find meaning in doing – learning and repeating the truth. Playing my little part the best way I am able to do now. I am not doing it for the kind of interest men end up showing. I will accept respect, appreciation, admiration, approval, even debates if need be.

However, refrain from hitting on me, and sexualizing me. Women are not asking for it when they set out to do what they wanted to. Sure, we want to be recognized and accepted by a suitor for being more than just a face and a body. But there is a decent manner to ask someone out if you admire them for who they are. Objectification and flirty comments is not one of them. Stop making women feel like it is extraordinary they are speaking up for human rights – it is every human’s job to do that, not a man’s or a woman’s.

Show more skin, show less brain – be objectified.

Show less skin, use more brain – be objectified.

There is no escape. It is true when someone said it is being done and isn’t just happening. No matter what women do, there is always harassment around the corner – and when we retaliate, we are labelled crazy.

Way to go, world. Way to go.

Good-To-Bad-To-Good Cycles

29 May

The way the world work depresses me. I see hundred bad things happening, and there is only one tiny glimpse of hope. It is like, the good in this world only exists to counter-strike the bad. And there is not enough good. Because when good people remain silent, they let the bad happen, they let the bad increase. And they leave the few good people trying to make a better change alone and helpless.

I was pleased to see female cashiers at stores and at malls. They had started out as helpers, answering questions, monitoring floor sales and any thefts, and now they are able to be cashiers. Sure, women were working – but not in retail. In offices and stuff. Now, they are widespread in retail, and it is a very progressive step, and they do it all the while with her hair and faces covered – but hey, they are making their own money. I am so proud of them.

But apparently, some people are not. Today, a popular Saudi writer urged men to start harassing and groping and molesting these female cashiers so they can quit and stay home and protect their chastity.

Yes, it is now making top headlines all around the Middle East. I am glad to see several people “protesting” on social media – because anything else can get them imprisoned – to have this dumb, ignorant man castrated. For him to even say such a thing is against all humanity.

Protect their chastity MY ASS!! You are in favor of something that nothing other than patriarchy and chauvinism can explain – sexual abuse. This has nothing to do with imperialism by the way. I do not know what level of Islam this man knows about.

Last year, a Saudi cleric raped and beat to death his own 5yr old daughter. He was imprisoned – and fined. Such crime in normally punishable by death – he got out on a $50,000 bail.

Effing patriarchy, man. It will ruin this country. Men’s insecurity will cost us women our dignity, our lives. Who in their right mind straight up promotes harassment?! I know television subtly does it, but come on – direct speeech!?

Blegh! So mad. So, so, so mad!

In The Words of Brown Women

15 May

“She’s so white – of course, she’s so pretty!”

” She’s kind of really dark, but she is really pretty!”

The “but” makes the difference. The “but” ruins the compliment. The “but” is what makes you question about the honesty in the speaker’s words.

Brown women sometimes do not even realize the things they say.

A Message From A Muslim Feminist

6 Apr

Femen. The word has become a nightmare in a matter of a couple of days. A nightmare for not just Muslims, Muslim women, but for several feminists around the world.

One of the first words I use to describe myself is none other than a feminist. I don’t have much means as of now, other than writing, to show my support for women’s rights. But I pray that in a few years, I’ll have money to put towards NGOs and organize campaigns in support for the cause.

Oppression… What does it mean these days? There seems to be a new definition for it, when it comes to the Muslim world – modestly dressed. Any woman covering her hair or face is oppressed and doing so against her freewill, because men have told her to do so, because man has created a religion with laws that make her fear the consequences of disobeying her family.

It’s a continuous battle. Fighting for what you believe in, fighting for the right to believe in what you want. The need to defend yourself against the attacks of the world, at the same time trying to not feel hurt, trying to not get angry.

See, I’m not just a feminist. I am also a Muslim. And, both go hand in hand, both cannot be separated from the other. Both together fit to make me the person I am. And, why do they go hand in hand? Islamophobes say religion only suppresses women. So, how is a Muslim feminist not an oxymoron?

So, to begin, I’ll tell you what rights are given to women in my religion. It is simple: equal to that of men. Both are human beings, both deserve respect, both are instructed to be as educated as they possibly can by whatever means available, both are also to be punished the same way for the same crime.

If you have not heard of Soraya M., she was an Iranian woman who was wrongfully accused of adultery by her abusive husband, and was stoned to death. The movie is very graphic, very horrifyingly tragic – that left me crying into the night at the injustice. So, when her story was told to the journalist, it was not to speak against stoning, but to speak against death sentences for a crime that was committed by her husband several times, but men of the village did not care about it, but only that of a rumour against a woman. It was to bring attention to the grave sin of bearing a false witness. It was, a true crime of violence against women, because the men were not being stoned to death the same way as women were, when the God they did it under the name of has ordered for the same punishment to be applied to men as well.

It is such religious hypocrisy of men that has ill-reputed Islam, that has now brought us Muslim women to fight for our religion, defend ourselves against the extremism of activists like Femen. It is when little girls in Pakistan are shot because they want to go to school that goes against a simple message of Islam to all Muslims: seek knowledge from cradle to grave.

So what does it mean to be a Muslim feminist? It means to be the voice of these oppressed women, who are abused by their men, who are not allowed to go to school, who still have to pay heavy amounts of dowry to have their hands accepted in marriage, who are killed because of false accusations and false witnesses, and who get no justice when they are subjected to rape and assault. And at the same time, doing so by strengthening their belief in God, by helping them gain back their self-respect and self-appreciation, by helping them love themselves.

Personally, I do not cover my face. I barely ever cover my head. I have revealed much skin sometimes. But, I am not going to stand some Femen tell a woman in hijab to take it off, to take off her shirt as well, to write on her breasts and run on the street. That is an absolute return to barbarianism.

Once upon a time, the more clothes a person wore, the higher his or her status was. As men evolved in intelligence, they also clothed better. So, clothes were respect. So why then is nudity not oppression? How is it freedom?

Captured girls are trafficked and spend most of their time naked and being abused, so how is nudity liberation?

Women who did not go to school, who could find no means to make money, had to resort to stripping selling their bodies for some cash. So how then, is nudity intelligent? Educated?

Why does feminism have to be distorted to such a degree than it denies all religions? Isn’t feminism about helping women and letting them have their own identities? Why does it get twisted from fighting for women to hating on religion? How can you imagine gaining support from Muslim women when you are telling them that their religion is wrong, and their bare breasts will bring them freedom?

The truth of the matter is, women are going to remain objectified. There are too many men who will pay anything to a woman to take off her shirt, which can be witnessed by the whole world, accessible to kids, which in return activates their sexuality early, and so on the cycle continues.

It’s not fair. Seeing nude women standing in front of mosques, burning flags, writing hateful things towards having morals – well, these morals also teach us tolerance and patience. If they didn’t, it would have taken no time for some radical Islamist to end the lives of these women. Honestly.

So all I have left to say to Femens that I have not already told them on twitter and facebook, is pretty simple: hate Islam all you want, fear it all you want. You cannot do anything to stop the hundreds of people who revert to Islam everyday, all around the world, especially in the West. And what you have done is nothing more than open a passage for men and women to learn about Islam. You have inspired them to be curious as to why Muslim women hate what you are doing, and when they will ask and learn from their Muslim friends, you will be left all alone how you started when born… naked and ashamed.