Tag Archives: news

This World

Some people have said it’s a scary time to be Muslim right now, for obvious reasons. And I don’t know about that so much, but I do think it is a scary time to be human. It’s a scary time to drive on the road or stop at a traffic light; it’s scary to be in your house, even with burglar bars; it’s scary to walk into a corner shop or even in the mall; it’s scary to even watch the news.

The world is a scary place.

Yesterday, I watched a video of a young boy, 13 years old, being thrown around and kicked and stripped naked by prison guards in a prison in Australia. It crushed me. It angered and infuriated and enraged me. I couldn’t do anything to fix it. Today I saw a video of a small, tiny baby, not more than a couple weeks old, being wildly swooshed around in a bucket of water, held by the arms. Crying painfully. And I cried. Painfully. Real tears. I was writhing in my seat and couldn’t stand the aching that video caused me. It aches now recalling it. I was screaming silently at my screen while I watched. And I was angry that I even saw it at all — what good did sharing the video do? Does it stop the abuse? We don’t even see the identities of the women, so what can be done?? Why did you share it if nothing can be done about it?! I didn’t need to see it!

All I wanted to do was grab the baby away from that woman, and hold him/her in my arms soothingly. But of course I couldn’t. Again, I couldn’t do anything to fix it.

Perhaps I am a weakling for reacting this way. Perhaps someone else might not have been as pained by those scenes and would laugh at my reaction. I can actually think of at least one person who would laugh at my reaction and think I’m a silly girl. Perhaps I am a silly girl. (I know many more people who would agree with that statement. Even I do.) But I never want to be a silly girl who is okay with children being treated badly. I never want to be a silly girl who feels relieved because “at least it’s not my child”. My goodness, when is it ever okay for any child to scream and cry because of the violence and cruelty of an adult?

I feel deeply pained right now because of all the violence and bad stuff going on everywhere. And I truly, deeply hate to add to it. I hate that this post is so sad and dark. But when it hurts I write. And I cry. I just don’t always share it with everyone on my blog. But this I felt like sharing. Because it’s a pain I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling.

BeFunky Collage.jpg

I wrote this earlier, after the crying subsided. It doesn’t have a title yet. It’s just words that spewed forth that I really hope makes some sense.

Words That Spewed Forth That I Really Hope Makes Some Sense

by Ruqaiyah Davids

The world is a cruel and scary place.
I don’t know where to escape.
How do I get away from all this hate?
It doesn’t seem to abate.
But I know it’s not too late.

And I don’t mean to sound fake and to further saturate this debate
With candy floss and rainbows after every time the rain flows.
These words are not meant to gloss over all that is wrong with this place and the human race.
Violence and hatred have become commonplace.
I know.
It’s quite a disgrace.
But I do believe that we only need to educate –
One another and ourselves.
Then we can alienate those who seek to create
All these people who have become irate,
Causing them to deviate,
Fighting for what they think is right.
And those who only propagate hate.
And those who only separate.
And those who leave children, betrayed
By the very people who should be a source of shade.

This world has worked hard to make me jaded;
Tired and weary –
This world is scary.
Many days I can’t stand the evil of it all.
But I am an optimist.
Try as the world might, it hasn’t given my spirit fright.
But, still, I don’t look at the world through rose-coloured glasses.
I’ve sat through enough of the world’s classes
Of chaos, mayhem, and fear.
My eyes are clear;
I see the evil that is here.
But these darn hues of pink and red won’t leave me alone.
My spirit is prone to the light in this world
Which it has over and over been shown.
But my optimism can sometimes feel like my prison
As my soul feels that sickeningly familiar rhythm
Of a child’s cry,
While people die,
And a nation occupies.

My optimism can be a prison of pain and heartbreak.
Each time the world shows me its colour of evil my heart quakes.
I have a difficult time believing it’s real.
My optimism builds up a defence.
It tells me all the murder, ignorance, blood, hate, child abuse is just a pretence.
A pretence for what?
I don’t know.
But the core of me needs to believe it’s just a show.
Even though I know.
I know.

See, I call myself an optimistic-realist.
I read the news and know that the truth is always skewed.
But my optimism keeps the depression subdued.
It keeps the tears from flowing so much
That I lose touch with all the goodness God has given.
There is so much good,
There is so much love,
There is so much kindness.
The darkness here cannot lead to my blindness.
I am compelled to believe that He Sees.
I cannot deny that with hardship comes ease.
But what acts are these?!
Stripping small boys in a prison naked?
Turning a whole nation of people into the most hated?
Why are we not more devastated?
Starvation and malnutrition are circulated!
And then we are placated
While we become vegetated
Through the media, fashion, films, games…
Don’t be fooled – it is all calculated.

Blog sign-off

 

Rebels Without a Cause?

Torched cars and buildings. Violence and chaos in the city streets. Citizens opposing the country’s authority. Thousands of police deployed to control violent unrest of citizens. Innocent people injured or killed by their fellow citizens in a protest against some or other cause.

Ah, it must be somewhere in the Middle East again, right?

We’re so tired already of hearing about the civil unrest in Syria, Libya, Egypt or one of those Middle Eastern/Arab countries. Is there really a need for yet another blogger’s comments about the situation in these countries? Give it a rest already.

But, wait… what’s that? These events did not take place anywhere in the Middle East?

Nope, not the Middle East. This time, the story is not about Mubarak, or Gaddafi, or even Assad. This time, it’s closer to home than many in the ‘civilised’ Western world is comfortable with. The discription and images above are the result of recent riots that occurred in the British capital, London — situated in Western Europe.

The riots began on the night of the 6th August in one of the poorer areas of England — Tottenham, London. The riots had originally started out as a “peaceful protest”, in reaction to the then recent killing of 29-year-old Mark Duggan by a policeman. It is alleged that  Duggan had a firearm on him, or was about to draw one; consequently, the policemen reacted to this, thus fatally shooting Duggan. The residents of Tottenham then resorted to expressing their anger in the way of rioting and looting, which in later days spread further across London, and then across the wider Britain, in the cities of Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool.

When I first read the news about these riots in London, I was confused. I didn’t know why it was happening, it seemed so unexpected and unjustified. Yes, I knew it was somehow the result of the killing of Mark Duggan by a policeman — but I still didn’t understand why it was happening. The killing of one man — however wrong the circumstances of his death might have been — did not seem to be a likely cause for the subsequent mayhem and disorder in the streets of London. I went on to read different news articles about this particular story, trying to get a broader picture, trying to find the cause, the root of the problem, because I was sure that I must’ve missed something, and that the rioting citizens of London did, in fact, actually have something substantial to riot about. But I was wrong.

According to Mark Adomanis, in an article he wrote for Salon.com:

“Judging from all available press reports, it seems that the rioters have no clear political grievances whatsoever besides, perhaps, a generalized hatred of the better off and ‘the system.’ Most of the violence, theft, and property destruction have been committed by people that seem to be taking advantage of the atmosphere of chaos to pocket clothing, electronics, and food that might otherwise be unaffordable.”

After a short period of denial (because the situation seemed so crazy to me that it was hard for me to believe that, with all the protesting happening in other places around the world for basic human rights, there were people in London rioting and causing the injury and death of people and their property for apparently no reason at all), I eventually accepted that the situation was just that — young people throwing a tantrum, unhappy with the state of things, unhappy with the state of their community, unhappy with their lives — but it was a tantrum with fatal conseuquences.

But still, questions remained: Why did it result in such violence? Why are these people unhappy? What went wrong that they felt this was the only way to let the world know? It had originally been suggested that the riots stemmed from a “long-simmering resentment among the black community at heavy-handed policing” (Spiegel Online International), and yet, it was found that the rioters consisted of youth from varying ethnic backgrounds; among them were black youth, white youth, as well as Asian youth. Clearly, then, there is not a strong racial factor here. Another, more plausible, explanation claims that the riots are a long-time-coming result of the inequality of the stratification system present within British society. Lower-middle class British youth suffer social exclusion, forever condemned to being in the social class into which they are born, with little or no hope of ever clawing their way out. The Berliner Zeitung, a German newspaper, writes:

“The country has lost faith in every authority: the banks, politicians, the media, the police. The corruption has reached even the smallest unit — the family. There is a generation growing up without values of any kind.”

This is a neglected generation of people. These are youth who feel that they have been given up on, and so they, too, have given up on society and its various social institutions. While there are indeed some who took part in the riots simply ‘for the fun of it’, reveling in opposing authority, or just simply ceasing the opportunity for violence, the opportunity to ‘legitimately’ steal items from stores that they may otherwise not be able to afford to shop at, there are still those whose cause was real and sincere to them — though not regarded as such by many. Though their motives may not be political, they are certainly personal, and to ignore them and their reasons would only be to silently sit, letting it simmer and fester, and wait for the next ‘unexpected’, ‘unjustified’ burst of violence and mayhem.

Sources:

http://www.news24.com/Tags/Topics/uk_riots

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/08/09/london_riots/index.html

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,779413,00.html

Pictures taken from News24 Galleries http://www.news24.com/Galleries/Image/Images/World/UK%20riots