A Letter to my Unborn Child

There were many who came before you
Who decided that the world they were born into
Was not going to be the one they would die in
Ones who dared to dream of another future
And woke up every day to realize those dreams
They didn’t need to be told their dreams were valid
 
I pray that this is the world you will be born into
One in which you’re able to chart your own course
Without seeking the permission of others
 
I pray that you will not know of days when
Our bodies
Were fragmented
Compartmentalized along with our identities
When the dignity, integrity and autonomy
Of our bodies which house us
Was up for negotiation
 
I pray that you will not know of
Violence, abuse and discrimination
At the hands of
Those meant to protect you
Your parents/teachers/partner/police or employers
And perhaps worst of all, by the society at large
Condemning your very birth and gender
 
I pray that
FGM
Child and forced marriages
Rape, widow inheritance
Breast ironing
Honor killings,
Will be foreign words to you
A taboo to the entire community
That the only culture you know
Puts your safety and well-being
Above all else
 
I pray that you will not know of a time
When bullets were more readily available than bread
When profits came before people
When industries were mined on our backs
When our own drowned in foreign shores
Searching for a life worth living
 
I pray that
Your realities will only be peppered
By the understanding that those before you
Overcame the most horrendous of sufferings
 
I pray, my unborn child, that you will only know days
Where those who used to be at the margins of our societies
Are now at its centre
 
Where gender parity and equality are not principles
In an idealist conversation
But rather your daily reality
 
Where you have an equal say, share and control
Of the resources this continent has to offer
Where your voice and your choice
May be questioned, but never threatened
 
Where we care for the earth
And the sustenance it births
 
Where your chances of becoming the next
President
CEO
Pilot
Scientist
Engineer
Media Owner
Is equal to that of your brother
 
Where the guns will be silenced
Where justice & peace are simply
The constant and consistent state of affairs
 
Where all people, everywhere
Are treated with
The Dignity & Respect
They deserve and were born entitled to
 
And I pray, my little sweet one,
That as I end this letter
And read it to others,
 
That they won’t dismiss it as the rantings
Of a mad idealist who dreams of an impossible utopia
I pray that they will wake up from their stupor
Wake into a state of consciousness that makes them realize
We can and we must refuse to accept things as they are
We must be mad and ‘dare to invent the future’
Another reality is not only possible—
It is necessary

After all, we are reminded:
‘Africa is still waiting for its makers to re-make it’
‘We shall be the ones we’ve been waiting for’
 
Together, we’ll create that world for you
And for those who come after you
 
And when that day comes,
My unborn child,
I can’t wait to welcome you into it

©Nebila Abdulmelik, November 2014

Advertisements

We’ve lost the last vestiges of our humanity

‘What makes it even more unconscionable, more horrific is that they’re being blamed for their own deaths – there’s a deliberate, systematic campaign to blame the victims….

Let’s put things in context. It’s very disingenuous to say no nation will accept being shelled by rockets…it’s the other way around, it’s exactly the other way around! No nation can accept to be imprisoned, besieged by air, by land, by sea and being starved and deprived of the most basic requirements for decent life….no nation can accept to be treated like defenseless canon fodder’ – Hanan Ashrawi

May we always remember Rasul’s words paraphrased:
“If one of you sees something wrong, change it with your hand; if you cannot, then with your tongue; if you cannot, then with your heart and this is the weakest [level of] faith…..there is no part of faith behind that, not even so much as a mustard seed.” – Prophet Muhammed (PBUH)

Take action.
Join the BDS movement.
Add your voice calling for a military embargo of Israel.
Demand that  companies who are contributing to the death, destruction, oppression, occupation and injustice to stop doing so.

In Solidarity and Struggle,

The Lion’s Daughter

Dear Momma

I write this to you today as the World commemorates Mother’s Day. I salute and pay tribute to you – everything you do, all you are, have been and continue to be. For reminding us that the revolution will only be sustained by love, and that we must begin by loving ourselves. For teaching us to breathe beauty. To seek knowledge. To grow and build by picking others up along the way.

I cannot wait to be a mother, so that I too may be able to pass these things on, as you have done for me. But I’m also anxious. Anxious about the world in which our offspring will grow up. Disheartened by the fact that 300 girls can be abducted from their schools, what is meant to be a safe refuge and still not found close to four weeks later. Heartbroken and enraged by the 25 who were abducted and the 50+ school boys who were massacred months prior and got little attention.  Disillusioned by the kind of governments who seem to have little if any regard for their citizens – at least those in far-removed remote areas whose socio-economic status perhaps doesn’t threaten.

Perhaps the love and the beauty that we’re taught can counteract all the ugly in this world.

Today, I stand in solidarity with all the mothers whose children have been abducted, tortured, killed, disappeared – who are victimized by terrorism and the counter terrorism efforts which seems to have the same effect. As we agitate to #BringBackOurGirls, may we never forget the thousands who are currently detained at Kaserani, whose homes are barged into every night, whose lives are  disrupted, whose dignity is trampled.

As we begin to shape #TheAfricaWeWant and the #Post2015, next development agenda, may we never forget that at the core of it all, we all want Dignity, Justice and Respect.

In Solidarity and Struggle,

The Lion’s Daughter.

 

 

Celebrating X

49 years ago today, we lost one of our best, Malcolm X.

The Man Amidst the Men

The Man Amidst the Men

One of my favorite quotes of his which exemplifies who he was, and what he stood for at the end of it all:

“I have had enough of someone else’s propaganda. I’m for truth, no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I am a human being first and foremost, and as such, I am for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole”.

Rest in power and paradise X. Your legacy lives on.

Everything You Do Matters

Don’t be disheartened.
Don’t be disillusioned.
Understand that everything you do matters.
If a pebble in the oceans can create ripples,
Why do we doubt that the pebbles and bigger stones thrown into the universe
(Whether to build or destroy)
Don’t set the beginning of foundations
Or create cracks in our systems
Preparing them to come crumbling?

You Have Reached the Women

-By Phenomenal women from all walks of life
(representing voices from Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe and the US)

You have reached the woman
Who keeps her eyes wide open
Her pain closed tight against pessimistic winds
So she can release them in Remembrance deep in the night….
The woman
Who was never told why
She was brought up in North America
Instead of North Africa
Why she could be not be African nor Arab nor American
But every one by different ones…

You have reached the woman
Who is a mother trying to raise a woman
Who will stand up for justice and truth
Who will be successful
By being capable, confident, content
Ambitious and determined.
Who will fix things wrong with this world
Who will find her passions and create.
Pray, love, dance, live, believe.
Laugh, breath, swim, write, sing.
Hope, wish, and achieve.
Who will mend the wounds of those who cry
And sew the holes of society.

You have reached the woman
Without regrets of what was and without fear of what will….
Who refuses to fit the mold,
Refuses to give in to the expectations
Of the person she’s supposed to be
Instead of being the person she desires to be…
The woman
Whom passion drives her…
Compassion humbles her…
And faith solidifies her….

You have reached the woman
Whose words are not buried beneath her tongues,
Who crafts metaphors & similes like
She tends to the garments of her inner untouched souls:
That place she can call her own
You have reached the woman
Who has dared to stop and take stock
And realise the images in the broken mirror are not hers

You have reached the woman
Who gives thanks
With complete understanding
That what’s here may be gone tomorrow

You have reached the woman
Who understands that happiness
Cannot be bought, travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed
Who takes after
The movers and shakers, the truth-seekers and peace-makers,
The woman
Who is soft-spoken yet outspoken.
The one who has often fallen yet never once broken.

You have reached the woman
Who wants to be held tight,
But doesn’t want to be held back;
Who resents being told to “never mind,”
Because, little do you know,
You have reached the woman
Who would rather die trying than give up
Who has the vision and dedication to create & grow;
Who one day hopes to fear nothing but God,

You have reached the woman
Who is first and foremost
Human. Muslim. African. Ethiopian. Hareri.
Who adapts to changing circumstances
And still dares to be different
The woman
Who can reach for the stars
And still keep her feet on the ground

You have reached the woman
Who loves to learn but is still counting the days till summer
Who longs for peace but finds truth in Fanon
Who breathes in colors,
Dreams in life, dwells in languages
The woman
Who writes backwards and walks forwards

You have reached the woman
Who speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili
Whose native tongue is Poetrese
Who runs wild in the global streets
Who dwells outside of boxes
The woman
Whose favorite book is her passport,
And her country is the earth

You Have Reached
Mouna
Sumaya
Wala
Batsirai
Mariana
Nasim
Samar
Nebila
Agazit
Cassandra

You have reached the women
Who will keep rising
Who will stand tall
Regardless of how many times they fall
Who embrace their fathers, their brothers, their sons
As they do their mothers, their sisters, their daughters

You have reached the women,
Who will not ask you –
Who are you to be extraordinarily fabulous?
Rather, you have reached the women
Who will ask you –
Who are you not to be?!

You have reached the women
Who genuflect to the power of language
Whose swords are ballpoint, felt tip and fountain
Who believe that revolutions don’t get televised
They get poeticized, ripped, & spit at open mics

So let us now leave you
To desilence yourselves
In the language of your truths
Translating if you choose

So please, speak your peace
After the beep

© November, 2010

Tribute to X

Feb 21, 1965 47 yrs on but your legacy lives on.
Tribute to the man amidst the men-the man who spoke truth, regardless of the consequences.

I am a man amidst the men
The personification of black pride
And the heights to which people can rise
I was and still am
One of the most misinterpreted and misunderstood
People of my time
I present to you
One of the most fascinating and personal histories
Of the 20th century

I am
Unapologetically bold and brazen
Uncompromising in my values
Unwavering in the truth I speak
I say it like it is
After all,
Truth is truth

I was schooled on the streets
Locked up but liberated
Physically incarcerated but mentally emancipated
And then proceeded to school the streets

My thirst for knowledge, wisdom & understanding
Can never be quenched
I demand, first & foremost
Human rights, not civil rights
I don’t beg for respect, I command it
I could start or stop a riot

Rather than mold myself to the world,
I mold the world to myself
I refuse to settle for status quo
The constant exploitation and degradation of my people
I strive tirelessly
For the betterment & empowerment
Of the black race but for humanity as a whole

“I have had enough of someone else’s propaganda
I’m for truth
No matter who speaks it
I’m for justice
No matter who it is for or against
I’m a human being and as such-
I’m for whatever and whoever will benefit humanity as a whole”

I’m convinced ill make progress
Or I’ll die trying
I prefer to die on my feet
Rather than live on my knees
If I can die having brought any light
It is due to ALLAH
Only the mistakes have been mine

And who am I?
I am El Hajj Malik El Shabazz
I am Malcolm X!

WHO?!

Today, September 28, marks RIGHT TO KNOW day. As part of my right to know, and yours, I would like to know who…

Who assassinated freedom
And buried it 10 feet under?

Who wrongfully convicted justice
And incarcerated it indefinitely?

Who orphaned peace
Scarring it eternally?

Who crippled progress,
Handicapping it permanently?

Who overthrew hope
And replaced it with fear?

Who paralyzed love?

Who?!

©Nebila Abdulmelik, Sep 2011

She is a Souljah

She is a souljah

She is a souljah
But a souljah of truth
A souljah of peace
A souljah of justice

And she will be unreasonable
If doing so means
She rebels against the norms
The status quo
She refuses
Refuses to serve
For a worthless cause
Based on nothing but deception
Supposedly defending
Yet armed to dismantle
The very bricks of society

She stands
For the right of others
To breathe
To live
To survive

She fights
To keep alive the struggle
Against oppression
Against injustice
She fights for no war
She stands-
A souljah of peace

Though they may strip her
Of her camouflage costume
What they use in order
To indistinguish her from the rest
Though they may demote her in rank
The most important component-
Her conscience-
Remains intact
And that-they can never take.

She promises to take
The true souljah’s pledge:
She swears
Never to stand idle
While her eyes
See oppression
While her ears
Hear injustice
While her senses
Feel the chains
Of the so-called freedom
Inflicted on peoples
All over the world
Shoved down their throats
Detained, questioned, and tortured
For they fail to utter their gratitude

She fights
But her pen
Replaces the rifle
Her battlefield
Is the everyday world
In which we attempt to live
Attempt I say
For with such
Injustices raging
Massive oppression
Strife and unrest
Incessant warfare-
This is not life
Rather, it is life
Yet it is not living

Perhaps one day-
The love of power will be overcome
By the power of love-
And perhaps then-

Her job will be done.
And peace shall prevail.

Till then-
She stands strong,
A souljah of peace.

-Nebila Abdulmelik, 2007

%d bloggers like this: