Floodlights

I used to think it was the darkness
That put her in a bad place
I’ve only now come to realize
It’s the lights that flood her existence
That seem to haunt her

As soon as they come on
She looks for the spots the lights don’t reach
So she can crawl there, covered by the warmth and cover of darkness

While some crave movement and sound,
She is satiated by the emptiness and fullness of silences

Alone, she can negotiate between the different women that make her

Undisturbed,
She filters the orchestra of thoughts
Into varying octaves

Allowing each to sing her tune

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Necessity for the Revolution

‘The Emancipation of women is not an act of charity,
the result of a humanitarian or compassionate attitude.
The liberation of women is a fundamental necessity for the revolution,
a guarantee of its continuity and a precondition for its victory.’

-Samora Michel, 1973

International Women’s Day

International Women's Day

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

220px-Pray_the_Devil_Back_to_Hell_Poster

“Joining with Muslim women would dilute our faith.”
We told them – ‘do bullets discriminate? Do they choose Christian over Muslim?’

At the end of the day, it was all about jobs.
‘I want to be Ministry of Finance. So I can steal.’
Are we supposed to pay you for killing us?

He said to me, ‘I will kill the people of Liberia, take the women with us and replenish the population.’

‘If you were a real man, you wouldn’t be killing your people. Because you are not a real man, they are treating you like boys. Now go and sit down!’

‘We love you. Drop your guns.’

Pray-the-Devil-Back-to-He-001

http://praythedevilbacktohell.com/

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

FIRSTS: AU SUMMIT

FIRSTS: AU SUMMIT

First time experiences often have sharp learning curves. My first time at the AU Summit was no different. January 2012 marks the 18th Ordinary Session of the AU Summit held in Addis. AU Summits are held twice a year, in January & July (at least the ordinary ones). The January session is always held in Addis, the home of the AU. That is one of the first things you notice-nothing is simple at the AU. Sessions can be both ordinary and extraordinary. Protocol can mean either an instrument, such as the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women which we were lobbying for, or it can mean the team which provides both security and logistical support to local Ministers which I learned the hard way upon insisting to one of the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Protocol Officers that we wanted to speak with the Minister regarding the Protocol.

When lobbying and looking out for certain ministers whose countries have not ratified or not signed onto the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women, you realize how important it is to have a quick eye to scan badges. How helpful color coding is, regardless of how discriminating it is. How frustrating it is when a badge is turned around, preventing you from trying to decipher someone from the AU Commission to an observer, to press to a delegate who is often, but not always part of the delegation that arrived with the Minister of Foreign Affairs who we were targeting.

You also realize how important it is to be proactive, to approach individuals and in doing introductions, to scan their badges trying your best to read their countries inconspicuously to assess whether they are someone who you need to lobby. To not dismiss anyone-press can connect you to Ministers-which is how we were able to access the Minister of Somalia-through a Somali journalist who had their numbers on hand. How important it is to know your flags…because sometimes that’s all you see. Patriotic pins with the flag of the delegations’ country. To understand the nuances of accent, dress and mannerisms to place people in certain regions and countries. The importance of timing-being at the right place at the right time. Making sure to be ready to act as soon as the door opens. To be diplomatic and assertive all at the same time. To be confident and humble simultaneously. To be brazen but also understand your limits.

Lobbying is a true hustle. It is not easy to shove your agenda into someone’s face and expect a positive impact. You should be well-prepared for any response and any interrogation. Prepared to be persistent yet respectful. Prepared to be prepared.

Jewels

“A woman would be much better off if
she could distinguish the difference between
a man that flatters her & a man that compliments her,
a man that spends money on her & a man that invests in her,
a man that views her as property & a man that views her properly,
a man that lusts after her & a man that loves her,
a man that believes he is Allah’s gift to women & a man that remembers a woman is Allah’s gift to man.

Know your self worth; Allah doesn’t make junk. He makes jewels!”

DISCLAIMER: not my words, sourced from elsewhere

YOU HAVE REACHED THE WOMEN

This peace was originally written by 3 women, Agazit, Cassandra, & myself but we opened it up, and asked other woman to also speak their peace. The result was a metamorphis, and a compilation of voices of women from all walks of life: students, teachers, poets, activists, mentors, voices reppin Algeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Egypt, Mexico, the US and Zimbabwe… if any of you would still like to speak your peace, you’re most welcome to do so….

I’m proud to be a fellow woman-let me now leave you to hear these phenomenal women speaking their peace!!

YOU HAVE REACHED THE WOMEN
-Phenomenal women from all walks of life

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….
You have reached 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 asks too many questions
For her own good
Got too educated
And too career-ed
And too into her own dreams
Which are sunflower bright ones.
You have reached Mouna

You have reached the woman
Who believes life is good no matter what
Because we have to create our own peace & happiness
You have reached the woman
Who does not ask GOD for things she would like to have
But thanks GOD for all that she has at this specific time in her life
With complete understanding
That what’s here today may be gone tomorrow
You have reached Mariana

You have reached the woman
Who is a mother trying to raise a woman
Who will stand up for justice and truth
Even if it’s against herself.
Against her loved ones, her community, her nation.
Even if it’s her against the entire world,
She will stand up for what’s right.
Who will be successful not by
Making millions at the cost of others
But by being capable, confident, content
Ambitious and determined.
Who will fix things wrong with this world
Whether she does so with her voice or hands.
Who will find her passions and create.
Pray, love, dance, live, believe.
Laugh, breath, swim, write, sing.
Hope, wish, and achieve.
You have reached the woman who
wishes her daughter will be the change
She wishes to see in the world.
Who will mend the wounds of those who cry
And sew the holes of society.
You have reached Sumaya

You have reached the woman
Who believes in the importance of family and friendship.
Whose experiences have helped define her existence
Without regrets of what was and without fear of what will….
You’ve reached the woman
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…
You’ve reached the woman,
Who is outraged by the constant exploitation and killings
Of our people and our land in the name of liberation….
You’ve reached a woman
Whom passion drives her…
Compassion humbles her…
And faith solidifies her….
You have reached Wala

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 Batsirai

You have reached the woman
Who understands that happiness
Cannot be bought, travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed
Who defines happiness as the spiritual experience of living every minute
With love, kindness, grace and gratitude
You’ve reached the woman
Who follows her dreams and travels the road less taken;
Who is always reaching for the stars and beyond;
Like a tree growing and rising upward while firmly rooted to the ground.
You’ve reached the woman
Who inspires and empowers
Who models herself after the movers and shakers and money-makers;
Plus, the trophy-takers, truth-seekers, and peace-makers,
But never the fakers and heart-breakers.
You’ve reached the woman
Who is soft-spoken yet outspoken.
The one who has often fallen yet never once broken.
You have reached Nasim

You have reached the woman
Who is full of contradictions:
Who has everything,
But fears missing out on everything else she doesn’t have;
Who fears commitment,
But also fears a broken promise,
Who wants to be held tight,
But doesn’t want to be held back;
You have reached the woman
Who knows that her abilities are endless; limits do not exist in her world,
Outside of the limits she places around herself.
Who hates being told NO.
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 is trying to become the kind of woman she would take seriously
A woman who makes her arms strong,
And provides portions for all in her household;
A woman who has the vision and dedication to create & grow;
A woman who one day hopes to fear nothing but God,
As she grows in wisdom, and kindness, and Love.
You have reached Samar

You have reached the woman who
Who is first and foremost
Muslim, African, Ethiopian, Hareri
You have reached the woman who
Hates the sound of unused running water
The sight of an empty lit room
Seeing food turned into trash
You have reached the woman who
Can reach for the stars
And still keep her feet on the ground
You have reached Nebila

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

You have reached the woman
Who speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili
Whose native tongue is Poetrese
Who is as Berkeley as she can be
Runs wild in the global streets
Believes in transformative action
Non violent social change
Who dwells outside of boxes
And cuts up the plastic ringlets on six packs so that wild life does not die
You have reached the woman
Whose country is the earth
Whose favorite book is her passport
You have reached 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 brilliant, talented, gorgeous, handsome or fabulous?
Rather you have reached the women who will ask you who are you not to be
You have reached the women
Who share the belief that
“Impossible is nothing,
Nothing but a big word thrown around by small men
Who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given
Than to explore the power they have to change it”

You have reached the women who remind you of Audre Lorde:
“Poetry is not a Luxury, but a necessity
And your silence will not protect you”
The women who after years in academia can still comfortably stand up and say
No, we wont put ourselves in your shoes,
We don’t wear the same size/we don’t have the same style

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 & perform floetically
In the language of your truth
Translating if you choose

So please, speak your peace
After the beep

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