Claude McKay: Enslaved

Oh when I think of my long-suffering race,

For weary centuries, despised, oppressed

Enslaved and lynched, denied a human place

In the great life line of the Christian West;

And in the Black Land disinherited,

Robbed in the ancient country of its birth,

My heart grows sick with hate, becomes as lead,

For this is my race that has no place on earth.

Then from the dark depth of my soul I cry

To the avenging angel to consume

The white man’s world of wonders utterly:

Let it be swallowed up in earth’s vast womb,

Or upward roll as sacrificial smoke

To liberate my people from its yoke!

Claude McKay: Enslaved

MMW, Book Reviews, and Paris

It’s about time for an unsolicited update on the goings on in my life and of this blog:

I called the previous post my last guest post for Muslimah Media Watch because I’ve been offered a regular position on their writing staff. I’m scheduled to make bi-weekly posts. I’ll continue to post poems and a few random things on this blog, but the bulk of my heavy writing will probably go to MMW, at least until I figure out how to balance schoolwork and personal writing more efficiently.

That said, I also have a series of reviews in the works (it’s been three months since I posted my rubric, I got a little lazy). I’ll finish Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me by tonight and have the review up in the next week or two (insha’Allah). I’ve also have drafts of The Circle(Dave Eggers), Women in Shari’ah (‘Abdur Rahman I. Doi), and Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat (Hal Herzog) in varying stages of completion. In general, I give books a 15-year window, meaning until the end of the year I won’t review anything published before 2000 and next year I won’t review anything published before 2001. I chose such a small window because older books tend to already have a lot of material written on them. It also helps me narrow my scope; I’d be writing from sun up to sundown if I review every single thing I read. I’ll make exceptions for books I find particularly interesting.

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about the tragic events in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Mexico, and Japan. Some of these events were natural disasters and others weren’t. Some occurred in the Occident and some occurred in the Orient. Regardless of what happened where, each and every life lost was a valuable one. I’ve noticed, however, that Paris received a huge amount of media attention while the other areas seemed left out. I’m not trying to diminish what happened nor am I trying to equate with the other events, but I am deeply disappointed in the western world. Time and time again it seems we only mobilize for those who are like us, or we are only horrified when something happens in a place that doesn’t usually get hit. Such behavior seems to say an event only matters when it is a anomaly. I know it’s hard to be sympathetic when attacks happen over and over in the same place, but we’ve got to fight our growing insensitivity and support all of the countries, not just the popular ones.

Everyone I know in these locations is safe, alhamdulillah, but how many people can say the same? How many people have lost their friends, their spouses, their teachers, their fathers? How many people lost arms, lost eyes, lost mobility? How many people while wander around for days looking for scraps to eat because they’re lost their homes? If you pray for Paris, please also pray for the world.

MMW, Book Reviews, and Paris

MMW Post: Bangladeshi Women, Media and the “Helpers of Allah”

Here’s my second and last guest piece for Muslimah Media Watch. I’ll explain why it’s my last in the post after this one.

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Excerpt:

In its most recent move, the [Ansarullah Bangla Team] issued a threat to media companies employing women and insisted that the female employees are in violation of Islamic law, especially the unveiled models in advertisement campaigns…While ABT might argue that they are attempting to respect women by asking them to be covered, such an argument suggests that unveiled women are undeserving of respect. It will be difficult for Bangladeshi women in the media to continue working after these threats. ABT has already proven it is more than capable of following through with its promises, and reporters have an especially high level of visibility, making them even more susceptible to attacks. In this case, however, fear cannot be a deterrent.  More female faces and louder voices, combined with strategic movements and increased governmental protection might be enough to counteract ABT’s toxic campaign…

[Read More]

MMW Post: Bangladeshi Women, Media and the “Helpers of Allah”

I’ve Been Featured on Muslimah Media Watch

Muslimah Media Watch (available through Patheos.com) recently published an article of mine, and there are plans to publish at least on more. Here’s an excerpt:

Women and Children First: How French Policies are Impacting Muslim Communities

France’s quest for a strict separation of church and state in the public sphere while protecting private beliefs, confounds the two arenas by allowing the codification of laws that inhibit the open practice of faith. Each legislative push against religion brings it closer to the heart of the public sphere and encroaches upon the private. While it is understandable that France would like to keep its citizens safe by banning clothing that might inhibit criminal investigations, instances of attacks by veiled women are relatively rare and do not characterize the whole of the Muslim population in France, especially considering France hosts one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe. These laws, then, do more to harm the highly-visible female Muslim population than to protect the public. France is trying to erase Muslim women.

Source

As if to further the affront against human rights, the French are now dictating not only what Muslims wear, but also what they put into their bodies.

Such egregious policies cause identity problems by forcing students to choose between family, faith, and state. …It seems that to France, forced homogeneity is the definition of secularism.

Read the full article here: Muslimah Media Watch

I’ve Been Featured on Muslimah Media Watch