a poem published by Ain’t I a Woman Collective (March, 2016)
an essay published by Blavity. (a main point of this essay is an expression of my feelings on the entities of ethnicity, race, and culture. the essay ultimately states that those entities can be quite irrelevant and troublesome, seeing as we’re all one human race. we all idealize the same culture of empathy and understanding. ethnicity-wise, we all come from the same origin, too.)
on-the-afro-arab-experience -this is the full essay. I actually prefer this version much better to the shortened version, above.
one important note: a key part of the essay (that is not really elaborated on in either the Blavity.com version or the Microsoft Word version, above) are the following paragraphs (I think I will add these paragraphs into the Microsoft Word version of the essay, eventually):
I’ve heard quite a lot of the time that Sudanese people are not authentically Arab; they’re just Arabized Africans.
While this is true, it is also true that all Arabs are Arabized.
*But: Moroccans (for one example) don’t bother to say ‘We’re not authentically Arab–we’re Arabized Berbers.’ Egyptians certainly don’t refer to themselves as ‘Arabized Afro-Asiatics.’
So why should Sudanese people have to say that they’re “Arabized Africans?” Is it because many/most Sudanese are quite dark-skinned/they are Black?
Why does Black come at the exclusion of all other ethnicities? I.e., what is it about Black that negates (or; cancels out) all other ethnicities?
A Sudanese person is as Arab as a Moroccan or an Egyptian.
Similar to many elements of society resisting the idea that Blacks can be Arabs, I think society also resists the idea that Blacks can be Latin Americans, South Americans…even Americans. As in; many people have a hard time understanding that Black is just a piece of a puzzle that can make up a person. A person can (for example) be Black, but have his ethnicity be Afro-Arab, or completely Arab, too, I bet. Like; ‘race’ (whatever that means, anymore) and culture/ethnicity are two entirely different entities. (And; each entity needs to be respected/not looked down on, of course.)
One can point all of this out to the people around her. But it becomes hard if the person (funnily enough) happens to belong to an ethnicity that does not coincide with her race, in the eyes of the people. This is because society can be quick to label her as “hating the part of her ethnicity/cultural roots that is the most ‘non-White.” Like, for example: if a person is Black Arab, or dark-skinned Arab, and she states to the people around her that she ‘is just as Arab as a Moroccan or an Egyptian,’ and that ‘all Arabs have historically become Arabized,’ and that ‘appearance and ethnicity are two different things’—if she says all of this, then people might label her as ‘hating her Black side,’ or ‘wanting to distance herself from her Black side due to the influence of the white supremacist world in which she lives.’
While this may be true of some people, where does that leave the dark-skinned Arab (or; Black Arab, or Afro-Arab, if you like) who loves to death her Black side, who can’t get enough of her and her family’s skin tone, her awesome coily hair…her Black heritage, her Black culture, and etc.? In essence, what I mean is that there are Black Arabs (and other Blacks) who deeply love and appreciate the Black aspects of themselves (which are apparent in their culture and perhaps appearance)—but all they want to do is set the record straight. Set the record straight on Race vs Ethnicity. And they want to perhaps dismantle the societal belief that a Black person cannot have any other ethnicity or culture or heritage besides African, or perhaps what has developed into Black culture.
Once society understands this, then they will understand that the entire idea of ‘purely Black,’ ‘purely white,’ ‘purely Arab,’ ‘purely European’, etc. — the entire idea of ‘which group of people are 100% white,’ which group are 100% Black,’ etc. holds no weight. They will understand that the entire entities of race and ethnicity are so different–that a person can be both Black and white (biracial), both African and Arab (multiethnic), etc. (that no one is ‘purely white’ or ‘purely Black,; etc.) — i.e., they will understand that all races and ethnicities are so blended and mixed together that racism and prejudice actually makes no logical sense, whatsoever. Like; scientifically, it makes no sense (and everyone is into science/you can’t say no to science, right?). #WeAreAllOne #OnePeople #OneHumanity.
(really good and interesting video–Sudan: Divided Identity, Divided Land, P1)
~thank you for reading this, and for reading my (actual) essay, above 🙂 🙂
A poem published by Volition, a literary journal of George Mason University (pg. 30) (Volume 18, Fall 2014)
a poem published by Volition, a literary journal of George Mason University (volume 19, Spring 2015)
a poem published by Volition, a literary journal of George Mason University (pg. 31. volume 21, Spring 2016)
An essay published by The Muslim Vibe (on clothing being a component of women’s liberation)
an essay on my experience with praying (as a Muslim) while having OCD. -(this essay was written about two years ago–I am now diagnosed with general anxiety, as opposed to OCD. (I also have schizoaffective disorder, which is my ‘main’ diagnosis.). ty for reading this
a few writing pieces (+ my interview answers), published by Art Saves Lives International magazine (for their Capitalism, Poverty, and War edition)
Actually, the above link contains my abridged interview.
This is my full (original) interview: Interview Questions for ASLI Magazine –Issue 3 – Capitalism, Poverty & War – For ASLI Artists
🙂 **thank u.*** (for checking it out). ❤
an excerpt from the interview, above: ⬇️⬇️
Q: Do you think enough is done by the global community to help the people affected by the ongoing occupations and wars globally? As well as the aftermath; leaving people with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, homeless, and often completely destabilised in general.
🌸my answer to that was/is: “To answer the first question; no, I don’t think so. The global community rarely does enough, actually. Like, for example, I once read a statistic that more U.S. foreign aid goes to Israel than to the whole of Africa! Africa, whose countries suffer from horrendous wars and poverty. I’m not sure if that stat is true, but if it is, then that is simply insane. And regardless of whether or not that specific statistic is true or not, it is true that Israel receives more U.S. aid than many poor countries, in the world, combined. (“Israel is the largest recipient of US. aid in the entire world. It receives more aid than that given to all the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, put together. http://www.ifamericansknew.org/about_us/ ). The question “Do you think enough is done by the global community to help the people affected by the ongoing occupations and wars globally?” is an awesome question, because the global community is messed up, in many ways, when it comes to helping poor and war-stricken countries. The global community often serves its own interests, rather than helping humanity.
Here is some information that I think can help spell out how the U.S., a key player (the key player, in many cases) in the global community, is messed up concerning giving out foreign aid—a critical factor in assisting countries affected by poverty and war;
“Total U.S. aid to Israel is approximately one-third of the American foreign- aid budget, even though Israel comprises just .001 percent of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes. Indeed, Israel’s GNP is higher than the combined GNP of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. With a per capita income of about $14,000, Israel ranks as the sixteenth wealthiest country in the world; Israelis enjoy a higher per capita income than oil-rich Saudi Arabia and are only slightly less well-off than most Western European countries.” http://www.rense.com/general31/rege.htm
“Most Americans are not aware how much of their tax revenue our government sends to Israel. For the fiscal year ending in September 30, 1997, the U.S. has given Israel $6.72 billion: $6.194 billion falls under Israel’s foreign aid allotment and $526 million comes from agencies such as the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Information Agency and the Pentagon. The $6.72 billion figure does not include loan guarantees and annual compound interest totalling $3.122 billion the U.S. pays on money borrowed to give to Israel.” http://www.rense.com/general31/rege.htm
“I am angry when I see Israeli settlers from Hebron destroy improvements made to Shuhada Street with my tax money. Also, it angers me that my government is giving over $10 billion to a country that is more prosperous than most of the other countries in the world and uses much of its money for strengthening its military and the oppression of the Palestinian people.”
Israel is a sensitive subject (because of its religious significance, and because of the atrocities that the Jewish people had gone through throughout their history (for example, during WWII (*though settling in then-Palestine, declaring it “Israel” and brutalizing the Palestinian People all throughout was a rather funny way of alleviating the suffering of Jewish people), and Israel is America’s ally…but that much foreign aid to Israel—at the expense of humans suffering and dying in more needy countries—is cruel.
Anyways, the global community doesn’t do enough (many times, it harms the victims of war/poverty/occupation, actually). Just to give one example; my own country of Sudan. I remember seeing a political cartoon a while ago about how the world had just about ignored the atrocities that had occurred in Darfur, Sudan for some reason or another. It’s not that they weren’t aware (obviously), or that they couldn’t offer as much constructive help, but they just didn’t. And that is only one example—there are many more cases in which the global community isn’t helpful.
I don’t think the aftermath of war and occupation is dealt with effectively, either. I always see and hear about refugees fleeing their warring countries (like the Syrian refugees, these days) only to go through hard things in their host countries, occupied peoples living in bad conditions, and so on. Again; the global community needs to get it together, in many cases.”
– – –
another short excerpt from the interview:
Q: To what extent does stigma contribute to the experience of living in poverty in your country, and in your opinion what could be done to address this?
🌸my answer: “I think stigma contributes to people’s experiences of poverty no matter where they live, but there is more stigma in developed countries because the ideal in those countries is to be well-to-do—more so than in developing countries. So, I think that if a person in the U.S. lives in poverty, the stigma s/he might face from the people around her will be more severe than in the case of a poor person in, say, Sudan. The societal expectation of Americans is to at least be getting by, financially.
I think this phenomenon is because of the socio-economic conditions of both countries. To illustrate this theory; if an American lives in poverty, then s/he’s often seen as either “not a hard worker,” “depends on government subsidies (lazy),” or another stigmatic label (that is usually false). But if a Sudanese lives in poverty (in her home country of Sudan), people usually consider (rightly so) the bad socio-economic condition of Sudan—that Sudan has only weak opportunities for development, that life is not good for many of its citizens, etc…So, people often look at the larger picture of the Sudanese person, and they don’t do the same for the American. But the truth is; America has a problem just like Sudan in that there is poverty/homelessness/hunger in America. The fact of America being a rich country, having good opportunities, etc. doesn’t negate that…So, what I want to say (in summary) is that; though there’s stigma to living in poverty (with low-income people in rich countries experiencing greater levels of stigma), there shouldn’t be any stigma towards anyone in poverty… Everyone living in poverty has conditions that got her there. So why stigmatize those people? It’s not their fault. (Even if it was, there is no need for stigma towards those people….)”
Q: What in your opinion works in reducing the negative impact of growing up in poverty on a child’s life chances?
🌸my answer: “I think having good public schools in every neighbourhood can reduce the negative impact of poverty on a child’s life chances. If the child can receive a good education, that can be a big help in building a brighter future for that child. Having good community services/support for the child and her family can also reduce the impact of poverty on a child’s life chances. E.g., religious institutions often offer strong community ties, a foundation of faith for its members, and opportunities for personal development and enrichment. These assets and resources can reduce the impact of poverty on a child’s life chances by (for example) instilling such traits as leadership, courage, a sense of how to work with other people, and hope for a better future. These traits can help the child succeed in life, no matter what path she wants to go down, and despite having grown up in poverty.
I know there will always be many cases where poverty (and the various issues connected to it) is too much of a roadblock for the child, making it impossible for her to live up to her full potential. This is sad and unfair—I wish this wasn’t reality.”
~ ty for reading that segment of the interview.
~ASLI mag is a much-needed breath of fresh air–I’m so grateful to the editor in chief (Ms. Charlotte Farhan: https://charlottefarhanartactivism.com/charlotte-farhan-artist-biography/ ) for all the hard work she does for the magazine.! 🌸🌸☮️🌄
an essay about my experiences with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, published by Beautiful Minds magazine (this essay was written back when I was under an OCD diagnosis..).
An excerpt (from the essay):
I know I will get electric shock therapy (ECT), one day. I think. I think I can trust myself, on this. After all, my intuition told me in the eighth grade that I was developing a mental illness, and here I am. I knew because I was reading a book about a girl who had bipolar disorder, and though I didn’t know what being bipolar meant, and I am no psychic, I knew I had something similar. The character in the book I was reading experienced extreme changes in mood and behavior, throughout the story, and–almost in sync–I was starting to change, too. I was becoming depressed, reserved, and starkly different from the happy-go-lucky kid I had been.
a flash fiction piece, published by The Ofi Press magazine:
A few creative pieces (+ my interview answers), published by Art Saves Lives International magazine (for the Mental Illness, Health, and Recovery edition)
more pieces published by ASLI magazine (for Mental Illness, Health, and Recovery)
The Diary of an Entirely Insane but Self-Accepting Person
~ Entry 1
The line that the Mad Hatter says to Alice in Alice in Wonderland is so understandable, to me; “I don’t like it here, Alice. It’s terribly crowded.” And that deep comprehension worries me. What’s more, I think the Hatter was talking about the fact that he was imprisoned in the Red Queen’s castle…I on the other hand don’t like it here, and I’m no inmate, anywhere. I just don’t like it, here—it’s terribly crowded…and a host of other things.
Bipolar? Schizophrenia? Depression? Well, I have no doubt that something is wrong, with me. I’ve been seeing doctors for a long time, now. But is it fair to blame everything on my illness? And if not, who or what to blame it on?
~ Entry 2
Sometimes, I wish I could be a therapist. But then I remember that I would have to talk to people all the time, and I would have to get out of bed every morning (I’m not lazy, ok? It’s fatigue), and I would have to be somewhat centered, in my own life. The fact that I am incapable of any of those things…well…worries me. I guess I’ll settle for being a writer. (Fortunately for me, that requires none of the above.)
~ Entry 3
“So…you have bipolar. Or some other condition, possibly. That’s what you get, son. Everyone told you life chews up creative geniuses…wanna-be artists…writers. But you went for it, anyway. And now, you’re complaining about people watching you, and voices in your head…and…purple cats in your peripheral vision. That’s what you get, son.”
Are these the words of the worst psychiatrist in the world, or the best? I still haven’t figured it out.
~ Entry 4
Probably my favorite part from Alice in Wonderland is this; “Have I gone mad?” the Mad Hatter asks his friend Alice, in distress. Alice, like her father did to her all those years ago, places the back of her hand on the Hatter’s forehead, as if checking for signs of feverish delusion. “I’m afraid so,” Alice replies, gently. “You’re completely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret—all the best people are.”
Instead of being told that the C.I.A. isn’t after me, or being asked why I believed that my mom was poisoning my food, I wish I had someone to tell me something like that, while I was “round the bend,” years ago. It would have been much better therapy, I think.
The happy faces in the old photos
Still dampen my spirit.
It’s hard to get used to
Lagging behind everyone else.
My soul has stretched thin—into a chord
That God will play
When the dragonflies reign, supreme.
By then, I might have crippled myself, in angst,
Had it not been for the invisible binds that restrain my heart
I don’t know if anyone has ever noticed this before, but even the streets at nighttime have a heightened sense of spirituality about them during Ramadan. Driving along the empty roads, there is an aura of soothing calm amidst the inky blackness. A part of me is secretly envious of the month of Ramadan, with its constant serenity. Why can’t I be at continuous peace?
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