Trump’s Muslim Ban

24 days…

For 24 days I was fasting to make up for the days I missed during Ramadan (the month of fasting for Muslims). I dedicated these days to fulfilling my new years resolution of consistency! Whether that be in my faith, with school or this blog. However 24 days of non-stop fasting is no easy challenge. It’s a test of resilience and my faith. I have always tried to conduct myself the best I can in regards to my faith because it is an important part of my life and my well being. Islam has taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow as an individual.

So, when I hear that the chief and commander of the United States, Donald J Trump, used his executive order to impose a Muslim travel ban to people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen,  I was disgusted. To make matters worse, as soon as the order was signed, people were being detained at JFK airport to prevent their entry. For what reason? Observing a particular religion.

I have grown up in a world where people have the freedom to practise whatever religion they choose to. Consequently, when citizens are being discriminated upon because of this simple fact, it is certainly frustrating. Not only is this a major infringement upon human rights, it is unconstitutional and it is replicating horrible mistakes that people made in the past.

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Source: abc7

On Friday 27th January this executive order was signed and ironically shared the same date as Holocaust Memorial Day. I was planning to share this post on that very day, however, I thought it would be more appropriate to share a post paying my respect to the Holocaust. I don’t know whether it’s because I visited the Jewish memorial site in Berlin, visited one of the labour camps or because I am a person of faith but for quite some time I have felt a special connection to this day. I always remember, when I visited the camp and I just broke out in to tears when I walked into the cabins where the labourers stayed in. When my friends continued through, I felt this overwhelming sense of fear that prevented me from moving further forward and made me leave. Thinking about it now is just making me tear up because I can remember that day perfectly and I can feel the pain. To think humanity could be so cruel is sickening and that’s why it angers me because this genocide started from the scapegoating and stereotypes of Jews, it then led to discrimination and eventually persecution. I’m not scared that this would happen again but when you see the red flags, you have to be cautious and alert to what may be.

A hijab, a prayer mat and Qu’ran are not the tools needed to make a terrorist but a Muslim. The sooner people realise that Muslim=Terrorist is not a tautology, the better. I don’t think every Christian is a terrorist because of the KKK so don’t think that I am a terrorist because of ISIS. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to blame other faiths and turn this into a “he said… she did” situation but why is it easier for people to protect certain religions in one way, and demonise others when they’re both in the same situation. I think this ‘prioritisation’ of religion is very dangerous since it creates a sense of conflict amongst religion. (Below is a Ted Talk by Dalia Mogahed that addresses this subject well – I definitely recommend you watch it)

However, it is evident from the continuous protests that people are not accepting what Trump is doing – regardless of his justification. I feel very proud to see that nations of all kinds from London to Paris to Vienna are refusing to accept such behaviour. The people make the government, the people make the political system and it’s the people who can make a change it. Our anger and frustration can act as a driving force to challenge such bigotry.

Image result for muslim ban protest london

Source: The Sun

Regardless, the US system has a lot of reforming to do and will be challenged a lot in the days to come. Is the structure of the federal government (President, Congress and the Supreme) strong enough to prevent such an executive order from being practised? At the moment, there has been some challenges that have in effect halted this order temporarily. But for how long? Will this become permanent? This article by the BBC gives a good overview of the current situation – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38880877

Islam has constantly been disrespected to an extent. It’s shameful that the actions of the radical minority have tainted the image of millions of Muslims. I know this will be one of many posts defending my religion but it important for people like me to use outlets like this to scrutinise people like him and share the perspective of real Muslims!

Featured Image Source: Times Live

A letter to Obama

Dear Mr & Mrs Obama,

Wow, where do I start. Maybe I ought to start with two simple words: Thank you! In the space of 8 years you have done so much – improved healthcare, advocated for women’s rights and transformed your economy. If I had infinite time and space I would continue to praise all your accomplishments but I think that would be pretty pointless – especially as you’re the ones who have accomplished it. So I guess, in a nutshell, I’ll try to summarise what you have taught me in your 8 years of office.

I remember in 2008 when I saw a light, hope and ambition. I saw a promise and sense of commitment that I hadn’t received from any other candidate or previous president. You were different. Not just by the colour of your skin but the way in which articulated and presented yourself. Your authenticity and humility enabled an ‘non-American’ like me to relate to a man like you. Consequently, I rooted you for, we rooted for you and you won! That was a proud day, one filled with happiness, tears and joy. Change was coming and fast! You showed the American people that politics is a lot bigger than middle class white men debating in their suits.You showed them and me that politics is about the people and the people are the politics. What’s a force when there is no drive? Definitely not a force!

Throughout your role you have been scrutinised and challenged but you have successfully embraced this and continued to persevere. Besides, what is a democracy without checks and balances? You have taught me that you will face many hurdles in life. Whether it is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran or getting out of bed in the morning, what matters is not the challenge, but how you overcome it! It is easier to walk away, to give up and let things engulf you but what do you gain? Nothing. There is no such thing as an ‘easy pass’ in life, most things require determination, persistence and belief. Using all three won’t lessen the load but it will make it lighter to carry.

Such perseverance has inspired me to achieve things I would have never dreamed of. Why? I kept going. People didn’t believe in me but I believed in myself and guess what… that was more than enough! With my faith and a lot of support I managed to take a path that was never planned. As a result, I’m going to achieve things that I never thought I could achieve.

Although, I have been writing with both of you in mind, I want to dedicate this paragraph to Mrs Michelle Obama. I have 101 million things to say but can’t express. If I was ever fortunate to meet you, I would consider myself blessed. You have revived the role of ‘First Lady.’ With exception to Eleanor Roosevelt, I can definitely say that you have been one of the greatest First Ladies in History. You are a clear example of being the change you want to see. Why? When Barack was elected, the role of being FLOTUS was thruster upon you. It was really easy for you to watch his career prosper and timidly look pretty for the cameras, but you didn’t. You have reiterated that the POTUS and FLOTUS are two different people with different methods, personalities and aspirations. From your visits to schools in my city, London to the  #BringBackOurGirls campaign you have done so much to enable YOUR name (not your husbands) carries a legacy. Thank you for teaching me that being a girl is my weakness but my strength. You have empowered me with the tools to embrace sisterhood and achieve whatever I want (without any constraints).

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Source: Today

 

Finally, let discuss what some may class as the elephant in room… Race! I have no shame being a black woman. I have no shame being black. However, I can’t pretend that we live in a fantasy where discrimination doesn’t exist. For the first time, I saw a black family in a high political position of power. You were the first black US president and hopefully this will set a long lasting legacy for many black leaders to come. If anything, you have given me a glimpse of “what may come and what may be”. I have always been afraid of being the only black person (or part of the few) entering a typically ‘white’ field or industry however if I don’t, if we don’t try to break the mould and create change then things will continue to remain the same and nothing will change.Thank you for giving me the courage to stand for what is right, make a change and be the change you wish to see!

You have taught so much in these 8 years, and I hate seeing you go but:

All good things must come to and end in order to create beautiful new beginnings

I love you all and wish you best because you will be truly missed!

Haddy x

Feature Image Source: BBC

BHM: “Is fear a legitimate justification for the oppression of black people?”

Currently in my history course I am having the privilege to learn about the civil rights movement in America ranging from the end of slavery in 1850 to the election of Barack Obama in 2009. One constant discussion that I have noticed popping up in class is about the motivations of some white people to commit such atrocities towards people of my race. As a result I began to wonder whether ‘fear is a legitimate justification for the oppression of black people.’

One argument that has been raised is that many people were motivated by their fear. The argument entails that white people were scared of the threat of releasing slaves. This fear of the unknown was very prevalent in the US climate because people were worried about what could happen with the rising power of black people. In other words ‘it was one thing to tame the lion and keep it in a cage but would those same people be ready to release it and face its rage?‘ To a certain extent, I understand the argument. However, I don’t believe it is legitimate enough to justify the actions carried out by the perpetrators.

In some instances such as interracial relationships or friendships, if you were caught by extremist groups such as the KKK those who were known as “nigger lovers” would be subject to the same conditions as their black counterparts. Consequently, when it came to saving their own/family lives, disassociating yourself seemed like the best alternative.It was either your life or theirs. When you are put in such life threatening positions the most obvious option is to save yourself. Therefore, it was better be a passive bystander than an active citizen (especially in a country where the majority would be against you). In these circumstances I can understand to an extent their rationality. I haven’t been in such a situation (and God forbid that I ever will) so I can’t judge them for the decision that they took.

However, these people were the minority so I can’t deny the fact that if there were more active citizens standing up against the injustice then change could have occurred a lot quicker. Yet again, having said that, I live in a relatively liberal society where the government generally listens to large scale demonstrations or dissatisfaction. Maybe at the time, the same sort of ‘protest’ wouldn’t be as effective.

Regardless of this claim, we can’t forget the most important stakeholders in this situation, the victim! In such a situation it was always the black person who was severely punished. The white person had a chance to get off ‘scot free‘. Even though the chance might be minimal, it was still a chance – one that the black person wouldn’t get. Furthermore, no one would care for the  victims family. As a matter of fact the family would be at more risk because they were associated with such a ‘criminal’ which then ‘blacklisted’ them within their own community. With the increasing segregation of the two races, especially during the period of the Jim Crow laws, any interaction amongst the races seemed risky and stupid.

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Source: Mr Nussbaum

But…. Where do we draw the line between an excuse and justification? How far down the line do we say that your fear is acceptable to be acted upon? I understand being afraid of the unknown but how can the mass lynchings, oppression or racism still be a justifiable solution?  If we forever lived in fear then we would have an unbroken and dismantled world. One where a society couldn’t function since all we act upon are our prejudices.

When you are scared of something, surely the first thing you do is avoid the fear? Surely at some point, you ask yourself, why are you scared? Then you try to find a way to cure the fear. Just like an illness- you detect the symptoms, diagnose the illness then you treat it! However, from the history I have learnt, people haven’t taken those precautionary measures. Maybe it is because they have ‘diagnosed’ their ignorance but don’t want it to be treated or they just don’t want to diagnose it in the first place. In these cases the fear isn’t justified, its just an excuse.

In many cases using fear as an excuse is the easy way out. It’s easier to keep fighting than to accept defeat. Why? This is because, I believe we inherently have a culture of blaming others to defend ourselves. It is easier for me to say that you’re wrong, than to confess that I am! It is easier for me to blame my teacher for my bad grades than to accept that I could have done better had I spent more time revising. It is easier to keep arguing with someone even though you know you are wrong. Why? It is probably another one of those natural human habits that we can’t help but do!

However, it takes a brave person to accept that they’re wrong! It takes an intelligent person to get to know someone before they believe their preconceived assumptions. This is a lesson I have learnt throughout History to this present day. During the Holocaust, many Jews feared for their lives but they didn’t stop being Jewish! During and since the Orlando shootings, the LGBTQ+ community didn’t stop being who they were! So why should I? I can’t physically stop being black! I can’t mentally stop being black and I never will! Just because some people don’t accept me for my melanin doesn’t mean I will! Yes, I live in fear for my life and many others because my existence is already a political statement. However, trying to oppress another community isn’t the answer!

In response to the question: Is fear a legitimate justification for the oppression of black people, my answer is NO! It will always be NO! Why? Fear is just an excuse. We don’t have time for excuses because we need solutions so we don’t keep asking ourselves these questions for decades to come.

Featured Image Source: Sophisticated Ignorance

BHM: Black skin is NOT marketable!

Before you read my article, I just want to apologise for disappearing and going MIA. I have been applying to university and caught up with the stress of it all. However, I have finished so I should get back into the swing of things with regular posts again!

In honour of Black History Month, I am dedicating all my posts to black related issues hence they will all contain an abbreviation ‘BHM‘. To read the first post in the series, please read my Black History Month post!  It is an overview of some of the black figures I love and respect!I hope you look forward to this little series because it is very personal as it relates to my experiences as a black woman.

Whether it is hair or beauty us black girls are not good enough for producers! Walking into a drug store such as Boots or Superdrug is honestly  a dreadful experience for many women of colour (WOC) because there are no beauty brands that cater for darker shades. It is impossible!

Therefore, I was quite surprised to learn that in September 2015 the racontuer posted an article stating that “the beauty industry is worth £17 billion to the UK economy, and consumers are expected to spend an average of £342.90 on beauty and skincare this year.” Within in this market, the beauty resource further added that it “employs around one million workers nationwide.

Regardless of these numbers, I still don’t understand why it is difficult to find a foundation or concealer in my shade. In addition, when most of the advocates for beauty products from platforms such as YouTube are women of colour (WOC), I don’t understand why we still face this problem in 2016.

These brands constantly partner with such individuals, thus, at some point these brands should think about targeting their large audiences (which are presumably WOC). Consequently, it should be more than obvious to increase the supply of black beauty products by making them! To further aid this case, if you see the competition for drug store black beauty products in the UK, there is hardly any! Therefore, it only benefits the companies as they can capitalise upon the demand.

Patricia Bright (Source: Blog

 

 

Some of the most frustrating things about this is how I can’t run into a local stop and pick up a foundation if I am running low. That isn’t to say that I use makeup so much that I need to run in and buy it whenever, but, having that privilege would be nice. Knowing that, I as a consumer and a minority, have some kind of importance in the market is empowering – it means I have a voice.

Now trust me I don’t want to target the makeup and beauty industry as a topic of political discussion but until the issue is revolved I have to complain!

My main problem is trying to digest the fact that this industry has enough resources to make a product, enough demand to sell the product and enough representatives to show the product. Having said that, why don’t they make products for darker complexions?

Why do I have to buy high end makeup products from Mac or Fashion Fair just to find my right shade? Why do I have to spend over £50 for a full face of makeup when people of lighter complexions could do the same in less than £25? What is the problem with dark skin? Is it not marketable enough?

Having said that, I have to commend L’Oreal for taking the first step forward. Their most recent make up campaign has introduced a range of complexions that suit a multitude of skin tones! By no means am I saying that this it, but I am very happy to see that they are taking the first step in the right direction. I also hope that this initiative will be the first of many and trigger other companies to realise this huge gap in the market, especially as retail giants such as Sephora could be moving here soon to consume all this demand.

Image result for loreal true match

 

Feature Image Source: The Society Pages (please also read the article attached)

 

I’m not excited for a female prime minister or president 

During the creation of my blog, I have always emphasised that I will discuss controversial topics and opinions.Consequently, with the timing of the US Presidential election closing in, this would be a great opportunity to exploit that.

As you may or may not know, Theresa May is the 2nd female prime minister in the UK and there are also high hopes that across the ocean Hilary Clinton will join this surge of female empowerment in becoming possibly the first female president of the US.

One one hand, you could argue that this is a great opportunity for women. Hilary Clinton is leading the way and highlighting how much women have progressed. To think women didn’t have the right to vote and now we are facing the prospects of having our first female president is crazy.

However, this argument feels like the sugar coated truth. Many of us wish that Hillary Clinton would be leading the path for women and changing attitudes but frankly she’s not. Looking at the circumstances, a lot of the arguments in favour of her presidency are so we can avoid a Trump-ency. I love Michelle Obama to bits but her speech in the convention (as amazing as it was) has subtle references to Donald Trump. With those references she basically highlights that we are more safe with Clinton as POTUS. However, this argument simply shows the comparative advantage of voting for Clinton – not getting Trump. Where do we learn about the actual argument FOR CLINTON?

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Source: CNBC

Throughout this campaign – as much as I hate Trump I know what his policies are or what they generally consist of. On the other hand, the arguments for Clinton generally seen to be summarised as “shes better than Trump and she’s female”. This is a very dangerous game because as proven in the EU referendum, it could have an adverse effect. The Leave campaign had a clear message. They used propaganda to constantly relay messages about immigration and the NHS. However, the Remain campaign didn’t have such a strong argument since they constantly targeted the flaws of the leave campaign and reiterated how we were safer to stay. This makes a broad debate become binary.

Had there been a Clinton vs Sanders presidency contest, I believe things would be very different. I don’t want to vote for a woman because she is a woman. I want to vote for her because of the policies she intends to implement. However in America, I believe merit isn’t the reason why you win elections – its personality. Its all about people politics.

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Source: Politics USA

 

As much as I hate to admit it – its like raising the argument that one reason why Obama received a high turnout of votes was simply because he is black. It is definitely frustrating how oppressed groups in society will always get this ‘you only got this because you are… ‘ ticket.Therefore, in decades to come, when people ask why Obama became president, or why Clinton could be president we can’t avoid referring back to this blanket statement of ‘its because he’s black’ ‘its because she is female’.

Although the conservative party had a leadership contest for Theresa May’s  premiership it was only the conservatives who voted. So as a country we can’t say we voted for Theresa May. Neither can she say that she won the confidence of the people  whereas Margaret thatcher can. This is another example of how collectively, the country hasn’t voted for a female prime minister and how circumstance has affected the reasons for her premiership.

“But what if we do have two powerful female leaders? It doesn’t matter how they get there, what matters is what they do.”

Again this is a reasonable argument, however, I don’t see either women shouting out #TeamFeminist any time soon. If they haven’t done much for women before their roles, what stops them from not doing anything when they get them?

As a first lady, Michelle Obama had female empowerment written all over her. If there is anything that I will remember about her is that she didn’t let her husbands position overshadow her. In fact she at times overshadowed him because she made a name for herself by remaining authentic to her role. You knew she had a drive for gender equality and female rights. She went beyond her way to ensure that she fought for that.Consequently, after she leaves the white house she won’t be remembered simply because she is the first black FLOTUS!

Having said that there is a possibility that these two women may also do the same thing. They may have/ get voted for because they are women but when they finish their job they get remembered for their merit and the work they’ve done. I’m hoping this is the case however I’m not so optimistic.

Featured Image Source: Telegraph

 

DON’T BOMB SYRIA!

There are only 2hrs remaining (from when I started this post) until we here the verdict in reference to whether the UK will launch airstrikes in Syria to destroy the extremist group, ISIS and their bases. I was very close to not typing this up but I believe that it would be a shame to not share my opinion regarding such a controversial issue. My blog is all about huge political issues such as this, therefore, it would make sense for me to elaborate on my position in this long debate. If there is one thing I want to make clear if you haven’t already noticed, I do not support airstrikes and I do not support the government.

I am a young British Muslim who like everyone else is against terrorism, extremism and violence. I do not appreciate stupid comments or stereotypes attached to the 1.57bn worshippers of Islam because of the actions of the minority. I have no shame of what I believe in and what I practice so when people such as Donald Trump want to brand us with identity badges just like the Nazis did with the Jews, it makes me frustrated that such thoughts can be gathered in any persons mind, let alone escape his shameful mouth.

It makes me raise questions such as: what has happened our world? Why are we not moving forward? Why are we repeating the mistake we have made in the past. In response,  I remember that it is only the minority that I need to be challenging with those questions, not the majority. We have actually come a long way since the past, we have improved so much and extremism is another hurdle in our path to equality and democratic values.

So why d0n’t I support airstrikes?


1. The innocent civilians. I watched a video demonstrating the air strikes from France and I couldn’t help but feel so helpless to watch families, women, children and men screaming for the lives. Some were crying because they were trapped within the rubble which they used to call home, crying for the opportunity to witness the sky once again. 700 of those people lost their lives, and for what reason, because the French couldn’t care less about protecting the majority and innocent. No, they just wanted to destroy ISIS (the minority) without considering the burden attached. The world prayed for Paris when they were victims of such brutality but when the roles are reversed, who is praying for Syria

2. Extremist expansion. The USA releases statistics which stated that 10,000 ISIS members had been killed. Well done! However they failed to mention that ISIS membership doubled, increasing by 20,000. By using violence, we are only adding fuel to the fire and letting it burn. When do we put it out? All these air strikes are not preventing ISIS from committing acts of violence! As a matter of fact, I won’t be surprised if ISIS is just sitting back laughing at all this conflict because you are doing their job for them, killing the innocent and providing an increase to the membership of their ‘club’.
3. What do the people want? Finally, I just wanted to talk about what the people want. Throughout this tough time, all I heard is MPs this, MPs that. At the end of the day only parliament have the final decision in regards to the UK’s position not the people. Why am I not hearing about a referendum? Is it because the government are afraid that we don’t know enough? Is it because the government want to take the decision upon themselves? I find it sad that we don’t directly get a say in an issue which is crucial in our life and that we are left helpless about the final decision. On the other hand, what about the people that matter most – Syrians? I have heard politicians saying that they have gone to Syria and visited innocent civilians and how they are saddened by what ISIS are doing. However, I haven’t heard any of them actually asking them what they want? How can we help them? If they believe airstrikes are the best way forward? At the end of the day, their the people at the heart of this all. They are the people who wake up everyday, unsure about whether that day will be the last day. Not us. If we really ‘care’ about helping Syrians, we need to know what they want and we need to stop making assumptions about what we think is best for them.
I would love to continue explaining about why I am so anti-airstrike but like I mentioned I am a young person who fortunately gets to resume to her homework.  Before, I leave though, I just wanted to say that I find it quite appalling that when 30 school girls were taken by the Boko Haram, when Malala was shot by the Taliban, when 147 were killed by terrorist in Kenya… Where was the UK? Why is it only when Paris had fallen, we jumped to its aid in the name of ‘combating extremism and protecting the innocent.’ I don’t remember hearing  politicians preaching about our democratic values then, so why now?
I am not a ‘terrorist sympathiser’! I am only a young human being who want justice and equality to be applied to every individual that matters! War has proven several times in the past and will once again prove to be ineffective in keeping all us and all those innocent people safe.
So after once again, I urge you to oppose airstrikes. DON’T BOMB SYRIA!!!
 
P.S If you are also want to oppose airstrikes and actively contribute please click here to sign a petition registering your opposing regarding airstrikes.

Pray for Paris

For those of you who don’t know, Paris was unfortunate to be attacked by terrorist from the extremist group called ISIS. These attacks occurred in highly populated areas such as the Bataclan (a popular music venue) at about 9pm on 13th November 2015. Currently the death toll has gone up to 127 with 180 people injured – 80 of which are in a critical state however these numbers could sadly rise over the next couple of day as France mourns over this tragedy.

If there is anything that I hate most, its having to write about the loss of many innocent lives. To think people were enjoying their Friday night off from school or work and then the next minute their night is ruined by suicidal bombers and merciless shooters. I find it hard to say anything because yet again people have died as a result of those who don’t believe in principles such as the freedom of speech, equality for women and education for all. This is what drives me mad because I fail to understand why they oppose such values.

This attack simply illustrates the on going war we are fighting. The war of terror. Sadly, not enough people understand that combating terrorism is becoming increasingly more difficult especially as we are seeing an increase in attacks on the West. Some of the most known are 9/11 in the USA, 7/7 in the UK and now 13/11 in France. With the growth of technology, ISIS networks have become even more encrypted and harder to decode. Now they are even recruiting an army of people to go over and join them e.g. the 3 school girls from Bethnal Green. They are raising an army to spread their radical views and impose them regardless of the impact. ISIS are striking and they are striking hard. Terrorist are no longer people hiding in the shadows, they are coming out into the limelight and making sure their voices are heard e.g. through the use of social media they have been able to leak videos of innocent civilians being beheaded. We are in a war of terror!

However, how can we solve this problem? What can we do? I can start by telling you what we shouldn’t do… retaliate with force. In my opinion, the war of terror really began to take shape after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The west (predominantly the UK – Tony Blair & USA – George W Bush) decided to invade “to disarm Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to end Saddam Hussein’s support for terrorism, and to free the Iraqi people”. However, until this day we are still suffering from the after effects of that decision. Terrorism has escalated to a record high and after 12 years, we have seen events such as the assassination of Osama bin Laden, the execution of Muammar Gaddafi, the refuge crisis and some ‘sort of’ apology from Tony Blair for the Iraq war. In some cases we have come a long way, but in others we haven’t made as much progress as expected. Fighting fire with fire only creates a bigger fire so retaliating with force isn’t going to help at all, it will actually make things worse. Why haven’t the leaders of today learnt from our mistakes in the past with WWI (which we just recently remembered), WWII and the Cold War. This isn’t a time where we should be allocating funds towards nuclear weapons such as trident because we don’t need more nuclear weapons in this world. By choosing to make more of these dangerous and destructive weapons, we are simply giving countries such as North Korea and other middle – eastern countries such as Israel, Pakistan and possible Iran a reason to make/ start to making more weapons.

Diplomacy, rationality and discussion is the way forward to conquering such issues. I’m not saying we should sit around playing ‘peace keeper’ every time but I don’t think we should always rely on the answer of implementing force and producing more weapons because that is what got us in this mess in the first place.

We can also learn to stop being so discriminatory towards Muslims/ Islamophobic because that is where we add the fuel to the fire. Muslims are an innocent group of people who worship the religion called Islam which means peace. They are no different than any other person out there and they are not the threat. I am not the threat. It is extremist which are the threat. They are the people who believe that they are doing the right thing ‘in the name of God’ but honestly don’t understand the faith at all since they carry out such atrocities.

The increase of hate crimes for Muslims have also increased with the rise of terrorism and now it becomes increasingly difficult (for women especially) to actively worship their religion e.g. by wearing the burka, hijab or niqab without facing discriminatory assaults. We live in a country where everyone is entitled to the freedom of expression and the freedom to worship any religion, so why am I or other Muslims in the world being denied this. Yes, ISIS are mainly responsible for ‘converting’ people into believing their radical ideas but to some extent the local community here in the UK and other western countries are responsible for causing people to join ISIS. If you keep telling people to go back to their country, if you keep discriminating against Muslims and if you keep verbally or physically assaulting them, they will listen and they will channel that hurt into anger which ISIS likes to manipulate. Then more people join the army fighting against the west and the vicious cycle keeps on going.  This is like bullying,(in some cases) if you keep harming the victim, they will believe what you say and take action into their own hands by committing suicide or loosing confidence in themselves (disclaimer: this example is only for some cases not all).

However, instead of thinking about what ISIS has ‘achieved’, we should mourn with the families of those in  Paris. We should pray for those in Paris and all the innocent people who have lost their lives. We should raise awareness of what has happened by using our social media platforms as a voice for good e.g. use the hashtag #PrayForParis on Instagram and Twitter or changing your Facebook profile picture to the French flag. We need to show people that what is happening is wrong and we don’t condone it! If you disagree with the decision of any government… Speak up! Voice your opinions, tell them if you disagree with the implementation of force, for example. I am not a huge fan of the David Cameron, but I do sympathise with him when he has to make big decisions about these things.

Don’t stay quiet and watch your world be destroyed by terror… open your voices and speak because the biggest threat to ISIS is humanity standing against terrorism!

– Haddy Jeng

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Lest we forget…11/11

On 11/11/18 at the 11th hour, the armistice was signed – declaring the end of the first world war. As a result, we wear poppies to reflect and respect all the soldiers that sacrificed their lives in order to protect their country and loved ones. Every year on this day we have a 2 min silence in order to remember the casualties of war (including the innocent).

Earlier this week I was asked “Whether we should continue remembering?” and it caused me to think deeply about today and its significance to our lives. I remember as a young child that around the beginning of November a lot of people were wearing red flowers. I felt really intrigued by them they looked so simple yet beautiful and I really wanted one for myself. As I grew a little in primary school, I learnt that these flowers were called ‘Poppies’ and that we wore them as sign of respect towards the people who lost their lives during the war. As a grew a little more in secondary school, I also learnt about the brutality of war and what it actually entailed. Consequently in sixth form, I am able to sit at my computer screen today and write this sentimental piece with a decent wealth of knowledge regarding the subject.

Shell Shock. This is a post traumatic stress disorder which terrorised what was left of ‘a life’ that the soldiers had left. It left them paralysed, blind and deaf. To add to the misery, electrocution was one of the only methods of treatment to conquer the disorder. Some survived however other’s couldn’t cope through the pain. Life offof the front line was an on going nightmare which many wanted to escape. The atrocities of war permanently scared a generation and still some people are suffering the after effects.

This is just an example of the brutality of war. The word war makes me cringe because it is an event which glorifies the destruction of humanity. Some young children in this day and age look up to the soldiers fighting to protect their countries and admire them as “heroes”. Heroes that they wish to become some day. However, that day should never come because there shouldn’t be a war to fight in. There shouldn’t be such violence in the world.

Personally, I don’t believe that soldiers are “heroes” but I do believe that they are brave men & women who are fulfilling their moral duty of protecting their loved ones and the country they call home. I am not saying this to insult anyone but I think using the term “heroes” is another way where we are subconsciously glorifying war. Additionally, it is another way in which we truly forget who we are paying our respects to because it generalises the masses. Rather than respecting how each individual person has contributed towards the war effort, we just assume that they are all one mass power of good which makes it easy to just remember their sacrifice and disengage with the true purpose of today. Although this may seem a mouthful and difficult to understand I am basically trying to say that “Remembrance day is an opportunity to learn and engage with what has happened in the past. It is a way for us to acknowledge that war should never be glorified and that we should always stand against it. It is a way for us to teach and preach those who don’t know about what happened and to prevent such events from happening again.”

You don’t need to research about every single casualty of war but simply learning about one/ listening to someone’s story could really open your eyes and change your prospective on life and humanity in general. This is because each individual that died was unique and that’s what made them human. The government find it easy to send away troops because they don’t get to know each soldier, they don’t have an emotional connection with each soldier, they just send away a mass of people and leave them to do their job. That’s all it is to them, a job. If they fail the job, they will grieve for some time but then they will replace them with another mass of prosperous soldiers and then the vicious cycle repeats.

So in response to the question I mentioned earlier “Should we continue remembering?” YES! It is the least we can do.Such a simple act means a lot to many grieving families and spreads the message that war is a brutal event.

Overall, I would like to end this blog by once again paying my respects to all those who died whether it be the soldiers or the innocent women or children who were killed. If it hadn’t been for their bravery, I wouldn’t be able to write this post today.

Through the eyes of a youth…

Lifestyle, Beauty, Politics, Debate! You name it and I’ll frame it! With words, pictures, video and audio, I aim to create a space where media can be used to highlight different perspectives and opinions through the eyes of a youth. Yes youth! Being young and apparently ‘dumb’ by society won’t stop me from unleashing whatever I want to say/ show to an audience of also young (or maybe older) individuals who just want to learn about their community.

So if you are interested in the topics above or even more, please feel free to let me know by commenting below with your suggestions because I won’t hesitate to read them! I am really excited about starting something new and I hope you guys are too because these fingers will be typing a new post very soon!