The Walls Have Eyes (Diary)

This is a very, very bad idea


9. May 13th, 2015


So, continuing from the last entry - I want to not talk about my family for once. I want to talk about society. Because, on a large scale, society is the thing that influences us as families and as individuals.

And, as artists and authors, it is something of a pattern that we question and sometimes even oppose what society has to say and how society functions.


Now, as I've said before, I've always been an outcast. And it used to hurt and I used to try to fit in. But at an early point in my teenage, I decided:

I'm sick of this nonsense. I can't appease someone without disappointing someone else. I'm just going to be who I want to be and do what I want to do.


In primary school, I was sidelined - I was regarded as an ESL student because I wasn't born in the UK (even though I could always express myself better in English).

In family, I was a tomboy because I grew up around my four uncles, my grandfather and my guy cousins. Yeah, my mum and my grandma were there, but... they never played video games, they never told cool political stories (true life: my grandfather is a fugitive in my native country), and they never smoked. Not that that last one is a bad thing, but I've always loved smoke as a... thing - and when I was little, I would sit in my grandfather's lap, he light a cigarette and I would play with the curling, grey smoke. It might be difficult to understand from an older person's point of view - but as a child, who didn't know anything about the dangers of passive smoking or smoking at all...?


I'm making this about family again. What was I talking about?


Ah, yes.


In secondary school, I hated everyone in my class and the feeling was mutual. I had a differing opinion on everything. I was bullied, again, for racial reasons and treated as an ESL student. I dressed different, I liked different music, I didn't watch much TV, I spoke different, I came from a different social class entirely, and - my going to a religious, all-girls, private school - my religious views were undecided at the time. Even some of my teachers took issue with me. Some of them loved me to bits, okay (literally made them cry when I left) - but others... Oh, don't get me started on the others.


But in terms of society?


Let me just say that I've never felt openly threatened by society or society's views on my personal choices. Others might beg to differ.

I'm a Muslim. I come from a Muslim background. I have a Muslim name.

I don't know about any of you guys, but in some racist circles - those three things are enough to ship me off to Guantanamo.


Where is this coming from?

•Recent events concerning the establishment and development of ISIS.

•The Charlie Hebdo attacks.

•There was a showcasing of discriminating artwork of the Prophet Muhammad.

•That movie that I said I was gonna watch, it's called Territories (2010) - and it scared me to my core.


And I'm not talking about the horror-movie scare. Those don't deserve to even be called scares - horror movies do little more than surprise you with scary faces. Territories gave me nightmares and I was thinking about it for a long time after I first watched it. I'm not going to tell you what it's about as a whole, I don't want to spoil it, but I think it was a really good movie. A little extreme, in a few senses, but it conveyed what it was trying to convey. And, from where I'm standing, that makes a successful story.


But, trying to stay on topic, I think a lot of people misunderstand or don't want to understand why some Muslims do what they do. And before I get down and psycho-analyse society and the media - I just want to point out: I don't claim to be an exemplary Muslim, I don't claim to be scholarly in my knowledge of religion, and by no means am I justifying anything done by anyone. I just want to make a point that I feel many people ignore.


Now, through all the eyes of the authors and artists reading this, let's question this statement: “Radical Muslim organisations like the Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban are terrorists.”


Now, I'm aware that there are no open racists on Movellas - at least, I haven't come across any. Even so, some of you might find that my asking you to question a statement like this unsettling. However, we are authors, we are artists, we - before and better than anyone else - know that there's always more than just one side to a story. Now, the first part of the statement is more my focus.

Radical Muslim organisations.”

Is the fight really about religion?

A lot of Muslim speakers try to say time and time again that Islam isn't a religion of hatred and violence. You've probably come across it at some point. In my opinion, they seem a little apologetic. But the question is: What are they apologising for? And on who's behalf? Why should I, as a Muslim, have to bear the consequence of something some guy on a different continent did?

I didn't take politics, but I'll share a bit of political wisdom. Carl Marx, the author of The Communist Manifesto, said that there are two main things that leaders use as propaganda tools: media and religion. The biggest example I can give for this is the Crusades. Yes, a lot of people fought in the name of religion - but were the wars really about religion? To some extent, yes. “Reclaiming the Holy Land for Christiandom” - that's the claim. But when you drive people out of their homes and spill innocent blood - is that following the teachings of Christianity?

It's said in one narration that the blood spilled in Jerusalem - the Holy Land - on the day the Crusaders attacked, the blood flowed through the city and ran up to the ankles of the horses. And I can't confirm if that's poetic or fact - but it is very vivid imagery, and by no means acceptable from my understanding of Christianity.

And, here's an interesting question: before the Muslims came and took Constantinople and Jerusalem, who did they belong to?


So what was the killing and the bloodshed really about?

Land. Income. Politics.


Now, let's apply this historical understanding to modern times. For a moment, stand in the shoes of one of those radical Muslims in the east.

You live in a third world country. Your country has been torn up by war and massacre, and thieves from abroad have picked your land to poverty. Your father and grandfathers are still raw from the oppression of generations of colonial masters. Generations of oppression which divided your people and instilled hatred between you.

And then one wise guy stands up with a black flag and says that they're going to deliver justice.


With what you know and what's in front of you and all the anger that you feel - what would you do, honestly?


We read a lot of fictional stories like the Hunger Games and Divergent - but I think a lot of us fail to compare and cross-reference. Us, we who live in first-world countries, we're Capitol dwellers to those who live in third-world countries. We're in the camp of the brightly-painted oppressors who demand submission of the lives and livelihood of others in different countries.

So let me ask you: Are they “terrorists” or are they “rebels”?

I'm not saying that their reactions are correct or even justified - but if they want to install a different political system of government: that's their choice. It's their country. Egypt voted in the Muslim Brotherhood, but apparently that's not okay. Assad is massacring his own people in Syria, and none of us first-worlders are raising a finger to help.

How can we be surprised with the way things have turned out?


It's not about religion.

It was never about religion.

It's about politics.


Religion is just what motivates soldiers to fight on, something to hide behind, something to hold on to when you have nothing else. Muslims are being ostracised for little more than the fact that the rest of us aren't paying attention. Even some Muslims aren't paying attention - and some of us are paying the price. I've never been openly hated against for my beliefs that I can recall, but some people have suffered. There are even British citizens that got sent to Guantanamo - which, by the way, is supposed to be closed by now. Obama made a promise to close it when he was running for president about... I don't even know how many years ago.


Every story has innumerable sides.


Before you go ahead and judge someone, make sure you've pinned all the sides down - or your judgement will topple one way or another.

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