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Resistance

As part of the project we have made two short films with people who have been criminalised under the rubric of counterterrorism interventions, and refused citizenship or had their passport cancelled and/or children taken into care as a result. These films, titled ‘The eyes of Aliyah’  and ‘Aaden and the Spider’, give voice to our research participants. Please watch and share!

The Eyes of Aliyah

Aaden and the Spiders

Eyes of Aliyah (with French subtitles)

Aaden and the Spiders (with French subtitles)

Racism, Rights, Resistance

As part of our poetry event in York we asked four poets to respond to the themes of our project. Here is Hodan Yusuf’s poem that she wrote especially for the event and kindly shared with us. 

* This poem is the copyright of Hodan Yusuf and cannot be reprinted without the permission of the author*

Racism Rights Resistance

================

Fellow Travellers

================

Frantz Fanon

Wrote the canon

On why you and I

Are excluded

 

So, let’s not be deluded

Me and you

It’s our hue

And our creed

By which we are judged

Not our deeds

 

Racism

Rights

Resistance

 

My Race

My Rights

And Resistance

 

Resistance

Against those

Arresting my Rights

Because of my Race?

 

This Face?

This Dress?

This belief?

 

God.

I’m in disbelief!

 

Racism

Rights

Resistance

 

 

The race

To provide

Assistance

 

To those whose

Rights

Are withheld

Facing Resistance

Because of their Race

 

Exclusion

Walls

Borders

 

Wealth hoarders

Barking orders

“Stay away!

Stay in your dinghy

Your thingy

Your boat

In this moat

Pulling up the drawbridge

Drown

We don’t care

Just stay THERE !”

 

But

I’ll resist

Their projectile death wish

In the words James Baldwin

And my brother Dean Atta

“I’m nobody’s nigger” either

And

I’m nobody’s terrorist

None’s Ninja Paki

Black Iraqi

I’m no Pirate Somali Skinny

I’m nobody’s un-endearing

Overused

Terms of abuse

I refuse.

 

I REFUSE

Resistance

 

Did you build a fence to keep

ME out?

Did NATO just declare WAR

On me

In my dinghy?

Destitute and afraid?

 

Did you fill your column inches with

Unabating hate?

Did you give up

on fostering discussion

Where we can maybe relate?

 

If you believe in God

who made Adam

Then I am the daughter of Eve

And if you believe in Darwin

Well I guess you evolved

from Eve.

 

Either way

The only real race

Is the human one

The rest are

just

constructs of division

 

Contemplate that

for just one moment

Envision

 

========

Tired

========

I am tired

of speaking to you

and humanising myself

to you

 

Reminding you

daily

that

I am your human sister

 

That my blood is red

too

My children are born from

Wombs

too

That they emerge

Naked and helpless

too

And they cry

for the first time

a lungful of a shared

air

too

 

I am tired of reminding you

that I have a father

Too

who looked after me

and took me to school

 

And I have a mother

who raised me

combed my hair

cooked the best food

too

 

I am tired of telling you

I have siblings

That I played ball with

Nurtured pets

with

And

rode bikes with

Too

 

I’m tired of telling you

Just how tired I am

And

Just how bad the place

we left

was

and still

Is.

 

I’m tired of

running

 

I’m tired of

fleeing

 

I’m tired of the

dehumanising

Racism

and the

Desecration of

My Rights

 

==========================

Take a Seat

==========================

 

And

Listen.

Hello, I don’t believe we’ve met before.

But I have something

very important to tell you.

I am your sister

 

I am

Your

Human

Sister

 

My skin may be

A different hue

But when I’m cut

I bleed like you

Don’t make show you

 

When I burn

My skin

Despite its melanin

it singes just like yours

Don’t  make me show you

 

Now

I’m not so sure

If you are

Human

At all

When you shoot

At me

As I flee

From those

shooting

At me

 

Who is playing a game

Of blaming?

Not me?

 

This is CRAZY

And mad

And

Real

Deadly.

 

Those images you see

On your television screens

Are not cartoons of animation

When barrel bombs and

Drones

Decimate our hospitals

Schools

Streets

Towns

Those are not illusions

 

When you hear our people

Scream

They are not actors

Pretending for the screen

 

The abject horrors

Are Crazy    and Mad

And Real

Deadly.

=========

Roll Call

=========

The uncivilised

Then colonised

Those oppressed

So repressed

Poor victims

They’re terrorists

A bunch of migrants

Swarms

Shoot them

Stop them

Hate them

 

If you don’t know my name

Don’t baptise me with yours

If you don’t know my worth

Don’t make me ingratiate

My noble self

As [your] serf

 

If you don’t know my name

Learn it

Before you speak it.

 

It’s on my birth certificate

I am your human sister.

 

=============

See the Sea

=============

 

I used to paint the sea

when I was a child in school

 

With rich colours of pastel blues

Turquoise shades

 

Golden sand dunes

and yellow suns

 

Distant Black birds

Like little letters v’s on the horizons

 

That was before

the Bombs

and

the Bloodshed

Before a time

When family sat around tables for dinner

Laughing as they fed

 

When blankets were used

To keep us warm at night

Instead of body bags

To wrap up our dead

 

The sea is not so pretty

And Serene

I found

When you are cold

And sick

When you’ve thrown

Everything you owned

 

Well, what was left of it

Overboard

 

Not so pretty

or calm

When you’ve witness

Every kind of wrong

And you’ve had to give your

fellow travellers

a burial at sea

 

Men overboard!

Women overboard!

Babies overboard!

 

 

I used to love the seaside

Now

 

I just want to be landlocked

And safe.

 

Safe from drowning

Safe from bombs.

Safe from rape

Safe from wrongs

Safe from hunger

Safe from snipers.

 

Safe from…safe from.

 

Safe from injustice

Safe from abuse

Safe from insults.

Safe from racism

 

Safe from… safe from.

 

Before you call me

An illegal immigrant

Refugee migrant

Crisis causing

undocumented person

Remember

I am a human being

 

And the troubles I flee from

Have their roots

In YOUR corridors of power

Now

Cometh the hour

 

I’m your human sister

And you can’t choose family

So deal

with Racism

And my Rights

And the Resistance

 

=========

I Made It

=========

I made it

With or without your help

I made it

To safety.

 

I made it.

With God’s Help I made it

I rested my bones

And made myself a new home

Furnished

With Memories

 

Some make me weep

Others lighten my load

And make me smile

Reminding me of

Times gone by

 

I’ve met good people

Conscientious

Folk

Who concerned themselves

With my Rights

And Resistance

Worked for the greater good

And

Understood

The Race we shared

Was Human

And God showed me

Mercy through them

 

I had more children

And met new

Challenges

 

I made new friends

Who had a similar story

Perilous journey

Lost loves

And

Lost lives

High costs

But at

What price?

 

Unmarked graves

Of Fallen men

And fallen women

Babes in arms

And Exhausted children

 

If they

Cannot speak

From six feet under

Those of us who made it

Will shout over this hateful thunder

 

Enough

Severed ties

And

Broken bonds

Men in grey suits

with

Selective souls

“Smugglers and routes

Migrant Crisis

And

ISIS”

Broken records

And mantras

While we sleep

With the fishes

 

Somebody tell me what this is?

 

Enough

Human debris

Washing up

On the Beaches

 

Is that how low

Our reach is?

 

We Will speak

For those whose

Deaths haunt us

 

We will live

And we will thrive

We’ve come too far

To not survive

 

The Human Race

Is One

 

And

The Rights you afford yourselves

 

Must be Won

For All

 

But until

Then

Insistence on

…Resistance

 

-Hodan Yusuf