A Poem By Firdous Manjoo – 17 years old

War is peace. Tell that to Palestine, as white phosphorus glitters her skies, the bombs disguising themselves as clouds that choke and strangle her people. Tell that to the daughter of Palestine whose screams fill the air at a checkpoint, with Israeli soldiers looking between her legs. Tell that to the mothers of Palestine, who birthed their children too on Palestinian soil, back when the olive branches were their protectors, and yet they are told that soil was never theirs. That very soil is now drenched in blood, the blood of the children of Palestine. Blood that was only spilt because of the system.

War is peace. Tell that to Syria, whose children spoke the language of the earth, the language of the soil that fed them. When the war started even the rivers ran away, the trees cowered in fear and the soil, well the earth no longer spoke as there is none left to speak to it. The oppressors don’t speak the language of the earth, and where the children of Syria felt the earth beneath their palms, the tyrants destroy in their greed. Syria stopped growing, for blood can never make crops grow. She now spends her time counting. Counting the bodies then losing count. Bodies that pile up only because of the system.

War is peace. Tell that to the women who are fighting an invisible war, with invisible scars. What was she wearing? Who was she with? Was she drunk?  Was she high? What time was it? Where was she? She was asking for it. She was too young to know why it hurt between her thighs, but she knew she must lie. She knew to be silent. She was told it was her fault. She was a slave. A slave to a system, a system that brainwashed her into thinking that it was her fault, that she shouldn’t have been ‘asking for it’. A sick and twisted system defies humanity.

Freedom is slavery. Tell that to the black man. Slavery was abolished 155 years ago and yet… don’t give them an excuse to shoot. Don’t resist. Stay calm. Answer all questions. Don’t look in the wrong direction. Keep your eyes on the ground. The same ground that you’ll be buried in regardless of whether you adhere to these rules or not. The black burden has always been heavy and not a single thing has changed. ‘Freedom’ is indeed slavery, for I’m not sure it was ever freedom at all. It was nothing but systematically ‘erasing’ history and trying to silence the people.

Freedom is slavery. Tell that to the ‘oppressed terrorists’. Terrorists that you’ve painted with a brush called generalization and coloured in with discrimination and filled in the finer details with your Islamophobia. Freedom of religion and feminism yet I am told what should liberate me. Being stopped by airport security every single time or having my hijab ripped off makes me a violent terrorist. The word ‘Islam’ means submission and peace. But the system wouldn’t allow you to know that, now would they?

Ignorance is strength. Indeed, it is. Ignorance gives strength to the system. Ignorance and our lack of humanity. We have blood on our hands, all of us do. Have we no humanity left? Do we not have it in us to fight? Or will we let the system silence us too? Will we allow for it to continue to lie, and murder, and rape our people?

War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength. Fuck the system.


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