It’s a cold Monday morning here in the U.K, my eyes are slowly opening. I’m lying on my bed wondering if there is frost on my car, a Western privilege I’m allowed to have, a Western privilege I take for granted everyday.
I’m calm, I’m not worried, the world has not started spinning backwards, of course, nobody will have given power to a man who has been quoted saying “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me.” Stalin has died, hasn’t he?
I turn on my phone, my usual morning routine. I’m passionate about politics, but I don’t even bother to check the news, I know the lesser of two evils will have been elected – but then, I accidentally stumble onto a news app on my phone; Donald Trump is the new President elect.
Donald Trump is the new President Elect.
Casually scrolling through Facebook I come across an article, the heading is “I’m from Iran, and I’m glad Donald Trump has been elected.” At first a heading that gets me confused. It starts stirring a turbulence I’ve spent all day trying to calm within myself; but with intrigue I make my way through what is in essence a completely truthful article.
“We do not think Trump is any better, but we think a Trump victory would force the USA to admit to what it has become, and would allow other countries around the world to react appropriately now that the cover has been blown.” “Lay bare the racism, lay bare the arrogance, lay bare the lies and the brutalities.”
For a moment I stop. I think. I contemplate. This argument, is something we can no longer defend. Our western human lives have always, and yet still are – deemed as of such stronger significance than any other life.
A year ago last month, I stepped into the soil of the “Calais Jungle.” A name so frivolously coined, that one could be forgiven for believing they were getting ready to sit down and watch a new episode of “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.”
I arrived that night, to the news that a 15 year old boy, a 15 year old boy, had been so desperate to be treated equal; for his life to be seen as significant as any 15 year old boy’s life, that he had attempted to cross into England on the Euro tunnel train lines and he had been split in half, by a train. He’d been split in half by a train.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
So I ask. When you reach up to kiss that person you love, do you believe your skin touches their skin any less softer than another human’s touches their love? When you consider that person you will never see again, that ache you feel in your stomach – do you feel the ache you have, aches in a different manner to any other? When you think of running up to the arms of that adult you adored as a child, being picked up in their arms, do you believe, you would have been more frightened than any other child, to have seen your adult took away bound and gagged by a dictative army? Blood dripping from their head, praying they haven’t found your Mom. If you envisage a child who is only in your thoughts currently, they haven’t even become a life. You’ll see them years in your future. You can imagine them running towards your arms – their face is beaming, they just want to get to you! But then – suddenly; just silence. Silence always follows a deafening sound.
Would your world, heart and soul crack in a different angle, to any other? Would your world split in two, in any other way?
I heard it said to me once, “What if the cure for cancer is inside the mind of a child who cannot afford an education?”
Sometimes this is the only thing I can say to someone to make them realise what happens when you shut off a bigger half of the world that we live in. Suddenly people stop, suddenly, they relate.
I can promise you, my heart breaks, how your heart breaks; my dreams evade me and fulfil me daily just as yours do; I can assure you tears drip down the side of the earth you stand on, with the same pain they do on the side you do not. I can guarantee you, you wish on the same stars at night, that a small child shall be wishing on 12 hours later, when the same sun turns into the same night sky.
I can show you, that if you held a child in your arms, of any beginning, your mind could no longer be led by ignorance or fear. The truth of this life is; every book in history proves to you that the hateful – perish in their own flames, and the loving – “Still Rise”.
I can promise you – that every human, loves exactly the same.
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Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.