“Theres a war going on in my city and I’m not too sure if anyone else is noticing that there are people being drafted not knowing that they are fighting on the frontlines. You’ve been sleeping for too long but you have not been dreamless. The sounds of pummeling gunshots have made themselves too much like rain….” -Brave New Voices 2013 Final Round, Grand Slams Final
In listening to this video from Brave New Voices about the problems in Washington DC, I started thinking about my own city. On Monday, the United States of America commemorated nation-wide the service of men and women in the military but we have to extend our commemoration to the thousands and millions of lives that goes unclaimed and un-noticed in our cities and neighborhoods. These lives are the lives that we may hear about through our news’ channels, daily prayer-vigils or local papers, but they go un-noticed. In illustrating this, Renisha McBride, 19 years old, was murdered and laid to rest without her perpetrator being held into account for this horrendous action. There are soldiers dying everyday in our cities and neighborhoods to just stay alive, but many of us are sleeping. Many of us aren’t listening.
In looking at the crime statistics by the Kansas City Missouri Police Department in my city for 2012, I wept. I felt the poem that I watched by the four poets lingering through every part of my body. There was this actualization that this is my city. This is your city. This is all of our cities. However, the statistics are heart-wrenching because I’ve never seen anyone more “disposable than a black boy”. There is a war going on in my area and there’s war happening in these neighborhoods on a daily-basis. So, what do we do? How do we bring these soldiers back home?
According to the 2012 KCPD Statistics for Crimes
71% of victims are: Black Male
12% of victims are: Black Female
15% of victims are: White Male
7% of victims are: White Female
3% of victims are: Hispanic Male
Age of Victims:
0-16 years: 5%
17-24 years: 39%
25-34 years: 34%
35-44 years: 9%
45 and over: 21%
Means of Attack:
These statistics are straightforward and much work is to be done. We must wake up and learn to “stand together”. There must be proactive people like you to end these wars. There are wars happening and you are fighting every day you decide to live.
In the words of the four poets:
“When did it become so easy for them to buy out our silence”
I think this poem is really powerful and much-needed for those women that are broken and needing a smile to cross their face. It is known that women go through alot of things in their daily-lives and sometimes from these experiences they are broken. However, it should be known that these women are indeed essential to the operation of this world and they hold importance in our daily-lives. They are more than “a breeder or a hand-me down or a leg-stand, but she is the backbone of a family and relentless and she never gives up”. This is important to understand as we deal with the women in our lives. Also, “do not romanticize her or write her a love-poem, but she is a poem on the brink of breaking in your eye. She is your queen and you are her king. You are apart of her queendom”. It’s important that we take what Islam has taught and to actually apply it in our lives. Many times we hear the same rhetoric from Muslim-men and women that “Islam liberated the woman,” but what does this mean if women are still being enslaved by backward-ideologies and oppressive regimes? Let’s put what we learn into action. It’s not good enough to take a line out of your pocket and to think it’s going to make everything okay when women are struggling and broken behind these lies that we tell. Yes, Islam liberated the woman but have you? Are you treating other women in a way that is appropriate? Are you dealing with your mother, daughter, niece, and aunt in a way that praises her “queen-ness”? We should remember that the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never laid a finger on a female. He never slapped his wife(s) for not making him dinner. He never took sex from his wife(s) because he felt as if he owned her body. He never prevented his wife(s) from gaining knowledge because he felt that knowledge was only for men. He never told his wife(s) to stay quiet because women should know their opinions aren’t needed.
So, what are we doing? Why are so many women broken? Bloody? Dead? Why are we slaying our fellow sisters across the world? Why aren’t we respecting them? Why are we making them into second-class citizens? What’s your problem? Where’s the teachings of Islam? Islam has never taught you to abuse/sexually assault/violate/ or oppress other woman or the women you interact with on a daily-basis. Remember that we are all one. We are all trying to stay above water, but more importantly that we will all stand before Allah and will be told to “iqra”- to read our book of deeds. So, stop feeling as if you are entitled to break the spirit of a woman. No matter if you are a woman yourself or if you are a man. You have no right to break a person’s spirit because she bleeds the same blood as you and we are all heart-beats and breath breathing.
However, my fellow woman/sister/mother/aunt/niece/grandmother remember that you are more than broken-hearts and broken-spirits but you are powerful. You are experiences lived and gone-through that only you know about. You may be tired, but you are not alone. We are all going through the battles of this world. We are very much real. And our experiences are real. So, remember I am always thinking about you even if the whole world has drugged and drenched you in tears and sweat.
This is a beautiful poem about love. I just love the sensuality of it and it’s realism intertwined with his soul.