History Historical Badasses

Meet Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, one of Nigeria’s badass suffragettes

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*Cue boxing announcer’s voice* In this corner, fighting against colonialism and the patriarchy, all the way from Abeokuta, Nigeria, give it up for Bere, the Lioness of Lisabi, women’s rights activist, Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti!

You’re probably thinking that was pretty extra for an introduction. But trust me, this woman deserves it. Ransome-Kuti is often known for being the mother of the famous Afrobeats musician and activist, Fela Anikulakpo-Kuti. But as the first Nigerian woman to drive a car, a fierce educator and women’s rights activist, Fumilayo Ransome-Kuti is a legend in her own right.

Before (and after) becoming a mother, Ransome-Kuti achieved a lot. Born in Abeokuta as Frances Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas in 1900, she was the daughter of a chief and dressmaker. Frances’ parents believed in the power of education, so she was one of the first girls to attend Abeokuta Grammar School. Afterwards, Frances attended Wincham Hall School for Girls, a finishing school in Chesire England. When she returned, she dropped both English names and began using her shortened Yoruba name, Funmilayo.

Now a name change probably seems pretty minor, but it was the first sign of her anticolonial stance.

[Image description: Shuri, a young woman, looking up and saying “Don’t scare me like that, colonizer!”] via GIPHY 

Let me hit you with a bit of context real quick. During the year of Funmilayo’s birth, Abeokuta and its surrounding area formally entered Britain’s rule as the “Southern Nigeria Protectorate.” Here’s the thing: the transition to British governing systems had a big impact on gender dynamics. Before that, most Yoruba kingdoms had traditional forms of government, which included a system that had both men and women-led governing bodies. Once British rule started, those traditional forms ceased, taking with it political positions for women. The British sexist beliefs meant that women scarcely held government positions, and they brought these ideals to Abeokuta. Like Ransome-Kuti herself said during her work as a political activist, “We had equality before the British came.”

So there you have it. British rule began, and women’s leadership ended.

After her short stint in Britain, in 1925 Funmilayo married Isreal Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, a fellow educator (did somebody say #couplegoals?). They had four children: Dolupo, Olikoye, Fela, and Beko. Funmilayo quit her teaching job, but she didn’t become a stay-at-home mother. In 1932, she helped establish the Abeokuta Ladies’ Club (ALC). If you’re wondering if that’s as pretentious as it sounds, you’re correct! The club was mainly for Western-educated, middle-class women, and they mostly convened around sewing, motherhood, charity, and social etiquette. However, by the mid-1940s, after helping an illiterate friend learn to read, Funmilayo realized something:

“The true position of Nigerian women had to be judged from the women who carried babies on their back and farmed from sunrise to sunset, not women who used tea, sugar and flour for breakfast.”

As the ALC became more feminist and political, Funmilayo saw that the women’s movement could not succeed without the majority of women. So in 1944, the ALC changed its name to the Abeokuta Women’s Union (AWU), with Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti as its first president. Next up? A cultural glow-up. To make the union more inclusive, the union adopted Yoruba as the language of conversation and dressed in Yoruba attire.

One of the AWU’s first movements took things to the market. As a result of World War II, women were in a particularly precarious position. As a British colony, Nigeria also suffered economic consequences, and women suddenly found themselves having to contend with food quotas and price controls from the colonial administration and extortion from local authorities, who frequently confiscated their rice. So the women’s union took action, in an Instagram-live worthy showdown which Fela (her son), described, saying:

“These women went straight to see the District Officer of Abeokuta who was a young white boy. The District Officer must have said something in a disdainful voice, like: ’Go on back home.’ To which my mother exploded: ’You bastard, rude little rat…!’[–]Imagine insulting the highest motherfucking representative of the British imperial crown in Abeokuta, Ohhhhhhhh, man! I was proud.”

Mrs. Ransome-Kuti wasn’t here to play, thank you very much.

Another major accomplishment the AWU achieved under Ransome-Kuti’s presidency was in 1947, when they fought against sexist tax laws. The colonial government paid the Alake (traditional leader) of Abeokuta to enforce a tax that charged women more than men. Sadly for him, the AWU was having none of it.

In November 1947, Ransome-Kuti led thousands of women to the Alake’s palace, singing and dancing in protest. They demanded an end to the taxation, and also used petitions and letters to argue their case. Tensions continued to escalate until 1948, when the women’s efforts led to the suspension of the tax on women. Funmilayo’s efforts in the revolt earned her the nickname “Lioness of Lisabi”. The AWU’s efforts also led to the temporary abdication of the Alake in 1949.

After those successes, Funmilayo-Ransome Kuti continued to work with the AWU and even dabbled in national politics. She traveled nationally and internationally, spreading the word about women’s rights for years, until her untimely death in 1978.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s decision to include the market women in her movement is a strong reminder of the importance of an inclusive approach to gender equality: one that acknowledges intersectionality. By recognizing that progress could not be won through elitist means, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti inspired an entire generation to fight for a more equitable future.

In conclusion, we have no choice but to stan.

[Image description: Michelle Obama clapping] via GIPHY

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Activism The World Inequality

Your activism in SWANA countries cannot start and end with Palestine

Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of my white, non-Middle Eastern friends posting about Palestine and Yemen on social media. Some of the content has been about protesting recent annexations in Palestine, or the Israeli government. Others are about the famine in Yemen, though with very little political context. This is a good start, but honestly, I wish these allies would step up their game. Activism for SWANA people does not start or end with Palestine and Yemen.

I think it’s great that people are protesting imperialism by the Israeli government. However, I never see any of these people standing up for other colonized or oppressed groups in the Middle East. How many of you are standing up for the Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Yazidi, or the Druze? Listen, as a Middle-Eastern person, I get that the intricacies of ethnicity in the Middle East can be complicated. Still, there’s no excuse to not stand up for these minority groups. All of them are fighting for human rights, dignity, and autonomy. Do their struggles not matter as well? Or are their struggles just not as popular? 

I’ve seen few posts about the media crackdown in Iran or the financial crisis in Lebanon – that is at least until the Beirut explosion opened people’s eyes to what’s happening in the country. Is it because these issues don’t seem as clear cut? Because it’s harder to project a white savior complex onto them? I’m not so sure.

But I do know that white Americans prefer to center conflicts where they can be the saviour.

Part of me thinks that white allies aren’t willing to speak out on these issues because there’s no media coverage. Another part of me thinks it’s because white allies don’t understand them. When it comes to issues of oppression and imperialism, white Americans have trouble seeing things outside of a Western context.

Race, ethnicity, and religion function in different and complex ways in South West Asia, and so you can’t project Western notions of oppression onto the Middle East. Often, people of the same race or religion oppress each other. It’s easier for white allies to understand Israel and Palestine, in which they are seeing white, Jewish, colonizers versus brown, Muslim, indigenous people. They don’t bother to look at the multitudes more nuanced examples of oppression.

For example, the Kurds, a majority Muslim ethnicity, face repression and violence from the Turkish government. They are often made up of Turks, who are also from a majority Muslim ethnicity. Just because they are both Muslim and appear to be the same ethnicity to Western eyes, doesn’t mean that oppression can’t function in this way. In Palestine, right now, a government made up of Jewish people is oppressive. Still, in most other countries in the area, Jewish people, specifically indigenous Mizrahi or Sephardic Jews, are oppressed by majority ethnic groups.

I’d ask white Western allies to examine why they only pay attention to certain issues. It’s great if you’re passionate about these causes, but consider why you only care about the ones that are trending.

It’s also important for white Westerns to not hold double standards for South West Asian countries. Go ahead and criticize the imperialism and ethno-nationalism present in the Israeli government. It’s justified. But don’t you dare ignore the settler colonialism that created countries such as America, South Africa, Australia, or the ethno-nationalism responsible for the formation of almost every European country.

Speak out for the treatment of ethnic minorities in Turkey, by all means. But you still must ask yourself how your own country treats ethnic minorities as well. If you’re upset over the media crackdown in Iran, make sure you also criticize secret police arrests in Portland.

Many white Western allies are making an effort, but they need to do better. I understand that Middle Eastern politics can be confusing, but it’s not helpful to anyone to reduce these issues to a singular “endless war” that only Westerners can solve. Palestine and Yemen are great starting points, but we need more consistent allyship. I want to see white Western allies show up even when it’s not trendy.

So stand with us even when you don’t hear about it in the news, even when you don’t gain “woke pains,” and even when it’s complex and not easy to understand. If you’re a real ally, it shouldn’t be an issue.


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Why the curse of Columbus Day lingers onto Native American Heritage month

Columbus Day celebrated on the 12th of October, juxtaposed with Native American heritage month in November, which goes by in relative obscurity could be one of the greatest contradictions on the American National Calendar. While the latter is an important homage to the earliest residents of the continent, it is not possible to celebrate Columbus Day without disrespecting indigenous people. How can one glorify a cruel, tyrannical invader and its victims within the span of a single month?

The very context of Columbus Day is rooted in a whitewashed elementary school history lesson: 0n the 12th of October 1494, Christopher Columbus discovered the uninhabited Americas and brought with him on his three iconic ships (Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria) democracy, Christianity and civilization. And in doing so, proved that the earth was spherical.

There’s a lot to unpack and unlearn here: for starters, the Eurocentric historical lens and one of the greatest misnomers ever used, the word “discovery” so frequently associated with Columbus. Most of these claims have been debunked by history itself: Columbus never set foot in North America, and the idea of the earth being round was a prevalent theory at the time. And according to Oren Lyons, traditional chief of the Onondaga Nation, what Columbus brought on his ships were actually “Two edicts, the papal bull of 1452, which said to enslave all Saracens and pagans, and the papal bull of 1493, which said to bring in all pagan nations and peoples to the Christian faith and their property. And that’s been done.”

In fact, recent historical findings reveal that he was not even the first European to set foot in the Western hemisphere nor was he the first to establish a settlement there. Earlier Vikings had already achieved this feat. But myths die hard. Columbus’ voyage simply inaugurated transatlantic colonization and the subsequent American Indian genocide. A recent article by Penn Today highlights that “there were between 5 million and 15 million Indigenous people living in North America in 1492. By the late 1800s, there were fewer than 238,000 left.”

He viewed the native populations as obstacles, and eventually exploited them as forced labor to collect gold. He plundered and looted, enslaved, and raped women. He mutilated the body parts of those who objected to his coercion. And he recorded all this in his diaries, which he eventually presented to the Spanish royalty, that was funding his chartered mission. Here is one such existing excerpt, which declares his intentions of enslaving indigenous people:

“They willingly traded everything they owned … They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features …They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron …They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

So why does Columbus still merit a federal holiday in his name? Whether one considers him as an innocent product of his time, simply talking the language of colonialism, or as the vindictive tyrant of the Caribbean that committed countless atrocities against humanity, to memorialize him is to perpetuate his legacy of oppression.

And while we’re on the topic, let’s also remember how holidays such as Thanksgiving are equally culpable of the erasure of Native American history due to their capitalistic appropriations. Over time this holiday that stemmed from an indigenous ceremony celebrating the generosity of the Wampanoag tribe, has evolved into a feast of Turkeys. And the following day to be celebrated as Native American Heritage day has come to acquire the popular title of “Black Friday”: an excuse to shop. Thanksgiving as we know it naively commemorates the arrival of settlers without addressing the repercussions of the phenomenon: years of oppression and genocide.

[Image Description: Members of the Mexica Movement protest against Columbus Day in downtown Los Angeles, California, in 2015.] via Reuters
Today, about 13 states have renamed Columbus Day to some variant of “Indigenous people day.” In the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, anti-racist protests made many statues and monuments of slave owners come crashing to the ground. Amidst these were statues of romanticized conquistadors including Columbus, removed by the American Indian Movement. Taking down monuments that represent genocide and slavery is not vandalism. It is a symbolic act of throwing wrongful “historical heroes” off their pedestals.

[Image Description: A statue of Christopher Columbus toppled from its stand in June on the east side of the Minnesota State Capitol.] via Darren Thompson, Native News Online
The next step? The carefully sanitized version of history must be replaced by an adequate representation of Native voices. After all, “history not taught is history forgot”.


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History Education

It is high time Shakespeare is written off as a relic of the past

“She hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiope’s ear” one of my high school students, playing Romeo read out. 

“Miss, isn’t that racist? Referring to the color of someone’s skin and making a metaphor out of it?” Interrupted another student. 

“Well, any piece of literature is a product of its time. And racist sentiments were very common during the colonial era.” I snapped back, partly embarrassed at my shallow save. 

“But if it’s so outdated, why are we still studying it over 300 years later?” He responded.

And there it was. The ultimate question, to which I really had no answer. My Generation Z students somehow had more political correctness than the board which set the curriculum. In light of all our Anglomania as a post-colonial society, Shakespeare continues to dominate most secondary school curriculums. And somehow, as educators, we must salvage some of this “great” playwright’s legacy, by defending his racism and sexism, which can be extremely offensive to modern-day sensibilities. 

Flipping through the pages of The Merchant of Venice, the depiction of Shylock as a stone-hearted usurer is disconcerting. Shakespeare picks up on the stereotype of Jews as being greedy and practically villainizes the entire Jewish community of the time by pitting it against Bassanio and Portia’s love story. 

Race and morality appear inextricably linked in Shakespeare’s works. Portia, when discussing her prospective suitors, claims that “If he have the complexion of a devil, I had rather he should shrive me than wive me.” As Portia is presented with the proposal of a Moroccan, she immediately turns it down on the basis of his skin tone. The idea of one’s skin color as an indication of their moral aptitude was what British colonialists thrived upon. This is precisely what allowed them to spread “enlightenment” and Christianity in the “dark continent” of Africa. 

This absurd idea is taken further in Othello. The character of Othello, himself, described as ‘the dark moor’, with ‘thick lips’ is said to resemble ‘the devil’, simply because of his complexion. 

Attribution: [Image Description: Laurence Fishburne in the title role of Othello, with Kenneth Branagh (right) as Iago, 1995.] via Castle Rock Entertainment
As you read through work after work, it becomes apparent that this is no coincidence. This is Shakespeare’s world view: devoid of diversity and nuance. It is one that exalts white Christian men and creates savages and murderous brutes out of people of color. 

If Shakespeare’s internalized racial prejudice is bothering you, wait till we talk about the blatant sexism in his works. Hamlet famously claimed: “Frailty thy name is a woman.” I remember while studying Hamlet in my sophomore year of college, many were very outraged by this statement. How can you read and respect a writer who basically undermines the intelligence of your entire gender? But then I also remember when a question was raised about his not so subtle sexism, our professor wrote it off as being Hamlet’s words and not Shakespeare’s. We must not conflate the two, we were told. 

But if it was just Hamlet who thinks of women as the epitome of weakness, why is it that this theme of fragile and hysterical women appears in many more of his works? In Macbeth, for instance, an otherwise ambitious man is led astray by his wife’s greed. Shakespeare continually emphasizes the superior moral ground of his own heroes. They are moral compasses for the women in their lives. It is as if he was trying to say: women, by their very nature, are fallible and when they transgress, they must be punished. Such is the case for Taming of the Shrew which basically glorifies domestic violence.  

Living in a society where people are still recovering from a post-colonial complex, Shakespeare is not just a playwright or an artist. He is deified into a god-like figure. He is an institution, a larger than life phenomenon. He is considered as the epitome of civilization, intellectual prowess, and spiritual superiority. At least, this is how he was institutionalized by the former colonizers in order to dominate their subjects. 

Today, Shakespeare is celebrated for his supposed universality. But how can we call him universal when, in fact, most of his writing, much like other Western Canonical texts, is about royalty and the aristocracy? He only ever wrote about higher mortals. And when these grand, inaccessible tales are told to us, we take it all unflinchingly, without a grain of salt. We don’t question it because it is not relatable.

Our own sense of inferiority prevents us from ever probing how problematic it really is. 

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USA History The World

This Independence Day we must remember the harrowing history behind Mount Rushmore

Yesterday was the 4th of July. A day known around the world as signifying the day that the USA became independent from Britain back in 1776. That is, for white people at least. What came after this so-called independence was a number of treaties with Native American tribes in order to implement ‘Manifest Destiny’; a rouse to further colonize and destroy the Indigenous population in the states.

Treaties such as the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 recognized the Indigenous people’s right over the land and the areas in which the white man could enter or live in and which they could not. Unsurprisingly though, many of the treaties made with indigenous peoples were quickly ignored and broken. When Native Americans took actions and resisted the mistreatment of such treaties, they were decimated. As a result, reservations were created to further isolate these people from mainstream American society. These spaces are known among the community as Prisoner of War camps with infertile lands and poisoned water supplies.

A turning point in Indigenous history is the massacre of Wounded Knee in December of 1890.  Here men, women, and children were slaughtered for preforming a Ghost Dance meant to rid them of the settlers, who had up until this point not only massacred and raped their people but also brought contagious illnesses with them and ruined their land. In United States history, no ‘battle’ has since received more congressional medals for bravery than was awarded to the soldiers who committed the massacre of Wounded Knee.

Another major part of the Fort Laramie Treaty was the ownership of the Black Hills, commonly known for the part of it that is now called ‘Mount Rushmore.’ As per this treaty, the United States recognized all of the Black Hills as part of the Great Sioux Reservation, set aside for exclusive use by the Sioux people. The Black Hills are therefore sacred to the Sioux People, considered to be the womb of Mother Earth and the location of ceremonies, vision quests, and burials. At first, the settlers really did accept that the Black Hills belonged to the Sioux nation, primarily the Lakota People.  However, with the discovery of gold the Fort Laramie Treaty was basically thrown out the window. Subsequently, the Lakota people were then threatened and bullied into selling their share of the Black Hills, but, of course, they did not sell their sacred land. A new treaty was enacted in 1877 in which only 10% of the Lakota men signed out of fear that their family would not be able to have food. It’s important to recognize that during this time, the US government was actively caging in many Indigenous populations across the US plains, keeping them away from fertile hunting grounds. And, as a result, enacting further oppressive measures or hardships onto the native population – in a sense stealing the rug from right under their feet –  which is an unfortunate theme that we see throughout all of US history.

Almost immediately after finding gold there the Black Hills were butchered with the faces of the men who had actively committed and awarded acts of genocide and pillage against the native population; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson. Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. This was met with condemnation from the Lakota Nation as a sacrilege to their sacred site.

Fast forward to 2020, US President Donald Trump is due to go to the Black Hills in order to celebrate Independence Day. As a part of this event, fireworks were to be set off, sparking fears of potentially destroying the natural wildlife and causing fires in the area as its dry climate is prone to wildfires. These concerns were met with protests and sit-ins by Indigenous Peoples, who were incidentally met with a violent response. Tear Gas was used on peaceful protestors and numerous arrests took place in an effort to ensure ‘the safety of the people’ attending the Presidents event. Yet, no one at the event was even required to wear masks or practice social distancing – so, who are they really trying to protect? What are their priorities? Let it also be known that Trump has delayed proper Covid-19 support for many Native populations, including the Lakota nation, which still has rising infection rates.

On a day of ‘independence’ it is important to recognize who this land belongs to, first and foremost. I am not a Native American but a 1st generation immigrant living in Britain with parents from India and Pakistan. Our resources were taken, but in the USA and Canada, resources are still being extracted and their lands are still being used for capitalistic gain. Every single day. Certain memorials, and Indigenous cultures in general, are disrespected, objectified, and commodified in this country. So take today tp read up on the history of the Lakota Nation, educate yourself, and, if you can, donate to the bail fund.

Donate to the bail fund here.


Editor's Picks Race Inequality

South Asians have been guilty of anti-Blackness for so long – it’s time we question our own selves

In late May, the nation erupted in protest as every state in the country and countries around the world opposed the brutal murder of George Floyd and the system that enabled it to happen.

While many celebrities have been beacons of hope, others have exposed themselves as performative allies, jumping on the racial justice bandwagon only when it became trendy and convenient for them. As an Indian immigrant, I am particularly disturbed by the hypocrisy in the responses to Floyd’s death from my South Asian friends and Indian celebrities.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, for instance, a Bollywood and Hollywood actor, posted on her Instagram in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Later her husband, Nick Jonas, tweeted out that they both were distressed by the events and had donated significantly to the ACLU. On the surface, the actor’s post was nothing more than a generous post from a prominent figure.

However, if we delve into Chopra Jonas’s history, an unmistakable pattern of ignorance and discrimination emerges: Chopra Jonas has always supported the far-right Modi government, which is directly tied to racist, casteist, and Islamophobic violence. In addition to being complicit in this oppressive regime, Chopra Jonas openly praised the Indian Army in a tweet that came right after the Indian government ordered a retaliatory airstrike against Pakistan.

In 2019, a Pakistani-American beauty influencer, Ayesha Malik, confronted Chopra Jonas about the ignorance of her tweet at Beautycon. Chopra Jonas belittled Malik, implying she was “venting” (and thus playing into the trope of the hysterical woman) and saying “Girl, don’t yell at me.” All this happened as guards seized the microphone from Malik and dragged her away. It’s also worth noting that Chopra Jonas is no ordinary celebrity. She’s a UNICEF ambassador. Someone who is supposedly supposed to advocate for justice everywhere, not just when it benefits them.

Colorism has long been ingrained in South Asian society, leading to overt discrimination against darker-skinned individuals

Chopra Jonas’s statements do not exist in a vacuum. Rather they are indicative of a much larger issue of systemic discrimination in South Asian communities. For example, fairness creams are an incredibly lucrative business that exploits and weaponizes India’s obsession with fairness. Chopra-Jonas is just one of several South Asian celebrities who have endorsed fairness creams and in doing so, perpetuated racist and colorist standards. Others include Sonam Kapoor, Disha Patani, and Deepika Padukone.

As a child, family members would tell me not to play in the sun, to take exceptionally good care of my skin. All these messages reinforced to me that, ultimately, fair was lovely; dark was ugly. My experience is not isolated.

Colorism has long been ingrained in South Asian society, leading to overt discrimination against darker-skinned individuals. Tarun Vijay, a politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, once claimed that Indians can’t be racist because they’ve lived with South Indians for so long. South Indians are often darker-skinned than many North Indians. All this to say, South Asians are obsessed with color, infatuated with light skin, set upon pedestalizing and aspiring to whiteness.

South Asians in the US largely subscribe to the model minority myth, a uniquely manipulative tool of white supremacy.

This aspiration towards whiteness goes further than just skin-deep fairness creams. South Asians in the US largely subscribe to the model minority myth, a uniquely manipulative tool of white supremacy. The model minority myth depicts Asian Americans as hard-working, intelligent, and highly productive members of society — and, most sinisterly, pits them against Black people, who the myth portrays as the opposite. Neither of these images is true, and falsely present both Asian and Black Americans as monolithic groups. The truth about the model minority myth is that it is solely a tool of white capitalism intended to blame the oppression of Black people on their own ostensible shortcomings (the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” fallacy that ignores systemic racism and institutional oppression) while ignoring the root of their disadvantages.

Of course, this all happens as the South Asian community continues to exploit Black culture for our own entertainment. Young South Asians are avid consumers of Black music and culture. South Asian figures such as Lilly Singh routinely exploit Blackness for their own profit.

Clearly, I’m not saying don’t listen to or support Black artists (far from it!). But I am saying that the pattern of appropriating Blackness while simultaneously endorsing explicitly anti-Black ideologies is a prime example of both racism and hypocrisy. We can’t love Black culture and oppress Black people at the same time.

We can’t love Black culture and oppress Black people at the same time.

While discussing the issue of anti-Blackness in South Asian communities with others, dangerous rhetoric about the merits of the model minority myth and disturbing colorist remarks have shown up, which raises an important question. How can one be pro-Black and pro-Black Lives Matter while also maintaining these inherently anti-Black ideas? Oftentimes South Asians are unaware of their own internal biases. We’ve been raised in a community that values colonial standards of whiteness so greatly that they’ve become normalized to us. We may say, do, or think things that explicitly go against our supposed beliefs.

Anti-racist advocacy starts with you. It starts with actively decolonizing your mind so that you can truly believe what you endorse. It’s impossible to be a true ally to the Black Lives Matter movement while also maintaining problematic standards.

When I say that we must examine our own internal biases, I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t openly voice solidarity. I wholly believe that right now we should be doing everything to amplify Black voices. But you cannot truly support Black communities while endorsing colorist, casteist views. You cannot endorse change without condemning systems that have explicitly oppressed Black communities.

Before we can decolonize our systems and institutions, we must decolonize our minds.

To all South Asians who have yet to acknowledge and address their own anti-Black biases yet continue to post on social media in support of Black people: before preaching to others, focus on yourself. You cannot support casteism, colorism, Islamophobia, or perpetuate the exploitation of Black culture and be anti-racist. Education and understanding how your own biases have shaped your view of the and your treatment of others.

Advocacy starts at home. With you, your loved ones, and your community at large. And before we can decolonize our systems and institutions, we must decolonize our minds.

Race Inequality

Racism exists in the U.K. even if you’ve decided to ignore it

It’s been a week since the murder of George Floyd in the United States which has sent shock waves across the world. But, what this incident has revealed most to me is that while racism in the police force is glaringly obvious, complicit racism in communities of nearly every race across the globe is just as putrid and transparent. 

In the last week we have seen a storm start to brew both physically and virtually. People have taken to the streets to protest against police brutality in a country that refuses to hear the voice of the minority. Similarly, on social media, people all over the world have come forward in a display of solidarity to support protestors any way they could. 

A disclaimer is important here: I’m not American nor am I Black. I’m Asian and I’ve lived in the United Kingdom almost my whole life. Racism has always been here, too, but people have elected to be oblivious to it. Their ignorance doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. It just means that it is easier to ignore if you are not directly affected by it rather than attempting to destabilize the inherent racial structures that have existed in the West since the imperial and colonial period. Racism in the U.S., however, has always been more obvious than it is in the U.K., and with apparently a lot more violence. 

Looking back through history, though, we can see that racism stems from Great Britain, and more specifically England. Much of this is rooted in the Transatlantic Slave Trade which began in the 16th century and lasted up until the 19th. Men, women, and children were taken from the African continent to the Americas. In fact, this trade was so prevalent that the Gulf of Guinea was named ‘the Slave coast’ for some time. To this day, cities that prospered on slave ports such as Bristol, Liverpool, London, and Lancaster still name streets after powerful slave traders. Their lack of accountability is very real and very clear. Take Lancaster, for example, which has a maritime museum full of artifacts, meanwhile its role as the fourth largest slave port in the U.K. is barely mentioned, if at all.

Even though slavery was outlawed in 1856, it bred a new, heinous, and often overlooked form of racism. So, yes, legally the Black community in the U.K. has equal freedoms, but reality is the complete opposite. It was not until the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 that the nation realized how deeply entrenched racism is. Stephen was waiting for a bus when he was approached by a group of white lads who stabbed him to death. It took 18 years and an independent inquiry into the police for his mother to get the justice she had been fighting for. Even now, in 2020, some of his killers have yet to be punished.

Still, the biggest issue in the U.K., to me, is that our racism isn’t as direct as it is in the States. Instead, microaggressions are used so that people know they aren’t welcome. This, coupled with an education that glorifies the British Empire and pretends that racism only took place centuries ago by evil people, means that Britain has effectively turned a blind eye to its deep-rooted racist issues. Like every state we have a political left and a political right, but this line has become blurred in recent years. On the right, you have the Conservative party, which is our current party in government. On the left, you have the Labour Party, the supposed party for the people. However, members of the Labour Party are nothing but complicit in racism. The last Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, was a polarizing figure to say the least. Many of his policies were extremely far left and he challenged most of the centrist policies brought in by Tony Blair. As a result, during the 2019 election, many moderate voters refused to vote for the Labour Party and so, we lost key seats.

The consequence of this is our current racist Prime Minister who once referred to Black people as having ‘watermelon smiles’. He also wrote in a Far-right magazine, The Spectator, that the problem with the African continent isn’t that Britain was in charge, it’s that we aren’t anymore. Even now, on social media, members of the Labour Party are silent. But why? Because it does not work to their political advantage to speak out. It’s an issue that will never affect them nor will the Black community ever be the biggest donors to the Labour Party. So, racism is constantly disregarded as a non-issue.

It’s worth mentioning that, for the most part, when I say members I mean University students. I studied with a lot of these people, some were even my friends, and to say that I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I saw them turn out against ‘antisemitism’, bullying people who believed in Palestinian rights, and actively intimidated people to the point that they left the party. Was this same energy used for Black Lives Matter? Of course not. Passive activism is not enough and frankly, it’s pathetic. You might as well not say anything. These are also the same people who defended a white man who lost his job after an independent inquiry into his actions, yet when it comes to an oppressed community all they offer is tumbleweeds. Check your goddamn white privilege and hang your heads in shame. You aren’t anti-racists, you are opportunists. I wish I could ask them why. Why are Black lives less important than the other minority groups you favor?  Is it because they support you politically? Because you are sleeping with a person of that race? Because you want to impress someone?

It makes me sick. We all see your lack of action and won’t forgive your hypocrisy. I’m not Black, and I don’t need to be to recognize that Black people deserve to be treated like human beings. If you put down your white privilege long enough you might be able to see it too.

When you call the police, you are safe. When you walk down the streets you will not be shot. When you are at a party you will not be sexualized for your skin tone. You are not the butt of the joke or of the soaring incarceration rates. You are the jailer, the politician, the University student who says ‘but slavery was so long ago’. You are the person who shares a hashtag once and then goes to sleep at night knowing that whatever happens you will be protected. Not everyone has that right. Check your privilege, stand up for and stand side by side with people who are oppressed. Sure, your privilege is not your fault, but use it for good instead of only promoting things that will help you.

#BlackLivesMatter #ICan’tBreathe #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd

Editor's Picks Poetry Pop Culture

Here’s why that Rumi quote you’re posting is actually fake

How many books have you read where the protagonist tells the story from their own eyes?

Where the narrator has opinions that end up defining and shaping the rest of the characters, and it’s up to us viewers to catch the slivers of objectivity and piece together the whole story?

We rely on the narrator’s lens to show us the whole picture.

But, what if… we don’t know the narrator at all? 

It was with these thoughts that I came across a Twitter thread by Persian Poetics that explained the removal of Islam from the famous poet, Jalaluddin Rumi’s writing.

via Twitter
Twitter / via @PersianPoetics 

Born in the early 13th century, Rumi grew up in what is now Afghanistan and eventually settled with his family in Konya, today’s Turkey.

Rumi is known for his life-changing, mystical, enlightened-esque poetry, but hardly known as what he truly was: a scholar of Islam, and a practicing Muslim.

The thread goes on to draw a massive distinction between Rumi’s original writing that was ingrained with the teachings of the Quran, and Rumi’s spiritual and religious knowledge. His original poems, written in Persian, were a vivid reflection of Rumi’s Muslim identity and spiritual beliefs. In the hands of colonialist ‘translators’, Rumi’s poetry was distorted, stripped of the culture it steeped in, and converted to a diluted version of his true poetry.

The interpreter responsible for most prominently separating Rumi from his Muslim identity and who made a career out of his ‘translations’, was Coleman Barks. He may have had a degree in Literature, but Barks had never studied Islam or Sufism academically.

Yet, somehow, this man who could not understand a word of Persian decided to ‘translate’ the work of Rumi, a poet who wrote fifty-thousand lines of mostly Persian, some Arabic poetry, and often used Islamic anecdotes in one of his final works: a six-book monumental poem titled ‘Masnavi’.

In a brilliant article for the New Yorker, Rozina Ali writes, that Jawid Mojaddedi, a scholar of early Sufism at Rutgers, told her that, “the Rumi that people love is very beautiful in English, and the price you pay is to cut the culture and religion.”

So, when I heard that Brad Pitt had one of Rumi’s more famously translated poems tattooed on his arm, I immediately began wondering how he’d feel when he found out what Rumi was actually saying.

On the right is Barks’ ‘translation’ and what Pitt has tattooed.

On the left is a true translation by Persian Poetics.

 A post comparing the translation of one of Rumi's poems between Coleman Barks and Persian Poetics on Twitter
[Image description: A post comparing the translation of one of Rumi’s poems between Coleman Barks and Persian Poetics on Twitter. The Coleman Banks version says: Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. Persian Poetics translation states: Beyond kufr and Islam there is a desert plain, in that middle space our passions reign. When the gnostic arrives there he’ll prostrate himself, not kufr not Islam nor is there any space in that domain.] Via Persian Poetics on Twitter.

In the hands of colonialist ‘translators’, Rumi’s poetry was stripped of the culture it’s steeped in.

See what I mean?

A tweet from Persian Poetics that shows an image of Brad Pitt with a tattoo of Coleman Bark's weak translation of one of Rumi's poems.
[Image description: A tweet from Persian Poetics that shows an image of Brad Pitt with a tattoo of Coleman Bark’s weak translation of one of Rumi’s poems.] Via Persian Poetics on Twitter
Ivanka Trump tweeted Coleman Barks translation of Rumi's poem : “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. Persian Poetics tweeted a picture of her tweet with the caption : Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the most Islamophobic president in US history, tweeted it out after her dad failed to make peace in Afghanistan. If Rumi were alive today, her dad wouldn't even allow him in the country. The irony
[Image description: Ivanka Trump tweeted Coleman Barks translation of Rumi’s poem: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.
Persian Poetics tweeted a picture of her tweet with the caption: Ivanka Trump, the daughter of the most Islamophobic president in US history, tweeted it out after her dad failed to make peace in Afghanistan. If Rumi were alive today, her dad wouldn’t even allow him in the country. The irony.] Via Twitter
In the words of Persian Poetics: my heart aches for those who only know Rumi via this orientalist garbage masquerading as a translation.

Let’s pull this back and examine the role of a reliable narrator.

Even as a translator, Coleman Barks wasn’t reliable. He tried to westernize centuries-old poetry that represented a religious scholar’s life work, in order for it to seem more approachable and easier to face by an audience that it probably was never even meant for.

It makes you seriously question: how much do we just not know? How much of the history and culture of the past has been deliberately mistranslated, before it was even misinterpreted? 

Culture seems to scare people.

A narrator’s job is to be reliable and tell the truth. A narrator should merely translate the scenes playing out; it’s up to us to interpret them.

The truth is that an unreliable translator can change the story instantly.

That’s how you preserve all of history – not just a single dimension of it. The truth is that an unreliable translator can change the story instantly.

It can trick you into mixing up the good and evil, the black and white.

But, most dangerously, an unreliable narrator can take all the shades of grey and distort them into one giant blob, making it unable to ever understand the story and risk losing its true essence forever.

You’ll never trust the story.

If nothing else, the weak, one-sides translations of Rumi’s powerful work are proof of that.

Policy Inequality

The Holocaust isn’t the only genocide that Germany needs to be held accountable for

When you think of a German-led genocide in the twentieth century, the Holocaust may come to mind. In all its ugliness, the Holocaust constituted a series of inhumane living conditions, brutal medical experiments, and other truly, truly horrific crimes against humanity. However, this also fits the description of the Herero-Nama genocide, which took place in German-occupied South-West Africa, now Namibia.

Unlike Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, the Herero and Nama people have not received reparations from Germany. You may have never heard of it, either. I’ll admit that I hadn’t heard of it until a few months ago either. This lack of recognition and education about the Herero-Nama genocide, unfortunately, seems commonplace in the West.

So, what happened? In January 1904, the Herero and Nama people attempted to lead a rebellion to overthrow German colonial powers twenty years after German colonized the region. Unfortunately, their attempts to gain sovereignty over their land were unsuccessful, and the Germans responded with intense violence. Thousands of Herero and Nama people were subsequently taken from their homes and shot. Those who survived this initial slaughter escaped into the Namib Desert, where German forces guarded its borders and trapped survivors. This genocide “resulted in the annihilation of approximately 80 [percent] of the Herero people and 50 [percent] of the Nama people.”

The German government has since apologized for the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama people, but descendants of survivors have yet to see any financial compensation or the return of land.

The colonial legacy left behind by the German colonizers in Namibia is blatant. German is still recognized as a national language. White Namibians, the descendants of German colonizers, control 90 percent of the country’s land. Efforts by black Namibians to gain control of land where their ancestors lived before nearly being wiped out under German colonial rule have been unfruitful.

The experiences of the Herero and Nama people should be enough to receive reparations, including receiving control back over their ancestors’ land. The 1985 United Nations Whitaker Report on Genocide established that the atrocities committed against the Herero and Nama people at the beginning of the twentieth century qualifies as genocide, just like the Holocaust. Why, 40 years later, hasn’t Germany taken measures to adequately address this genocide when they often take responsibility for their crimes during World War II? 

Germany has given several lackluster excuses for its inability to provide reparations. The German government argued that because they had led development projects in and gave aid to Namibia, they would not need to give reparations.  The real reason, though, maybe attributed to implicit racial biases.  Predominantly white German leaders may have been quick to give reparations and apologize for the brutality of the Nazis because it affected white people living in Europe and conditionally white Jews. When it comes to violence on black and brown bodies in Africa, however, it’s a different story.

Herero and Nama people have continued to fight to receive reparations from Germany despite Germany’s reluctance to even entertain giving reparations. In 2018, a U.S. court heard the case from descendants of survivors of this genocide. They sued Germany for financial “reparations akin to those Jewish Holocaust survivors received after World War II” and for direct negotiations with Germany on how to figure out how to “reckon with colonial-era atrocities.” Unfortunately, in March 2019, a  U.S. judge dismissed this lawsuit, saying that “Germany was immune from claims by descendants of the Herero and Nama tribes.” On May 7 2019, however, lawyers representing the Herero and Nama Plaintiffs in New York filed a motion U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to have their case reviewed again.

Despite this setback, the Herero and Nama people have scored some victories in their quest to receive justice. In 2018, Germany returned the skulls of Herero-Nama genocide victims, (which were initially sent to Germany to conduct research on the racial superiority of white Europeans) back to Namibia. This success shows that the activism by Herero and Nama people to receive justice for genocide victims and survivors is working.

The Herero and Nama people deserve reparations for the genocide that their ancestors survived. Germany’s extremely delayed recognition of returning the skulls of genocide victims and even recognizing this genocide, alongside their refusal to give reparations, shows that we cannot expect them to reckon with the Herero-Nama genocide for the sake of doing the right thing. The activism that the descendants of survivors of the Herero-Nama genocide have done in an attempt to receive reparations deserves more international recognition and should not be in vain.

Note: A lawyer representing the Herero and Nama people in New York reached out to the writer after the publication of this article with information about the U.S. Court of Appeals filing. 

Editor's Picks Gender & Identity Race Life

What to unlearn in 2019 (and how to do it)

Hi, hello, greetings. My name is Iman and I know lots of things. Mostly things that are useful (the correct marmite-to-butter ratio) and fun (‘The Ketchup Song’ lyrics, phonetically), but also things that slyly yet actively hinder my personal and professional growth. Little habits like saying “sorry” all the time, or trying not to be too loud when I talk or laugh – all things that make me feel and be less than I am.

Where did I learn these habits? The usual suspects: the patriarchy, historical and media biases, the psychological repercussions of colonialism. And they’ve been around for decades, unconsciously passed down from generation to generation of women, with only a lucky few escaping unscathed. But I am here now to announce that 2019 is going to be my year of unlearning, and it should be yours too. All the damaging habits and mindsets I have been coerced into practicing are going to be identified, analyzed and removed. I am going to unlearn better and faster and permanently in order to take apart narratives and systems that push women of color to the bottom and keep us there. Join me!

Apologizing constantly

[Image Description: A giph of a woman looking into the camera and saying “I’m not sorry.”] Via GIPHY
At my university seminars, nearly every time a woman chimed in with a suggestion or a question, she’d start with a “sorry,” or end with one, or work one into her contribution somehow. It was the same at school. It is incredibly rare that I see a man apologizing as frequently and as unnecessarily as women do. Along with taking up space, women also tend to apologize for their appearance: “sorry my hair’s a mess” or “don’t mind my acne” or “excuse the dark circles” – all for looking like a normal human woman.

But that’s not our fault – we are raised by a society that profits off women’s insecurity. I don’t need to apologize for voicing my opinions, for taking up space in a room or in a conversation, or for my physical appearance. So I’ll be calling myself out every time I do.

Colonial mentality

[Image Description: Gif of a women raising her arms and saying “Bring it.”] Via GIPHY

Colonial mentality is best described as an internalized or subconscious inferiority complex that causes those from postcolonial nations to dismiss their own culture and values as inferior to those of the colonizer. It is one of the most common and least-discussed psychological effects of colonization, and it is one I have personally suffered from for as long as I can remember.

To this day, I find myself subconsciously dismissing Sri Lankan artists and thinkers and scientists as less than, and it is through the same lens that I view my own writing. If Sri Lankan art or academia is lacking in any way, it is because we do not enjoy the same resources and carefree freedoms that Western countries do. Instead, we create art and nurture intellectuals in spite of the economic anxieties and social tensions that followed our civil war, the roots of which are entirely traceable back to – you guessed it – colonialism.

This year, I will consume a lot of Sri Lankan, and brown, art. I’ll be decolonizing my own mindset, and giving the art and culture of my people the appreciation and legitimacy that they command. More importantly, I’ll be giving myself, my art and my ideas the validity and the cultivation that they deserve.

Being appeasing

[Image Description: Beyonce Knowles looks into the camera and says “I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.”] Via GIPHY

Any brown woman is a master at downplaying – downplaying our opinions, our intellect, our politics, our rage. It’s what we’re told to do at social gatherings so that we don’t appear too intimidating, too smart. We are asked to do it to cater to the egos of the men and older women around us. Being young, brown and female is tricky – you are equipped with a competitive education, a distinctive worldview, and being told ‘no’ so much that it now means ‘try’ – all so you can laugh timidly and change the subject every time someone brings up “girls these days.”

It is not my responsibility to make others feel secure and clever. It is my responsibility to use all the skills and resources that I have to right what I believe is wrong. And being angry and opinionated and loud is how I will be going about it. Does this read like a warning? Because it really is.

All these things, isolated, may seem a little bit inconsequential and a little bit hopeless. But collectively, they are a revolution. So please, wear a bindi under your helmet and put a screwdriver in your tiny beaded bag, because we are dismantling the system. 

Editor's Picks Life Stories Race Policy Inequality

It doesn’t feel right to celebrate Thanksgiving anymore

Thanksgiving, before my parents separated, was a major holiday in my household. I enjoyed it, as I loved the food. But Thanksgiving isn’t a holiday that feels right to celebrate anymore.

The Thanksgiving “story” that my school told us was not particularly unique. Native Americans and Pilgrims came together on Thanksgiving and had a feast. They became friends. That was it.

One of my friends invited me to come with her to an anti-colonial Thanksgiving dinner. The term “anti-colonial Thanksgiving” is not something I had heard of before. My Ashkenazi and Calvinist family was never affected by colonialism.

My friend, who I will call Dana, that I went with is Palestinian. Dana’s dad and grandparents had to leave when the Israeli government seized their land. Dana has very much been affected by colonialism.

Most of the people at that dinner were members of a Palestinian human rights group at my school. Like with the Thanksgiving meals I had growing up, we had good food. What was different were the conversations at this anti-colonial Thanksgiving.

Many of the speeches discussed colonialism and its continued impact. Many struggles that Palestinians and Native Americans face are similar. The support of Native Americans is necessary if you take part in Palestinian solidarity. Both are supporting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Later that night, Dana and I walked back to our dorm. I can’t remember what we were talking about. Instead, I remember what I was thinking about. I wondered what I could do as an individual to confront colonialism. I still wonder about this now. My first step was confronting the false history that I was taught when I was younger.

I was taught a white-washed, imperialist version of Thanksgiving. One that erased the brutality that Native Americans faced and continue to face at the hands of white settlers. One that also erased the fact that these white settlers stole land from Native Americans.

I grew up in Massachusetts, which is where Plymouth Plantation is located. Plymouth Plantation is considered to be the second successful settlement. But successful according to whom? It could be considered a successful settlement for people of European descent. I doubt Native Americans share the same sentiments.

I also started to think of the arguments people would give to defend Thanksgiving. It’s a good time to give thanks and that the United States was first colonialized centuries ago.

Well, I now have planned-out rebuttals for anyone who makes either of these arguments.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to give thanks to people in your life. Giving thanks should not come at the expense of erasing the pain that Native Americans faced and continue to face. A person can give thanks to people every day. They could give thanks by donating to or volunteering for charities that support Native Americans.

For people who complain that this happened centuries ago so we should not care: I ask them to look at any religions that they follow or practice. Catholics mourn the death of Jesus Christ every year. Christ died over 2,000 years ago. Jews mourn the brutality that their ancestors faced and their freedom. This was over 2,000 years ago, and I honor them every Passover.

Why do we celebrate the colonialization of Native Americans instead of mourning it?

Anti-colonial Thanksgivings are only a step in recognizing the pain that Native Americans continue to face, but it’s still a step. Settlers like myself need to recognize our continued participation in colonialism. If you are comfortable and able to, try to have a conversation about this at your own Thanksgiving tables this year. Acknowledging our history is maybe the best way to appreciate the U.S. and make it a better place.

Gender & Identity Life

My fellow Pakistanis, we don’t need white people to validate our country anymore

This summer, a white American male comedian, Jeremy McLellan, came to Pakistan to do a bit of social work. He worked with a team that provided free dental care to kids in villages. Since he is a comedian, he planned a few comedy shows in the country as well. His schedule only allowed for him to perform in two cities; Lahore and Islamabad.

[bctt tweet=”Stand up is still fairly new in Pakistan so I was excited!” username=”wearethetempest”]

Jeremy posted about his impending visit on Facebook constantly, and his predominant Asian Muslim online community was very excited.

People were counting down the days leading up to his visit.

A white person excited to go to Pakistan, my, how the tables have turned, eh?

His shows for Lahore and Islamabad were immediately sold out and people could not have been more excited to have Jeremy in Pakistan. He chronicled his entire trip on Facebook with a post every night about the day’s adventures.

[bctt tweet=”Pakistanis loved the comedian’s posts about the country.” username=”wearethetempest”]

In one of the posts, Jeremy mentioned that he saw remnants of colonialism were still strong in Pakistani society today. He noticed how he was treated better than those around him.

When people commented that this was because Pakistanis as a people are incredibly welcoming and treat guests with respect, Jeremy clarified that this was not the case since his American friend of Pakistani origin was not treated with the same respect Jeremy was, even though technically his friend was a guest as well.


Even Jeremy noticed the colonial mindset that is still entrenched in Pakistani minds. Jeremy really hit the nail on the head on that one: Pakistani society is still deeply entrenched in the colonial mindset.

It is obvious in our obsession with fair skin and speaking English.

So when a popular white person came to Pakistan, we felt we had to please them, consciously or unconsciously, because we think that they are superior to us and their approval is the one that counts.

When Jeremy pointed out that the colonial mindset that still existed, people agreed.

But something that has been absolutely nagging at me is how we constantly celebrate and revel in how much Jeremy loves Pakistan. Don’t get me wrong, I smile whenever I see his positive posts about Pakistan. Why wouldn’t I? I love my country. But what irks me is how important we have started to hold his opinion.

I am not attacking Jeremy specifically. We do this with every white person.

I have seen it too many times.

The only difference is Jeremy made public posts that we share and these posts make us feel validated.

Do we really need a white man to tell us our country is great in order for us to love it? No.

[bctt tweet=”It feels like no one loved Pakistan till Jeremy said it was great.” username=”wearethetempest”]

I went to Jeremy’s show. He seemed like a great guy and his love for Pakistan seemed genuine.  But constantly needing his validation on everything within Pakistan is not something I am a fan of.

Yes, it is great that a tourist came to Pakistan and had a great time.


It is even better that his views on the country provided a counter-narrative to the widespread belief in the West that Pakistan is a war zone. He showed that Pakistan is just a normal country and Pakistanis are like the citizens of any other country.

[bctt tweet=”Surprise, surprise! Pakistan is a normal country. Who knew?” username=”wearethetempest”]

But we should not take his opinions so personally or believe in them so strongly – just because of the color of his skin.

It is time we grew out of this colonial mindset.

We are a free country and aren’t ruled by white people anymore. We should stop feeling the need to please them.

A white person’s seal of approval should not be what prompts you to be proud of your country. The question is when that’ll actually change.