love trumps hate part two

 

Last week POTUS Trump and his entourage (of ultra right wing fools) decided to stir things up once again with a new electronics ban, restricting travellers carrying laptops and other such devices on certain airlines from certain Muslim-majority countries.

But to my absolute horror, no sooner had we all been complaining about the US… than our very own BRITISH government went ahead and pretty much mirrored it.

What the *$%£ is going on?!?!

Oh, and I’m not done yet…

Even before the drama of the electronics ban unfolded, I was already feeling annoyed at the latest EU law that had come into place. A notion that was passed after two ladies wearing headscarves had been unfairly dismissed from work. Well, instead of the powers-that-be supporting them, a law has now been passed stating that employers possess the right to openly ban them.

Can you believe it? The law actually states that companies can ban employees from wearing a headscarf or any other items of religious attire or political symbols, so although it’s not completely targeted at Muslims, the reality is Muslims will make up the majority of people affected by it. This could affect my friends. My family. My very own mother! And of course, it does affect non-Muslims too, a women’s rights campaign group pointed out this is sending a message that faith communities are no longer welcome  – how is this fair??

Seriously, what the *$%£ is going on?!?!

Has everyone gone mad?

The WORST thing to come out of it, is of course being faced with the usual tirade of understanding from the general public, sympathising with the government’s decision because of course all of this has been put in place to protect us.

Protect us from what?!?!

Let’s be honest. this has absolutely nothing to do with protection – the electronics ban for example, a wonderful blogger quite rightly said in one of my facebook groups that if this had ben a matter of security, we would have had a GLOBAL electronics ban, not just one that targets certain countries – the so-called ‘terror’ states.

Pfft. What a load of cobblers this all is.

Terror in the media has officially become dictated by race and religion. FACT. You can argue all you want to tell me otherwise, but I am telling you, you won’t find anything to prove otherwise. I wish you could, I really do! Because as a British Indian Muslim I actually fall into that ‘terrorist’ bracket. I have the skin, the features, the beliefs that may make people look at me in suspicion. I dread to think what it would be like if I didn’t have a British accent, or if I wore a headscarf???

Pfft. What a load of cobblers this has become.

Our governments are doing everything they can to pull us all apart.

To say that being different – is not safe. To say that certain types of people – are not safe.

This was evident last week, as social media was flooded with responses after the London stabbing incident, calling on the government to ‘shut the borders,’ ‘get the Muslims out,’ ‘banish the immigrants.’

It’s funny because I do also come across these phrases from people I know. It doesn’t even shock me anymore as people will quite happily say the above phrases quite casually and on seeing my expression usually try to turn it round with something like – ‘oh not people like you, you’re different you’re quite Western’ – like this in some way makes their belief any more justified.

Well it doesn’t. (and I’m quite happy to put them in their place about that!).

I will always do everything  I can to explain to people that being different is an AMAZING THING.

Being true to our culture, our heritage, our own personal opinion of religion is an AMAZING THING.

To be able to mingle, to converse, to laugh, joke with strangers and new people is an AMAZING THING.

 

 

This month’s Blogosphere magazine fuelled my love for my blog and for others in the blogging community. Here was a magazine that has profiled some of the biggest social influencers in the world and this months front cover… was a high profile Muslim blogger wearing a veil.

YES.

Yes. Yes. YES.

Thank you to the blogging community for recognising that us Muslims belong here! We are as much part of this world as everyone else. We don’t need this ‘terror’ to be following us round because 99.999999% of us are out there doing amazing things!! Just like Dina Tokio.

 

 

Dina Tokio, a Muslim lifestyle blogger, has a following of over one million on instagram and she wears her hijab (headscarf) with pride. She shows that you can bring together faith and fashion, an example to Muslim and non-Muslim women everywhere that no matter what climate the world may be in right now she is standing proud representing her beliefs, with her own personal style. And she’s smashing it.

This is how bloggers will change the world, by involving and engaging openly with members of our community.

Without hate. Without prejudice. With acceptance.

We travel, because we want to learn.

We communicate, so we can meet new people.

We open our minds, so we can experience and be inspired by new cultures.

Nothing and no-one is out of bounds – nor should they be.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again, we are all human. We’re all the same species, we’re all in this together.

Don’t value one life over another – and if you think this is a cliché and it’s ridiculous that people like me keep banging on about it, well then I urge you to look deeper into last week’s news and ask yourself whether you gave each innocent civilian caught up in a disaster the same thoughts and prayers. Too many of us forget that there are people living each day in a state of ‘terror.’

I’m not wanting or trying to have a rant, I just wanted to make sure that people understand that not everything we are told in the news is true. And what might be construed as an act that has been created to keep you safe – may actually be doing more harm than good.

I urge you all to engage in conversation, ask questions, do research – I’m always happy to speak and to discuss elements of my culture and religion that others don’t understand, or are confused by.

I do what I can to be involved with projects that promote diversity; to support them, to share them, to learn from them – there’s still so much that I know I need to do.

Don’t EVER stop believing that you and your opinion doesn’t make a difference, because it does.

All good deeds begin at home.

All action starts with people like you and me.

Opinions and hearts can only be changed by replacing hate with love and openness.

 

Stay strong my fellow humans. We can get through this.

 

 

 

*** I love you all. Except you Trump, I don’t care very much for you. ***

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plane image with words love trumps hate

 

If you know me, or read my blog regularly,  I’m sure you probably expected me to bring this up at some point! I happened to be away when all the US commotion was happening, but I’m back and as usual I’ve got something to say about it… 

 


 

It was a wonderful evening in Bagan. We were a few days into travelling and the group was getting on swimmingly. I could not believe how lucky I was to be gifted such a wonderful bunch of people to traipse the country of Myanmar with. We placed our orders, supped on our drinks and after lots of laughs and banter, the topics turned in a slightly serious direction – not too serious – but we somehow got into the political happenings of each other’s homelands.

Of course, when it came to the UK, Brexit was a hot topic. I expressed how hard that whole period was for me personally, watching the rise in racism, watching people turn their backs on refugees, the rise of the far right dividing the country. I also explained that now that the dust had settled, I could see how I probably handled the situation all wrong. I was fuelled by my own passions, by my own morals and I never thought to understand the perspective form the other side. I explained how I totally understood the vote and accepted it, and how Brexit also eventually gave me a better understanding of the US election result.

It was then that something really unexpected happened. Something I was quite unprepared for. A fellow traveller explained that they

*deep breath*

had voted Trump. I hope on the outside I was calm and collected, I did not want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Inside, I was a whole heap of emotions. In the weeks and months of listening to this man and witnessing the rallies and the types of opinions his supporters demonstrated during tv interviews, I had always played out in my head the piece of mind I would give to someone who could support such a man. I had thought up arguments, speeches and I’m extremely ashamed to admit this but I even had messages of abuse concocted. The truth is all these world events leave people like me helpless and frustrated and this is how I suppose nasty words and hate begins to form.

But here I was, looking at a person that I had grown so fond of (and continued to throughout the rest of the trip) and they had trusted me with this very personal piece of information. I listened to this traveller’s reasoning, and I got it. This person was without a doubt one of the kindest people I had ever come across, a person who radiated happiness. And as we briefly discussed the ins and outs of what could have gone wrong in the drama that was the US election, I totally got it. I even wondered how I would have voted had I been put in that position. And finally, after a whirlwind second of complex deliberation, all of that hatred I felt towards Trump and his supporters melted away. Don’t confuse this with me being happy about this new POTUS – but I understood, just like I did with those that chose to leave the EU.

As I sat and we all carried on this discussion, I was on the brink of tears at many points, tears I held back (I’d really only known these people a few days at this point, I didn’t want them to think I was nuts?!) but they weren’t tears of sadness. They were very much tears of realisation and contentment. Here we were, a group of individuals , randomly put together, from all corners of the world and we were able to have these open, and very important discussions, together without offending each other, without hating each other. And that to me, was such a wonderful wonderful thing – something that was only possible because of our collective interest in travel.

A few days later, I woke up in sheer excitement. I had a thousand notifications on my phone, a sign the wifi was working in full force. Before looking at any of them I logged straight onto my email. And I was slightly taken aback, there sat an email from one of my favourite bloggers, adventures of a London Kiwi, the blog was titled ‘Why my heart has shattered in 2017 #womensmarch.’

Oh no. What’s happened.

Since landing in Myanmar I hadn’t switched on or glanced at the news once. I didn’t know what was going on. After reading Emma’s beautiful post, my heart sank that I was so far away. I wasn’t there to share my voice with all the other amazing women who had taken to the streets. My social media streams were jam packed full of women, strong powerful women who are all part of my life shouting loud and clear that they will not stand for injustice and inequality. As a member of the Womens Institute, I saw my fellow sisters posting messages of strength and hope. Calling on women to join them.

But how did this fit in with my new ‘acceptance’ mentality I had adopted over the last week…

Well while I was out at a protest yesterday I saw a sign that completely sums up my new outlook on these quite difficult times we seem to have entered:

 

RESPECT EXISTENCE.

OR EXPECT RESISTANCE.

It’s good right 😉

I think it’s bloody brilliant.

I am doing everything in my power to not be swayed by the hate. It is now time to focus on LOVE. Oh no wait, that’s too cheesy.

Let us focus on empathy and respect.

A lesson I learned by watching this brilliant TED talk by social psychologist Robb Willer (I’ve shared it at the end of this post). We all have our own beliefs, they are never going to be the same, it’s human nature. And we need to respect each other regardless and not discount someone else’s opinions just because it isn’t in line with our own – UNLESS that opinion, that message they decide to share is one that is purposely orchestrated to break humanity apart or incite hatred.

We can’t stay silent on an issue which hurts or divides humanity. Which hurts any human, whether it be racially, mentally or physically. I spoke a few months ago about the idea of becoming global visionaries, how we all consist of different parts but we are still made from the same universal elements. We each have an individual voice to influence the world in which we live.

 

 

I recently returned from a country which has itself a lot of controversy attached to it. I nearly didn’t accept the trip, worried that it would be going against my own morals to spend money in a country that is currently embroiled in quite a horrific war along its border. However, my curiosity pushed me to go through with it, in the interest of gaining a better overview on the situation and I’m so glad I did.

A lot of people are debating whether boycotts help or hinder causes. Why boycott one nation, but not another who may be carrying out a similar policy? I think it’s very important we take into account what the boycott actually accomplishes. Boycotting certain companies can place valuable pressures on the powers that be, and can help to make them join the fight to helping people who are suffering because of their involvement. I personally don’t agree with boycotting travel to different destinations and creating more unnecessary borders, but I do still take part in the boycotting of certain corporations that contribute to any form of injustice.

I mentioned earlier in the week that my trip was organised through Intrepid travel and this morning I, along with many others, received an email from James Thornton, the Global managing director, marking his stance on the US travel ban. He highlighted the importance of travel in helping to build bridges. To bring people together. And they inspired me so much I’d like to end this post with some of his words in the hope they might inspire you too:

“With every country visited, I learn something. With every meal shared, I become less ignorant, more inquisitive. Ultimately, it’s not governments or nations (or even executive orders) that have the greatest capacity for change. It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Simple things. A traveller on a long and dusty road, swapping stories with a local. 

That’s how you beat prejudice. And it starts with all of us, right now.”

 

#humanity #equality #openhearts #openminds

 

 

please take 15minutes out of your day to watch this…

TED Talk by Rob Willer: How to have better political conversations

 

 

*** Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Thank you to all the people, all the travellers, all the humans I have met throughout my life that have helped me open my mind. And I would like to apologise to anyone I may have offended over the course of political arguments in the past! I love you all 🙂 ***

 

 

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