Dear Donald….

Donald Trump is someone I’m sure we would all rather not have to talk about. I for one wish I did not have to waste my time thinking about the man, let alone let him bring me to writing about him. But it has become unavoidable. It’s time to face the man at the forefront of post-truthism. The concept of a Mexican Wall was bad enough, his so called ‘pro-life’ anti-abortion stance was bad enough. Yet for me, the final straw was his treatment of nationals from those seven particular countries. That sir, was one step too far.

As a proactive campaigner for refugees rights (and as someone who works weekly with refugees and asylum seekers), Donald Trump’s proclamation of banning the entry of anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and Somalia is an utter disgrace and outrage. Not only is it completely pointless when we come to America’s favourite subject – terrorism, its damn right obnoxious and heartless. So lets take a step back. ‘Terrorists’ that America seems to constantly be so scared about (despite the fact that you’re probably more likely to get shot by your toddler with the gun you casually keep in your house) have tended to be from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Surprise, surprise they’re not on the list. Of course, we must prevent ‘Islamic Terror’ unless they’re from a country that we’re so reliant on being friends with (I mean oil, hello). Therefore, for Trump to claim this ban to be because of so-called ‘terrorist’ threats is absurd. Yes Islamic State are real but over 90% of the people who have been killed by them are Muslim. In Syria or Iraq. You know, the ones who want to flee to safety?

Second of all, conflict, terror or human rights abuses significantly affect all the states that Trump has taken issue with. Syria and Yemen are both in the midsts of deadly civil wars that appear to have no end in sight. Sudan has experienced political turmoil for as long as can be remembered with past genocides, sectarian issues and human rights abuses. Somalia – after escaping war, has seen itself divulged into a fight against Al Shabab (an offshoot of Al Qaeda). And Libya. Libya, Libya. After overthrowing Qaddafi, has seen itself in civil war as well as fighting off an offshoot of Islamic State. Last of all, Iran. Iran might not have an issue with civil war but the human rights abuses are unreal. Kurds, women, Sunnis, Bahai. You name it.

All because they’re Muslim? Some might be Christian, Jewish, Bahai. Is that even relevant?

So now lets get real. There are millions of people displaced globally right now. Estimates put half of them as children. Yet ‘the land of the free’ calls them ‘terrorists’, or people who are not worthy of being safe or free from oppression. Yet Donald Trump gets up on his high horse proclaiming that he is ‘pro-life’. PRO WHOS LIFE? You don’t care about the millions of people across the globe, persecuted, shot down, struggling to get by. Many of them who have seen their only families die behind their own eyes. Families who send their kids for safety in hope of giving them the future they could never have.

But we will not be silent. The world will not sit back and watch one vulgar human being treat humanity like this. We will not rest until justice is served. We must not rest until humanity is free and these borders that are nothing short of social constructions are destroyed. We are all human beings. We are all one. This is not about politics, this is about humanity. And anyone who cares about humanity will shout until there is no need to shout anymore.


The Curse of being a Woman

There is no time like the present to talk about how being a woman appears to put you at significant disadvantage almost globally. Yet, I am not going to use this to talk about us in the West. There is no doubt that the rise of Donald Trump puts into question the rights of women in America and there is still a long way to go in the UK in terms of equality in pay and domestic violence. However, we cannot even begin to compare this with the rights of women in Afghanistan.

There is not a country in the world that better portrays the idea that women should neither be seen nor heard. During the war in Afghanistan from 2001-2014, women’s rights were supposedly at the forefront of many discussions yet it doesn’t appear to have made a lot of difference. Afghanistan is undoubtedly a patriarchal society in which men are allowed more than one wife and having a daughter is not not celebrated like having a son. Men are in charge of the household and women are expected to obey whatever the man of the house says. A man can decide if a girl can go to school, get a job, influence what they wear and where they go (although its rare to go anywhere). This is not my place nor plan to be a hypocritical western woman and suggest alternatives. It is simply my opinion to voice this. Women in Afghanistan believe they are not allowed to fall in love, they are not allowed to have feelings. They will learn to love the man that their family chooses for them, of whom they probably will not meet until their engagement party. Often, women are beaten, they are forced to be like slaves cleaning, cooking and looking after their entire families or their husbands. Many women still wear the burkha meaning they cannot be seen and they themselves can barely be seen. In fact the burkha often causes many women to have Vitamin D deficiencies due to their lack of contact with sunlight.

It makes me dead inside to imagine. If I were born in Afghanistan a girl as part of the global postcode lottery, how different my life would be. I would not have gone to school, university, worn the clothes I wanted, fallen in love with who I wanted, had the right to say no to things that I do not want to do. Afghan women are often not given the choice to do any of such things. This is a discussion about forced oppression and freedom. A woman should be able to choose whether she wants to work or not. Whether she wants to wear a burkha or not. Whether she wants to fall in love or have an arranged marriage – that is not or anyone else let alone in the west to decide.

“No one is free when others are oppressed”. Women cannot be free until the women of Afghanistan are and I pray for their freedom.