Dearest non-boycotting Muslim professionals you don’t always have to be the nice girl and proper gentleman

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So I’ve been really thinking about why many of us educated, well-mannered, principled Muslims really find it difficult to support boycotting and protesting as actions that we associate with, compared to meetings and forums with agendas, chairs and suited outfits.

I don’t know if you’d agree, but I personally feel more comfortable having a dialogue than shouting down a politician as they get into their car, or using intimidating language like ‘bloody criminal’ when writing about a respected person in power.

I don’t think the preference is because it would be more effective politically to engage this way, because when we want to talk about effectiveness a fierce and heated viral video condemning a government decision may be more worthy of our time than a neat and formatted press release.

I think we’re really just nice kids. I personally was raised to be always giving, generous, kind, non-aggressive, forgiving. I was taught to tell the teacher when someone was being mean, and even when telling the teacher I shouldn’t be rude about the other person.

When someone hurt my feelings I thought I had to hide my upset face to preserve them from a sense of guilt.

I couldn’t of course get anyone in trouble because I needed to care more about the other person’s wellbeing who’d get yelled at or punished, and of course I didn’t want to stand up to being the dibbie dobber after.

So anyway, I had nice friends like me outside school. I went to friendly outings with other well behaved kids and got to know good-mannered people from Islamic classes.

I never got into fights. Got good grades. Graduated with top marks.

Never really walked out on any tutorial when people were getting racist after I made my comment.

Never sent in a complaint about a lecturer.

Always kept waiting when people were late to meetings. Put my hand up when no one could see that I wanted to make a point in meetings.

It’s all fine. It’s alright if I accept the price of at least feeling integral and having a high moral ground, I don’t mind.

But when world leaders are bombing the hell out of countries, dragging my brothers and sisters and maybe me next time I fly at the airport, detaining and intimidating them, humiliating my community as if we’re outsider aliens, then maybe this time I need to let go of my passive femininity … and maybe our brothers need to not be the nice guy for once … and walk out … and make a scene … and use harsh language.

It’s alright really. We can toughen up for once, just this time, against the Attorney General who has a right to be a bigot. We have the right to walk away. We have the right to not continue this conversation.

We don’t have to always explain ourselves and keep on like that press release that said now we’re becoming “concerned” and now we’re “questioning” if the government is genuine. Lol. You’re not questioning anything. You know this government is playing you. Stop playing nice.

I really am learning a lot on a personal level how to take a dignified stance and maintain my ethical interactions. I hope that those of us in leadership positions start questioning their inclination towards certain decisions that maybe they have been conditioned towards.

I couldn’t grill the Attorney General he’s like my grandpa’s age I’d really just sit with my hand up while the other men in the room made their probably more diluted points about policy.

So I’d rather turn to collective action and hide within a mass opposition that gives me voice and fiercely delivers my message. I’d rather speak to my students about how bad the state of the world is.

Maybe I’m wrong but I feel the more proper and middle class the leader, the more they see themselves favouring a seat at the table than a speak out.

We all come from somewhere. It’s time we acknowledge it and think strategically about our political activities. The split we’re having is not about effectiveness … it’s about our sense of self.

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