Use your weapons
Music is a weapon
Love is a weapon
Goodness of the heart is a weapon
Truth is a weapon
Justice is a weapon
Ambition is a weapon
A word is a life given weapon
Knowledge is a weapon
Whip and wind your weapon
by Mary P
Inspired by Fela Kuti, this poem was written by a fantastic young lady to nurse herself and keep sane when she was held at Yarlswood Detention Centre. After being abused through most of her early life in her country of origin, she was trafficked into the UK at 15, she was kept behind closed doors for 6 years before she her initial contact with the home office. The home office detained her because she had not contacted the authorities on initial arrival. To understand the UK asylum system and who to go to at 15 is too much to ask. She is one of many whose personal stories and journeys pull at my heart strings and lead me to question the humanity of the west, Europe and British society.
I grew up in Kenya and I remember seeing the demographics of villages transformed in a fortnight with people from Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and more. I do not remember hostile media coverage or politicians exploiting their plight, communities understood that they were running for their life. UK only hosts less than 5% of 50 million world refugees, 84% percent are hosted in neighbouring countries of original conflict which are often very poor. The UK needs to understand the connection of migration, its history and the role it played in slavery and imperialism therefore become sympathetic and do right. Not dehumanise, humiliate and criminalise those running for their lives.
I was invited to speak about Utopia and I would like to ask you to think about your utopias.. health, better paying job, better sex? Mary and others like her to be treated as human and with dignity. She has a friend who is seeking asylum who has a tag on her ankle restricting her from leaving Leeds and to be indoors between 7pm and 7am, her utopia is to wear shorts or dresses in summer, go for a meal out with her new partner without the need to rush back in by 7pm. The reason they are put through this , the reason why tougher fences are being put up even as hundreds of dead bodies are floating on the Mediterranean is because they are alien and not Aryan.
I got involved in racial and social justice issues because of my own experiences and because there is assumption that we live in a post-racial society. Racism is not just utterance of the N word, it is more subtle and a lot to do with actions and unjust laws but it is there and has been growing at an alarming rate. And that is why politicians who chose to exploit racism remind people to feel threatened when they see hijabs in their neighbourhoods, brown faces in their children schools or places of work. Race equality, is not about being colour blind it is about equality of opportunity, celebrating diversity and challenging radicalised rules. My utopia would be for the restoration of humanity so people would stop putting material things before humans or focus on race and for conscious people to use their ‘weapons’ to do what is right.