Duty

Duty

When I cross the street, it is my duty to make sure the road is clear.

When my friend is sad, it is my duty to be there and listen.

When the first of the month comes around, it is my duty to pay rent.

When my team is down, it is my duty to boost morale.

These are all example of day to day duties that I believe make me a good person. I believe that in life, we all hold certain social duties to ensure that those around us are supported. Therefore, I believe it is:

My duty to ensure those around me are politically aware.

What I mean by this is that it is mine, and our, civic and national duty to make sure that the people in our lives, that can vote, have the knowledge to equip them to make the right decision on the 8th June 2017. This means that if you come across a policy that you think that some might be unaware of, whether it is affiliated with your political party or not, then you have a duty to make sure that everyone knows about it.

For example, if conservatives were to be elected then they would call for a free vote on reinstating the legality of fox hunting. Now, I believe it is our duty as citizens to make sure that we spread the word. Or, if they were to be elected, they would spend ONLY 0.7% national income on international aid, falling from 9% to 0.7% under conservative rule in just 7 years. Alongside this, their central policy has been dubbed the ‘dementia tax’, capping support, and they want to raise tuition fees.

I find it hard to not question someone’s character if they are voting for policies like that. BUT I would rather someone voting for policy than stagnant political ideology. Situations and circumstance change. When I voted I 2015, I voted for a different political party than I will this year. That is because I am progressive, not regressive. I want to help the many, not the few.

As a student, this election is very important for my generation. More of us are registered than ever, we need to become the political force we once were.

So, it is your DUTY to vote for policy, not what party you voted for last time because it is easy. Please think about what each policy will do for the MANY not the FEW.

Attached to this is the manifestos of all the major parties- please vote for policy, not party.

http://www.2017generalelection.uk/party-manifestos/

 

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A cathartic practise

At the beginning of this year I did not set resolutions. Of course, I didn’t. Why would I want to do something that I know that I’m going to give up within the first 25 days? It almost seems moronic that this idea becoming a better version of yourself stems from the same passing of time as anyone else. Therefore, I have set a resolution for myself today. *

Somebody, who shall remain nameless, said something that really got to me. I for one can admit that I am quite sensitive. I can certainly dish it but can’t take it- I find this failure in character frustrating. Anyway, they said to me that I have this ability to emotionally manipulate them and I know exactly what buttons to press and that I’m passive aggressive. These things immediately were deeply hurtful to hear, like seriously who wants to hear their own flaws being spelled out to them?

It saddened me that they thought these things and I immediately became shut off and distant ad wanted to stop the conversation quickly; it ended within 5 minutes of those comments being made. I think what hurt the most was that I quickly came to the realisation that I had to accept that these comments were actually accurate and fair, however my sensitivity came into play, as did my tear ducts.

Therefore, I made a resolution to myself, not to essentially stop from doing all these but to accept that they are part of who I am, like my amazing ability to cry within 3 seconds. I need to embrace them as a part of myself. Of course, I will try and work on it but I feel like writing about it has helped, as it is a very cathartic practise.

My resolution= to digest what people are actually saying to me before responding.

*I understand not putting resolutions onto something tangible and on time contradicts my original argument that today is exactly the same as doing it on the 1st of January. I understand, but I don’t care.

#MuslimBan

#MuslimBan

Since inauguration day, Trumps administration has been paved with controversy after controversy. From day one, it was revealed that the climate and LGBTQ+ webpages had been taken down from the Whitehouse website.

Unlike former president of the United States, Barack Obama, Trump has used four executive orders in his first week along; Obama used them sparingly over his two terms in office. But there is one order that has everyone talking- the Muslim ban. This states that refugees and asylum seekers from seven middle eastern and African countries (Yemen, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan) cannot enter the country legally. Essentially what this means is that people from those countries are banned from entering the USA, this has already happened to several people.

I know what you’re thinking, this must be illegal right? Yes. Yes, it is. The UN has recognised this as a breach of human rights law, meaning that what Trump has done is illegal. But because this hasn’t undergone Congressional approval, airports have already take it upon themselves to detain people from these countries that pose no threat.

Prolific runner Mo Farah lives in Oregon with his family but is Somalian born. Because of this, he has and will be affected by this blanket ban. In an interview his wife stated that ‘It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home – to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.’

Not only does this prove that Trump is the monster we thought he was when he was campaigning for presidency, his time in office will be a very external force. What this means is that everything he does will not just affect Americans, but the rest of the world. There is a kind of immediacy with his policies in relation to how they affect us. Of course, as a citizen of Britain that is not Muslim, it is difficult to have complete empathy and know exactly those in those countries are psychologically affected. But as someone with actual human emotions, I can get pretty close.

But in this dust cloud of anxiety, there is a plume of hope. From this policy, the world has come together in an attempt to undermine Trumps administrations. Just because he is president doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants. Numerous marches and demonstrations have already peppered the last week across the globe, and there are more to follow suit in answer to this Muslim ban.

Now, Trump might be signing these orders left right and centre, but the real question is where this leaves his legacy. With his mainly slogan that was perpetuated across the globe as “Make America Great Again”, do bans like these really do this, even from his perspective? Presumably, when he talks of America’s past greatness he is referring to the founding of America, when the white man dominated and colonised Northern America up until post second World War. Even as a nation who committed mass genocide, America truly was a great country; great in the sense of its immensity. It is true that Alexander Hamilton wrote once that “a fondness of power is implanted, in most men, and is natural to abuse it , when acquired”. In the case of Trumps administration this really is this case. He is mirroring the words of one of America’s founding fathers which for a lot of people means he is fulfilling his promise of greatness.

Trump fancies himself a demagogue of the people; a man the founders would be proud of. But it was Thomas Paine, a founding father who said “a little matter will move a party, but it must be something great that moves a nation”. With these words, I conclude. Trump will never be able to ascertain the change he wants because of public opinion and rights. Even with these executive orders, he cannot make America great again. Because he is making it a place it never was.

Continuity

Continuity

After a long and arduous journey, I finally arrived back in Norwich. As the car entered the city, I looked lazily over to the left side of the road to notice city sign that read ‘Norwich, a fine city’. How true that is. I have been living in and out of Norwich since I came to the University of East Anglia in the autumn of 2015. I have loved the majority. Like any journey, it has come with its difficulties but I really wouldn’t trade any of them in.

So, it’s the new year and I’m back in Norwich. Initially, I came up with a list of everything I’m going to do an accomplish this year: study more, go out more, write more and so on. These seem feasible because essentially all I want to do is more but I find that because of who I am, I will waver from this path of betterment. I’m not saying I’m a lazy person, I do a lot, but it really feels like everything I do I don’t really move forward or progress. It was Jim Rohn who stated that “discipline is the bridge between goals and achievements”; I wholeheartedly agree with this. However, I recognise in myself that I am not a very disciplined person. I start a project and a lot of the time, I won’t finish it.

Therefore, this year, instead of making resolutions, I will be making recognition’s. I will recognise my pitfalls. I think it will be through this that I can resolve things within myself e.g. to run more. Through my recognition’s, I hope to grow as an individual, as well as a member of our society.

I really needed to write this down so I could be held accountable for what I want my 2017 to be, do I want change or continuity? I can only know the answer to that if I do as Rohn suggests and be more disciplined. Great.

Eight years ago

Eight years ago

Eight years ago, this month, arguably the most monumental event happened in civic history. A black president was welcomed into the White House. As a resident of the UK, it feels as if this has transcended its own location and touched the hearts of people everywhere.

When I was twelve, I used to go up to my grandfather’s office and look around. I would be looking for paper and pens usually to write my stories on. Occasionally I would stumble across papers that he was looking at for students; he was a professor and doctor, a specialist in haematology. As you can probably gather, he was a very clever and hardworking man. That he was. But when I was twelve, I went up to office to meet him working on his computer replying to emails he had long forgotten to do. While looking for supplies for my latest story I had conjured up, grandpa stopped me and told me to look at a picture. This was a picture of a man, a mixed-race man, who was surrounded by lots of people, predominantly black, and they were all trying to touch his shoulders. My initial thoughts were that he was new saviour figure, which wasn’t too far to be believed as my grandpa was an inwardly religious man.

But no. This was a picture of Barack Obama, a few months after he had secured his presidency. To me this significance wasn’t great. At twelve, who isn’t politically ignorant and apathetic? To grandpa this was obvious. So, he sat me down and I got to listen to one of his famous hour long talks about everything and anything, but mainly on black history. How I miss them now.

I’m somebody who, now, engages with their mixed-race heritage. I am Sierra Leonean as well as English and Scottish. I have always been proud of this, but it really was after that conversation with my Grandpa seven years ago, that it really sunk in. But also with that pride came anguish. How could it be that because I was not completely white there is this glass ceiling. A glass ceiling that would prevent me from reaching some places that people in the same position as me would have access to because of their skin colour.

But Barack Obama over the years has slowly broken down that idea. He is somebody that I hugely admire. Not just because of his skin colour, but because of the kind of man he is. He is compassionate, learned and kind. Also, he brought Michelle Obama into our lives. It seems that we have a surplus of male role models but not so when it comes to women. But she really is at the top of the heap when it comes to my personal role models, regardless of sex. She, like her husband, is compassionate, learned and kind, but also, she’s graceful and powerful. She has shown me over the years that you don’t have to adopt almost male characteristics to get your voice heard.

Anyway, it was yesterday that Obama gave his farewell speech in Chicago, where he started his campaign a decade ago. I can safely say that I spent the most part of it in tears. Not just because of how beautifully written it is, but because this is an end of an era. For the now, this is the end of progression spearheaded by the “most respected seat in the country” (I stole that last bit from Meryl Streep).

As you’ve probably gathered, my wonderful grandpa has passed away. This is the first time I’ve posted about it, or really spoken about it since September 2016, when he died. I really can only say the only good thing, for lack of a better word, is that he got to go with hope, the hope that Clinton would be the next president. He never got to see how backward politics had become.

I love my grandpa more than I can express, more than I can put into words. I am forever grateful that he showed me that picture of Obama when I was twelve. He instilled in me this immense pride to be unapologetically me. And I thank Barack Obama, for making some of the most difficult decisions in the world. I thank for you bringing hope and happiness to millions of people in your country and around the world.

 

Thank-you.

Down the rabbit hole

Down the rabbit hole

As the winters days have hit, lights go out and fires come on, we must look to the east. We must understand that at that very moment, while we lounge in comfort, those in Syria are mourning the unnecessary death of their loved ones.

Cases where children having breathed in chlorine gas from barrel bombs, are becoming commonplace. Babies are being ripped away from their life saving incubators to free them from the rubble of another bombing. The threat that Russia are posing is very real and very destructive.

It was an unfortunate phone call I had during the dead of night that has reignited my awareness of these frightful times; I must be thankful of them at any rate. But it has made me realise how selfish I am. I’m selfish to be thinking when the next time I’m going to go out with my friends. I’m selfish to think ‘what if I don’t like my Christmas presents’. I’m selfish to think ‘looks like it’s pasta again for dinner’.

I’m selfish.

Not only that, it seems I have fallen into the rabbit hole and not come out. It seems that I have been living in a rose-tinted world for the past couple of months; a place where apathy is welcomed with open arms.

The fact that it takes my opening up the Facebook app on my phone to be greeted with a video about the goings on in Aleppo. That it is that that snaps me back.

But no more. No more will I stand by the wayside. No more will I take twisted comfort in the fact that I am free to live and love whom and where I choose.

We must stop them, I do not know how but I do know this; we all deserve a free and beautiful life. Please lets us allow the Syrians to have this.

For they know, Allahu akbar. 

The ripple as the story unfolded

Not so long ago, I made a post about how I wanted to write  short story entitled: 27.11.2013.

After revisiting this idea, and my love for writing, I have come up with another insert for this story. This follows on directly from the previous one, which is residing in the archive of June.

And so Amelia’s life has become alive once more.

Amelia was confused. Not only had her world been turned upside down, her very existence was being questioned. How was it that in those seconds she could talk to James with such ease. How was it that it took them five years to talk to each other when there was such a natural craving? Unburdened by the shackles of herself but replaced by the manacles overwhelming desire.

Was this wrong? He has a girlfriend she thought to herself. Too many thoughts were going around her head; on one hand if she were to call him, would he get the wrong impression and run away? But if she did not then they may never exchange words again. All that was left for to do was to press ‘call’.

This fearlessness that had taken over her body was seeping away, but not before her fingers, under no orders, pressed the button that would unlock her fate.

The phone rang.

“Hello?”

The voice was nonchalant but intelligent. She could tell that he had just been doing some menial task, a task that meant nothing to him. While he was doing this, she had gone through every outcome imaginable of this phone call, unbeknownst to him. She was silent.

“Hello? Who is this?”. His voice become noticeably more irritable. 

“Uh-“. He cut in.

“It’s you, Amelia?”

“Yes, um hi. I was just wonderi-“. He didn’t let her finish her sentence.

“If Steinbeck was right to let George kill Lennie, right? See I was thinking about that just now and it really would have been unfair to let him pet the rabbits he would have inevitably killed.”

“Sure, I guess. But isn’t it an unfair to assume that his autism, or wherever he was on the spectrum, would lead him to kill something that he would treasure?”

The conversation went on like this for the next forty-five minutes. Amelia spent her time gesticulating to the invisible James. She paced her room so many times that a metaphorical track was being created. Finally, they broke off, not sure of what to say next. Her oaken hair that had somehow twisted around her long neck was set free when she hastily moved her left hand over her eyes.

“Do you want to hang out sometime and maybe we could discuss the wonderings of Homer maybe? Like, we have a class in it soon and maybe you have some cool insights and-“. She again wasn’t allowed to finish, but not because of him. James had fallen silent as Jessica had walked into the room.

Amelia’s heart dropped. Of course, he wouldn’t want to hang out, he was unavailable. He was the fruit on the tree in the garden of Eden she was tempted to pick, but couldn’t. He was too high up for her to reach, like his social status. On the other end of the line she heard the muffled voice of Jessica.

“Yeah John, I’d love to do that, maybe this Thursday after hockey?”

Amelia was perplexed. Who was John? James played Hockey?

“John did you hear me, Homer needs to be explored definitely! Meet me outside the library at 4:30pm, you know so we can discuss how wisdom is but rare”. He was silenced by Jessica asking him another question.

John? Of course! He was referring to her as John, John Steinbeck.

She replied “we are just two friends, two bodies with one soul inspired”

He hung up.