Waxing (non) Poetic at Vancouver’s CO-OP Radio

coop_logo

Yesterday, i had an interesting conversation about my just-launched novel The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentless Warrior with Pamela Bentley and RC Weslowski, two of my favorite poets, slam artists and radio hosts at Vancouver’s CO-OP Radio. You can listen to it if you like. There are excerpts from the first SahebaN story ‘Vital Parts’, and a couple of verses from the novel.
coopradio.org/content/wax-poetic-6

Of course, i’m more absent-minded than Pam gives me credit for, so the second time i get the chance to pitch the event at Semiahmoo library, i give the wrong date. It is DEC 3rd not 4th. And, regarding distribution, anyone can ask a bookshop or a library anywhere to get it for them.

Earlier, i had a warm and cozy first launch at VG PlayRoom with Host Virginia Gillespie, Guest Speaker Liam Paul Wallinger and many beautiful peers, friends and family. For photos and other outcomes from events, view this page:
saheban.wordpress.com/photos

Next event is Surrey Muse on Friday November 25, and on November 29 and December 3rd

the-adventures-of-saheban_cover_nov61The Adventures of SahebaN:Biography of a Relentless Warrior
A novel by Fauzia Rafique
Libros Libertad 2016
The story of a woman who was forever curious about an object called ‘pee-nuts’.
..

‘Candle Light Vigiler’

photobyroshnichanda-1

I’m a Candle
Light Vigiler
vigiling over
murders of masses
of people burning
dollar store candles
every other week
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city

sometimes i use look-alike blinking fake little candles, still, the tears are real like the blood that is spilled of the innocent unarmed civilians childrens

but my vigils
get slurped by the party politicos
solidaritos seeming progressivos
who speak without questioning authoritos
without threatening ideologeos
of the very systemos
that breed the demandos
and create the supplyos
for the (designated) MURDERERS
and the (appointed) KILLERS
of the (compulsive) COLONIZERS

a gimmick named ISIS, for example, is a US-NATO toy created to achieve certain corporate goals for the war pharmaceutical religion construction finance industry

candle light vigiling
has made me a hostage to
the onslaught of
violence carried out to
make more profit for
a few bankers officers
and priests
a hostage to
the sorrow of
innocent deaths
a prisoner to the powers
that need to feed
the oceans of
their greed
with the rivers of fresh
red- warm
blood

‘pray for baghdad’-‘islam is a violent religion’-‘all muslims are not terrorists’-‘good morning’-‘brexit the refugees’-‘kill colored migrants’- ‘Black Lives Matter, No?’ -‘send more weapons to middle east’-‘eid mubarik’- but i never auditioned for this role and i never invested in your goal

The hostage the prisoner
the sorrowful individual
must break
her cage before
the oceans of greed
usurp all blood before
vigiling extinguishes
all dollar store candles
in a safe little corner
of an unsafe city

Fauzia Rafique
.

Photo from Roshni Chanda
..

‘The Almighty’ by Fauzia Rafique

Dedicated to Afghanistan’s Shaheed Bibi Farkhanda Malikzada who was killed by a mob in Kabul at the false accusations of blasphemy on March 19, 2015. We are privileged to have Farkhanda’s in-destructible spirit among us.
.

Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac
ever great for turning
my little me into
a big powerful we, so big
so big (more than ten at least!)
no one can stop
me as i give
and take life in your
home, on street
in the park, fields
work, school, factory
college, univers
-ity, no one stops me
i’m not just
me but we are we
Allah the ever great
is always, always
with me, the little
Man Almighty

I tell you what
to do what
to wear what
to say what
and not what
obey me or then what
‘BLASPHEMY!’ a cry
in my ecstasy, i attack
and we kill
(there and then) with wood
wood planks, stones
boulders, bricks
words, fatwas, firearms
honor, acid, poison, purdah
mutilate, behead, gang (episodes
of man-power) rape
buy and sell, produce
more porn
to later watch with
me, the little
Man Almighty

i get erect
-ions, hundreds
and thousands,
by using against you
the gods of jesus
and moses, raam
and krishan, mahatma
budh, waheguru khalsa, works
in other places but
here, i like mo’s youthful
and tighter sharia, as good
as any, it suits
me, the little
Man Almighty
Wallah! Allah is my most
recent aphrodisiac

(The video appeared on my facebook newsfeed on December 31.)
..

Canadian MPs! Swear Allegiance to the People of Canada!

Parliament-by-aurorahighschoolPhoto from Aurora High School

On October 19th Canadian people exercised their will and they ditched Harper’s fascistic politics in favor of a more open, more democratic agenda. This was happiness in itself, but then our new Prime Minister responded by revealing a 50% gender-equal cabinet (who else has it?) with some people-of-color representation. Watching the Oath Ceremony was a treat- (youtube.com) till I began to actually watch it. Person after bright-modern-day-well-educated person was, more or less, saying this:

‘I, [name], do solemnly and sincerely swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors. So help me God.’

After listening to half the cabinet, a question, actually this exact question, came to mind: Who’s Queen Elizabeth the Second, and why our elected representatives are swearing allegiance to her? Our elected representatives are hired and paid by us, and they should swear allegiance to the People of Canada NOT the Queen of England (parl.gc.ca).

Elizabeth the Second is the queen of England because that’s the only place her ancestors did not colonize for her and her ‘heirs and successors’ in the way that they had colonized most of the rest of the world including the areas now called Canada and Pakistan. She’s the queen of her native land, and so if the UK parliamentarians continue to swear allegiance to her, it’s their decision. But Canada is not England, and this is 2015.

In Canada, most people think that swearing allegiance to the Queen at citizenship and parliamentary oath ceremonies is just a ceremonial thing that has nothing much to do with their lives. This view is half true. Yes, the Queen has nothing to do with every day life of Canadian people, so much so that when people try to get her to do something, she doesn’t respond. The latest was in 2013 when Native Canadian leaders, after being refused by Harper, had turned to Queen Elizabeth the Second for a meeting, she never responded even when some of the leaders were on a hunger strike, and for me, that became a point of contention (gandholi.wordpress.com). The untruth is that what is projected as ‘just’ ceremonial, is actually a deep-seated foundational aspect of this system. It is as entrenched as the word ‘Islamic’ in ‘The Republic of Pakistan’ that you can not ask to be removed until you are willing to risk your life. For us in Canada to keep bowing to a colonial entity with such a bloody history against our own people, can’t just be a habit we acquired. It means, the interests of the Canadian ruling elites are tied to the British monarchy in similar ways that Pakistani ruling elites’ interests are tied to an ‘Islamic’ republic.

In the Canadian/American context, the UK Queen represents slavery of black people, the genocide of Indigenous Peoples, extreme exploitation of colored migrants, residential schools in the name of education, and a system of governance based on racial prejudice and privilege. If we want to move forward in a positive direction, we may need to sever ties with British monarchy, and it’s time, because as long as we don’t take this one small(!) step, we will not be able to take the big steps we want to take towards equality and harmonious existence of all peoples of Canada. To go forward in a positive direction, the Canadian Government must find lasting and honorable solutions with Indigenous peoples, so instead of continuing to keep the Canadian state as an agency of a harsh colonial entity, it’ll be an immense help to begin by severing ties with the British monarchy who began, protected and perpetuated such unfair relationships with Canadian peoples.

If by now, you are thinking, who (the hell) is she to talk like this, then allow me to introduce myself. I am a common Canadian citizen, a first generation migrant from a country that was part of the British Empire from 1757 to 1858 (East India Company) and from 1858 to 1947 (British Crown), where once in the span of a few weeks, 15 Million people were uprooted, 1-2 Million people were killed, 75,000 women were raped, just because of the manner in which the British monarchy chose to surrender it’s direct colonial rule in India. This is just a glimpse of the tail end of the painful history of our colonization so that you know that my association with British monarchy is 300 years old, and I have bone-felt reasons to not revere it or any other such formation.

If you are a Canadian, and you do revere Queen Elizabeth the Second and her ancestors, heirs and successors, I urge you to re-think your position. It is a loaded bloody history of world domination where local populations and cultures in Africa, Americas, Australia, Asia, were disrupted, exploited, killed and looted (one small example of loot: A diamond). Supporting and taking pride in such histories of global exploitation may stunt our own progress as individuals and it may place debilitating limits on the quality of our contributions to our lives and to our countries.

At this time, from over fifty Commonwealth states, only Sixteen ‘voluntarily continue to share the British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, as their head of state’ (Wikipedia). I suggest, we do take this ‘voluntarism’ to task and become free of the bloodied colonial chains of our past.

There’s so much hunger, poverty, inequality and destitution in this World, i wonder, why do we need Saudi Kings and British Queens. The actual place they belong to is in (scary) fairy tales. As well, we don’t need the cultural ambassadorial Pop Queens towing lines of colonial warlords, charity-throwing filthy rich Humanity Queens posing with starving third world children, and Vaginal Feminism Queens bringing emancipation to the poor ignorant women of the third world.

The only queens we need are drag queens, the only kings we need are hikings, and the only monarchs we need are these (now bouncing back):
butterfliesgif

Fauzia Rafique
frafique@gmail.com

Britain deals with its colonial past
‘Violence, victors and victims: how to look at the art of the British empire’ by William Dalrymple
Another petition for the return of Koh-i-Noor diamond Dror Bar-Natan renounces allegiance to Queen, spurs Monarchy debate
New Victoria Mayor, Lisa Helps, Declines To Pledge Allegiance To The Queen
Supreme Court won’t hear citizenship oath to Queen challenge
THE MOLD RIOTS: THE SUMMER OF ‘69
(Links updated Dec 6/15)
..

‘Lose Some Sleep’ by Fauzia Rafique

rubyamehdi-1-detail
.

Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

try to lose it over
missing murdered red
brown women
of this fast-fracking
land, harper

Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

Lose it over
homeless jobless
multicoloured people
of your C51-aspiring
brand, harper

Losing sleep over my
black silk niqab, harper

Lose it over
spilled oil minimum wage
toil poisoned soil
of your tarsands-producing
wasteland, harper

By morning
perhaps we’ll see the
bright BARE face
of a composite order for a
national inquiry just economy
sustainable development
UN-VEIL
and
RE-VEAL
itself on the
parliament hill
in your soft pink
hand, harper.
A not-for-profit
stand, harper.

On the National Day of Action Against Bill C-51, 14 March 2015

Art work: From a painting by Rubya Mehdi

..

‘I am Charlie’ is not about Charlie

jesuischarlie

‘I am Charlie’ is not about Charlie. It’s about me, you, and the values we hold dear.

The value, for example, that no one must be killed for expressing their views, that no one must be made to live in fear for their views. For us all to be free to express ourselves. For all of us to have the right to Freedom of Expression.

It may be of interest to me to research and to figure out if Charlie Hebdo is racist, Islamophobic, an instrument of White Colonialists and/or an outright right wing fascist publication but the results of this fact-finding mission will have no bearing on my ‘I’m Charlie’ decision. Rather they’ll help me hone and strengthen my ongoing struggle against racism, islamophobia, colonialism and fascism. In other words, it doesn’t matter who or what Charlie Hebdo was or is, what matters is who i am, who you are, and how we choose to defend ourselves.

Being selective in our support for basic human rights because of who the victims were or how the incidents are playing out in their larger contexts or if we favor the power-holders who benefit from such incidents or if it was a staged drama, is actually a callous position to take. We are asking humans to be more human than some others to enjoy our support for the protection of their lives. Here is an example where support is selectively offered, so we can see where this thinking leads us. ‘Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, Shariat Courts, Jirga and Madrassa institutions only support humans that are Muslims.’ Right? Wrong! These institutions mostly support humans who are prosperous, Sunni, Adult, Male Muslims of perhaps Punjabi variety.

Some ifs and buts. If i am against US Drone strikes in Pakistan, and so are the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, should i withdraw my opposition for fear of being found on the same side as my enemies? Don’t think so, though i may add a footnote stating that my opposition to US Drone strikes does not constitute support for the zealots. If the main beneficiaries of the massacre of journalists in Paris appear to be the conservatives and European governments who are now tightening their racist/islamophobic laws against migrants and Muslims, should i leave the ‘i’m Charlie’ enclosure? No, but i will give active support to the local/global movements protesting against this usage, like i do against the usage of Malala Yousafzai by these same people. And if the bloodshed in Paris earlier this month was a staged drama, we know for sure it wasn’t staged by any of the 12 people who got shot and killed by Al-Qaeda Goons.

In all of this, and away from the enemy camp where the leaders of the free world and the religious fundamentalists both reside perpetuating violence and weaponry, i find myself making my way between Freedom-of-Expression Criers who do not see how their unqualified mantra facilitates racist/war agendas, and Islamophobia Wailers who are unable to acknowledge the necessity to confront/criticize Islam, while both use their dearly held positions as extreme accusations against each other. And then confronting the limp argument within, from the protectors of the ‘religious sentiment’ who ask us to follow the thinking of extreme fundamentalist by ‘not offending’ in the first place those religious people who will then be moved to ‘rightfully’ kill the offenders further inciting backlash against Muslims in the West. A clever ploy that places all responsibility of all violence on the victim/s of violence.

As a non-religious Muslim Canadian woman, my position to defend Freedom of Expression includes my right to reject victim-bashing in both my worlds, and to criticize Islam, and to resist all oppressive constructs of my ‘free world’ such as class, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, sexuality, corporate profitism, and more. That’s how i continue to be Charlie.
.
.

‘This Thanksgiving…’ by Fauzia Rafique

Discover me
like Columbus
discovered America

Disregard and overlook
my brand new citizenship card,
esl abilities, my bridging
capabilities. There still are
some Indians (and many
Pakistanis) in me– spoiling
for education, assimilation,
in short, civilization.

Discover me
like Columbus
discovered America

Ignore or obliterate
my multicultured clothes,
urban unriches, my
discomforting art. There still is
a writer (even when
brown) in me– needing
cliches, creative writing courses,
in short, author-ization.

Discover me
like Columbus
discovered America

Exorcise and enslave
my mind, that independent
wave dashing beyond your glitter, an
uncontrolled tongue. There still is
a rebel (even if
feminine) in me– requiring
guidance, tall historic lies,
in short, indoctrination.

Discover me
like Columbus
discovered America
..