Picture taken in Giza, Egypt – August 2015
Back home, they always told me that Politics is noisy and painful. But I always loved the idea of healing, for I may be healed too. I still live in that dream of change since the January 25th revolution. & I know that I am only a brick in the entire building. But you know, change is not quantitative, it is qualitative. & for that, I decided to start a revolution within. To change myself & my family later. Running away from the political scene is like marginalizing the realities of our life. Realities that we need to acknowledge to always keeps us in check with our humane instincts.
Politics is everywhere. I am not sure how I decided to switch from studying “peaceful” Economics to “painful” politics. Politics is painful in and of itself, but studying it is the bitter truth. Just like how awful medicine tastes, but it heals at then end. The bitter taste is only temporary. Even when I spend days in school procrastinating on being “overwhelmed” or “shocked” because of one more terrorist attack somewhere in the world. Or perhaps a Syrian family member does not pick up the phone and I dwell in the worry of different “possible” stories that could have taken place to stop them from being present next to the phone. Well, wait – remember – I said “possible”. It is not over-thinking, it is all possible.
The news can be numbing sometimes, but I am trying my best to never get desensitized. & to never forget. To always be present. & to not only be good, but to do good. And to always – always – be sensitive to the fact that I may be proven incorrect.
I am not going to “romanticize” the study of such dense subject. As a matter of fact, I am just scratching the surfaces of the field. & despite encountering a plethora of subjects that captivated my interest, as well as noble teachers who stimulated my curiosity – I can only go after what topics that pertain to who I am and where I come from. Not because I have to, but because these are the questions that are central to my everyday life. They are not questions that can be answered in a single research paper. They are questions that have answers scattered around the corners of the world, like diaspora. Or perhaps like refugees – who once had a refuge. I know that the answers for these questions are what I can wake-up everyday wanting to find and reading about, again, again and again. Until I find answers – if there is any.
And what can the money/grades/publications of the whole world do to you if your eyes does not GLOW when you speak about your research interests? & it is that – or nothing.
studying politics can be painful – especially when for someone like me with social anxiety and is a visible minority -and has to sit through a class discussion where they discuss my identity in the most Orientalist ways. it can also be painful in different ways, but it is also rewarding. Knowledge is rather. Knowledge, great teachers and dedicated students.
Studying politics for me was just like healing a ‘wound’ – it is painful indeed to get all the “puss” out, and to get some alcohol to ‘purify’ the wound. Painful yes – but it will eventually be healed. And that state of healing is the state of knowing. The most powerful I have ever felt. & once you know, you know that to really know is to know that you do not know. & that the more you know, the more you know that you do not know. & story begins. You start knowing more, and you start seeing everything in the world from the lens of your studies.
That is why to me – everything is politics.
What you love, what you hate, and what you are indifferent about in this world – is politics. The most horrific injustices, killings and oppression is in the realm of politics. Sexuality, marriage & labour are politics. Your skin colour is politics. & they whom you’ll fall in love with. Your passport stamps and the brands in your luggage. Your purchasing power that can make a change & everything that you choose to buy with it.
Politics is also inside the most beautiful chants, revolutions, and national anthems. Social justice, and solidarity. Your people, and your travels. Your culture, your history, & your art. Your lands & your access to the other side of the world. & so are your media outlets.
The bodies of women, their clothes and their sexuality. Your belief in a Higher Being or your lack of it. & so is your life, your language & the correctness of your terminologies. It is in poetry and in music, and in Palestine.
We’ll talk about dictators, colonizers, resistances and revolutions.. We’ll get all strong & defensive. & we’ll stand tall and firm. We’ll stand like we can never bow. & nothing can stand in our way. & then . . . there shall come a pair of beautiful glowing eyes, ones that we’ll reflect in so beautifully, & they will lift our feet off the ground.. & we’ll fall!
Fall in love with everything and everyone. For verily that is the etiquette of seeking knowledge, that does not only entail highly appreciating our great teachers but also holding value to the books and material we learn. This is how ‘change’ happens, inside of the intellectual realm.
Yes, politics can be painful – and so are many other things in life. But, it is all about the attitude in which one carries themselves and the etiquette of seeking knowledge. The thing about these reflections is that they will not change the world – but they will change us, and we can potentially do something before we sleep under the ground.
Only then change can start – that change that we all aspire to, to make politics ‘less painful’. Yes, a revolution is needed. But firstly, a revolution within – inside of us. To love what we do and to love loving it. For verily – love – is the greatest revolution.