Becoming enemies: On Islamophobia, deportations, #MuslimBan #QuebecShooting
Say it with me: Mamadou, Abdelkrim, Khaled, Aboubaker, Azzeddine, Ibrahima.
Shot. Killed. Murdered. Executed. Massacred. While praying. For praying.
Lives extinguished. Families broken. Children fatherless. A river of tears created by the gunshots of a single man. Or so we are told.
An act of hate, some want us to believe. But this attack, this shooting was not a random act of hate, but a strategic act, an intentional act, a thoughtful act.
Mamadou, Abdelkrim, Khalid were killed because they were seen as enemies, were enemies.
Aboubaker, Azzeddine, Ibrahima were killed not by a lone wolf but because they were threats.
You see, we, you and I, that are pushed out by borders, beaten down by police, impoverished in our homes, persecuted for speaking the language of our mothers’ lullabies, are threats. Our very breath, just like those six men’s, is a fundamental challenge to a parasitic and destructive way of life that cherishes the few over the many.
This way of life gorges on oil to spread its evil wings. And to steal this oil, it must declare the places with oil, places that we have once called home empty of humanity. And so, we are turned from humans into enemies. Their way of life is Islamophobia, is Capitalism.
Their way of life needs perpetual war. A raging war that spreads from Mosul to Mogadishu. From Chiapas to Chernobyl. From Aleppo to Algeria. And for as long as there has been history, we, the coloured, the Black, the Brown, the Others, we have been the enemies upon whose death, this way of life dances. And this way of life killed those six men.
Their way of life needs borders. To divide some - the citizen - from the rest of us. This way of life makes us undocumented, migrant, illegal. This way of life steals Indigenous children, destroys language, disappears women. We are made into enemies. Disposable. Locked up in prisons. Forced into indentured labour in farms in factories and in domestic homes. Pushed off our lands. Recorded, weighed and measured for our skin. Their murderous way of life is White Supremacy. Is Colonialism.
Their way of life needs to be taken care of. Its children fed, its food cooked, its homes kept warm. And for that it must have gender, women, made to serve but watched closely. This way of life is Patriarchy.
And this way of life - the one that killed our six loved ones - needs armed enforcers whose work is death. And it needs bureaucrats, and administrators to sustain it. It needs courthouses like the one we stand in front of to turn justice into rhetoric. And it needs a public that upholds these laws, enforcing them in the smallest of ways. As teachers that check ID documents, as nurses that check health cards. This clawing way of life is Liberalism.
This, their way of life comes in all colours - the Red, the Blue and the Orange of your political parties. It comes in many flavours, the caustic bile of Trump and his cohorts that sit in the White House built by Black men and women. It comes in the saccharine sweetness of Trudeau who defends Muslims in word but then arms the bombing of Yemen, who bows and scrapes to the likes of disastrous Barrick Gold, but will not clean the five decade long mercury poisoning in Grassy Narrows.
And whether they drop drones on us like Obama, ban us like Trump, or hug a few of us like Trudeau, we to them, to that way of life are enemies.
On one side is the border wall, on the other side is the enemy.
On one side is the prison, and inside is the enemy.
On one side are the Police, and held down by them are enemy.
On one side are the bankers, the politricksters, the negotiators, and across from them is the enemies.
On one side is the deportation judge, on the other, the enemy.
On one side the slave ship, and inside it the enemy.
On one side the drone pilot, and on his screen, the enemy.
On one side the murderer, and on the other six men in prayer, the enemy.
So today I say to you, become the enemy.
And to become enemies, let us become the nightmare that they warn themselves about.
Let us gather in the tens, the hundreds and the thousands to form organizations, and movements that will assert power and re-shape our society. Let us organize in the millions, the mass of our humanity must rise up and change history.
We cannot respond to Trudeau’s symbolic tweet with a symbolic protest.
We must wrest out the guns from those that wish us death.
We must break down the border that keeps out the migrants and refugees.
We must create the Freedom to Move, Return, Stay.
We must tear down the prisons, and the detentions centres where our communities are jailed indefinitely without charges or trial.
We must seize the farms, and the factories, where our Black and Brown families live and die on tied permits, without status, without tasting the fruits of our labour.
We must become the enemies that make it so that in city and this province each of us has food, shelter and dignity, with or without status.
We must become the enemies that sow terror in a system that exists to subjugate us so that laws like C-51 and Security Certificates shrivel into dust.
We must celebrate our way of life - what they call Barbaric Cultural Practices - on the streets and homes until their way of life dissipates in the rhythms of our songs.
Let us become enemies.
Let us organize.
Let us win.
We cannot wait.
Freedom is calling to us.
That is what these deaths demand of us.
We must love each other, as we haunt those wish us death.
It is time.