R E B E L R E B E L
Kylie Jenner was right. 2016 WAS the year of realising stuff.
Last Saturday I was dancing to electronic music in the back of Tommy Robinsons car, along with George, Caolan and Holly Henderson. We were listening to SIA, smoking fags out of the window, laughing and exchanging stories from our day out. As I flew by the English countryside with one arm draped out of the car, watching the sun set, I realised how much I had missed feeling free.
It was around this time last year when I first became ‘politically active’. It all started with a relationship which ended in October 2014. It was a horribly bitter ordeal that still haunts me to this day, and not something I would wish on anybody. I was trying to work things out in my head, and felt that in the meantime, some charity work wouldn’t go amiss. I started volunteering at the Shoreditch Church, who were — and still are — offering food and drinks to homeless people in the area. I went down over Christmas and brought a few DVD’s. They were fans of the Young Ones, which was wicked. I started going down there regularly and even made a great friend out of it.
It was later that I went on my first march. ‘March for the Homeless’, it was called. I walked through the City of London with a total stranger I met by just turning up. The march itself was nice enough, albeit a bit strange. A guy came over and befriended us. At the end, he said that he didn’t have anywhere to stay in London as he was a traveller (posh boy, hemp clothing), and that did we want to grab a drink. I thought it was pretty rich that someone would so blatently try and get with a girl in that situation, but I have since come to realise this is basically the only way for guys to get laid these days without being arrested so fair play.
Months down the line and two activist groups joined and failed, I have found myself here. Somehow. Celebrating Donald Trump getting into the White House. Sending sassy gifs to Katie Hopkins. Being targetted by far left antifascist groups, and sticking vigilante Pepe stickers around London. And to top it all off, I’m now a transphobic fascist, hanging out with a load of racist, homophobic, xenophobes. How did it go so wrong so quickly!?
It all starts with one word really.
My favourite word. I wish I had used it more often in my earlier years, but I was trying to look cool.
It’s a door. A door which takes you through a series of corridors, and in each corridor is a room. And in each room there are bookshelves, and in each book there are chapters, and each chapter contains part of the answer you seek. When you accept the answer you’re looking for may not be nice or to your liking, you allow yourself access to these rooms. That is what this journey has been like.
That first door, my first question, was. ‘Why is my opinion not as important, because of my skin?’. I couldn’t quite justify it to myself, no matter how many quotes I read or speeches I watched.
My hero is Malcolm X. His message at the end of his book was a powerful one, the most powerful one. And the reason why I look up to him so much is because he had the strength to admit he was wrong. He had integrity. I felt like he wouldn’t want me to think that my opinion wasn’t valid because of the colour of my skin, no way. It was that line of thinking which led me to start questioning everything else, just to be sure I had it all right. Oh, how quickly things started to crumble.
Everyone knows how hard it is transitioning from being a hardcore leftist, so I won’t bore you too much with the details. Needless to say it took me approximately 6 months to get out of it. Nearly 10 months on and I am still finding out that I have been unfriended by close people on Facebook, noticing certain names not popping up on my phone anymore, and of course that strange look in my friends eyes as I feel like I have to ‘explain myself’ over what was supposed to be a nice drink.
I feel ashamed, ostracised and misunderstood.
But we’re not here to talk about that. Because instead of being a fluffy Huffington Post-esque ‘woe is me’ post, this is going to go the other way. We need H I G H E N E R G Y folks.
The people I have met on this new journey have made it all the worth while. Those of you who may read this, I am speaking about you. The coffees and drinks I have had with likeminded, intelligent and humorous individuals who are also, like many of us, braving the storm of oppression. Yes, that’s right folks, O P P R E S S I O N. Real oppression. Oppression where you can’t even use the correct term to describe a criminal, out of fear. That you can’t write a silly, rude or offensive joke on Twitter without having to worry about whether it will affect your job or your marriage years down the line. Where you lose friends for pointing out facts.
It feels like our country is starting to wake up and smell the roses. Well, the roses are dead. You didn’t water them, they died.
But not to worry. Our little gang of droogs in the Mystery Machine are on the case. The bravery I have seen from that team has been staggering. It’s a mix of characters, all driven by the same passion — for freedom. Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, freedom of speech. To protect men, women and children wherever and however we can, somehow.
I do quite often see comments such as ‘you are not a journalist’ and ‘that’s not very professional’ but I do have to wonder to myself…does it work? It seems to be working, to me. I mean, yes we just had the ‘3 Girls’ documentary come out on the BBC and that’s great but look at who’s been talking about it for years…it’s Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, the Sikh Awareness Society and the people of Sunderland, Rochdale, Rotherham and countless towns and cities across the country. They have all been trying to raise awareness of this issue for years. Now the first thing that will come up, hopefully, on Youtube will be something one of them has said. Will this confuse people? Will it wake any of them up? I hope so. When I used to see someone I hated standing up for something I felt passionately about, I thought to myself ‘I’ll give them that one, fair enough’. It takes a lot of courage to admit to yourself that someone you previously hated isn’t actually that bad. And you may in fact like them.
I think our conciousness is evolving into a Hive Mind, and now the fight is on for who should have control. Look not just to your leaders, folks, look at the social media companies. The censorship laws. The hate speech laws. There are wars going on beneath these very keyboards — a spiritual war, a culture war, an autism war.
In 2016 I realised I had a lot of choices to make. I had to choose whether or not I could continue having friends who spoke about my views and the politicians I admired in a derogatory way — which in turn made me feel too embarassed to say them out loud. I was being challenged constantly, people would get this look in their eye like ‘you can’t SERIOUSLY think this can you’?
I needed to test the water, seeing what I could say on Facebook without getting in an argument (not much), then Instagram (even less). One of my friends the other day, we didn’t speak for months because of what links I had been posting online, said that she, at one point, thought ‘if it looks like one and smells like one’…I must be a Nazi. Me. A Nazi. The girl with blue hair and a septum piercing, living in Hackney. Fuck off. How am I supposed to react to that? Should I be grateful that she decided that no, maybe I wasn’t a Nazi. I think I should be pissed off that she even entertained the idea at any stage that I could have been one. Since when? What have I ever said that’s in any way Nazi related? Disgusting. She then told me as we left ‘stay off Facebook yea’.
This was happening over and over and over again to the point where I fell into a bit of a depression. Then I saw this video of a lovely looking reporter doing joke interviews of feminists at the Womens March and for the first time in months, I laughed!
Since then I can only say for now that it has been a rollercoaster. Behind closed doors, the team which you see on The Rebel UK are working around the clock. They do not stop. Finally I feel as though I have met people who are likeminded, dedicated and fearless.
I was also honoured to meet so many patriotic men and women in Sunderland last weekend. It truly felt great to be able to talk to people who understand exactly what the problem is (Muslim Grooming Gangs), and who were all joined together in support of a noble and important cause. It makes me laugh at how desperately I used to want fashion people to like me.
I suppose the point I wanted to make is, open that door. What starts as a different perspective may turn into a coffee and a chat with someone new, which can then lead to laughing around a dinner table with a load of pissed up friends who like you for who you really are (a racist). It might end up with a day walking along Blackpool pier eating Ice Cream with not a care in the world. It might end up with surprising someone being released from custody with a friendly face. It might end up as one of the best nights out you’ve ever had in months.
It might, or it might not, but how will you ever know if you don’t try?
That racist bit at the end was a joke (remember them?)