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Farah Abdi's blog: The power of love brings hope

Farah Abdi's blog: The power of love brings hope

Fighting for what's right as the world turns right

Image above: Remembrance Day poppy, "Lest we forget!"

Following the US presidential election, and in the wake of the UK's Brexit vote in June 2016, #LCJB winner Farah Abdi, considers the implications of the Western world taking a step to the political right. Leave your comment below.

On the 9th of November 2016 the morning broke like the sweet melody of a blackbird, full of promise, freshness and newness to come.

Then it sat like a cold cup of coffee waiting to be drained away.

“Where is the world heading?” I kept asking myself.

The rise of the far right

It seems to me that the worst thing to be at this point in time is a minority. Black, hispanics, Muslims, refugees, the LGBTQI community and women are all faced with the same challenges when the western world – which for a long time was seen as a beacon of hope – decides to embrace its own preconceived notions of who is supposed to be a human being.

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States, Brexit, and the rise of the far right in most European countries all have a striking similar cord. The majority of the white population wants to bring back a time in history that they considered to be great.

White Americans for example feel angrier than black Americans, according to a November 2016 survey of 3,257 US adults by Esquire and NBC. White people were more likely than black people to say their current financial situation isn’t what they thought it would be when they were younger. They were also more likely to put that down to difficult circumstances rather than “wrong choices”.

What these people are forgetting is that the time in history when they considered their lives to be great was a time in history when minorities were colonised, enslaved, discriminated against and killed in cold blood.

Is that what we really want to go back to? Don't they realise that they cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing their own? Those who hold others down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep them down.

A time to grieve

It is in times like this that I believe we need to give ourselves the opportunity to grieve for humanity before going back into the world to fight for equality. Giving ourselves time to grieve does not necessarily mean giving up. It means reflecting on where we went wrong and how we managed to win in the past when it comes to our fight for equality.

Personally I go back to a challenge I encountered when I first arrived in Malta back in 2012. I realised that my gender identity would be tolerated but my race and religion posed a major threat in my new community. I thought a lot about dropping my religion in a bid to be “more western”.

The state of confusion that I found myself in was threatening to suffocate me, until I realised that there are only two options when one is barricaded in by banal yet dangerous stereotypes. You can either shed some of the complex layers that have made you who you are. Or you can cling to those complexities and appreciate the value of the long game – the fact that there is power and strength in multiplicity and in a beautifully unwieldy heritage.

Common decency

As we fight our way through these difficult times, human rights advocates need to advocate for fewer centres of power and enhanced co-operation and fraternity between nations. Let’s put our faith in the common decency of the average man and woman, not those who parade for the glory of themselves. When we are all strong, we can have an earth we are all proud of no matter our origins, culture or faith.

We also need to realise that the power of love brings hope. Yet at times the steps towards love cause pain. We are born to love and with all the necessary courage to walk the path to it, no matter the roughness, no matter the hardship. This is a lesson I hold dear as we all continue the fight for a better tomorrow.