Monday, 24 October 2016

The things I'd love to learn

Teach me to be a lawyer
Not like the warriors that were suitable for yester-wars
Teach me to fight differently
Not with the papers that are stacked up in the walls
Teach me to love my writing and reach for what it's not yet
Gently like the dripping of cream and everything sweet
Teach me to cherish my solitude
Please don’t tell me tell I have failed
Nor give up on me because you can
Teach me to be here
Available and learning
Teach me to candidly cherish my weakness and the sight of things that are yet to be learned
Tell me that I am strong, that you believe
Teach me that I can believe too
Don’t use hostility on me
Hostility kills students and dreams
It kills difference and diversity
It makes us shrink our creativity
But do not be silent, it only means you are absent
Teach me to be the way I am
But tell me the truth
Not the things that others have said
Teach me the beauty of arguments and of taking sides
But tell me that I can have a side of my own too
Teach me to hold unto my faith in the world
Teach me to stay up late at night because I enjoy the eroticism of studying
Don’t scare me with failing because there is no such thing
Teach me to listen, but tell me I have the right to disagree
Look on my dream as equally valid
Validate me, but be honest too, I am at your feet
Don’t crush me with the trophies that mean nothing to me
Teach me that its more important to learn than to compete
Don’t make me cry on your watch
Don’t make me regret my questioning
Teach me that heroes should not be clones of each other
And not every gifting is marked in terms of red and blue
Make this training ordinary as opposed to herculean
Because the extraordinaries are really in owning the simpler things
Teach me to be a lawyer like me
Not a clone of yourself or others
Inspire me to return to you
Teach me to enjoy the depths of not-knowing enough
And make it pleasurable to reach out
Teach me to love myself
Tell me that I can win
Tell me you believe
So that I can believe too
The roads have brought us here
Please don’t get in the way, teach me
Please don’t be a scare, teach me
These are things I’d love to learn
The things I can’t say to myself, yet.

Monday, 10 October 2016

To the Pakistani Judiciary: Let Asia Bibi Walk Free

Asia Bibi  (sourced from: )
Dear Pakistani Judiciary,

I can tell you heaven and earth about Asia Bibi's rights as a women, mother and human. But you have heard that already. However, I'd like to talk about your place in making these rights real and true in her case. I am a Nigerian student of human rights, and I know the place of culture, history and faith in giving these rights scope and structure. I also know that it varies remarkably across seas and borders. But one thing never changes, the peoples will to decide for themselves , their will to survive. But we are not the same, so we fall into fractions. Some times we also fall into minority. For some of us, this happens all the time. For Asia Bibi, this is the case. In her existing, living and believing she has grown, worked, loved, walked and breathed her way into being a minority, a Christian. This doesn't give her the right to escape the law of her community, far from it! It puts her right in the middle, in the spotlight, for you the judiciary to see.

The judiciary has a special in every society's social and political structure. They represent no electorate and their conscience is neither auctionable for another term in office nor popular validation. The judiciary is high up there to spare because justice demands that they are spared the drama of popular politics and the literal application of the law. But also they are high up there to see the law not in terms of what the masses or the books want, but in terms of real life, scars that are still open, real injustices actual and imminent . They are high up there to see Asia Bibi, in the middle of her community's laws, Islamic Law. I'm in no place to tell you what Islam is or is not. But I can tell that 'justice' will vary from time to time, and life to life. It is difficult to script, predict or control. I can imagine that you know this already. But unlike other political arms, what is justice or not justice is left for you the judiciary to decide, because you see things differently. Though you bear the lenses of history, culture and faith, you are not blinded by them. You more powerful than that. The judiciary is God's gift to a people that are unseen by the law and misunderstood by the community. The judiciary is a gift to and for its time.

I have no moral justification to demand that Asia Bibi's walks free. But I do because I am connected to the only system in the world with the luxury of the right to be 'wrong' and the ability to change fates, save lives, even when everyone and everything else unjustly flashes bright red. I am connected to you, the judiciary. I know what being wrong and misunderstood feels like. But I have faith in your process. I have faith that justice in a global community like ours should, in as much as it means the festival of popularity, mean also a  feast which serves the mighty and the little, the conforming and non-conforming, the Muslim and the Christian, and all those flagging the strips of the variety so that they are nourished on one day to return the next in gratitude, respect and devout citizenship. This time, the Pakistani judiciacry has the beacon, is Asia Bibi and the rest of the world to return to you, or are we to die tonight?

Inshallah, God's wisdom shall write this history correctly for Asia Bibi, for us, through you. Let Asia Bibi walk free and she'll return tomorrow, inshallah.


On Asia Bibi:

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