This is a speech I prepared for Bristol Demo against Trump’s #MuslimBan 30th January 2017. https://vimeo.com/201875674
I am a first generation Bristolian – I was born here – I am myself ethnically diverse, my mum is ‘white’ British and has been a Muslim for 3 years. I am proud of my city – we have the potential to truly be a leading city. We have spoken out, we have stood together, marched together, we have petitioned and have been counted as anti Trump, and by and large a city of remain in the Brexit madness. But actually we are a city divided – I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the white Bristolians in this city who have worked to make this city what it is for generations and who along with others have become marginalised. I know some of you voted leave, I see you, I went to school with you. I care about you as I care about most citizens. I believe in unity in diversity. I believe in love and not hate. But I am asking all communities not to believe the lies that are told in mainstream media about other people and other cultures about Muslims about refugees, don’t believe the lies that we have been fed for so long that drives a wedge between us and distracts us from our true enemies.
What we are witnessing in this time is the result of centuries of wrong doing by the so called leaders of the world. It is no surprise that Donald Trump is nervous about immigration given that we are where we are globally in terms of extremism and the refugee crisis in part because of what the USA has done in other territories. It is not something that has sprung up without cause, this is the effect of American policy, intervention and interruption whether it be oil grab or otherwise. There can be no moral high ground when it comes to America and the crimes that it has committed and continues to instigate.
But lets take this back – lets take this back to the start. To the start of the first European settlements in America and when we consider colonies and settlements like Virginia we need to know that Bristol as a city was instrumental in the founding and financing of that through trade which also contributed to the exploitation and genocide of the indigenous people of that land.
So I also stand here today to acknowledge the tribes of the first nation people who right now this very moment stand on the frontline at the Dakota Access Pipeline, protecting the land, water and sacred space. Those first nation people were robbed, murdered and had their land stolen when the first immigrants went to America. Lets remember them – lets stand with them.
I saw a clip of the first nation tribes holding the fort and I was touched. I was touched by seeing them dance in the freezing snow. Supporters come and go but they still stand proud, still standing after centuries of wrong doing against them.
“It seems that the party is over,
The crowds have gone home.
Only the warrior.
Only the warrior.
Touching the earth with chant and drum.
Will hold the dance.
Cold hollow shallow spineless men
Will fade into nothing in the next life
But not us we will dance, dance on, dance together
Dance until the bitter end and after it.”