Spoken Word Artist Offers Aleppo His Words as Charity

This spoken word artist’s message for the people of Aleppo is a reminder for all of us that the world has once again turned its back on the genocide of a nation. Aleppo has been under siege for four bloody years, and as of today, the Syrian government agreed to yet another cease-fire so that remaining civilians and rebels can evacuate the city.

While young men in Aleppo discovered the corpses of their mothers, while toddlers crawled on bloody knees and searched for shelter, the world watched silently from the sidelines. Now we have nothing left to offer them but our prayers, and hope that they will count as charity.


Poet and spoken word artist Shabbir Hassan, who goes by his stage name Shabbir the Poet, is considered a Muslim visionary in the U.K. He has performed around the country alongside other artists and performers, and is the founder of Five Before Five, a U.K.-based non-profit organization whose aim is to encourage Muslims to give back to their communities.


in the corers of my mind, all of this, f.gabdon.

- mama wakes up with the sun. her sleep breaks when the morning starts to lighten and the first room she comes into is mine. “Farah, wake up,” she says, “it’s time to pray.” i lie in bed for far too long; listen to the sound of her reciting the morning prayer as it drifts in through the wall between our rooms.

- lately my bones seem heavier than they used to, i sink further and further into bed, stay longer and longer beneath my duvet and everything is a trial. an effort. i do not have the energy for any of it.

- two Fridays i have been trying to arrange a meet-up with a friend. both times she has cancelled. i begin to feel the familiar ache, the resurfacing of thoughts i am trying to banish. “stop imposing yourself on others” and “can’t you take a hint?”

- last night i find myself happy. delirious almost. brought on by the simplest thing. music and dancing in my darkened room. i think i dance well. and i think i sing well too. but i have never done either in front of anyone else. except children. because children only know how to love and enjoy.

- my baby nieces name translates to English as ‘light’. i cannot think of a better description for her. she causes me heart to stir and pump itself into living. i find joy in the way she runs to me. the way she refuses hugs and kisses to anyone other than her mother and me. i find love in this. peace. healing.

- i am lonelier than i will admit. i want more than i have the nerve to reach for. and i am always afraid. sometimes i think love will be the answer. that love could be the only answer. 
and other times, i am not so sure.

Pipikit ako.

Pumipikit ako sa tuwing niyayakap mo ako,
Sa tuwing lalapat ang katawan ko sa iyo.
Pumipikit ako.

Pumipikit ako kapag hinahalikan mo ako,
Sa oras na nag-iisa ang mga kalamnan ko at iyo.
Pumipikit ako.

Pumipikit ako sa mga panahong wala ka,
Sa bawat paglipas ng araw na ako ay nagtataka,
Sa bawat pagkakataong maiisip ko kung nasaan ka,
Pumipikit ako.
Sa bawat sandaling may kasama kang iba,
Na ikaw ay masaya,
Ako naman nagmumukhang tanga,
Sa pag-aakalang ako pa rin, walang iba.
Pumipikit ako.

Pipikit ako ngayon hindi dahil
Niyayakap kita
Hinahalikan kita
O kaya'y wala ka.
Pipikit ako ngayon kasi…
Ayokong umulan itong aking mga mata. #

On 'Cultural Appropriation' and why it's not evil

Dear Tumblr,

I see quite a few posts here about ‘cultural appropriation’ and how it’s just the worst thing you’ve ever seen. I’m here to explain to you why it isn’t bad. 

Culture is meant to be shared. Without sharing ideas, foods, religious ideas, clothing, morals and so forth between communities and cultures, we cannot advance as a species. If Japan didn’t share it’s technology with the rest of the world, we’d be sunk. If Sweden decided not to share their surgical techniques, thousands of people would be dead or on short time. If other countries didn’t share their foods, we wouldn’t have delicious restaurants on every corner! 

Of course, that’s just the logical response, and Tumblr runs primarily on emotions, so I’ll provide those too. 

Any one of you who have read my previous works or my About are saying “What do you know, Lea?! You’re a stupid whitey, you don’t even have a dog in this fight!”

Actually, I do. Yes, I am white, in that I check the Caucasian box on surveys and government forms and in that’s what it says on my birth certificate, but honestly, I don’t have to be. I’m an 8th Native American, and I’ve been encouraged and asked several times to join the Nation. 

Normally that wouldn’t be important, but in this discussion I think it is, if only to stave off wave after wave of 'You’re white you dont matter’.

Some of the major complaints I see on here revolve around the following things: Clothing, Music, and Hairstyles. Superficial, non-important things that have somehow become sacred in the minds of Tumblr users (which is a direct reminder that most Tumblrites are 13-17 years old, and female). 

Lets start with Clothing. More specifically, lets start with Kimonos and Hairsticks. What I see on here a lot is reblogs of that post of the girl with the forks in her hair. You know the one. 



Seriously though, you know the one I mean, the girl who’s complaining about how stupid people look with 'chopsticks’ in their hair. 

But you see…

These are Hair Sticks. Hair sticks look a LOT like chop sticks.

Sometimes you can’t tell whats a chopstick and what’s a hair stick (the above are hairsticks, though). 

These could be either one.

And that’s okay, because most Japanese people don’t care. They actually consider it kind of nice that people are interested in their culture. 

On to Kimonos! 

This one is mostly white girls complaining (as always). “Kimonos are SACRED TO THE JAPANESE OMG HOW DARE WHITE PEOPLE WEAR THEM?!" 

Guys, have you ever been to Japan? The people there literally try to get you to wear a Kimono at every opportunity. They like when foreigners show appreciation for their culture by wearing traditional garments. It’s not an insult to them, it’s a joy, and you shouldn’t be offended. The same goes for people with henna tattoos and and other such things. Culture was meant to be shared. 

Music is another common complaint. "you cant listen to, make or perform [musical style] because you are not [ethnicity]!”

Music is a world wide thing, it’s a unifying experience, and EVERYONE has the right to experience, make and enjoy music. I, personally, love Indian music, Native American flute music, rap of all kinds but especially done in Spanish (have you ever heard Daddy Yankee - Gasolina? It’s amazing!). Just because it’s from a different culture, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it, and don’t let ANYONE tell you otherwise. 

Hairstyles are also a big thing, and one of the things that makes me deeply ashamed of Tumblr, because you lot took to twitter en masse to attack a 14 year old girl over her hair, and that is not acceptable. For those of you who don’t know, Mallory Merk is a young girl who decided she would try Box Braids. She saw a girl wearing them while out on the town one day and said to herself, that’s awesome. I want to try that. She did, and SJWs became ENRAGED. Hundreds of black people from all over came to her defense, but it was too late, and Mallory just appologized for trying something new with her hair. That’s sad. Box braids, dread locks, buns, beehives, perms, mohawks…these things belong to anyone with hair. They may originate in a particular culture, but they are for everyone. Hairstyles are not sacred or protected. They’re fashion, they’re for those who like them. You do you and you don’t let people take that away by telling you you can’t.

There is on last thing on my list here, but its one that angers me. 


I need you to listen the fuck up, because this is important: No one, and I mean NO ONE, owns language. Language is fluid, language is changing, flowing, living and beautiful. To learn a new language, to use it, is a beautiful thing. 

Do NOT, EVER, tell someone that they cannot learn and use a new language. DO NOT tell someone they can’t speak a particular dialect, that they can’t use a phrase because they are the wrong color, from the wrong part of the world, have the wrong background, ect. Language is not a possession, it’s not something you can own. Language is beautiful, and everyone has the right to learn a new language, an old language, to use it and to make something beautiful with the words they are given. What you cannot do with it is twist it. You should not, knowing a language, twist and destroy words or give them new definitions to fit your own agenda, but learning and respecting a language? That’s something everyone should do. 

Sincerely, Lea.

Be Kind Anyway
Be Kind Anyway

“i want you to know that everyone, 
everywhere feels the same sometimes.
that loneliness is a human condition.

i want you to know that i understand.
and that sometimes, 
connections don’t mean to others 
what they mean to you.

i want you to know that time is everything. 
and that sometimes, 
you’ll have to wade through murky waters 
to get to clearer sea’s, it gets easier.

i want to tell you about happiness. 
and loneliness. 
that they co-exist in a cycle, 
never appearing at the same time.
always one, or the other.

i am going to tell you that they negate each other.
and that if you are to find peace 
you must find balance.

i will tell you that solitude 
can be both your best friend, 
or worst enemy.
you must learn well when it affects you kindly 
and when it hurts you.

you must know that exercise 
will always be good to you. 
good for you.

if you are sad, run. 
if you are happy run.

and i am going to tell you that being good, 
is everything. 
even to those who hurt you.
especially to them.

because when all the feelings have settled 
and time has passed, 
you will look back and smile,
not at anything, nor anyone else,
but at yourself.

and how you made it through unchanged.”

[for the anon who asked]

On The Rebound with Tire marks.

This time.

This time I dance to sorrow’s song

To the maddening melancholy melodic maestro

Who knows the worst things in life.

Who makes my heart itchy like it needs a cigarette.

I dance to placate Once Upon A Time.

But my steps are wrong and my tempo’s off.

But it’s variance that makes delight.

So watch my oblong rhythm

And let yourself feel the butterflies

Of my wink in your direction.

There are nights I feel like no one: an insignificant fleck of paint scratched off of these worn and weathered walls. I say my name and hear it echo back to my lonely ears and I can’t help but wonder what people think of me. I look around me and I see things that are meant to show who I am, but more and more I wonder who that person is when I am both soft and serrated, and they conflict like water and oil: both liquid, but never able to mix. Again and again, I ask the empty room, “What am I?” and still, the question quietly lingers.

Words unspoken hang in the air like so many stars through the branches above my head, and I remind myself that stars never question their worth; they don’t ask permission to shine on hundreds of thousands of millions of years and they continue to shed light on our lonely midnight souls even when their warmth has left them. Trees don’t stop growing when ivy wraps itself around their trunks; they find a way to grow around it and make it a part of them, despite the malicious intent with which it began. Trees and stars don’t ask you to find them pretty: they just are, and they continue living just the same, whether or not you appreciate them.

Remember the whisper of the wind through the trees in the starlight. Softly speak your name into an empty room and let your identity come back to you in the echos that remain. Listen to your voice. Remember that we are all taught how to speak, but our voices never sound the same. Remember that we are all taught to write, and the letters all curl and twist in so many beautiful, unique patterns. Remember that your thoughts writhe and drift like smoke, always a different pattern stemming from the same source: the flame of your being. Let that flame spark another’s thoughts and listen to them crackle in the darkest of nights and watch them ignite leaves like stars against the night sky. You don’t have to know what you are. Just know that you matter.

(you matter)
May 10, 2014


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