May Wrap-Up – Books, Shows, Life Updates and Sharing Links

May has been an interesting month, an important month. We have seen people from different races, religions and backgrounds uniting to fight for black lives, fight against racism and to dismantle white supremacy. It is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. But the fight is far from over, so keep protesting, keep donating, keep signing petitions, keep on using your voices and keep on amplifying black voices.

The UK is far from innocent. There will be a peaceful protest for Shukri Abdi taking place on the 27th of June in Hyde Park at 1pm. Please attend if you can. To learn more about Shukri’s story, gal-dem has reported on the case which you can read here.

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I hope a protest for Belly Mujinga is organised soon. You can read more about Belly Mujinga’s case here as well as how you can help fight for justice. We can’t forget that we haven’t received justice for Breonna Taylor either and so many more countless black lives. You can also find a thread of petitions to sign here too.

For more educational resources, please check out @ogorchukwuu on Instagram as well as Munroe Bergdorf and Rachel Cargle, and please feel free to leave more links in the comments section.

I did see someone from my former workplace, Suzan Ismail, posting on racial gaslighting which absolutely infuriated me because… she did it herself to me. And then attempted a ‘Kendall Jenner in the Pepsi ad’ by handing out sweets to me and my abuser as a way to start resolving the abuse inflicted on myself by Nelini Sharma. And then she lied to the board stating that Marian Moore, Service Manager, didn’t talk about how it would be difficult to replace Nelini Sharma because it would require a lot of retraining. Dear Lord. I have spoken about it on my blog a few times now, but I’m just going to name the organisation because enough is enough. The organisation is the NSPCC, a major children’s charity in the UK and the parent company of Childline. You can read more about it in my February Wrap Up, Breaking the Silence, and Milestone – My Writing is being Performed blog posts. The next time I apply for a job or go for an interview, I’m going to be brutally honest and say I was abused out of a job, and I was one of the four staff she bullied and abused in the span of a year – three black women and one brown woman (me). There was enough evidence to dismiss Nelini Sharma and Marian Moore (Service Manager at NSPCC Camden who ignored all of our complaints) which the board then ignored from myself and two of the former black staff mentioned. And to think they’re using Nadiya Hussain, Oloni, Kevin J. Marshall and Maya Jama for the optics of diversity.   

It has also been mentioned on Twitter that both Instagram and Twitter’s algorithm has been working to decrease the visibility of posts on Black Lives Matter, so if you see your timeline returning to normal, it isn’t because things are going back to normal. Protests are still happening and will continue to happen, and there is no ‘normal’ to go back to. A new normal has to be created by us, collectively, together… because that’s the only way things will change. It’s been a long time coming.

Posts I’ve Loved Reading:

Tiara @ Muted Mouthful – ‘I Can’t Hold Your Hand’: “I would have gladly engaged in conversations around race relations, reformation, and history, but it wasn’t a priority. That’s a privilege. You don’t get to overwhelm me now because it’s trending.” Please read.

Neelam @ thetsundokuchronicles – ‘Muslim Shelf Space Books Available on Scribd’: Neelam recommends books to fill your Muslim Shelf Space. I’ve found a lot of new books through her series.

Katherin E Garland @ kwoted – ‘Psyche of an Adoptee’: This was a really eye-opening read, and Katherin writes with immense warmth, openness and vulnerability. Katherin shares her journey as an adoptee, the impact on how she relates to her own identity and, consequently, her mental health.

Maha @ sunshinebooks – ‘the bookish Muslim experience: six bloggers on what it’s like to be Muslim in the book community’: I had a lot of fun (and loads of time spent introspecting) contributing to this, and I loved reading what everyone else had to say. It’s fascinating how we’ve all had a different journey and, ultimately, varying perspectives.

Life Updates

Well, it was my birthday last week! I got baking utensils (I’ve been wanting this for ages), Yankee candles and a new bookshelf. My first ever! The candles will go on top of the shelf as decorations eventually. Right now, it contains half of my books and I have another 100+ books in my aunts house, so… if you live in London and you’d like to borrow or take a few books, let me know. A Suitable Boy (borrow only), Misery, The Constant Princess, A History of Britain in 21 Women, feel free to send me an email if you’d like these! I also got a few free merch and free books from Penguin Random House (Rise Up by Stormzy, My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh, Taking up Space by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi, The Survivor by Primo Levi, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari).

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What I’ve Been Reading

  • I’m still reading The Path to Perfection by Ashraf Ali Thanwi, Muhammad Masihullah Khan and Love from A to Z by S. K. Ali. A few Libby holds became available, plus I had an arc and another book to read and now review! But my reading attention is now fully on both of these delightful books! I’m also loving how Love from A to Z has characters whose names are the same as my first cousins – Adam, Zayneb, now Zahid, Samir (short of an ‘ah’ at the end) and the authors name is Sajidah, once again, short of an ‘n’ after ‘sa’. It’s literally a rundown of names of my first cousins and my sister!
  • I’ve loved reading I Felt Sad – Bens Life in Quarantine by Fajsin Ali. It’s been hard for little Ben. He is missing his friends and relatives during the quarantine. Things begin to look up when he finally opens up about his feelings.” It’s a sweet children’s book which encourages children, especially young boys, to open up about their feelings to their parents, guardians or loved ones. If you’re a parent or a guardian, I would recommend reading along with young readers aged 5-11. You can purchase a paperback copy for £3.99 on Amazon.
  • Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: It was a fun ride while it lasted.. and it didn’t last that long. Some of it was very much a rip off, and I’m surprised at people’s surprise at the ending. I saw it coming from the halfway point. Hardly anyone is likable, but yet I did enjoy it. But, then again, it was just all very predictable. Rating: ★★★
  • The Name of Red by Beena Khan: Obviously, I’ve already reviewed this! But, once again, this was a beautiful love story with a dreamy love interest and he’s Muslim, and it’s just.. agh! Where are the real life Kabir’s?! Got my hopes up for nothing, thanks, Beena Khan. Rating: ★★★★
  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson: I learned a whole lot from this, a lot to take away from this such as distinguishing what to give a crap about and what not to give a crap about it, but, within this, to really evaluate our values and whether they make any damn sense in the first place and how to know when it makes sense! I would have rated it a full 5 stars, but the pacing of the final 20% was slightly slower, so I rate this a strong: ★★★★
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@fajsin.ali.poetry

May Posts

What I’ve Been Watching

  • Love Island UK Season 5: better known as Amber’s season. I’ve loved rewatching this season because it was by far my favourite. The sisterhood was strong, Ovie delivered… everything, looks, humour, maturity, everything, nothing was missed, there were explosive fights, Storm Anna hit the villa, lessons learned, and even Tommy and Molly’s adorable romance. I don’t think any other season will top it.
  • New Girl: it’s finally on Netflix! I’ve been taking my time with this because I don’t want it to end. I’m patiently waiting for Winston to finally find the first love of his life, Ferguson. Nick and Jess’s chemistry… Oh. My. God. It has been strong from the beginning. I love how Nick and Jess get married to ‘Groovy Kind of Love’, the first song they ever danced to together.

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How was May for you? Do you have any links to share? And what have you been were reading and watching? Do you have any self-help advice to share? Let me know in the comments!

Sophia Ismaa

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9 Comments

  1. I hadn’t heard about Miss Mujinga. Hopefully they find the guy and prosecute! I’ve been following the Breonna Taylor case as well it’s unbelievable they haven’t been arrested. I can’t believe even with all the attention they still are attempting to cover-it up. Just goes to show the entrenched arrogance.

    Happy (late) Birthday & best wishes!

    Like

    1. It’s a terrible case. Belly Mujinga was spat on and wasn’t granted adequate PPE in her line of work.

      I’m shocked that they’ve passed a bill in Breonna Taylor’s name, but no arrests have been made and the officer in charge (I believe) was placed on administration leave. I hope we’re far from over in terms of protesting, the blm movement should last as long until structural changes are made.

      Thank you so much! 💛

      Like

  2. Happy belated birthday!

    Everything that’s been going on has been crazy- I remember reading this quote that just said, when we ask for freedom we get oppression so when we fight for freedom we get told we deserve oppression.

    I’m just really annoyed that even now- at a time in which people should be uniting and helping each other there are some rotten people out there who just make it their life goal to be horrible!

    All the harassment you received is horrible and I honestly can’t put into words how infuriating that is- I mean- Come on! Would people just grow up get a few brain cells and realise that we’re all humans born the same way and will die the same way (more or less).

    I will definitely check out the blog posts you’ve tagged and I think you’ll be happy to know- I finally managed to buy Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and I am currently in the process of reading it.

    Amazing post! Inshallah justice will eventually come to those who deserve it.

    Like

    1. Thank you for the birthday wish! 😀

      It’s like the whole billionaire fiasco, sometimes a few have grown so reverent towards billionaire idealising a reality for themselves that will never come true. Someone on twitter said people deserve food and good health and shelter. And someone replied that just because they’re hungry, doesn’t mean we should give them food. 🙃 Thank God in Islam we aren’t supposed to let our neighbours go hungry. The same applies here because without racial justice, the natural consequence is decreased mental health, discrimination, incarceration and lack of employment that will allow us to feed our families and be healthy and happy in peace. It goes hand in hand. Which is why as Muslims we should champion racial justice.

      I’ve seen a lot of people unite, subhana’Allah, and it’s so encouraging to see, but it’ll remain performative unless we maintain that advocacy because this will be a lifetime struggle. If you have proof and evidence of discrimination and racism, then it doesn’t matter if that person is posting pictures of racial justice if they can’t submit evidence of discrimination that they alone possess. It’s ironic because one person, in that same organisation I worked at (nspcc), he actually sent a detailed document and evidence to HR because of the race and disability discrimination his colleague (who I replaced) faced. I can’t say any more about it because there is more that isn’t my story to share, but I’m worried because it caused such significant harm to that person… I can’t say what, but seriously. What happened to me is nowhere near as bad as what happened to my colleague because, at the end of the day, I have more privilege as an able bodied south Asian woman. It’s in our ordinary day to day lives where we treat black people like they don’t matter.

      And OMG! Yes! How are you finding Born A Crime?!?! Please post a review once you’re finished, I’d love to read it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll definitely post a review as soon as I get the energy to write 😂 (this lockdown has made me do things like willingly do chores I never thought were in my capability 😂)

        I’m absolutely loving it- The further I read on in the book the more admiration I had for Trevor Noah’s mother- She is a spectacular woman and wow- She is truly a badass if I do say so myself!

        I love how he writes the book in a way where he points out the flawed system and all the horrible things that happen but he also writes it in such an entertaining way that it makes you want to listen to these issues and truly protest against them.

        The power of comedy I guess-

        People can sometimes annoy me so much- If someone’s hungry… buy them some food! A sandwich from Tescos doesn’t cost more than £2 your coffee from Costa costs more! I know we all say that if we had more money we would help everyone- but all humans think they don’t have enough money- the more money you have the more you want, so I guess it’ll always be an never ending cycle unless someone breaks it-

        I honestly cannot believe what has happened to you and countless others, it’s horrible and it’s just- So frustrating I can’t even find the right words! It’s weird really how despite the fact that we hate racism to a certain extent we all know it’ll happen. It’s a sad reality but nonetheless a reality…

        Sometimes I sit there and think, if it were not for that video of George Floyd being killed- would people have stood up and been as angry as they were? Probably not… but I’d like to think they would have been.

        Like

        1. LOOOOL how bored were you to be willingly doing your chores?!

          The part where she jumps off the bus and legs it, and goes to work for her own financial independence. Damn. She was fearless. Such a go-getter. What an inspiring role model for Trevor. But how horrible was his stepfather… reading that part when she is shot and is taken to the hospital and the police don’t want to file a report because they don’t see domestic violence as an issue, as regular domestic troubles. Terrifying. Otherwise, still, wow, what a woman!

          I know, right! He’s so, so funny. And the way he can get through to you and teach you new things… yep. Wow. I was surprised to learn so much!

          You can even get a meal deal for £1 more as well, sandwich/wrap/sushi, then a snack could be carrots or a crisp and a drink of your choice. Seriously, the Tesco meal deal is brilliant and filling. I know, we are literally counting pennies. But Subhana’Allah, if you give, Allah (SWT) will Give to you too. Our Lord never forgets.

          I think given that we’re in a pandemic, we’re at home because it was the early stages of lockdown.. there was no way people could tolerate it any more. And the way we save money by wfh and learning to appreciate the important things… finally sort of cleansed our minds and allowed us to understand what is really of value… and black lives matter. Finally. But it’ll be a lifetime struggle. Things won’t easily change. Insha’Allah, may Allah (SWT) make it easier for all of us.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ameen inshallah

            Oh I was so bored- It’s crazy- 😂

            Schools have started again but they’ve been shutting down as quickly as they reopened its scary- there’s already been about 2 girls who have tested positive in my school and their whole bubble have had to go home.

            Oh it boiled my blood when I read the part about his Mother’s report not being filed it’s just so aggravating! But she is so inspirational Mashallah!

            Like

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