Update on the Mogadishu Bombing

I posted a video on YouTube last night with some updates, information and ways to get involved and help with the aftermath of the bombing that happened in Mogadishu last Saturday for those who are wanting to do more than just complain about the state of the media. 

Over 300 people died and the country has limitted resources so we should all not just be praying and criticising  the media for the lack of coverage in this story, we should be true allies right now by providing actual support.

This is the very awkward video on my very new and explorative YouTube channel providing updates and context:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv4AQzNSTgutifCTlicZ2Gg

Here is how you can  help: 

1. Kenyan Red Cross launched a fundraising drive for victims of the attack. www.redcross.or.ke

2. AmeriCares is sending relief workers to provide Humanitarian aid and to assist Refugees already living in camps. www.americares.org/eng/ 

2.  Aamin Ambulance is a volunteer emergency services unit in Mogadishu, providing free medical care to impacted citizens. Donate to the GoFundMe page here: http://bit.ly/2xKrMKK

2. Dr Sadiyo Said has launched a crowdfunding campaign benefitting the registered charity Eva Organization . Their aim is to empower people who are in need, in particular women, their families and young people to have a positive impact on the world in which they live. Here’s a link to the crowdfunding campaign page: http://bit.ly/2ylsMnV

3. The Somali Mental Health foundation is a US-based NGO that operates across Somalia. Its focus on “severe mental health disorders” will play a critical role in bringing awareness and treatment to survivors of the attack combatting PTSD. Donate here: http://bit.ly/2xKs3II

Nevsky Prospect in St PetersburgĀ 

In St Petersburg you can wonder around Nevsky district and have an amazing time seeing many amazing things without seeing anything beyond this part of town . This historical district and centre gorgeous and worth multiple visits. 

This Sunday I was showing a friend around when I took some snap-shots and I was just as awestruck at the beauty as I was when I first arrived in Nevsky two months ago. 

Nevsky is beautiful but the city is big, Any Visitor of St Petersburg would be doing themselves a disfavour if they were in the city and did not go beyond Nevsky Prospect. Will try and right about other interesting parts of this Town that are a must see soon. With this said, the center is still worth a visit and here are a few photos from this past Sunday to prove it. 

Autumn at the Mikhaylovsky Gardens

Kazan Cathedral at night

View on Griboyedov Embankment

Corner of Nevsky Prospect and the Griboyedov channel Embankment

Church of the Savior on the Spilled blood

Seeing #blackgirlmagic posts made me insecureĀ 

I have been writing for years and have blogged on and off over the last couple of years but I always give up. I become self conscious and start thinking that my work is not good enough.  

I love seeing other black womxn excel, especially in the things that I am also passionate about.  However sometimes seeing others excel makes me insecure about my own work. 

I went on a few blogs and Instagram accounts this weekend and I felt my insecurities rush in. They were all doing what I want to do but much better. A lot of my insecurities come from the fear of lacking originality, It seems like every other black womxn that I know is blogging or writing poetry and I will just be another one.

I realised this morning that my insecurities came from a deep rooted need to compete with other black womxn even when I want to celebrate and this is a symptom of our messed up society. 

How many white males do you know who are working on start-ups? Or Run some alternative YouTube commentary channel? They all do it with confidence and somehow the world finds a way to accommodate all of them but black womxn feel like we have to compete with each other wherever we find ourselves. Even when we are proud of each other it is hard not to compare our successes. 

I don’t think I am the only Womxn of colour who is afraid of claiming space? Many of us think that there’s limitted space for womxn of colour to shine, that only some of us can stand out.  We think that our story needs to be exceptionally extraordinary before we can tell it. We tell ourselves that only some of us can be successful in our respective fields and the rest of us need to find something else. 

Today I have decided to commit to my dreams. The world will have to accommodate for more black girl magic. It is okay to be another black womxn with a blog, what I offer is original because it is mine. 

Dove is Problematic but that Advert wasn’t Racist

 

Pasted_Image_2_4_15__9_09_AM

I read the opinion piece written by the black womxn who featured in theĀ  most recent controversial Dove addĀ (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/10/i-am-woman-racist-dove-ad-not-a-victim)Ā .

I hope more of us who were outraged can take time to watch the full add and read the opinion of the Womxn involved. I watched the full add and it actually wasn’t problematic. It is a 30 seconds GIF that goes from the black Womxn to the white wpmxn then to the Brown Womxn ect and back to black. I got the concepts when watching the full add. IĀ  want people to engage on why this add is still problematic if played fully.

There’sĀ so much real racism in the world right now and it really doesn’t do anything to help our cause when we keep crying wolf because we don’t bother to watch a thirty second GIF. More and more people on my social media seem to be watching the full video but still I haven’t seen any reflection/admission that we were wrong.

I understand that the Facebook add that caused the initial outrage was just over ten seconds. It still showed a GIF of the add but when you didn’t play it the only image that was visible was the one people were sharing of the black model turning white. Dove with their History of racist adds should have known better than to make that the first image that people saw regardless of the context behind that advert. That said, the issue then isn’t really the add itself but that screen shot that was circulating.

The whole race don’t matter theme in the add is problematic on it’s own and we need to call out companies for racism because there areĀ  plenty of actual racist adverts around (some from Dove in the past) that need to be shamed. This just wasn’t one of them.

People eventually realized that the full advert wasn’t problematic but no one wants to have a discussion about context. There’sĀ  No reflection about how we missed the mark with this one.Ā we’ve created a culture that’s about winning an argument rather than having a discussion. It’s harder to admit you got something wrong in a system that is all about winning.

We have to be on the defense because Racist trolls and their children consistently show up to complain when People of colour are talking about racism or sexism. However we cannot ask that people be held accountable for their actions when we refuse to be accountable for ours.

 

Missing My Mama

Living kilometres away from home is an exciting idea when you were raised in a conservative home. Living in a foreign country is a dream for a curious mind like mine. I  thought this would be easy because I wanted it so much but it is not. 

Belonging has always been a challenge for me and I guess I am struggling in Russia at the moment.  I have made friends and have settled in but trust is a process for me and I still haven’t found people that I can be myself with. 

Today I had a particularly difficult day and I needed a shoulder to cry on. My mom and I argue a lot and are so very different but today in my dispair it was her that I frantically called. 

I guess I am learning that my mama is home and that is where I feel a sense of belonging. 

On Self-LoveĀ 

I am tired of the constant message that you need to love yourself before others can love you.  That you are not deserving of love just because circumstances in your life have brought you to a place of self hate. 

Self-love and self-care are important, you need to takecare of yourself always. However healing from the scars of your past should not be a prerequisite for love. 

For many Self-love is a never ending journey you shouldn’t be deprived of love and respect from others just because you are learning to love yourself.

Your Journey of loving the self is about you and you alone.  You can be broken and still love another fully. You can be shattered and still be worthy of a love that whole. 

Black Womxn Can Cause Pain

This Image is currently found at the Russian State Museum.

The following post is going to be about something that is not a popular opinion among People of colour (POC) but I think it is something that we need  to talk about.  

Black Womxn can hurt others and we do. We need to stop pretending that being a black Womxn is an exemption when it comes to creating Harm. Your oppression does not take away your ability to act as an individual.  Your oppression does not remove your agency. You are  not always correct just because you are oppressed.  

As a black Womxn I don’t have the systemic power to be racist or sexist, even if I was prejudiced I don’t have the ability to oppress white folks or black men en masse. Racism and sexism are not just about prejudice but also about having the systemic power to oppress en masse.  This is why black folks can be prejudiced but not racist ( A conversation for another day). However this wheel turns, Sometimes those without power rise to its upper echelons decades and decades later. Then you do have the power to oppress too, and have not considered the power of your own prejudices. It can be a potent mix. The Afrikaners were put in concentration camps by the British. They got to power and put people in Bantustans in South Africa. The Hutus in Rwanda were oppressed by their colonisers and they inturn became oppressors of the Tsuti’s. If we do not evaluate the fairness of our actions we can manufacture a devastating future. 

We definitely do have agency, even when we lack systemic power, we should admit when we have rage and the consequences of our rage. The conversation I want to start right now is not about systematic power but about the indivudual responsibility of the oppressed.

Black men do not have the systemic power to be racist to white womxn but a black man can physically and emotionally abuse his white partner, Is he  excused just because he is black and she is white? I  know a cis-het-man who lives  in fear because of the physical and emotional abuse he endures from his partner,  is it not abuse just because the perpetrator is a poor black femme? Some of my most traumatic experiences have been because  of bullying by some queer individuals, is it not bullying because I am heterosexual?  

It is patronising to say to oppressed people that they have no agency, that their actions have no consequences. It is dangerous to stop holding people accountable for their actions just because of their identity.  

Sometimes the harm/hurt that is caused is in response to something or it is unintentional but it is still there and we need to acknowledge it. Too many times when people are called out Identity is used as a shield/ answer/ reason because it is convenient.  

We  need to justify the  legitimacy of  our violence when we are being voilent and not pretend that our identity takes away our ability to be violent. We need to call each other out, actions and words are not the unquestionable gospel just because you are  oppressed.

Welcome to My blog

This is going to be a journey. I am learning to trust my creativity and I am hoping that this blog will allow me to grow and learn as a person.

I am Congolese, Was raised in South Africa and am currently studying in Russia.  This is a developmental space for me. I will share some poetry, opinions on current affairs and document some of my personal experiences.

I will engage as myself on this blog. Confrontation triggers my anxiety and I try to avoid it and will step back from active confrontation when I am getting to a point where I feel like I have no control.

I also feel rage like anyone else and I express my rage in ways that will not trigger my anxiety. I am aware that people are different and respond to anger in different ways and so I respect and won’t police expressions of Anger that are different to my own.

I think it is important for me to share why my fear of confrontation is such a big thing in the first place because it will help those who follow this blog to understand me and my perspective.

So some context; my family moved to South Africa when I was 9 from the DRC. I was always a nervous child but my panic attacks only started at about 10. I couldn’t speak English when I started school and I was a target of bullying to the black kids as much as I was to the other races at that School. A year into my schooling I could speak the language but still had no friends and my little brother and I still hid behind the Tuck shop at break. The teachers who were all either Black or Brown were often just as bad as the students. Telling me how I would fail and be nothing was something my grade 5 teacher who was a black womxn repeatedly told me. I eventually just learned to be as silent as possible to be invisible in that school. One day in that grade 5 class the teachers was out and the class decided to taunt me, one of the boys repeatedly threw his soccer ball at me and everyone laughed every time I got hit at, some point the ball hit my head and bounced off on the girl sitting behind me. This girl stood up came to my desk asking for an apology,  I slapt her without thinking in that moment and the class started shouting at me. Teachers  were called and I was taken to the principles office. My mom was studying and my Dad worked long shifts as a Waiter and they had no time or belief in that school to protect me. After that incident, confrontation always brought back that moment when I stood up for myself but made everything else worse.

Years after that Junior school incident I was making-out with a boy in a room. He then started removing my clothes, I told him to stop and he laughed and fighting back made it hurt more so I froze until he was done. After that memories of this became another trigger for my anxiety.

Anxiety and depression are never to far away. Confrontation brings feelings of helplessness that triggers my anxiety which often leads to depression and suicidal thoughts. I am adamant about creating engagements that are different from the status quo.  I want to create forms of engagements that do not harm people with mental health struggles.

I will call activists out on my blog, We need to call each other out as activists when the need arises. We can’t be calling people out while aso being problematic in the same way that they are and this is what I have noticed in a lot of progessive platforms.

We are born in a white-supremist, capitalist, patriarchal, cis-normative, trans-exclusionary society that requires toxic power pyramids to sustain itself. It is natural for us to gravitate towards what we know, to display strength in the only ways we have seen it displayed but if we are serious about transformation we will have to reimagine our spaces. We need to create spaces where our power/ affirmations are not dependent on completely destroying others first.

I hope this blog will bring learning, safety and healing to myself and those who follow my journey.