Not being an anti-Semite
When I was in Year 6 in my multi-cultural Camden Primary School that was a favourite of Channel 4 for school stories, a Jewish girl joined our class for two months. She was from America and had to enrol as her father was doing lectures at a university or something. I forgot her name but let’s call her Julie. Don’t know why I picked that name. Deal with it. Anyway, we became friends because we read the same books (obviously she hadn’t read as many books as the troubled child prodigy that I was at the time) and I sort of fancied her. We started to sit next to each other so we could chat during class about Harry Potter and the Saga of Darren Shan and giggle through sex education. After a while, all the boys in the class started to take the piss and make fun of our friendship because they couldn’t handle a grown up relationship between two 10 year olds based on fine literature. At one point, a Somali classmate pulled me up to have a serious chat. “Yo. Lemme chat with you, star. What’s up with you and Julie? You know you can’t be with her, right?” I was shocked. I didn’t know why he was telling me that I had to abandon this fledging sparkle of light in my life. I asked him why. He replied, “Cos she’s Jewish. You’re Muslim. You’re not allowed to be with Jewish girls. We hate them.” I retorted, “Oh. Ah shit, man. That’s not fair… Oh well, then.” And from then on, I carried on talking to Julie about why I didn’t like William Nicholson’s books (I don’t know why I told her this. I hadn’t read any of his books, though in my teens, I read his Noble Warriors Trilogy and thought they were the best fantasy books I had ever read) and the lark but never took the step into asking her if I could buy her a 49p Slush Puppy from the petrol station on York Way.
From then on I was an anti-Semite. Not a severe one or anything. I just didn’t like Jews or Judaism in the same way I didn’t like Tekken. I would occasionally state that I didn’t like Tekken and when it came up, I would say something like, “Bloody Jews” for no reason at all other than the fact that I was told that I had to. Actually, one of my cousins once told me that all of the directors in Hollywood were Jewish. People like Steven Spielberg and Matt Groening (not a Jew). That’s the full extent of my anti-Semitism. I didn’t watch E.T. or A.I..
I may have been vaguely aware that Palestine was a place that Muslims lived before some Jewish people took it from them and bombed them constantly.
In my mid teens, as a 15 year old breaking into the UK hip-hop scene the week before it packed up and left town forever, I was following Stylah everywhere he went as a kind of annoying rap Jedi Padawan (George Lucas – another evil Jew (irony for two reasons there)). I was in my regular following Stylah around place, the studio in Kingston owned by 7th Century Records while they were making Palestine: The Album which featured Blakstone, Stylah, Lowkey, Muslim Belal, Masikah, Iron Braydz, Mohammed Yahya and Khaled Bada to name just a few (I wrote and recorded a fantastic verse for the song, ‘U.N.’ at 4am before the 6am deadline to mix and master the album which mysteriously never appeared on the album. I spat the verse at the album launch at Fairfield Hall in Croydon). During the making of the album, I heard some clips that were to be included on the album by the Rabbi Aharon Cohen who explained that Zionism, the philosophy of having a Jewish state by any means necessary, was entirely opposed to Judaism and Israel had hijacked the symbols of Judaism to legitimise the existence of nation as well as its actions.
I was set free.
This was a Jewish man, a Rabbi, nonetheless, saying that the beef was squashed. Actually, there was no real beef. Apparently Saladin actually saved the Jewish people during the Crusades. I started telling all of my Muslim friends at school that we must fight Israel and Zionism, not Jews.
Also, this was around the time I got majorly into Curb Your Enthusiasm. Majorly. I was actually known by many (myself) as the ‘black Larry David’. I couldn’t hate Jews and immerse myself in the world of Curb. I watched E.T.. I had a bagel. I had some gefilte fish. I didn’t like the gefilte fish. Most importantly, I read about Palestine from a factual level and realised that the occupation, the creation of Israel and everything that has happened since is abhorrently wrong. Not from an obscure and purely emotional religious perspective of a Muslim in the West. From an educated perspective.
As a Muslim, we’re supposed to treat people the same. We’re meant to be nice to everyone. Even more respect should be shown to Jews and Christians who are fellow People of the Book. I’m actually allowed to marry a Jewish woman (hello ladies!), so when I see a football player score a goal into an empty net from a cutback pass and ‘Jew goal’ trends on Twitter, I find it unacceptable and will issue a counter-tweet. If anything, anti-Semitism from a Muslim distracts from the actual legitimate political grievances to be had with the so called Jewish State. There is a bigger argument to be made about anti-Semitism and it’s dangers but I wanted to talk from a personal perspective. I’ll leave that subject to some of my best friends as they’re Jewish.
Immigrants Are Not The Problem, You Political Parasites
The year is 2013, we’re in the middle of a triple dip recession, the country is fighting two big wars and lots of little neo-colonial ones and surprise, surprise, the issue of immigration is huge. Without petulantly perpetuating Godwin’s Law, this is the same vicious argument of blaming the outsiders and marginalised people of society for the ills of the “indigenous” populous that the West’s old friend Adolf Hitler used. The same one that comes up whenever there is a period of economic strife that is caused by the rich and payed for by the hard working poor, many of which are so hard working that they haven’t a job due to the rapacious methods of the decadent few at the top.
I am a refugee. I came to this country in 1993 when I was 2 years old. I am a black man, a muslim, a refugee and poor – other than being gay, I have nearly all of the ingredients that the Daily Mail reading population don’t like the taste of in the complex lasagna that is a person. On my first day of reception at my multi-cultural primary school in Camden, I was told by one of my classmates that she couldn’t sit next to me for the astonishing reason that her dad had told her that she wasn’t allowed to mingle with the evil muslims (we are very evil, trust me). This had a profound effect on my five year old mind. It was the first time that I had been alerted to the fact that I was different and didn’t belong in this country. For the next sixteen years of my life, I had a basic understanding of why I was a victim to both the passive and covert racism, either by an individual or the institutionalised variety or the overt kind where I was bullied at school for being different, attacked by older brothers of classmates for being friends with them and having dark skin or being attacked in the street by drunk racists. And even though I knew it was because I was physically different (which, over time, lead to me being mentally different) I never had an answer for the classic line: “If you don’t like it here so much, why don’t you go back to where you came from?” I would stare blankly at the inquisitor, trying frantically to use by wits to articulate a careful and biting response.
It’s only recently that I have been able to come up with that response. One that will stop a racist dead (figuratively – for now) in his tracks. When asked about why I have so much contempt for this country’s way of treating those who have come to it’s shores for a better life or why I have to talk so negatively about Britain’s rich history of empire, exploitation, genocide, slavery, divide and rule, colonialism, the mental conquest of entire continents, the systematic robbery of the riches under the feet of the countries that it swallows up and no apology, my answer is this: British history. They say that people coming over here need to know a thing or two about British history and culture before they dare step foot on this noble land and put impossible quizzes about Britishness in front of their noses before granting citizenship (tests that nearly all “indigenous” British people would have failed (including the Prime Minister) until they recently amended them) but I bet you that if you were to ask someone from India, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Malaysia or Grenada about British history, their knowledge would be vast. For what Britain has done to nearly every country in the world and the condition they are in now, these people deserve a life in this country of a welfare state, free education, free health care and constant hatred by the public because they obviously deserve it.
This isn’t the only reason why it’s wrong to stigmatise immigrants with a bad label. They do good work. My mother is a nurse. She does one of the most honourable jobs known to humanity. She is a tax payer. And if she loses her job next week when the NHS will be destroyed and forever condemned to a life of privatisation, her 20 years of payment into her pension and National Insurance would mean nothing to some people. “She’s not from here and on the dole”, they will say. But she has done more for this country than the working class Tories and lovers of Thatcher that have stolen from this country by purchasing a council house. That is theft of public property and privitisation on a large individual scale. A way to indoctrinate the poor into appreciating the “I live happily, you can all go do one” attitude of neo-liberalism and the Tory party. And when there is no public housing and rent in London is £500 for a room the size of a sleeping bag, they blame the immigrants who work their foreign socks off, not the fact that there is no subsidised, low cost council housing for their 22 year old children to move into because they themselves bought one of them.
The racist, misogynistic thief – Mayor of London, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson has this week described potential immigrants to this country as, “benefit tourists”, a term that the head of his party and expert on British history (his family made several millions from the trans-Atlantic slave trade), David Cameron has also used. This kind of language is vile and incendiary and the mendacity of this government to fuel this hatred of the other, whether it be immigrants, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, muslims, the overweight, the bald, the vegetarian, the bearded, the black youth or the left handed needs to be smashed. It is a tactic to stop us coming together and smashing them as we should. Welcome immigrants. Accept them into your ranks of many against the few that exploit us and have us fight against each other and strike on all fronts of intellectual and direct action before it’s too late because at the moment, all I envisage is the EDL going on an Anders Breivik shooting spree, the Tories joining in holy matrimony with their fellow xenophobes – UKIP; and the NHS and welfare state a distant memory.
Bonus Track (Video)
This is a visual video made by human beings for the song which is called, ‘Bonus Track’, by world renowned, time-travelling warlock, Awate. The accompanying music was produced using hardware and software by Turkish. This video was made with the help of a certain, Amrik Virk. This song will feature on Awate’s mixtape which has a name. That name is, ‘Elements’. It shall be available from this website from the 18th of May. This video cost 4 million American dollars to produce and many animals were hurt during the making of it. Most of the 4 million dollars went to paying a man by the name of Aleksander Romaninanov so that he could teach Awate how to complete a Rubik’s cube. When Romaninanov’s methods failed, the use of CGI was necessary.
Interview with Amrik Virk TV
Last week, I did a really entertaining interview with my mate, Amrik Virk. It really was fun. Check it out:
My Harp Will Go On
Alright n that?
Since I last updated this blog (which I have been told to do more frequently by a rather tall Irish man who has my best interests at heart), I have let the world hear a fraction of one of the songs from my album. I sent DJ Semtex my song, Help Me to play on his show on Friday nights on BBC 1Xtra and he did. Truthfully, he has helped me A LOT throughout my career. From when I was making music that only I would listening to and giving me advice on how to get better, to giving me tips on how to network and even giving me some really inspiring and poignant pieces of wisdom when I dropped out of university so that I could make music for a living. If you see him, be nice. If you have Twitter, tweet him nice words and listen to his show on BBC 1Xtra on Friday nights from 10pm-1am. The song is produced by Anish Bhatt from the brilliant, ‘High Frequency’ collective and is from my album which I have a name for but do not want to tell you.
I’ve been working hard on the site along with the generous, Ben from Ensema and will be shooting little pieces with my mate, Amrik, soon. I plan on released Elements (which is a mixtape of remixes) by early March. I know that people (even myself) think that I take too long putting stuff out, but I want everything to be perfect. I am also learning really irrelevent things that, for some reason, interest me. I’ve been studying the Schillinger system and other controversial aspects of music theory and sometimes spend days listening to nothing but super-rare Robert Decormier or Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys. In fact, I think my brain turn against me if I keep playing, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown, which is all it’s been allowed really hear since October.
Another pointless thing that will only serve to make any planned releases become things that I will delay is my insistence on learning either the harp or the harmonica. Don’ know why. I just think it would be cool to tell people that I can play the harp. And the harmonica is cool because it can fit in my pocket, along with my Rubik’s cube (which I can do in about a minute, now). The only problem is, I didn;t know that you buy harmonica’s in certain key’s. That’s a real bummer. What if I wanna jam with someone and they’re playing in E minor? Do I have to carry around 12 harmonica’s?
Finally, the podcast thing shall be frequent, but I’m not gonna set a day that it comes out on every week or 2 weeks. My life is full of disorder and that’s how I do thangs.
Thank you for showing love.
For everyone asking when I shall be releasing music, it will be soon.
Thanks so much for your support. For someone who’s job it is to put things into words, I can’t describe how much all of the positive messages mean to me.