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Reflections and Healing

Un-braiding

by Chloe Batten

Enclosed for the winter. hibernation.

each strand runs through softly calloused hands,

firm, reassuring fingers whisper sweet nothings

to my newborn roots, like

warm honey. Chloe, Un-braiding image

enfolding strand

over strand, one leads, one hides,

one follows, one leads

one hides, one follows

all clinging to each other for dear life,

sworn to protect the hair they hold,

to incubate the soul that lies within

my newborn roots.

hibernation.

 

Don’t mistake synthetics

for dormancy. like a cocoon they hide

growth and beauty,

and they too will die.

but as spring melts winter’s spite

and warmer air beckons hair

outside the neat twists and folds,

I follow nature’s cue.

in cathartic ritual,

un-braiding plait

after plait,

old dead hair is laid aside.

my fingers run through soft curls,

and linger.

 

This is home.

the feeling after a deep sigh

when lungs resettle.

feels like warmth and peace

and honey. this is my soul.

like Aunty Solange reminds me,

my hair

it is the rhythm,

the feelings,

I wear.

 

 

Reflections and Healing

Getting Over It vs. Getting Through It

By Samyat Kolawole

“I pushed everything I felt so deep inside … sadness became too familiar.”

I am writing this a year on from an experience that showed me the difference between getting over something, and getting through it.

A little over a year ago, I was in a relationship with someone that I really cared about. The way I felt about him made our breakup a very difficult experience for me. Because it was so difficult, I tried to just ‘get over it’ – basically, I tried to stop feeling how I felt as quickly as possible. I tried to suppress how I felt; I told myself I didn’t really care anyways, so why would I need to be upset? When I talked about it with my friends, they’d ask if I was okay and I would downplay how I felt and say I was fine. I did this so much that I pushed everything I felt so deep inside that sadness became a lingering part of me; sadness became too familiar. This, along with other things led to me becoming depressed, which affected so many other aspects of my life.

The worst was probably academically. I was in year 13 at the time, which anyone who has been through A Levels knows is the most stressful time of your teenage life. School required so much of my energy, and I felt like I had no energy left – the way I felt had made me feel this drained. There were many, many times where I couldn’t get out of bed. I’d get up for school late, leave school straight away just to go home and go back to bed. I did this so many times but dismissed it as laziness. At school, I was distracted.At work, I was distracted, and at home, I was distracted. This continued for what felt like forever.

“I should have thought practically about what I was going to do to make myself feel better”

It wasn’t until I met one of my good friends that I actually began to talk about and address how I felt. This made me realise how much I had tried to force myself not to feel anything, and that it hadn’t worked at all. Instead, I felt much worse than I would have done if I had allowed myself to get through it at the time, rather than trying to run away from how I felt because it hurt. I would tell myself not to think about it, when I should have asked myself why I feel the way I do. I told myself to get over it, when I should have thought practically about what I was going to do to make myself feel better.

Through this example, I wanted to illustrate the pain that you can cause yourself by trying to get over something, rather than trying to get through it. But what does getting through it actually mean?

This means understanding and accepting what has happened. I see this as the ‘wowwwwww’. The ‘wowwwww he really did this’ or ‘wowww this really happened?!’, for example. You also have to forgive yourself for anything you feel you did that contributed to the situation, as well as forgiving anyone else involved in the situation, even if they have not apologised to you (because you really don’t know how long you could be waiting for an apology, or if it will ever come at all). As difficult as it may be, you have to think about how you feel, and why you feel that way. Whether you have this conversation with yourself, or with a friend, it is an important part of getting through something. You have to learn to be honest with yourself and dig deep into your thoughts and feelings.

One thing that prolonged how I felt was that I didn’t want to be sad any longer but I didn’t do anything to actively make myself feel better. I would say ‘I’m tired of being so upset about this’ but never did anything to change how I felt. What will help you feel better is dependent on you; it could be avoiding things that remind you of the situation or it could be doing things that generally make you feel better. What doesn’t help is doing nothing.

“I’ve learnt to allow myself to feel whatever I feel, without judging myself for feeling that way.”

It is very important to give yourself time. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to ‘just get over it’. They only say this because they don’t understand what you’re going through. Instead, it helps to talk to someone who understands how you feel, or at least can listen to you talk about how you feel. If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone, you can write about how you feel. If you’re religious, talking to God always helps.

The main thing is that you are actively trying to feel better, and in this way, you definitely will – but this is a process and it’s never easy. Trying to get over it seems a lot faster, and it is, but only because you are suppressing how you feel. Suppressing something means that it’s only going to come out at some point, and it will probably be a lot worse. If you’re like me, one day you’ll be drunk and start screaming. (don’t be like me pls)

I’m an emotional person and I actually like this about myself, but I still managed to convince myself that being upset is a bad thing. Now I’ve learnt to allow myself to feel whatever I feel, without judging myself for feeling that way. This has helped me a lot more than I expected. I also understand myself a lot more and have become even more self-aware. This self-awareness made me realize that there is so much power in engaging with your emotions!

All of this doesn’t just apply to relationships – there are a lot of other situations in life where we force ourselves to get over something. Whatever the situation is, the best thing for you is to get through it, rather than get over it. It takes time but you’ll ultimately feel better.

‘If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you’re fighting.’ …

Activism, Campaigns and News

In Solidarity with Goldie Osuri

#StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

We, the undersigned, are a collective of students within the Warwick Sociology department who have been taught by or had contact with Dr Goldie Osuri within a personal or educational capacity. We vouch for Dr Goldie Osuri not purely because of her character, but because it is within the interest of remaining honest and factual to do so. Having either attended the lecture in question or reviewed the lecture content after the fact, we believe that the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri as antisemitic is untrue and libellous.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Goldie for the following reasons:

  • We believe that all lives are precious. That this includes Jewish lives which are always at risk of violence. That this includes Palestinian lives which are always at risk of violence.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri was fair to recognise both of these aforementioned facts in her lecture.
  • We believe that Dr Goldie Osuri handled the topic with deliberate care, knowing the controversial nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict and, consequently, using precise language as to not diminish anyone’s lives or contribute to anyone’s dehumanisation.
  • We believe that the conflation of the policies of the state of Israel with the opinions and/or political ideologies of all Jewish people is antisemitic. This is something that Dr Goldie Osuri went to extra lengths in the lecture to remind us, providing several disclaimers at various points in the lecture in a manner that can only be described as overly-cautious.
  • We believe that critique of Zionist rhetoric – rhetoric which sometimes seeks to erase, obscure and invisibilise Palestinian lives – is not antisemitic. In this case, Dr Goldie Osuri provided academic and researched critique of Zionist rhetoric as it relates to transnational media ecologies in a measured and careful manner. In no way could her analysis be considered antisemitic. In fact, these critiques were re-articulations of transnational social media discourses, not her own political opinions.

 

We, the undersigned, stand in opposition to the mischaracterisation of Dr Goldie Osuri. We believe that this mischaracterisation has gone far enough. We do this for the following reasons:

  • We believe that the increasing criminalisation and penalisation of discussing the realities of Israel-Palestine in an academic context is dangerous to all our freedoms as oppressed people, minorities within this institution, and sociologists.
  • We believe that technological surveillance – which ironically was a topic within Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture – is not just abstract theory, but a reality for many people, especially scholar-activists of colour who are in search of collective freedom and justice.
  • We believe that this surveillance which disproportionately penalises scholar-activists of colour leaves us prone to precarity, violence, and silencing. In fact, we believe that the fact that Dr Goldie Osuri was subject to such surveillance is evidence of her prowess as an academic, since what she articulated as theory is being demonstrated to us in real time.
  • We believe that students are students, not police officers or Prevent agents or border guards or agents of a hostile surveillance state and/or surveillance market.
  • Following from this, we believe that the attempt to a) record specific selected sections of Dr Goldie Osuri’s lecture, b) decontextualize the content, and c) leak this (mis)information to the national press, was the action of a student who took offence to the lecture material. Though we cannot ‘know’ whether said student(s) was acting in a deliberately malicious intention due to their own inability to handle the well-documented facts of Israel-Palestine, we can collectively condemn the actions of said student. Indeed, it is within our best conscience to do so.
  • We believe that said student(s) had the opportunity to contest the content of the lecture during the lecture, after the lecture, and within the seminar. In fact, it is within Dr Goldie Osuri’s mild-mannered and humble nature to welcome comments, critiques and opposing thoughts. Instead, said student(s) went straight to a national news outlet. Other avenues they could have pursued involve: raising concerns with the lecturer directly, filing a complaint, or speaking up for what they believe in – something we the undersigned often manage to do for ourselves daily in the face of (micro)aggressions.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, with a common unifying goal: free decolonised accessible knowledge for all people at all times.
  • We believe that we are part of the same community with our teachers, including Dr Goldie Osuri, resisting similar attacks against our education: the commodification, marketisation, and securitisation of our learning.
  • We believe that none of us are free until all of us are free.

 

We, the undersigned, draw attention to the following facts:

  • The module which Dr Goldie Osuri teaches is concerned with ‘Transnational Media Ecologies’.
    • The quote used in the notes about Palestinian resistance ‘by any means’ – for clarification – is a quote by Hamid Dabashi (2014). Dr Goldie Osuri used this quote to highlight the differing narratives between the mainstream media and the ways in which Palestinians resist (not reducible to terrorism as Hamid Dabashi argues).
    • There is a group called Jewish Voice for Labour who argue that the claims of anti-semitism against the Labour Party are orchestrated. When Dr Goldie Osuri spoke of a lobby, she was not presenting an argument or a fact, she was specifically referring to the ‘transnational connectivities’ between Israel and the UK with reference to the example of the Labour Party. She made this clear in the lecture. You can read more about Jewish Voice for Labour here: https://www.jewishvoiceforlabour.org.uk
    • Dr Goldie Osuri also quoted Israel Zangwill (1901), a British author at the forefront of cultural Zionism, “Palestine is a country without a people; the Jews are a people without a country”. This was conveniently left out of the news article written about her lecture. The point was to include different popular discourses surrounding Israel-Palestine to highlight differing knowledges about a single conflict and how these knowledges are represented and disseminated in different media ‘ecologies’. These weren’t assertions, arguments or political opinions. She was doing her job, and doing it well.
  • Two members of Warwick University’s Jewish Israeli society who are leading the allegations of antisemitism against Dr Goldie Osuri are fellowship holders of the StandwithUs Emerson Fellowship. The fellowship is overtly about sending ‘trained pro-Israel’ student leaders to University campuses to create positive perceptions about Israel. It must also be mentioned that claims of islamophobia have been made against StandWithUs as an organisation. We believe that this information goes a long way toward explaining the kind of decontextualisation and misinformation that was being spread about the lecture and about Dr Goldie Osuri.  Here are some of the receipts for these claims:

–  In the same week that over 34 Palestinians have been massacred by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), a colonel from that same force is being allowed to speak on campus. Perhaps it is time to re-evaluate who is ‘free’ to speak and what they are ‘free’ to speak about.

 

We call for student journalists, student societies and (national) news outlets to retract the lies made against Dr Goldie Osuri with unequivocal apologies. We call for the University to use this statement as evidence in support of Dr Goldie Osuri in any disciplinary proceedings regarding this matter.

 

For all of these reasons and more, we – the undersigned – stand in unwavering solidarity with Goldie Osuri! #StudentsWithGoldieOsuri

 

We, the undersigned:

Ademola Anjorin (Politics and Sociology)

Lucy Mooring (Sociology)

Lanaire Aderemi ( Sociology)

Precious Okoye (Sociology)

Majidha Jaman (Social and Political Thought, Sociology)

Tao Yang (Politics and Sociology)

Rebecca Fox (Sociology with Quantitative Methods)

Zainab Ilyas ( Sociology)

Sarah Michaels (Sociology)

Lucy Dunkling (Sociology)

Patrick Lees (Social and Political Thought alumni)

Sarah Staniforth (Sociology alumna)

Sarita Patel (Sociology)

Agatha Barker (Sociology alumni)

Neesha Nhika (Sociology)

Rhea Ebanks-Simpson (Sociology)

Soraya Momoniat (Sociology)

Helena Navarrete Plana (Sociology Alumnae)

Lea Lapautre (Sociology Alumnae)

Ella Hattey (Sociology Alumna)

Jay Kinsella (Sociology)

Hasan Aziz (Sociology)

Rain Girard (Sociology)

Summer Baillarger (History and Sociology)

Nooran El-Faki (Sociology and GSD)

Essyl Harding (Law and Sociology)

Georgina Lord (Sociology)

Amrita Purewal (Sociology)

Sasha Hailey (Sociology alumna)

Katherine S-Williams (Sociology)

Evren Uygun (Sociology)

 

Reflections and Healing

Chana Dhaal; a recipe 

By Sadia Ahmed

“For as long as I can remember, my parents have taught me that cooking is an expression of love.”

My parents taught me cooking for someone is an expression of a love. They taught me that peeling vegetables, frying garlic, soaking lentils, carefully spicing everything – making something hot and warm and filling with your hands is one of the best expressions of love. When my sister or I come home from university, you can bet that my mum has prepared a biryani for us. When I came home last year for the Easter break and I had announced, to their dismay, that I didn’t want to eat meat anymore, my dad went out and bought me paneer to make the next day. During those couple of weeks at home, he made me countless vegetarian dishes from vegetable lasagnes to haleem sans mutton. For as long as I can remember, my parents have taught me that cooking is an expression of love. I am never hungry around them. 

I have made a mess of my home kitchen many a time, attempting to poorly imitate my parents’ creations. The story isn’t much different at university. When my friends come over or when I’m experiencing pangs of homesickness, I tend to reach for familiar spices or dishes that leave you full and satisfied. One of my favourites is chana dhaal; I have prepared it many, many times this year. Here is a recipe that reminds me of home. 

ingredients:image1

  • 1 small white/red onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 or 3 bird eye chillies, depending on taste 
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (I tend to use sunflower oil) 
  • 2 cups of split yellow lentils (washed and soaked in water overnight)
  • a handful of cherry/plum tomatoes 
  • small bunch of fresh coriander 
  • heaped teaspoon of cumin powder
  • heaped teaspoon of turmeric 
  • teaspoon of chilli powder
  • heaped teaspoon of coriander powder
  • teaspoon of salt 

recipe:

  1. chop onion and garlic cloves finely 
  2. heat up a pan with oil and add your chopped onion and garlic
  3. add teaspoon of salt and stir, leaving to sweat until garlic and onion starts to colour
  4. score chillies and add to pan 
  5. stir in spices and allow them to cook out for a couple of minutes (tip: add a little water to the mixture if it appears to be sticking) 
  6. add your soaked lentils to the pan, stir
  7. add one cup of boiling water to the pan, stir and cover, leave to simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes 
  8. chop your cherry tomatoes and add (note: if you enjoy a tomato flavour, feel free to add a tablespoon of tomato paste in addition) 
  9. stir regularly, gradually add another cup of water, until the consistency becomes thick
  10. finely chop coriander and stir in 2/3 of coriander along with a little water 
  11. taste! season with salt to preference
  12. sprinkle dish with the remaining coriander and take off heat 
  13. serve dhaal with rice, or chapatis, or both, or neither 

This recipe will comfortably serve five of your loved ones or you, five times over x 

Activism, Campaigns and News

Warwick Labour on Recent Claims in the Boar

We are concerned by some of the unsubstantiated claims made in the Boar about the inclusivity of our society, they are not representative of the experience of our members or of anything that has been said at Lefty Lattes.

We encourage all progressives to come along to Lefty Lattes, we have a range of interesting topics coming up and all details are available on our Facebook page.

Lefty Lattes is Warwick Labour’s weekly discussion event, there is a different subject for discussion every week picked by members, from how to combat anti-Semitism in the party to combating sexual violence on campus. We have specific policy for how our lefty lattes discussions are conducted, it is a non-alcoholic event, held in a wheelchair accessible location, where people are asked to treat each other with respect and to respect what everyone has to say. Prejudiced language is not tolerated, everyone is given an opportunity to share their thoughts on a subject with those who speak least prioritised and encouraged to contribute.

We also have a safer space policy, now enshrined in our constitution, which protects members at all events from prejudice and abuse, additionally, we have just introduced a welfare officer and will soon be launching a welfare inbox for members. We encourage people to contact us via the Facebook page if they have any concerns.

Uncritically reproducing claims from an anonymous survey of only 100 people, which is clearly unrepresentative and open to abuse, without even asking for comment on these claims is journalistic bad-practice par excellence and disappointing to see from the Boar.

Activism, Campaigns and News

our statement

Content notice: rape, racism and sexual violence.

 

We stand in full solidarity with the victims of the comments made in the group chat whose screenshots detailing misogynistic, rape apologist, racist, anti-semitic and ableist language were made public yesterday, as well as anyone who was affected by them. We are appalled by the behaviour exhibited in these chats, and understand it to be part of a broader epidemic of sexual violence in universities, where these comments and behaviour are normalised and even excused under the guise of ‘free speech’ or ‘banter’. This is no laughing matter, 62% of students have reported being subject to sexual violence at their time in university, with 8% of women graduates being victims of rape, twice as much as the rate for women overall in England and Wales (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/02/universities-rape-epidemic-sexual-assault-students). These comments cannot be defended under the right to privacy or under the banner of free speech. For far too long this language has been used behind closed doors without consequence, feeding these ideologies, allowing them to fester into abuse. This doesn’t just stop at written expression, it has drastic consequences as detailed above, which could severely affect the lives of many.

 

It’s time universities took this matter seriously, we hear in mainstream discourse that we need more education to change bigoted views, yet this abuse is being perpetrated by students attending renowned universities. We need more: we need a feminist education, a decolonised and anti-racist education which doesn’t shy away from challenging oppressive views prevalent in our society. Our marketised education system means our universities are more concerned with their public image and looking glossy and polished for prospective students, than actively putting out resources to prevent sexual violence and support the victims of it. (https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2015/feb/02/universities-reluctant-tackle-sexual-violence-fear-pr-fallout).

 

The university must take a firm and unequivocal stance against the violent sexist and racist behaviour encouraged within the group chat in question, this means holding every participant of the conversation fully accountable for what they have said. Moreover, some of the acts encouraged and praised in the chat involve violently raping and sexually assaulting women & girls and enacting violence against Jewish people and ethnic minorities. This goes beyond accountability and becomes an issue of safety, wellbeing and principle. This blatant disregard for the humanity and wellbeing of women and ethnic minorities, in addition to the promotion of real physical harm against these groups, means that these predators should not be trusted to return back to this university. They should be expelled to ensure the safety of those who they have callously threatened to rape, beat and brutalise.

 

If given the opportunity to remain in this university, these predators will have the access to obtain the societal privilege, power and wealth associated with having a qualification from Warwick. This power will enable them to act on their words in the future, enacting violence on at-risk people whilst being protected by privilege and money thus escaping accountability again and again. The university must end this cycle before it begins. If this university is claiming to be a diverse and inclusive space, it must send a clear message that it does not stand by these views. This should be done by removing and expelling the dangerous predators in question, according to their degree of involvement. They must be dealt with uncompromisingly and unapologetically – along with all other rapists, racists and rape enthusiasts.

 

Most importantly, we should not sensationalise this one incident: disciplinary action for these perpetrators won’t solve the wider problems that made this group chat possible. Sexism, rape apology, racism and antisemitism do not disappear by making these predators disappear. Racist discourses and rape culture will remain firmly in place on campus, in campus groups/societies, in our university accommodations, during our club nights and in wider society until institutions like our university become proactive rather than reactive. This University has failed to do this so far. Here are our demands of this ‘diverse and inclusive’ university:

  1. GET THE PREDATORS OUT.
  2. Make use of the resources that we already have surrounding consent. The #WeGetConsent campaign, amongst other thorough consent campaigns across campuses all over the UK, has great videos that must be distributed and made more visible to all Warwick students.
  3. Repurpose the Piazza big screen, currently used for endless and repetitive self-promotion videos played at students & staff that are already members of this institution, to play consent videos from the SU and other similar videos from liberation campaigns.
  4. Invest more money and resources into the anti-sexist and anti-racist campaigns that students have devoted so much of their time to despite a lack of adequate funding and institutional support. This involves greater support for victims and survivors of sexist and racist abuse.
  5. Enforce consent training and bystander intervention training for students and staff. Bystander intervention training was recently put on the curriculum for first year PAIS students, this must become part of the curriculum for all university departments.

 

We conclude this statement by urging all students to be dissatisfied with bigotry. When you encounter rape apology, sexual violence, misogyny, anti-semitism, nazi ideology, violence against minorities, racist rhetoric, islamophobia, white supremacy, LGBTQ+-phobias, ableism, classism and other forms of prejudice, we urge you to take a stand and speak up in whichever capacity you feel capable and comfortable. (https://www.warwicksu.com/advice/crime/hatecrime/) Do not let predators, violent misogynists and racists fly under the radar or go unchallenged. Sometimes this means exposing group chats like these to ensure the safety of marginalised groups.

 

Signed –

Warwick Anti-Sexism Society

Warwick Anti-Racism Society

Warwick Jewish Society

Warwick Labour

Warwick for Free Education

Warwick Pride

Warwick Enable

Activism, Campaigns and News

“We’re all just different!” How Intersectionality is Being Colonized by White People

Thinking Race...

Intersectionality-01

Working in student affairs on a university campus, I feel like I hear the words “intersectionality” or “intersectional” said out loud at least 20 times a day (no exaggeration). The word is regularly used as a powerful critique from young women of Color about how White feminist staff members don’t seem to understand the violence we enact. Often, though, I hear the term used by White feminist or “social justice focused” staff such as myself.

We use the term in many vague ways. “We really need to be sure our work is intersectional…We need to be more intersectional in how we talk about student identities…Our teaching strategies must be intersectional and culturally responsive.” I don’t use “we” in the royal sense. This is something I do all the time without thinking critically about my meaning.

But what the hell are we even saying when we use the term?

We have…

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