His body isn’t even cold yet and the New York times has already put out a shameful article declaring Nelson Mandela to be an “icon of peaceful resistance”. News outlets around the Western world are hurrying to publish obituaries that celebrate his electoral victory while erasing the protracted and fierce guerrilla struggle that he and his party were forced to fight in order to make that victory possible. Don’t let racist, imperialist liberalism co-opt the legacy of another radical. Nelson Mandela used peaceful means when he could, and violent means when he couldn’t. For this, during his life they called him a terrorist, and after his death they’ll call him a pacifist — all to neutralize the revolutionary potential of his legacy, and the lessons to be drawn from it.
Don’t fucking let them.
Inna illahi wa inna ila rajioon. From the Divine we come to the Divine we must return.
my friend passed away earlier today. he was only 26 years old. when he was in his teens he decided to get his driver’s license and went to the DMV. a man pulled him aside and told him his social security number was fake and not to come again. confused, my friend confronted his family who told him he was undocumented and was brought to the us when he was a baby. his life crumbed in front of his eyes and he realized that he would have to live his life in fear and secrecy—never being able to do what his friends could do, or truly explain to them why.
when he was in his mid-teens his family found out he was gay and was kicked out of his house. he ended up living and falling in love with an older man that abused and threatened him with revealing his undocumented status.
later, he managed to escape his controller and set on realizing his dream: to complete college. in dc he found a gay imam who acted like a father to him and mentored him. he worked in restaurants and went to college on and off when he could strap the money together.
i met him at a radical progressive queer muslim retreat where he was drowsy with hope and happiness in finding a family where he could be myself completely. we immediately became friends.
despite the harsh hand that he had been given in life, you would have never known. he laughed easily, blush fiercely and would talk to me about his new-found muslim crush and his hopes. despite the conflicts he had with himself—battling depression, hopelessness, battling to love Allah and himself openly at the same time—he lived life with a burning and fierce hope. remarkably, his harsh past only made him kinder and softer. i am thankful to Allah, that She allowed me to witness the strength and beauty of his soul in this life.
in the end this brother died of a disease that was treatable because he couldn’t get health care he needed due to his undocumented status. my boy died was dying and didn’t even tell anyone. he was a remarkable human being who was disregarded in this life.
too often our siblings in this life are treated like shit, because we dehumanize them and hurt them with the narrowness of our hearts. we forget our communities are there to support and help human beings, not act like cults—shunning and kicking people out of their ‘utopias’, because people don’t conform to their liking.
stories, lives—like my friend’s—are all too real and common. if we don’t talk about immigration, abuse, health care, homophobia … we are allowing our friends and families to die.
InshAllah may Allah bless him with ease and comfort in the next life.
If you would like to donate to his funeral costs please donate below.
We are raising funds to help his family transport him for a proper Islamic burial at their mosque. The amount needed exceeds $5,000 and is needed very quickly, as Muslim burial must take place before the sun sets twice on the body. Please give what you can and keep Sami’s family and friends in your prayers.
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shout out to all my friends that understand and acknowledge my anxiety and are super sweet about anticipating when and how i need to be affirmed.
also shout out to cocoa butter for making me smell like chocolate and stop feeling itchy and ashy.