united divided states.

i’ve taken several deep breaths before starting this. my name is shalom. i am eighteen years old, and live in south africa. i am an american-south african dual citizen. i was born on the east coast of the usa. i voted for hillary clinton in the presidential election. the last sixty hours have been a mess – in my brain and in the world. here’s what we know:

  • donald trump won the us presidential election
  • mike pence will be the 45th vice president of the usa
  • mike pence believes that state funding should go into electrocuting and torturing lgbtq youth until they are heterosexual
  • donald trump, the man who wants to ban a religion, will be the 45th president of the usa
  • donald trump, the man who is on trial for child rape, will be the 45th president of the usa
  • donald trump, the bigoted, hateful man endorsed by the kkk will be the 45th president of the usa

now, if all of the above doesn’t bother you, your privilege is beyond belief.

when hillary clinton lost the election, so much more happened. i don’t care about how you feel about hillary clinton. i don’t care if you think she’s a scammer. i don’t care if you hate her for being a woman. i don’t care if you think obama was wrong for supporting her. i care that so many of us have now lost.

a win for donald trump  is terrifying, not only because of trump and pence, but because of what it means. what it means is that the people who stand against immigrants, literally built the country from the ground up, are free to act on their hatred. the people who agree that lgbtq youth need a good beating, electric shock treatment, or death to cure their queerness are backed by the president. the people who believe that america was great 200 years ago when black people could be stolen, bought, and sold are validated. hatred won. sexism and misogyny won. homophobia, radical racism, and white supremacy won. america; red, white, and blue. is black in there too?

so what now? what does the muslim family that has lived in a republican state do now that 48 hours after the announcement, and 69 days before he takes office, trump’s supporters have threatened them to the point where they cannot walk in public? what do the people with so many intersectionalities, like black, trans, disabled, woman, do? what is to become of this country that voted ethnic cleansing in, when it’s founding fathers were immigrants? what are marginalised minorities to do when white americans — who’s ancestors were ALL IMMIGRANTS — threaten every element of their safety? what is to become of the united divided states of america when the commander is chief is literally a demagogue flexing? he is history repeating. seriously.

 

america, we messed up. to the 17 000 people who wrote in harambe, and hennessey – is this still funny to you? lives are at stake, now more than ever. is this a joke? to the bernie sanders supporters who wrote him in after he asked you to vote hillary – you knew what would happen. i will not hold this against you, but you took action fully aware of the consequences. same thing for third party voters. you know what you did.

now, we rebuild. again.

we remember that the sun will rise tomorrow. we remember that the capacity for kindness that we all hold can never be taken away by someone in the white house. we cry. we drink. we listen to fourfiveseconds on repeat really loudly. we pray. we protest. we do all that we can to continue every day fighting the hardest that we ever have for all that we believe in. we unfriend and unfollow the trump voters because they do not care about us. we remember why we believe in this country. we listen to president obama. we practice gratefulness. we use our voices. we create. we listen to senator clinton. we do not grow weary. we continue to do as much as we can for as many as we can for as long as we can. we keep on. we rest in each other.

 

the world is broken, but hope is not crazy. the usa was built on immigrants like founding father alexander hamilton, who time and again, get the job done. the usa was built on my parents who came for education, and threw their hearts into a country that never loved them back. the usa will be rebuilt on the love of our generation and not the hatred of trump. commit to love.

only only only love & hope,
shalom xo

 

monthly me | october 2016

I’m a little shocked that it’s already November, but mostly relieved that this hellhole of a year is coming to a close. October was treacherous, and filled with work and being broke and protests and stress and anticipation and love and sadness and pride. Also, my laptop broke, and I haven’t managed to have her fixed. So. October.

from the camera roll

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walk home from the bus ft. sunset. #blessed

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bless you, picnics and popsicles

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joburg pride ’16

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picnic with high school friends and new friends and a massive afternoon of love.

october

I spent most of October trying to find out what I mean to the people who mean the world to me. I took myself out a couple of times and paid up my outstanding amount on my flight to Lisbon! I’ve been preoccupied with the Portuguese city because I’m headed there in TWO WEEKS and cannot wait. Joburg Pride was amazing, and the solidarity was ridiculously awesome. There was so much love in the sapce. I also considered whether I was falling in love or whether I just wanted to squeeze my friends really tight and tell them I adore them – the latter was correct. October also saw me being faced with literally life-changing decisions with regards to my moving from South Africa, and making split second choices over coffee. I think I’ve made the right one.

obsessions

Not to Disappear is one of the best albums of 2016 – I got it the day of release, and I’m still listening to it. This song, and Made of Stone have been on repeat this month (along with the entire album). Fave lyrics: I don’t know you now but I’m lying here somehow; I feel sick (Fossa); You’ll find love, kid; it exists (Made of Stone).

still i pledge allegiance to these UNITED DIVIDED STATES
things that make me patriotic: voting in this election and leslie odom jr and sara bareilles and broadway and theatre and talent and barack obama

snippets of internal monologue

  • I really don’t think I can do this job anymore. I might yell at this kid. LORD. PATIENCE PLEASE.
  • I am SO buying that underwear. Trap liiiiife!
  • Wait, does that mean I have to organise a farewell party? Oh man oh man oh
  • If I fail intro to law can I put an end to this intro to suffering?
  • SHALOM. YOU DON’T HAVE MONEY. HOE DON’T DO IT. HOE, DON’T YOU DO IT. OH MY GOD YOU’RE DOING IT?

November hasn’t started off on the best note – I was robbed for the 5th time this year on the 3rd, and I’m currently a panicky mess about my exams and my travel plans and my future. It’s not all bad though – breathing hasn’t become any more difficult or easy. That, I can deal with.

love and light,
shalom xo

rebuild | orlando, islamophobia & unity

this is a response to today’s one word prompt


i don’t know how to write this, really.

i can’t adaqueately express the anger and sadness that i am feeling for the victims of tragic and senseless gun violence in the usa this past week, and for the victims of a tragic bombing in lebanon. i can’t imagine the pain and suffering brought about by the senseless loss, or the foolish backlash that the lgbtq+ & muslim community must be receiving.

i can be sorry, and i can pray that the god i believe in will have mercy, and i know that it isn’t enough. but i don’t know what else i can do.

fifty people were murdered at pulse nightclub in orlando, while almost fifty others were injured. fifty people had their lives taken for no reason apart from being in a space that promoted loving who you love. pulse is a beacon for so much of the lgbtq+ community in orlando, and because of a sensless act of cowardice, people have lost so much.

the entire lgbtq+ community has been shaken by the shooting. if queer people cannot be safe in a space for them, amongst other queer people, where can they be safe? a day after the shooting, a man carrying heavy explosives and weapons was apprehended. he was on his way to the l.a pride parade. he was headed to a space full of queer people with the sole intention to kill them.

what part of this doesn’t look like a hate crime? what part gives you the inclination that there was another reason, apart from rampant homophobia, for these attacks?

is it ignorance? is it trump? i hate to mention trump’s name. i believe that the guy from the apprentice is only in the posoition he is in because of the press we give to him. trump needs a mirror, but more so, he is a mirror.

the fact that so many of the senators tweeting their condolences and prayers voted against gun control, and can’t seem to realise that they need to answer the question, “how do these people get their weapons, and why is it so easy?” in order for us to make any progress is troubling.

the same people who called the lgbtq+ community animals are the ones offering their sincerest regards. those who claimed that the lgbtq+ community in bathrooms is a danger to public society are now looking at the slain members of the community, and finding something else to talk about. calling up islamophobia, and terrorism, ignoring the fact that crime after crime after crime like this can be so easily prevented if some fucking republicans would get their heads out of their asses.

what, then, do these muslim-hating republicans, have to say about the religions of the white perpetrators of the biggest mass shootings in us history? what do they say about the religion of the white people who shot children at sandy hook elementary school, who prayed with unarmed black people and then shot them? why are queer lives not valued enough for this to be seen as what it is – a crime against them?

i am beside myself. i feel selfish for being sad, when so many are directly affected. i feel helpless, because every time something like this happens, a ‘pray for’ hashtag is generated, and the president makes a speech, and some people cry and change their profile pictures and post things on instagram and nothing changes because it always happens again. america, it always happens again.

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in light of all of this pain, what is left? what is left but the countless souls who will mourn, who will bury the lost, who will have to continue with their fragmented lives – those who will rebuild. the lgbtq+ community will rebuild because it is what must be done when your entire existence is reduced to someone’s intolerance.

twitter is always wild when something like this happens. he-who-must-not-be-named with a nose and bad hair tweets something stupid and ignorant, someone makes a “joke” that’s hate speech, and so many of us spend hours fighting with people trying to stir up hate. i am christian, and my friend yasmin is muslim, and we spent three hours online yesterday trying to explain why islamophobia is (a) always senseless, (b) always unfounded, and (c) should always be avoided in every way. i got hate from several christians for advocating for lgbtq+ rights, as did yasmin from many muslims. i’d like to share a passage from the bible and the quran each with you:

There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you–who are you to judge your neighbour?

-James 4:12 (NIV)

Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.

-Qur’an 5:32

there is no place for hatred. there is no place for prejuciced christians who love selectively. there is love, and love wins. my god is a god of love, and love wins. as lin-manuel miranda said last night at the tony awards, “love is love is love is love is love is love, and cannot be killed or swept aside”. hate will never win.

“if anyone knows how to rebuild, it’s us.”  please watch this stunning & evocative piece by anna oakes-monger. to the entire lqbtq+ community: we are with you. i am with you. this is not and will never be okay, and we will fight with you. “if anyone can love through pain, it’s us.”

love and light,
shalom xo