I Am Taught…

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I wrote the following observations/poem on Canadian politics and society based on my experience as a first generation, Muslim-Canadian woman of Palestinian descent, and also on harmful attitudes that I have seen expressed towards and spoken of others.

 

“I am Taught”

 

I am told that racism is over.

I am told that sexism is over.

I am told that colonialism is over.

I am regularly told,

Yet I differ in the views I hold.

 

How can I not differ?

For I am not taught that ethnic cleansing is  part of Canadian history.

I am taught that police forces would only exert violence when necessary.

I am taught that Indigenous peoples are over-funded by the government.

I am taught that the lives of Westerners are superior to other nations.

I am taught to hate foreign terrorists, but not a Western imperialist.

I am taught to praise the state instead of human rights.

I am taught that religious extremism is a greater evil than hyper-nationalism.

I am taught that ungratefulness is when migrants and first-generation Canadians criticize the state.

I am taught that only far more oppressive countries are worthy of condemnation.

I am taught that the government spies only on terror and crime suspects.

I am taught to be suspicious of “illegal immigrants”.

I am taught that feminism is no longer necessary.

I am taught that protestors are a nuisance.

I am taught that justice has political parties.

I am taught that Canada has no  ties with human rights violations abroad.

I am taught that 1990s Canada has hardly changed after 9/11.

I am taught that the most humane political party is the least realistic.

I am taught that wearing the hijab is oppressive, yet it is my choice.

I am taught that racism and sexism are based on individual attitudes.

 

I am taught these beliefs,

You are taught these beliefs,

We are taught these beliefs.

Let us unlearn them,

You and I.

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You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” – George Orwell, 1984

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