Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm a rebel....I've even got the T-shirt

I just don't understand the urge so many people have to brand themselves..I've met so many people who think they are "committed" to some cause. I once had a Pakistani colleague at university festoon himself every day with the latest Islamic/hip hop T-shirt: Faithful to the DEEN, Warrior written in English, Chinese/Japanese?, and of course Arabic, Mujahid..you get the picture. What does this person do? He repeats the same stale slogans, the same empty words and meaningless gestures. He's a member of the Islamic club, you can hear the Quran blazing from his iPod..He's off to all the events and hangouts, he's found his sense of belonging, his cause for the summer. Last I heard, he wanted to tattoo Allah and Muhammed on his left and right shoulders, ostensibly to prove his loyalty and belief. My personal revulsion of tattoos aside, I simply shook my head at his ignorance - and he is not the only one I've met in London who acts this way, many are similarly enflamed with the idea of Palestine and "liberating" it. They've got all the patriotic songs on their "iPods" that's right, iPods - the new symbol of American consumerism and globalisation. They wear the Kuffiyeh everywhere and all they can ever discuss is about what is happening in the Middle East or focused on it. This is not because they are committed to it, but rather to hide the fact they had never prepared for any seminar or assignment properly. They graduated, just barely, only able to talk about that one topic. They look with disdain at the designer clad Barbie and Ken dolls but can't they see themselves?

I don't need the T-Shirt, the keychain and the tattoo to tell people I'm against injustice, that I'm an Arab or a Muslim, or that I support a cause - I carry my beliefs on the inside, confidently and comfortably.

4 comments:

yaman said...

It's important to make sure we don't confuse t-shirts and consumerism for activism, but it's also necessary to recognize the importance of manifesting our beliefs outwordly. The inner world does not exist in a meaningful way.

Wassim said...

Hi Yaman,
I forgot that you've got the whole T-Shirt thing going! I assure you this isn't a swipe at you. I just came across one of these people yesterday and this is my way of venting a bit of steam ;)

yaman said...

No worries :) I have been inspired recently by my new friend Hossam, who I've met with a lot in the past few weeks, regarding the importance of visual media and an aesthetically inclined politics. Still thinking about it in my head so it'll be a while before I write about it ;-)

Amre El-Abyad said...

Pakistanies have an identity problem. They simply don't want to be Indians. A vision of an Islamic globe , and a vigilent identifcation with Arab causes from an Islamic perspective, simply provides the new nation of Pakistan cultural depth and more profound legitimacy in the Indian subcontinent. That is not the case, however, with the Iranian barabrs lurking like a venomous snake on Arab borders