YMCA - Why Not?

An Open Letter to Fraser Anning

Words by Aisha, 19 NSW

Illustration by Aileen, You can find more of her work on Instagram @cartoonsforsanity and @aileenetc

“As a second generation immigrant with a strong Australian identity and more specifically as a Muslim women, the comments by Fraser Anning to enact a Muslim ban pierced deep on the fears of social as well as political exclusion that my family face. This piece is emblematic of my resistance against the xenophobic rhetoric that still continues to dominate a modern ‘multicultural’ Australia.” 

 

We are diamonds in the diaspora,

Beautiful and getting older,

You know that you can’t ignore us,

You know all the hurt we’ve shouldered,

Our parents came from

Overseas

Now they’re here

Under siege

All they did was chase their dreams,

All they got were your screams,

Can you see how much they bleed,

Inside this belly of the beast

 

They say,

‘equality is how far you can reach’

but you stole the stools straight out from our feet,

 

this immigrant body,

Punjabi,

Hindi,

Kashmiri,

Arabi,

Is not your story,

 

We transcend your narratives with

Our eloquence

And excellence

We are the exodus

Broke the backs of camels on this Darug land,

With our Afghani tan,

And you think you have the last laugh?

Our humanity, our hands?

 

Under my mother’s feet lies heaven,

Because everywhere she treads is holy,

On your hands lay venom,

Because everything you touch is phony,

But phone me, call me,

 

Hear my voice and hear my hunger,

I’ve awakened from my slumber,

 

My sisters sacrifice their skin with their service,

My brothers bend over backward with purpose,

My people created the algebra in your curriculum,

Our surgical instruments are in your facilities,

Our poetry on your walls and on your bed sheets,

Our Miswak on your teeth,

We are the dessert in your three-course meal,

And eat that all up,

Because we created that too,

 

And while I argue inventions to people with no ideals,

I wonder how we are just reduced to trophies on your business deals,

Only worthy when we are inspirations,

And not when we are ordinary citizens,

Like our existence is conditional upon our brilliance,

 

But you say Wogs and Muslims tore up neighbourhoods,

But white man tore up continents,

So please don’t use our condiments,

When you can’t pronounce our consonance,

 

For we are,

Diamonds in the diaspora,

Gorgeous in our grandeurs aura,

Spreading knowledge in our performance,

You know that you can’t ignore us,

We know that we’re coming for

You.

Why Not?

Keep asking… Why Not?