Can I be real for a second? I don’t care about politics.
I’m sick and tired of the promises. The idea that your vote really matters. Career politicians saying they’re not career politicians. I probably hated politics the same way many people hate religion. Too many sides. Too much chaos. Not enough progress. Why waste my time in such a mess? Why not focus my energies in something that matters.
However, the Muslim Youth debate which took place on Sept. 18 at the Aga Khan Museum, punched me in the face.
Organized by DawaNet’s Project Civic Engagement, the debate covered multiculturalism, immigration, economic opportunity, and civil liberty issues. It also focused on issues that young Muslim Canadians are concerned about, specifically the rise of Islamophobia in Canadian politics, Canada’s foreign policy and international standing, and national security. These topics directly affect, and oftentimes implicate, the Muslim community.
Panelists were Karim Jivraj, Conservative Candidate for University-Rosedale, Andrew Cash, NDP candidate for Davenport, Hon. John McCallum, Liberal candidate for Markham-Thornhill and Lihn Nguyen, Green Party candidate for Mississauga Centre.
“The only good place this legislation [Bill C-24] belongs is the garbage can.”- John McCallum
Boom. A heavy upper-cut right into reality. I was wrong about what matters. Laws are now being gracefully passed to pin Muslims down. To create a secular flavour of our way of life that sounds nice in upper-echelons of elite money, power and respect. Politics does matter.
Pow. A sharp jab into the gut of my reason. It pierces me. It calls me out directly in my hypocrisy. How can I be involved in the Muslim community yet totally ignore the political front because I personally don’t like it? Because I’ve studied a little too much about the system? That I know it’s a legacy bureaucratic red-tape organization that couldn’t move if even if it was on four-wheel drive? That jab kicked me out of ivory tower falling into the crowds of people. The lived experiences of Muslims. Especially those that can get their citizenship removed. Those that can be censored. Those that cannot wear as they please. My reason doesn’t stand a chance in the pains and sufferings of our brethren.
And then I go blank. Knocked-out. Stillness. I no longer hear the voice of the political skeptic. Hah. This is what it sounds like to have a change of mind. I didn’t think it would ever come. But here I am. Seven years of political skepticism replaced with a small dose of political activism. I’m not sure what it looks like and how I will manifest it. Yet, I know that it must be done. We must not let those who fear, be the masters of our fate.
They can plan, but Allah plans. Be smart. Be strategic. This October 19th, get out and exercise your right that many people around the world are fighting for – vote.
Are you planning to vote? Why or why not? Let us know below!