Monthly Archives: March 2015

RULE35 directed by Cheryl Martin

On Saturday, I was able to go and watch RULE35, a new provocative interactive show that propels you straight into the heart of the British detention system. 

     The show was directed by Cheryl Martin who I think is a fantastic artist but in addition to this, the women who created and performed in the show were the WAST women I had worked with last year using creative agency to create awareness about their plight. So imagine my delight when the first guard to meet me at entrance of the show, was one of the inspirational women who practiced her poem with me. Except instead of a hello, she screamed at me to ‘Move’ and ’empty your bag!’ 
       I was soon blindfolded and led to my chair, roughly pushed down and had to sweat out a rising fear under huge bright spotlights. The rest of the show took you through fear, sadness, frustration, anger and a tiny bit of happiness for the lucky few who gain leave to stay in the UK. Most don’t and are soon deported or treated like criminals in Yarls Wood.
        The highlight for me had to be meeting the wonderful women at the end of the show. After taking photos with them, I checked with Maryam, one of the women who is still waiting for asylum status to be granted, if I could share them on social media. Her answer moved me to tears.. ‘Go ahead,’ she said, ‘We’re not afraid anymore!’ X  

       

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ISB Islamic Awareness Dinner 2015 at Sanam Sweet House, Manchester

Last night’s dinner held at  Sanam in Manchester, was a portmanteau of all the inspirational groundwork that British Muslims are involved with at grassroots level within the community. As charities and key figures shared their work, the continuing positive contributions were plain to see and it is a shame we have a media that runs stories against this progress. Special mention to the wonderful host Sara Saigol who chaired the night. 

For me, performing at the ISB dinner last night was nerve wracking. With Home Office and Ministers sat at my table and the teachers, charity workers, reporters, journalists, interfaith workers, activists, MP’s, first female bishop as the other guests, I thanked dear God that my iphone battery ( 30% ) didn’t run out ( so need to learn things by heart ), that I didn’t trip over my dress that was just a couple of inches too long and that I got through the narrow obstacle course to the stage without breathing in too much or getting stuck in any gaps! Phew…. And they liked the poem 🙂 

British Muslims – Giving a little something of themselves…

 

  

 What would you like me to give?

Would you like the remnants of my mother tongue

language now diluted, wasted on our young

dregs of rolled consonants you still mispronounce –

expertly extracted from the minds of our forefathers 

when empire took its place within our kingdoms……..

Nirbhaya – A play by Yael Farber as part of SICK Festival! 

Nirbhaya – Yael Farber ( India/Uk )

‘Her story cut my tongue and made me bleed words’ was the statement of one of the actresses on stage during last night’s performance of ‘Nirbhaya’ at Contact theatre – except these women were not actresses. Each female with raw emotion described and reenacted their real experience of sexual violence in a way that many will never forget. 
Prepare to be affected deeply as the women on stage explained that on the night of 16th December 2012, when a young woman described in the papers as ‘Nirbhaya’ ( fearless ) was brutally gang-raped by drunk men on a Delhi bus, it set a ripple of change in motion. 
Thirteen days later, Jyoti’s death helped countless women and men break  the silence that surrounds global gender-based violence. The searing testimonials tear away at shame, bringing these hard-hitting experiences to the forefront in one of the most powerful ways ever seen at theatre.
 If you haven’t been yet, you must see it. In a world where according to a 2013 global review of available data, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, change must take place. National violence studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner. The most shocking statistic is that around 120 million girls worldwide (slightly more than 1 in 10) have experienced forced intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. 

What this play does is bring these statistics as close to the human experience as possible, makes you see what is taken away from individuals, both male and female, when sexual violation takes place and changes their lives forever. Incredibly powerful and necessary are not words that do this justice. 

 The cast members were the most humble and beautiful women I had ever met especially Sneha and Jagjit as we had the pleasure of a post show discussion with the cast and Dr Catherine White, clinical director of St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester. The play will be touring across the country and then on to New York. Book your seats and prepare to be inspired. Tissues will be handy too. X