Oliver Twisted

(Written for The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Can’t Watch This: When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?)

child behind bars

“Please, sir, I want some more”

The short but winning line of a world renowned classic novel.
However, what is to follow will not be concentrating on the works of Dickens, but on the subject of oppression, including of that upon children.

Although I may not be the kind of person who tears up every five seconds, I have painfully wept and find my heart crying upon witnessing any forms of oppression, suffering, or pain on others – especially children, the elderly and the vulnerable.

Nobody wants to believe that pain, suffering and oppression exist within this world, and as such many also turn a blind eye to it. However, I personally feel that it is a duty upon each and every one of us to try to look out for our human brothers and sisters, even if that is simply through ‘recognizing them as human’, and praying for them.

More recently, the excruciatingly painful and horrific images and videos that have been coming out of the conflict in Gaza, and many other places in the world, have been tearing my heart to shreds.
As a British and proud Scottish citizen, I myself admit the presence of a strong media bias in our news channels, which is terribly unfortunate.
However, it’s not hard to find out the truth when we search for ourselves. The truth may be a matter of perspective, and I understand that the pendulum swings both ways, but some things are just inexcusable.

Babies and young children, targeted and being torn to shreds by ‘soldiers’; how were those innocent children a threat?
Disability centres and hospitals being blown to pieces; how are those vulnerable people any danger to you?
Innocent civilian homes being raided, destroyed and burned to the ground with the families still in them; that could have been your home and family.
Schools, places of worship, water systems and sewage systems being destroyed; leaving a horrible gash in life for the future generations.

I look around and see the many beautiful colours of the World, and its many faces and languages. Appreciation of diversity is so very important, but we must also look to see how, ultimately, we are all one and the same. One universal family called Humanity.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is being consumed by demons who take human form.
To think that ‘any’ child deserves such torture is a crime upon the soul.
To attest that ‘any’ person shouldn’t be allowed basic human rights is a tear upon the spirit.
To believe that ‘any’ pregnant woman should have her belly torn apart is a wound upon the heart.
To say that ‘any’ form of oppression is allowed, or permitted, is a stain upon the mind.

I am not here to try to upset anyone, however, if we find ourselves spending all our time pondering over the latest ‘gadget’ trends and celebrity gossip, yet completely ignoring the reality that millions upon millions go through… we know that humanity is failing.

We do not require to sit and cry all day in order to truly connect with the bigger picture, however, recognizing the existence of the suffering (and as such, the existence and value of each and every person who faces oppression in this world) will be the difference between being a hollow human vessel and a truly connected soul.

I am known as a ‘foolish optimist’, but I truly do believe that even a prayer, a well wish or a simple hope for a better world can make a difference.

As Mother Teresa once said:

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

When all that many oppressed people have to protect themselves are sticks and stones, when faced by the world’s most powerful and advanced tanks and technology, then why haven’t we been feeling those many ripples?

It’s time to open our eyes.
We don’t need to be from any religion, colour, culture or race to condemn oppression; we just need to be ‘human’.
A child received a beating from a so called ‘war hero’, bleeding from head to toe, and begs “Please, sir, let me go”. However, just as in the case of Oliver, he doesn’t receive.

…Wake up….

© Naziyah Mahmood, 2014.

(Image taken from http://animalnewyork.com/2011/palestinian-kids-art-exhibit-censored-too-violent-for-kids/
A drawing made by a child for an art exhibition that was censored)


17 thoughts on “Oliver Twisted

    • Thank you, Colleen.

      It’s just so sad to see people so deeply engrossed in the latest fashion fad, yet at the first mention of any people being oppressed (anywhere in the world, from any faith, culture, community or country), they run as fast as they can.
      Well, they do say ignorance is bliss… but it can also affect the soul.

      At the end of the day, we’re all human siblings 🙂

    • Thank you very much for your beautiful comment 🙂

      At the end of the day, we’re all flesh and blood, one and the same.
      Let’s spread the love instead 🙂

  1. I teared up a bit reading this. Knowing the ills of the world, feeling enraged (defined as being driven to do something against injustice as opposed to just feeling angry about someone you would take personally), these are the first steps… but the frustration is in what to do. I don’t have the means to get to Palestine right now, and even if I did, I don’t have the power or skills to stop what is going on. The powerlessness can suck the compassion out of people, leaving them numb to both the news going on far away, and then the news that might be right in front of them.

    Even if we can’t be there in person to shelter the vulnerable people being attacked, we can focus on keeping the people around us from going numb. Calling people’s attention to injustice and stirring up their compassion with writing like this is one step. But in injustice happens on our doorsteps as well–and ripples start locally, helping the vulnerable people hiding right in front of us who don’t have anyone to make their stories into news. My hope is that if everyone starts these local ripples, we can affect the culture of the whole world.

    So I write, but even then I feel I haven’t done enough for the people I can reach out and touch right here.

    • We’ll never feel like what we do is enough, however, as you so beautifully stated too, every little does help. 🙂

      Whether it’s in the form of spreading awareness, or just saying a short prayer or well wish for all those who are oppressed throughout the world, each and every effort adds to the overall positivity in the world.

      I know it may sound a little odd, but the world needs balance (just as all things in life do).

      The fact that, even in your beautiful words, you show such genuine and deep care is, in itself, a small victory!

      If I could find a way to end all oppression, I wouldn’t think twice – it’s the presence of the darkness in the World that pushes us to look for the light, and to spread it.

      Your writing serves as a stone which is cast into a wide ocean of thoughts and people. The ripples, the knowledge, then spread forward.
      If it can effect even one person and get them to think about it, it has definitely been worth it 🙂

  2. Proud of you and what you are doing Naziyah. Ripples seem to be getting wider…of course the other quote that springs to mind is “All it takes for evil to triumph is for enough good people to do nothing” … it seems to me that the world is beginning to wake up to Gaza and what is happening there. Keep casting those stones of good across the waters Naziyah. 🙂

    • Thank you for your beautiful words, Graham. You always know how to make me feel better 🙂

      Be it Gaza or any place in the world that has oppressed people, it’s so important for us all as human beings to try our best to combat those issues as best as we can. Even something as small as raising awareness and praying for them makes a difference (in my opinion).

      If we all get together and cast enough stones, we can find ourselves moving mountains 🙂

    • Oh my goodness….
      It’s so terribly heart breaking… words cannot describe how I feel every time I see these images.
      Dear Lord, Ya Allah, please protect these innocent and beautiful children and people… For only You can ultimately help us….

      Calling that brutality, monstrosity, barbaric are all under-exaggerations.
      My heart truly and deeply goes out to every single one of them.

      My beautiful children, you can finally find rest and ease as you return to Him, your creator….

      Probably not what I needed to see as today my sister has just had a baby girl (waiting at the house for them to come from the hospital!)
      However, it’s so very important to count our blessings.
      Children here are born into a world where they have human rights, safety, peace and so much more… essential rights that everyone should have, but not something that everyone does have.

  3. Brilliantly written post that is a true reminder that reality is far harsher than the commercial world most are so happily comfortable with and choose to live in —- glass houses that perhaps, need a peaceful form of shattering.

  4. True, we should be watching this event rather than watching celeb news and etc, and not just watch but do something about it. I applaud you Naz, for being active in sharing the news and your thoughts. I admit that it influenced how I see Gaza’s plight.

    • Thank you for your lovely words, C.

      The thing is, I think initially when many people used to view it, they’d think of it as a “Muslim” or “Arab” issue, without realising the wider effects it has.
      There are many Palestinian Christians and Jews who are also being tormented and oppressed.
      Palestinian Christians, Muslims and Jews came together in solidarity to offer one another help.
      They took refuge in Mosques, which were then horrifically bombed.
      They took refuge in Churches, which were horribly destroyed.
      They look for any refuge in UN refugee schools, and those are now targeted too.

      This by no means makes anyone supporting the plight of the Palestinian people anti-semitic.
      Huge protests took place all over the world by the Orthodox Jewish population themselves, in condemnation of the illegal occupation.
      There were huge protests in Tel Aviv in Israel, by Israeli people who oppose the awful treatment of the Palestinians.
      Many of the sources for the articles I have been posting to my FB wall are from sources like “Jews for Justice for Palestine”, “Jewish Voice for Peace”, Haaretz etc

      The Archbishop Theodosios (Attala Hanna) from Jeruselum has been travelling the world giving talks about his experiences there and his opposition to the illegal occupation. He came to Glasgow in Scotland too, and I was so looking forward to going along but unfortunately had to miss the talk due to travels.

      A very good and strong Catholic friend and I have been discussing this issue, and we were both in tears when we went through the images, videos and articles that most of the main stream media has refused to show. The horrifying images brought us both to tears.
      We didn’t need to be of the same religion to realise it was horrible, we just had to be human.

      I don’t have anything against the people of Israel or Jewish people at all, if anything, I call them my siblings in humanity. It’s the zionist extremists that are causing the carnage that I feel upset by.

      Young children are deliberately targeted and tortured to death, pregnant women shot (2 for 1, as some of them called it), rapes, destruction of homes and places of worship, hospitals completely annhilated, water and sewage systems stopped, the whole area barricaded off so that no one can go in or out without the permission of the Israeli government – ethnic cleansing.

      Saw an article yesterday from a Christian site about a group of Palestinian Christians that had been targeted too, as a group of Muslim and Christian Palestinians tried to help one another – it was heart wrenching, to say the least.
      Their limbs scattered everywhere.

      This is by no means a religious or cultural war – it is a massacre of a nation.

      All I can do is pray for those poor people who are suffering so terribly… it may be small, but I believe that a prayer can be a powerful tool.

      • Let’s pray that it stops soon. It is difficult for peace to settle in that land, much more difficult if other nations do nothing. We must pressure our governments to do something.

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