People scatter and flee in fear
as sirens ring and buildings fall.
The whistling missiles, deafening screech
as limbs are scattered from wall to wall.
Laughter of children, now forgotten,
turned to screams from a panicked face,
for these are the sounds that surround our existence,
the unheard song of this hell-like place.
The demons, they near, with their acidic claws,
so we must flee to escape their grasp.
We’ll hide in here – so in we pile,
but then I sense it within my gasp.
I slam the door to this minuscule room
my crying baby within my embrace,
I look to my wife who is huddled in front,
my heart, it cracked, from the look on her face.
The phosphoric scent slips through the cracks,
I hold back the tears and take her hand.
Time is short as reality strikes,
an empty hourglass and its grains of sand.
My baby, now quiet, with shallow breathing,
stirs in discomfort and winces in pain.
Oh, how I would give my life, my child,
to never see you hurting again.
My eyes, now misty, look to my wife,
and I smile softly as our foreheads touch,
we had so much to do and so much to live,
“I want you to know that I love you so much.
Don’t cry, my beloved, for this is our fate,
in heaven I’ll meet you and get on one knee.
Your beauty, still blinding, will again take my heart,
and so I will pray that you’ll again marry me.
We’ve been abandoned, the World has grown silent,
our land, destroyed, and now left to burn,
but worry not, my beloved, because from God we came,
and now it is back to Him we return.
I love you.”
“I love … you… t…”
(By Naziyah Mahmood – a heartbroken last-encounter of a mother, father and their newborn child who were gassed to death a few days ago in Syria.)

Warning: Graphic Image.
A mother, father and their newborn. No where to run, no where to hide, they lay there on the cold floor while they took their last breath.
This is the story of the struggle for freedom.”

– Photograph from Wipe The Tears
Please click the first link to see the image.
(I’m very sorry if this has upset or disturbed anyone as this was not my intent, but I’m posting this because it’s something that I believe the world does need more awareness about.
Unfortunately, I don’t think WordPress has the option for me to put a graphic warning on the image beforehand, however, I know that many might find this too much to bear. so I’ve added a link to it instead.
I understand that this is a very, very heavy topic, but the world needs to know.
I broke down in tears when I saw this image too, and I couldn’t believe that mankind is letting this senseless slaughter go on.
Most of all, my apology goes to my brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to stop your suffering or do more… our hearts, tears and spirits cry for you.
I’m sorry…)



“Somewhere between the wavelengths of blissful joy and soul shattering pain, lies the infinite stillness of enlightened peace.

That is where you’ll find me.”
(Naziyah Mahmood)

Sometimes, we all need those precious moments of peace and quiet to breathe and heal.

© Naziyah Mahmood, 2015.

Strength in times of weakness

Fiona 5

We all know of pain. We all know of hurt. We’ve all been through a moment, no matter how infinitesimal it may have been in reality, which felt like it lasted for a short eternity.
We all experience sorrow – each one unique and different, no two people ever experiencing the exact same anguish, and yet, we all experience it.

It can be the sorrow of loss, or even the sorrow of heartache, alienation, desperation, helplessness and so much more – each hit takes its toll.

“You’ll be ok”, “Just give it time”, “things will get better”. These are all such wonderful sentiments, however, without empathy, the sympathy cannot drive through to hit the core of the targeted pain.

You have the right to be upset. You have the right to cry.
As ‘weak’ as it may seem to some, doing so does not make one weak. It just means that you’ve had to be too strong for too long.
If you keep it all bottled in, all the anguish accumulates to create a destructive force that can inevitably explode in the most harmful of ways.

Cry… you’re allowed.

After you’ve cried – till you can barely breath and your lungs sting – rise.
No matter how slowly you do so, my friends, rise.
Sometimes the bitter yet sharp taste of pain is what gives our will the push it needs to keep going when we feel like there’s no reason to do so.

I’ve had the honour of receiving such heartfelt messages from many of the beautiful visitors and guests to my blog and Facebook pages, and I’ve been touched by the level of trust that’s been placed in my hands in regard to their stories.

To each and every one, I truly wish I could click my fingers and make the pain go away, but… in a way… that would be my own selfish wish.
Your path requires for you to go through what you are so that you may rise stronger than before.

No, not everyone rises from pain quickly, or sometimes… even at all. However, each moment and experience that has left its mark in your path has been there to mould you in some way or another.

A warrior is not one who never feels afraid or never feels pain. A warrior is someone who, when struck by calamity, will absorb the shock, slowly turn that painful energy into something self-progressive, and then rebound in an evolved state of mind and will.

The happy moments are the ones that allow us to smile and enjoy life, but it’s the painful ones that usually make us stronger. They act as a reminder to what our main priorities are in life, especially when we stray from them.

We live in a society and world where there will always be something picked upon, no matter how hard everyone tries.
For example, I completely understand what it feels like to live in a place that is ‘home’ to me, and yet I still find myself having to defend my very identity because there will always be some who refuse to accept it.
My right to exist is actually a problem in the eyes of some, however, it’s my right… and I will fight for who I am and what I am (as long as it does no harm to others, of course!)

With the pain though, comes a renewed sense of self and will – my constant reminder of who I am wouldn’t be as prominent had it not been for those pains.
It’s a bittersweet reality of the rollercoaster that we call ‘emotions’.

For those going through pain, sorrow, injustice, hurt, loss, desperation, separation, oppression, helplessness, anguish, heartache and loss…It’s ok to cry. It’s ok to say you’ve had enough.

Really… it’s ok.

As much as I want to sit here and say “I know things will be fine! You’ll be ok! You’re strong! Hang in there…” as I optimistically always hope for a better tomorrow for all – instead, I sit with you.
In the deafening silence of cruel reality and anguish… I sit by your side.

It’s ok to cry… but I know we’ll rise again too.

We are queens. We are kings. We are warriors. However, we are also human.
The game of life isn’t up yet, so we can’t give in now.

… It’s ok to cry.



(Photography by the wonderful Fiona Brims.
More from this shoot can be found here: Bridge Photo Shoot – Facebook )

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
A drawing made by a child for an art exhibition that was censored)

Breaking Free

(Written as part of The Daily Post: Daily Prompt – Right to Brag: ell us about something you (or a person close to you) have done recently (or not so recently) that has made you really, unabashedly proud.)

I have so many reason to be proud of those around me, my family and friends, for their fantastic achievements, and often find myself feeling ‘warm and fuzzy’ from the realisation that I am blessed with such fantastic people around me.

The accomplishments aren’t all related to their careers, education or worldly successes, but more often to their progression as human beings.
I may be one of the youngest in my family and group of friends, but I always felt so very proud of them – age is irrelevant.

Just within recent days, a good friend got married, a cousin found a fantastic new job, friends graduated from their degrees, my sister is almost reaching her due-date (I’ll be one embarrassingly proud aunty!) etc
All of these have left me as a big ball of happiness, and I can’t express enough how proud I am of all of these people whom I love and care for (brings a tear to my eye!)

However, when it comes to my own accomplishments and achievements, I prefer not to feel ‘pride’ in its arrogant sense – the true satisfaction of the achievement usually comes from the smiles I see of those whom I care for as they congratulate me.
This does not mean I lack self confidence or that I do not love myself, which I know I often have issues with, but it’s more about where the source of satisfaction lies for me.
That defines what makes me feel proud.

Out with academic, career orientated and skill development achievements, I guess one of the only times I’ve recently felt ‘proud’ of myself was over something which I never thought would mean so much to me.
Something that was so simple in comparison to everything else I’ve done in my life (and, regardless of my age, I can say that I have done a lot), and yet it was something that was probably the hardest of all.

I broke free of certain chains that had bound me in a constant hell for a long while.

As with many (and not trying to sound emo!) my life, from day one, has been built on more negative and painful events, but my family and I were the type to never give in and to keep fighting. How could we give up when we know how much God loves us that He blessed us with so much too, and how could we give in when we knew we have to continue to fight the good fight!?
Hope, smiles and positivity are what I strive for!

Yet, the most painful chains of all were related to something much smaller than our constant battles – my own stupidity.

I let myself stay in a place where I had been very badly mistreated for a long while, hoping that if I continued to forgive, show mercy and patience, that things would turn out ok.
I teach self defense, come across as strong and unbreakable to many (from what I’ve been told!), but one thing that no one can control or fight is the workings of their own heart.
Well, long story short (like that ever happen, Naz!), after recent more painful developments, I finally managed to break free when I saw the absence of humanity, morality and faith in that certain place. I had stayed in hope that another human may see light, but after that, there was no space left for me to stand in a place where there was no foundation.

As minor as a feat as this may seem, for the first time in my life, I gave myself a pat on the back and felt proud that I was dealing with it much better than I’d assumed.
Maybe it was because I’d had to go through the disappointment and pain so many times that I just became used to it, or maybe because I had readied myself for the blow after experiencing it before… but I’ve managed to slowly stand again and not break as badly as the countless times before with this one ‘place’.

Yes, the pain still exists everyday in the form of heart crunching memories, but I have hope for a better future and in this World.

I was looking through some old documents and stumbled upon a letter I wrote to myself two or so years ago, and the words reduced me to tears. So not only would I like to thank the people who supported me through the hard times, for being there, but also my past self for the words she left for me.

To the future Naziyah.
Don’t let anything hold you back any longer. You’ve been through more in your few years of life than most people ever will in a lifetime, so you DESERVE to have what you want. Work hard for it, fight for it and don’t ever forget to smile, no matter where you go. You know better than anyone that there have been times when your smile was almost stolen from you… don’t ever let that happen. Your smile is one of your strongest weapons, so polish it and keep it glowing.
No matter who may come in and out of your life, learn to live and let live. If you’re hurt, you know where to turn (God). If you’re feeling alone, you know Who is always with you (God). So don’t be afraid, and let yourself spread those wings as far as they can reach. Soar high, Naziyah, and don’t look back. Your past, and I, shape who you are today, but do not allow us to control who you will become. Take that power into your own hands.

You can do it. When no one else will, just remember that *I* believe in you.”


… I’m proud of you, Naz! Keep up the good work =)