Category Archives: Military Veteran

Being Black In Britain: The Casualties Of The Windrush-Policy & Brexit

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My Travels via the United Kingdom, the 1st-Time I’ve traveled externally of the United States since 2006, C.E. & my 1st-Traveling within Europe, has given me a Significant Contrasting-Lens to view how Things like: Islāmophobia, Xenophobia, etc. really play-out throughout the UK. Being Visibly-Muslim & African-Descent in the UK is still, I’m sure, is viewed as an Exotically-Foreign Commodity…being African-Descent not so much. However, Opposition to both al-Islām & Blackness may very well be of Equal-Par. Even as I explored the UK for myself, I has met with a Tense-Sense of: Xenophobia, Otherism…I saw it within People’s Faces, I felt it from their Vibes…this was just about anywhere/everywhere that I went-It was extremely: Subtle, Covert, Indirect, Clandestine, etc. But, I knew it when it came my Way, as it approached me. The British, from what I’ve observed possess very Sly-Ways of throwing Shade in the most Sophisticated-Ways, which kind of explains why there’s so much Sarcasm wirhin British-Humor/Comedy.

The UK particularly, not only fully expresses Disdain towards the Other, but even amongst their own Ethno-Continental/European Counterparts, there’s this seemingly British-Style Posture of Superiority, Exclusivity, Anti-Inclusion/Acceptance, etc. One of the Things which proved this to me is the Fact that, to my Surprise there were lots of Interethnic/Interracial Couples: Afro-Euro Couples most commonly, within London particularly/especially. However, I constantly observed Euro-Brits stare, glance, scowl, at these Non-Euro Brit Couples and/or Non-Euro Couples period, as if they were plagued with Jungle-Fever. I mean, I literally saw this every Day I was in the UK. One of the most prominent Displays of Exclusivity I observed was when I went to Stonehenge. Stonehenge was/is actually much more significant than I ever really took it for, in Terms of its Purpose: I learned that the Druids who built Stonehenge used that Stone-Complex to commemorate the Celebration of People transitioning from Life to Death: kind of like a Afterlife-Gateway/Portal if you will. So, as one of the Tour-Guides was telling me Extensive-Details regarding Stonehenge, I had asked whether there were older Stone-Complexes than Stonhenge…her resoonse, “Yes, there’s Stone-Structures all over the World.”; then, however, instead of actually mentioning Stone-Structures across the Planet, they only mentioned the Stone-Structures within the UK. By itself, the Statenent is apparently quite innocent. But, as per Context, it’s extremely telling as to how they view themselves as the Center of the Universe & this is also just as evident pertaining to how they’ve historically conquered & governed Others.

Even as per the Brexit-Fiasco unfolded, pertaining to the UK being politically turmoiled as to whether remain with or depart from the European Union, the Discourse concerning Anti-Blackness is very much apparent, in spite of the Macrocosmic-Narrative surrounding Immigration into the UK, which was the Genesis of the Friction between the UK & EU initially. Anti-Blackness, in lieu of Brexit, comes into play directly, resulting from Mass-Deportation of African-Peoples whom were allowed to immigrate to the UK via Post WWII, when most of the West-Indies, the Caribbean, as welk as Places within Africa, etc. were British-Colonies & even today are still (politically/economically) shackled to the UK via the British-Commonwealth. Many/most of these African-Peoples being forcibly deported are People who’ve made their Families, Careers, Lives within the UK: so much so that they basically have no Life external of the UK. As a Result, these Deportees are literally forced to start-over in Nations which they’ve probably haven’t been to in Decades.

Now, let’s explore how/why the UK possesses this Entitled-Posture to treat those whom were once welcomed to contribute to British-Society, yet are now being viewed as “the Other”. Well…let’s take a Look at the Landscape&Scope of Dominance from the Lens of the Victor/Colonizer: the UK, much like it’s other European-Colonial Counterparts, obviously, had and/or has 0-Problem with conquering, exploiting Non-European Peoples around the World, yet ironically are so bothered if/when the Descendants of these Conquered-Peoples make their Way to their Mainlands/Motherlands…ahhhhh, now all of a sudden these People are “2-Close 4 Comfort”?!!!

Whenever you’re the Dominator of any Human-Demographic, particularly/especially if/when you’ve oppressed them, then of course, it makes Sense as to how/why you’d deliberately, purposely/purposefully, methodically, set Social-Political Mechanisms in place to either keep them “in their Place” or to use/drain them of their Potential actualized within your Society & then expel them once donewith them. This is seemingly, most defintely, the Case as per the Climate&Tension surrounding Brexit which is merely yet another Excuse for the UK to put the Lean upon anyone/everyone deemed an “Outsider”, which is simply a Political-Euphemism for Non-Christian/Non-European.

African-Peoples, regadless to where they hail from under the Shadow of the British-Empire (and/or what’s left of it), are simply deemed threatening: not in Terms of Military-Opposition, but more/most importantly, in Terms of them being Historically-Perpetual Reminders of the Fact that the UK as a Global-Power, as well as an Economic-Force, had profitted mightily from Colonization, the Trans-Atlantic Slave-Trade, etc. The Descendants of those whom were oppressed are in many Respects being just as victimized via the Same-Oppressors. So, of course, the greatest Global-Immigration Crisis in Human-History to date-Since the Children of Europe’s Former Colonial-Regions are suffering as per the Proliferation of: Economic-Destitution, Political-Chaos, Religio-Cultural Impossition on Part of European-Powers are now wanting to seek Assylum within Europe’s Borders, then obviously Europe must now “save itself” from being overrun by the Peoples whom have historically/generationally had their Backs broken via the Service of their Colonial-Masters.

And, also, since many of these African-Peoples whom reside within the UK as (Downtrodden, Uneducated, Unskilled) Persons yearing to escape the Poverty & Dead-Ends of their Homelands which were exploited by the UK & whose Hardtimes are mainly the Direct-Result of Colonial-Oppresdion: when they’re too Uneducated to acquire Careers which offer Higher-Standards of Living, when thay’re not Affluent enough to afford Solid-Education leading to Promising Economic-Opportunities, when they can’t afford Private-Properties & must settle for dwelling within the British-Slums which’re Breading-Grounds of/for Criminality, then of course you’re goung to have significant Percentages of these Demographics whom’re: Roadmen/Trapstars, Journeymen/Hustlers, Knifemen/Shooters, Gangsters, etc. & of course Places where these Demographics are mostly concentrated like: London, Glascow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, York, etc. are going to be Criminalized Hornets-Nests. And, of course, as per the Pseudo-Narrative that the Vast-Majority of British-Crimes are committed by African-Peoples will be readily accepted via the Anglo-Saxon, Welsh, Scottish, Celtic Masses of the UK, allowing themselves to deflect from the Reality that Criminality is never exclusively a Black-Man’s Vice, but rather a Human-Vice.

Instead of actually addressing the Socio-Economic Disenfranchisenent of the UK and/or its Socio-Political Marginalization, Parliament via the Xenophobic Right-Wing Factions of Governence&Government would much rather just point Fingers & shift Blame in a Dishonest-Way. We can/should all agree that there’s 0-Justification to pontificate/proluferate Criminality. At the exact Same-Time though, manipulatiing alarming Crime-Rates also isn’t any Justification to criminalize Human-Demographics & deliberately work towards forcibly expeling/exiling them from the Hone&Life which they’ve made for themselves…what’s being established via this Brexit-Phenomenon is simply an Excuse for the UK, as well as any/all other European-Nations like it to suck People dry of their Personal/Human-Resources for the Good of their Nations, only to repay them with Deportation/Exile, to the exact Same-Places which they once were where these European-Nations have decimated & exploited damn near to Death.

Gareth Bryant

1440, A.H./2019, C.E.

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Mike Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

MC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

MC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

MC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

MC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

MC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

MC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

MC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

MC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

MC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

MC: As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

MC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

MC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

MC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

GB: Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017