It’s an incredibly eerie feeling to be celebrating a holiday that literally commemorates the genocide of an indigenous peoples. Coming from a refugee family whose current countrymen are systematically threatened in the same way, and especially being of Pashtun descent, a diaspora peoples whose self-determination and agency has literally been strangled by imperial and colonial powers, I can’t help but feel disgusted partaking in this day. simultaneously, I am stung with the remembrance of my privilege; that I should be so lucky to even despair about having an incredible feast on my table; that who am I to consciously object to this event when there are individuals literally starving to death. So I better fucking eat that food and sit down and shut-up and forget why I have this incredibly hypocritical gut wrenching feeling, knowing I am on Tongva land, that the San Fernando Valley has for millennia – NOT been my home, and that my spirit is still somewhere on the Durand Line while my body is lost & confused as a hyphenated child. This is the rage of being an American, of knowing your life is owed to the natives and blacks murdered to give us space. How can I eat this food in joy, while my ancestral brethren are being slaughtered across the sea, and while the real Americans are being murdered at Standing Rock? All while a misogynistic, racist despot in now the leader of this “free world” and his words are the validation for thousands of lost white youth to violate the bodies of black and brown people just like me? I can’t help but feel paralyzed over the millions of lives I will never live, over the trail of tears, I’ll never see. What a debilitating pain.
From Pakhtunkhwa, to Palestine, to Standing Rock, we are one. Our struggles are interconnected. Our enemy is the same oppressor. I beg you, wake up. Wake up and contribute to the cause. For safe water, for self-determination, for the right to live and breathe with dignity.