MERANAO SPOKEN WORD: You Are Not Helping

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YOU ARE NOT HELPING
Nor-anisha Schaharazhed C. Guro

You are not helping
When you say with a superior tone
That our homes were set ablaze because
God hates women
Yes, women.
Women who don’t wear their kombong,
Women who wear make-up,
Women who wear tight jeans
Women who smoke in public.
And especially men who want to become women.

These are strong accusations, my brothers and sisters.
Can you say with the same confidence then
That our brethren in Syria and Palestine
Are losing life and limb every day
Because their women did not cover themselves enough?

You are not helping at all,
When you say that it is better to do away with things that make us Meranaos
That our colourful Okir and Langkit are not
Islamic enough
That we must emulate the Arabs
down to their white robes,
But Meranaos are not Arabs, nor should we try to be one
Because we can be a Meranao and
Muslim at the same time.

You are not helping at all,
When you say that the loss of a city is caused
by the Wrath of God
For the God I know–
Bismillahi Rahman nir Rahiim,
In the name of God, the Most Beneficent,
the Most Merciful–
Whose Mercy encompasses all things.
Man, women, animals, plants, the planets and
the firmament!

You are not helping at all,
When you say we have brought this fate upon ourselves
That this tragedy we are going through
Those who have to live in tents two years after definitely do not believe they deserved this suffering.

Call this a test, call this even a Mercy from Allah
To save us from Hell-fire in the Hereafter
But never ever tell me we have brought this upon us
If you can’t say anything uplifting
To help your fellow human being–just please,
Then don’t say anything at all.

(Marawi resident Nor-anisha Schaharazhed C. Guro, 22, is an AB English Student at the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at the Mindanao State University main campus in Marawi City. She presented this piece at the ‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ held at the American Corner of the University Library on 23 May 2019, to commemorate the second anniversary of Day 1 of the Marawi Siege. The Festival’s theme was “Reflect, Recreate, Reclaim.” President Rodrigo Duterte declared the country’s lone Islamic City “liberated from the terrorist influence” on 17 October 2017.
‘Meranao Spoken Word Festival’ is the first of a series of Spoken Word events initiated by the Iranon Gumilang as a Meranaw Cultural Heritage project in partnership with American Corner Marawi and English Majors’ Society)

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