the ache takes its time

Amaal Said

and where are you now, love?

nobody knows how to touch me. or where to look for me. my disappearance is so long, so heavy. disappearing as survival, as a test to see who i can come back to, to see who will wait.

there was a spider that i refused to step on. i woke up and it was hovering over my head in the middle of the night. it was coming for my eyes.

mother says, ‘you’re tired because you don’t eat.’ i’m trying mother, to keep the death away from me, to keep it from the house. there are children upstairs. they’re trying to sleep.

what happened?

imbalance in the brain. chemical mix-up. overheating. crossed wires. flame. water in the cables. bad signal.

the friendships, they died. i ruined it all with my own hands.

shake me until all badness leaves. until you’re left with something you…

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When ‘counter-extremism’ policies target children, the fallout hurts us all

My follow-up piece for Media Diversified on Prevent and counter-extremism in the UK:

Media Diversified

by Ananya Rao-Middleton 

The Prevent scheme polices, monitors and disciplines British Muslims through an all-pervading divide-and-rule neoliberal framework


There was understandable outrage last month when Muslim primary school pupils in an East London school were asked to complete counter-terrorism questionnaires. Buxton School, at the centre of the scandal, released several (albeit dubiously conflicting) statements following the media outrage, outlining their stance on the issue. Despite Buxton’s claim that the school has since destroyed all filled-in questionnaires, according to Waltham Forest Council, over 250 children in the borough have completed the questionnaire so far. Whether the information from completed questionnaires in other schools will be passed on to the groups behind the ‘BRIT’ project is still unclear.

Following the news of these questionnaires, a new development in counter-terrorism technology has emerged that is already being piloted in 16 localities in the UK. One of several

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Schools in the UK Are Now Asking Muslim Children to Fill Out “Counter-Extremism” Tests

My article for Media Diversified on counter-extremism policies implemented in UK schools.

Media Diversified

by Ananya Rao-Middleton

Over the past couple of days, this photograph of a questionnaire/survey given to primary school children in East London has been widely circulated on social media.

“Counter Extremism” survey administered to primary school pupils in London “Counter Extremism” survey administered to primary school pupils in London

Statement from the executive head teacher of Buxton school, which is one in a number of schools involved in the pilot programme funded by the European Commission (source: Twitter)

It has been described as a ‘counter-extremism’ survey, consisting of undeniably loaded questions aimed at discerning the religious, ethical and even patriotic beliefs of the children taking part. Worse still, it is evident that this survey is undoubtedly intended for Muslim children primarily, who will continue to undergo interrogation of this kind as part of the new legal obligations upheld by educational institutions, consisting of monitoring potential ‘extremists’, as dictated by the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill that recently passed in parliament. This survey, and its wider implications of…

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We Need a God Who Bleeds Now

we need a god who bleeds now

a god whose wounds are not

some small male vengeance

some pitiful concession to humility

a desert swept with dryin marrow in honor of the lord


we need a god who bleeds

spreads her lunar vulva & showers us in shades of scarlet

thick & warm like the breath of her

our mothers tearing   to let us   in

this place breaks open

like our mothers bleeding

the planet is heaving   mourning our ignorance

the moon tugs the seas

to hold her/ to hold her

embrace swelling hills/ i am

not wounded i am bleeding to life


we need a god who bleeds now

whose wounds are not the end of anything

– Ntozake Shange