NEVER LAND

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Travelling to different lands,
we still can’t find each other.
Falling onto one another,
we still can’t find whats under.
We focus on the material,
but life is in the immaterial.
We arrive to our destination
but never land.
How could that be?
We cannot escape
one place
for another
just because we land.
We carry the land with us
and we must still garden it from afar.
We re-plant
and re-build
and keep growing
even from a distance.
It is built in our nature
born in or outside of it.
The safe sound of landing
was deceiving,
it is just the beginning
of becoming closer to where we started.
Cause here I am
– continents and decades away –
reading a poem
about my Afghan land.
We have never landed.
We have never escaped.
It travels with us
like a spiritual companion.
My heart like a dead leaf
may have fallen in separation
but still it is food for the tree.
Its separation can still
play a part
for its survival.
My land like a tree during winter
is locked in a forever winter,
in a forever dormancy.
We can feel it in our
moments of emptiness,
and longing.
The leaf like my heart
will always nourish
and feed its homeland,
even through its departure.
We cannot part from the land.
It is part of who we are eternally.
It is us and what makes us us.
We are made to forever heal it
and bring it back out of its
coldest, longest winter;
out of its deadliest dormancy
and into its new season.
I am the land
and I will be reborn with it
in its long awaited Spring.
We have brought the land with us.
We have never left, for the most of us.
Except when we attempt to numb it out of us.
But do we ever arrive somewhere
when our spirits are always travelling
in between places
in between time
and their moments
that we carry or bury?
The land has been an illusion
for me of escape
just like time has been.
I’ve never left
and Ive never been without it.
I am my native land
and my native land is me.
I may not be on the land
but the land lives
within me
in my purpose, it breathes.
From my spirit,
I never land.
No matter how hard
I or we try to escape.
It represents the essence of true love…
it can be buried
but it can never die,
it can never be lost,
it will always be within us.
Even when we hate
what its become.
Even when its season
is ugly and terrifying.
Even when we must
take a safe distance,
We continue to love it blindly
Unconditionally
Hopelessly
for it to return
awake
and bloom again….
Did we ever land?

– Laila Re

My philosophy on writing and why I write.

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As an Afghan muslim woman displaced when I was a toddler from my native land due to patriarchal and hegemonic wars, writing is more than just an art for consumption.

It is a journey into yourself to peacefully and creatively heal, defend and battle. It is an art that seeks justice from a world that had you eternally lost and cut off from your sacred land and ancestors. It is to thrive spiritually when your homeland has been a war-zone your entire life and its news of tragedies follows you everywhere. It is to write in a world that would rather think for you and assimilate you into blind, ignorant submission of a deeply racist, sexist, perpetually warring and capitalist world. Writing is about taking back your power by telling your own stories. When it comes to American history of social control, enslaved racialized people were not allowed to read or write; they would secretly teach each other literacy.

Writing is tapping into your own memories – the good, the bad and the ugly. As well as tapping into the depths of your soul for that eternal world that society ignored or devalued. It is about finding the essence of who you are before society institutionalized you through schooling for the next 12 years of your life. It is about recovering all the hurt, untold stories or questions within you that you did not have the time or ability to resolve. It is about re-claiming your life, history and identity.

It is the world of imagination and creating something out of nothing. It is thinking not only out of the box but destroying that box to share with the world your own unique message. It is the unwritten words that God inscribed within you through your dreams and visions. It is something that no one can take from you…because its written in the stars. The more you write, the closer you get to God, to yourself, and to the eternal world of your ancestors.

Writing like any art, with a social-justice focus, is a magic of its own – the deeper you get into it, the more battles you’ll find and win. Writing is a rebellion against a society that wants you to conform and consume in a econonomic system that is not sustainable for our planet. Writing is a weapon against oppression you live externally and internally – a way to combat the junk beliefs you act on and internalized. Besides a political fight, it is a free and safe therapy, creative outlet or medicine for ones everyday life issues.

Writing is real work that takes time, effort, skill and thought. Writers should be valued like any other respected profession. It is more than sharing information or entertainment but a defence and a shield — it is what makes the world go round through powerful and timeless songs like”One Love by Bob Marley” and “Changes by 2pac”; as well as poems like “Still I Rise from Maya Angelou” and “The Revolution Will Not be Televised by Gil Scott-Heron.”  This is why art is dangerous and why popular culture is so tightly controlled – it can empower the masses and break down walls. It is an eternal weapon passed on to you that makes your purpose immortal. As 21-year old Fred Hampton said, before being murdered by the FBI and Chicago Police, “you can kill the revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution.”

Writing is creating beauty in your life and making a positive difference in a world that needs healing and for the future generations to know the truth of the past. Writer Toni Morrison said “I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.” So as the saying goes: create what you want to see in the world. And that is what I intend to do.

This is my philosophy on writing and why I write.

Therefore, an important question to ask yourself before you start your journey of writing is: what is your philosophy as a writer and why do you write?

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