Azhar Vadi 23 February 2012
(Pic: Dr. Fowzia handing over an honoury award to Fatima Yousef – Hamza Seedat)
The youth are the future; a cliché it may be, but the depth and truth of the saying cannot go ignored.
Young people have played the leading role in many of the world’s struggles against oppression.
The example of South African youth standing up against injustice is encapsulated in the 1976 protests against the apartheid education system. The faithful day in June of that year saw police open fire on the school learners protesting in the township of Soweto.
The 16 June 1976 is widely accepted as one of the turning points in South Africa’s oppressive history. The day the youth stood up.
Young South Africans have also stood up and made their voices heard in support of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani academic jailed in the US for 86 years on charges of attempting to kill and injure US soldiers in Afghanistan.
This time however they haven’t taken to the streets, with sticks and stones as they did in 1976, but put their pens to paper and crafted poems in support of the Free Aafia Campaign.
The campaign coordinator, Inayet Wadee from Channel Islam International said, “When the campaign started in South Africa, one of the reasons was to make people, especially the young, aware of what is happening to innocent people around the world.”
A poetry competition in honour of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was therefore held in the days prior to the arrival of Dr. Fowzia Siddiqui in South Africa. She is in the country to run an awareness and education campaign highlighting the plight of Aafia.
Learners from dozens of schools across South Africa took up the challenge and put together words and poems in honour of Aafia.
One of the award winning poems was written by Fatima Yousef, a Grade 11 leaner at the Lenasia Muslim School, residing in South Africa but originally from Egypt. Her poem in the Arabic language was rendered by herself before Dr. Fowzia at an awareness lecture in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.
Her powerful voice resonated in the Arabic language as she reduced many in the crowd to tears. Fatima then translated the poem into English for the benefit of the non-Arab speaking participants.
The poem was rendered as follows:
Humiliation has a bitter taste
For the person who loves their religion.
And it almost destroys the noble
What taste of the world will we gain
When our sister
Looses her dignity
What is the value of this world
When the dignity and honour of our sister
Has been taken and attacked
For a very cheap price
Shower your torture
And Oh Fire
Burn the hearts of these transgresses
And you, Oh Muslims
All over the world, Rise
Rise to the faith of your Lord
Rise with action
Because speaking is insufficient, Rise
Rise in saving our sister
And her dignity
Don’t leave her to these oppressors
How can you live an enjoyable life
In peace with false excuses
While your sister in Islam
Is crying and her tears are flowing like rivers
Her screams are like thunder
Can you not hear that warning sound
But her weeping
Is an earthquake
That will destroy the throne of tyrants
She is moaning
But her moaning
Is like a volcano of anger
Its lava will burn the faces of these oppressors
Oh my sister in humanity
Oh my sister in Islam
The religion of my God
For you is Allah
The Master, the Just
And from LMS, my school
And from my heart
And from every Muslim heart
Is a Dua for you.
The poem stirred the hearts of the attendees and Dr. Fowzia stepped forward to hand a gift to Fatima to honour her for the words narrated.