Old & Worn Down Revolution(ary) Diaries

Day 1: « I don’t believe the revolution just started because I don’t believe revolutions start, I think they come out of the womb with us. They are wrapped around our necks and they live inside of us. They witness our first breath and welcome us into a world that will steal that same breath from us. Revolutions sit with us in the subway, they drink water with us at the gym, they read with us in class. Revolutions sleep with us and burst when we are no longer present.” 03/06/2020

Day 2: « It is tiring. The revolution is tiring but I know that change cannot occur if we are not working everyday to make it happen. » 

« It is true, the revolution is never comfortable, it is rough and exhausting, it drains those who are born with it and exercise it every single day. And how odd is it that we lose ourselves in something so uncomfortable. » 04/06/2020


« I had a very good conversation with my mom today. We talked about how we were made to hate ourselves and the internalized racism we have lived with our entire life and that we need to deconstruct. I told her about the things I never liked about myself; my name and the way I used to spell it differently so it sounds less « arab ». I told her about my skin tone and how she used to warn me about getting tanned or force me to straighten my hair. How whiteness is what we always aspire to be. I told her about our internalized colonization and she listened. What I forgot to tell her is how I love my brownness now. I love the melanated coat I was born with, I love my curls and my hairy arms and bushy eyebrows and even my mustache. I love my people and I love the way the “r” rolls with my name because every time it does, I feel at home. I love us even after years of being told we should hate us. I love our resilience, I love how we resist by existing and how much we bother others. I love how my faith takes the space for me to be unapologetically myself. These thoughts are coming to me after watching season 2 of Ramy and realizing that none of us is perfect. We can be horrible people even when we try really hard, we don’t understand many things and we give in to our desires, we miss who we were before white people told us who we’re supposed to be and we get confused as to what we should believe in but through it all, we grow, we learn and try to do better for ourselves as well as for others. We let go of things and we hold onto others and oftentimes we’re VERY wrong but we keep trying. We are strong like that. My people are strong like that. I don’t always know who my people are but I know they have power, kindness and ingenuity. They got me and I got them. We have to ‘got’ each other because we need us. Inshallah we will win. The revolution got us all. » 05/06/2020 (but really it’s 06/06/2020) 


Day 4: « The revolution can wear you down. With today’s technologies, the revolution is palpable on your phone screen. You can see it, hear it, watch it take down racist politicians’ and slave owners’ monuments and drown them into the river where their slave ships used to arrive. The revolution tastes good. It is historic and violent and it is NECESSARY! But it is easy to lose yourself in it, to step in and forget you are part of it. Maybe you feel that because you are born with it, it is born in you, so when you lose yourself to it, you become it. It can be scary to not think of yourself as an individual but a movement. You become so invested in the revolution that anything outside of it feels wrong, almost like a betrayal. » 

« I do not know how legitimate I am to include myself in the revolution. I am scared I am swooped by the romanticized version I have of it. I am scared I am glorifying it too much and losing the sense it was meant to have. But I am working so hard to keep it alive and well and going. I want the revolution to drown me and everyone that is in it with me. I want systemic change and I will not stop until I get it. That is what I was born with. The revolution was born inside me even when I doubt it. I know it is there and I cannot keep worrying about it but I do. I will let it guide me ← most romanticized stuff ever!! » 07/06/2020 (really 08/06/2020).


Photo © Hela Ammar

By Mariam Ben Slama

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