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 Without Fear

Tower Hamlets Arts and Events service is embarked on a project titled 'Without Fear', to use arts as a vehicle to explore what it means to be in a community without fear in the context of a tolerant society.

'Without Fear'

Below are pieces of work from the poetry project.

The workshop was led by Aktar Ahmed lead singer for Asian Dub Foundation. 

 'I saw people looking at me curiously'

by Parveena, age 12

As I was approaching the shop I saw people looking at me curiously even a cop. I was wearing a headscarf. Everyone looked at me and started to laugh. I was really hurt inside. I just felt like I wanted to hide I walked inside the shop and looked at the keeper I felt so ashamed cos everyone laughed at me even the street sweeper Why me? I was thinking.

Then it hit me, people must be drinking No it can't be cos it was everyone I could barely run it must be cos I'm a Muslim I wasn't wanted here, well that's how it seemed My eye- sight was about to be filled with tears It was nothing but fear It could be Muslim history It doesn't mean I should be treated differently I respect them, so they should respect me I always thought wearing headscarf was heavy 'Go back to your own country' a man said, but I couldn't get through my head I felt like I was a target I could feel my cheeks getting wet I have to get out of here I thought.

My palms were getting so hot, I must be strong, I haven't done nothing wrong. Something shined on me, it was the sun Another Muslim came up to me & said, "don't worry you're not the only one" I was uncomfortable They were all unstoppable That was the worst day I had There was no need for all that Sad racist people, nothing better to do, why they doing this, I don't have a clue, I was waiting for my ride home I'm glad I wasn't alone. There were more Muslims beside me I should be treated equally I came here for education, It'll take time I have to be patient Drunk people looking at me with their beady eyes Other people looking at me in surprise Surprised that I could show my face I'm the innocent one in my case They all should be ashamed for themselves Staring insolently like an elf I don't care what they say.
Tomorrow's going to be a whole new day. That's it! I can't take it no more, What next, you're gonna be breaking the law Ruining the habitats, You're not trying to find out facts, Stop the fighting and the racism, You might even turn out in prison, I'm trying to have a happy life here, but when I come outside my minds always clear Violence isn't the answer You make me feel like a prisoner.

 'I got off the taxi'

by Shafia, age 14

I got off the taxi and already people started to look I felt like a target, trapped in a horror book. I walked for a minute, feeling the atmosphere, now I knew it, it was all so clear. I was the only Asian around. I was feeling the eyes looking at me, head to ground. I couldn't go anywhere without having to worry. I was walking in the streets, in a hurry. When a man came in front of me with another two behind. He laughed at me and said ' are you blind'. People were staring and laughing at me I ran and got back in the taxi. Every second that I was there, my life was upside down.

He wasn't the only few people, it was the whole town. I'm ready to go back home I said I think I've a mistake I'd rather live a respectful town Where people are polite for god sake. Is it just me or is it everyone I should be pleased for who I am. There's billions of people just like me. When people stare, I don't know what wrong they see. So I'm tellin them now, forget about black and white. Forget about all the unnecessary fights Live your life with each other rather than without friendship, peace and happiness, That's what it's all about. I told the people to forgive and forget.

To forget about the racist remarks to live their life in a peaceful way Where people get on and live ok. Where there isn't a reason to start a fight get along with each other cultures without having to fear Why live a messy life, when you can live clear Live with each other, have a fun life.

'There's so much to say'

by Shumina, age 18

There's so much to say, I don't know where to start. Ever since September 11th, Everything changed! The world has changed, People have changed! When I walk on the street, people look at me thinking I have a bomb 'neath me or labelled as a murderer tis I have nothing to wiv it! As they see me wearing a cloth over my head. Still there's so much to say, to be honest, I am full of anger seeing people dying all over the world. All the innocents, all the children, all the wars. Power Power, that's what everyone wants!

Power Once I helped an old lady to reach a can of bean off the shelf, she looks surprised! She said to me I was polite and people were saying Muslim are murderer, I looked at her and said, "Well I think you've been watching too much CNN!" My life has changed by the twin towers, I feel that I cant do anything! When people look at me, it makes me feel that I have done something wrong! Why cant people see that I'm just a human being!

A human being trying to lead a decent life. Then again, I want to but it feels impossible even though I know I have the power to do what I want!

'I was walking down the lane'

by Zaheda, age 15.


I was walking down the lane,

The usual the same,

Out came a crowd calling me names.

I felt ashamed,

Cause I was not to blamed.

I'm so happy for who I am,

But times like this I feel left out,

I can see the looks and hear the voices,

But times like this I wish I had more choices.

I didn't like the racial remarks,

I felt in the spotlight but in the dark.

I was so furious so I went back home,

Thinking I needed time on my own.

It isn't my fault people think like this of me,

I feel so trapped I just want to be free.

I think if people had no fights,

Individual people had their rights.

The world would be a better place,

So people like me would be able to show their face!!

'I was swinging through the street'

by Zakia, age 16

I was swinging through the street, I could feel the sun's heat People changed really quickly after the twin towers collapsed, I felt really trapped Why are people being like this? Why are some people showing their fists? Is it because of my appearance? That you want me to disappear! After all we are humans, But we are different, so you don't have to be violent! Why can't I go without worrying so much! Why can't I go without being touched!

Why can't I go on with my life like everyone else!
Why should I feel so trapped in this world!
Why do I feel so uncomfortable!
Why do I feel like I am a target!
Why do I feel I have have been discriminated against by everyone around me!
Why am I scared to go outside!
Why does it feel like harm is waiting for me!
Why do I feel like a character in a horror movie!
Why don't I feel free anymore!
Why is every second of my life a misery!
Why does this life suck! Why is there silence when I walk through people!
Why is people gossiping or being two faced behind my back! Why does everyone make me feel like a failure!
Why should I be manipulated by everyone around me!
Why me!!!

Written by : Young People involved with the poetry project at the Brady Centre