*Please note this was written when Theresa May was Home Sectretary, and I was an interfaith women’s worker fighting for the rights of women under threat of deportation at risk of their lives. So, she was not a favourite human. The below is about specific, I believe dangerous legislation she was pushing through under the tagline of ‘securing a better future’. The line ‘Can we start by hushing up Theresa May’ is a controversial one, even for me as a feminist. However, I feel it fitting for any human whose policies seek to silence and negate others. I feel, to make an exception because she is a woman would, in this case, be anti-feminist because it would set moral lower standards for her just because of her gender. If you knew what the women I worked with had to fight I’m sure most of you would share my anger if not my assessment.

The same is true for it’s sister poem Dear Theresa and for other political poems such as Dear Ministers.

Let’s Fight Extremism
02 October 2014

“Let’s fight extremism”, the government say,
Can we start by hushing up Theresa May?
Tell me how you define this ‘non-violent extremism’
Because for me non-violence is connected to reason,
“It is a law to fight ISIS”, our dear government state,
That will make it illegal to incite or to justify hate
Against any race, religion, sexuality or disability –
Would this not outlaw almost any a policy
Our government created? Yet this is the law as a lout;
No innocence ‘til proven; no ‘beyond reasonable doubt’,
Not limited to ‘clerics of hate’ but to any ‘harmful activities’
And all they’ll need to gag us is a ‘balance of probabilities’,
Don’t forget preaching that by killing you will go to heaven
Is already illegal since legislation passed in October 2007,
And yet, this new law will fuel alienation and Islamophobia,
While the Home Office say it will only spread more fear,
The label could be used in opposition to any prescribed view
Resulting in hatred, stagnation and the death of the new,
Have we not heard of this censoring dictatorship before
In films like ‘Minority Report’ or in the novel ‘1984’?
So extremism goes further underground
Like volcanic magma; danger absent of sound
As extremism simmers, questioning is also quashed
Inquirers seen as sinners, freedom of speech is lost,
Would ‘harmful activities’ include a peaceful revolution?
It begins to feel like that may be one remaining solution;
We oppose extremism by impartial justice, that is fair,
Without this our society is silenced, we live so unaware
That we believe dropping bombs is the only way to care
For those in the (un)-Islamic state, struggling to resist ISIS;
Bombs leave more killed and more struggling to exist,
Disabled; homeless; orphaned; psychologically traumatized,
Bombs lead to further hatred, the western powers despised,
Survivors in a fragile state, a high likelihood of further conflict,
Just looking at recent histories, future paths are easy to predict;
Internal inequalities, injustice, broken lives, fractured communities,
Destroyed hospitals, roads, homes, meeting rooms and businesses,
Ripe for groups such as ISIS, who come into Iraq after recent crises,
The answer is to drop more bombs? We have more smarts than this,
Guns can hide, civilians can’t. We have dropped all strategy and IQ
With the plan to drop incendiaries and no plans to help renew,
New ‘non-violent extremist laws’ leave the majority misrepresented,
As with bombs, we’re told there’s no alternative, a lie often frequented,
Such laws won’t help security, or liberty or harmony in civil society –
Like stealth missiles hate will whisper, a lethal, unnoticed enemy,
Instead we should be building partnerships, at home and overseas
Because gagging is the opposite of dialogue and transparency,
Challenge our nation’s roles in the international arms trade
Because ISIS and others threaten with weapons we have made,
Challenge petroleum dealers trading with loathing on the black market;
This is part of their funding. See the destruction? We helped spark it,
Working closely with surrounding countries to cut off migrating ammunition
Would help protect the human and help kill all murderous ambitions,
To people homeless and displaced by years of war, we could give assistance,
Plans for peace and resiliency, not profiteering, could build upon resistance
So we may one day see how conflict ceases,
Instead we will only witness as death increases,
While, at home we harken to the Theresa drone
And step towards a free-thought free zone
With the nonsense term, ‘non-violent extremism’
Securitization speak has become pure surrealism.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

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