With dreamy eyes
I land at Heathrow
New people, new norms, new society
Suddenly, challenge my identity.
Don’t know what to do; and how,
I question myself constantly.
A beautiful word is diversity
But for the powerful only;
A sign of struggle it is
For the powerless
Seeking validation in a new society.
In Ustinov today,
We talk diversity.
But why, in the same place,
Do barbecues happen in Ramadan?
And no one thinks it’s wrong?
Why is there a bar
But no prayer room?
Why we get ovens,
But no rice cookers?
Why there are pub quizzes
But no K-bars?
Why do the elected few not represent the group?
Easy to blame the quiet for not participating,
But truth is, by default, our systems alienate the ‘others’.
Not challenging these; is a crime we all commit.
We elect leaders, through a process we call democratic,
But how can it be so, if our definition of leader, only Anglo-centric?
The rhetoric sounds great,
But no one wants to deconstruct
Their own reality.
No one wants the pain
Of learning that their ‘normal’ is just theirs,
Of making space for other versions of ‘normal’, and find;
The courage to appreciate ‘the other’.
It’s not just the race, country, or gender
What about the diversity in culture, expression, opinion?
Easier it is, to scoff at those who are different
Question their social construction
Label them abnormal and wrong.
Aren’t we all the same, yet different?
So difficult it is
To drop our assumptions
That people are different?
Why do we even
Have to talk diversity?
What else is there, if no diversity?
Treat everyone equally, easier said to ‘them’, than to ourselves,
But why is it still on our agendas, in the 21st century?
We all will cry in desperation
“It’s not me, it’s them; I do nothing wrong.”
But let me tell you this- there’s no hiding,
For we are all guilty
Of not treating everyone equally.
Words by Gaurish Chawla.