I don’t mean in any way to dissuade all that is beautiful and wonderful about people – especially young people – hitting the streets. It’s hard for me not to be cynical and worried, and I’m sorry for that.
The truth is that I needed you 8 years ago. We all did.
I needed you on day 1 – when I was struggling to find enough people to sign a petition to stop torture. I’m well-trained in elevator pitches on human rights abuses, but they never worked on you, no matter how hard I tried.
Or when it wasn’t even about stopping torture – it was just about telling the truth.
Remember that time I asked you to come to the Department of Justice over lunch for a rally to disclose a 7,000 plus page report on how your taxpayer dollars let a man freeze to death at a black site? You worked a block away. I ran into you on the sidewalk with my arms full of signs with quotes from dead men.
You said sorry, next time.
Or when I needed four more people to pack a hearing about drones. I’d met you at a young women’s networking event the night before and you’d said, I’m free tomorrow, I promise I’ll be there. After all, you said you were a progressive feminist and the hearing was about a woman that was blown up to pieces picking okra. You didn’t make it, though I’d imagine the death of a woman at the hands of the US military would irk any feminist.
I see that you’re a proud member of Pantsuit nation now.
I can’t help but not trust you.
Why are you here?
Are you here to rectify the consequences of you – and millions of other well-meaning liberals’ – complacency in a system of global warfare that’s persisted unchecked for the past 8 years?
Are you here because mass surveillance has no party preference?
Are you signing up to bravely sacrifice yourself in lieu of a Muslim you’ve never met on a future registry now because you realize that thousands of FBI informants infiltrate Muslim communities to entrap them – that wasn’t Trump, that was a Democrat? I saw you were excited to share your decision with your friends.
Are you going to the Women’s March on Washington because you think we’re the same?
You and I?
Why are you here?
Are you here because you are committed to dismantling the systems under which indigenous, black, brown, poor, queer and trans people here and in all places the U.S. occupies are dying every single day?
Is that why you’re here?
I can’t help but wonder.
Noor Mir is a DC-based anti-war organizer and part of the Muslim American Women’s Policy Forum. She was born and raised in Islamabad, Pakistan.