Let Me Make One Thing Clear

Manahil Bandukwala at Night for Rights. Nov 16. Alison Sandstrom/Carleton JHR

by Manahil Bandukwala


let me make one thing clear:

when I talk about patriotism,

nationalism, or any such love

for a country that’s pretty screwed up

(let’s face it, pakistan has a lot of work to do)

I’m not talking about the person

who was elected either honestly

or through some rigging

politicians are temporary;

was stephen harper ever the face of canada?

george bush of the u.s.?

yet canadians and americans still declare

themselves proud of their soil

no one thinks they’re proud of bigotry

so no, I’m not saying I support

honour killings, terrorism, sexism, classism, homophobia –

I’m saying I support a culture

of colour, of food that puts water in your mouth;

unconditional love and family support

fashion that changes year after year

lasting things that’ll endure for years to come

not something that’s short-lived

and yes, fifty, hundred years is short

against a backdrop of millennia

and ever changing history

so yes I’m patriotic, yes I’m nationalist

in the ‘rang de basanti’ way

when you realize you love your country

not because you endorse the grey

but in hope that colour will return again


This poem was performed for JHR’s Speak Out! segment on CKCU. 

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