Any resistance to state violence is heroic

I was disturbed to see a Rochester media personality (no name necessary) talk about how ‘outside agitators have our city in their crosshairs. They’re bloodthirsty. They’re hell bent on spreading lies. They couldn’t care less about #DanielPrude.’ She went on to pray for Rochester. 1000 likes on twitter and many messages of support from a lot of white people.

Since the uprising started, there has been an effort to distinguish the ‘good’ protestor from the ‘bad’ protestor. Let’s not. It’s the surest way to paint oneself into a corner.

We, Muslims, have been labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’ for a long time, especially as the wars on our bodies/humanity were ramped up. We’re either Islamists or secularists, moderates or extremists, people the West can work with or threats it must contain. It’s a known strategy.

‘This categorisation [is] not new. Literature produced during the colonial era, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, especially by orientalist scholars in Britain and France, depicted Muslims in the same binary manner. “Good” Muslims were those who either collaborated with the colonial enterprise or accepted the values and customs of the dominant power. The rest, the “bad” Muslims, those who “resisted” religiously, culturally or politically, were systematically denigrated, dismissed as the “other” and repressed as a “danger”. Times have changed, but the old mindsets and simplistic portrayals continue to cast a shadow over today’s intellectual, political and media debate about Islam.’

The thing is, whether they put us down as ‘good’ protestors or ‘bad’ ones, the war against our existence is not going to let up. Let’s not fall for their categorizations, their language, their instinct to divide and co-opt.
The state commits surreal, incomprehensible violence – on the streets, at the border, at detention centers and torture sites, through mass incarceration and the criminal justice system, and with actual bombs tearing into human flesh. Any resistance to state violence is heroic.

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