• Ayah Osman

Isn’t it ironic?

Updated: Apr 7

Isn’t it ironic that beled el Sudan means land of the blacks?

But the people back home run from their blackness as if it were a stray bullet.

Hide from the sun because they’d rather their skin burn from exposure to the bleaching creams in their medicine cabinet.

Isn’t it Ironic that In the land of the blacks, black isn’t even considered beautiful?

Ironic that with each pregnancy the women back home ask God the same favor.

That they pray for a miracle.

For a genetic rarity.

Pray that their black bodies will push out babies that look nothing like them.

Imagine hating yourself so much that you don’t want your baby to look like you.

Imagine being told you aren’t enough so many times that you pray that your own flesh will be everything you’re not.

Imagine being blessed with the miracle of life and prostrating before your creator, pleading that the person you will love most in this world doesn’t inherit your large nose.

Or your full lips.

That their hair grows down not up.

Imagine being so broken that you believe it is only your blackness that makes you hate yourself.

Isn’t it ironic that back home they act as if the ancestors who built the pyramids of Meroë were not the epitome of blackness?

Isn’t it ironic that we call it Beled el Sudan at all?

Why not beled el hiroob?

Beled ibadetun jemaiyah?

Beled el kaizan?

Land of wars.

Land of genocide.

Land of political leaders that hide behind religion.

Land of war crimes.

Of denial.

Of poverty.

Land of a third world country.

Of what Donald Trump meant when he called countries shit-holes.

Land of exterminating 400,000 non-Arabs because they don’t look like us and getting away with it.


Isn’t it ironic?

That the United States is called the land of the free.

But the only ones who seem to be free here are the people that shouldn’t be.

Presidents who rape women.

White men that hide behind their badges when a black man is shot in the street like a dog.

Isn’t it ironic that the land of the free houses 22% of the world’s prisoners?

That at this country’s southern border babies are kept in cages?

That if my father was born in the land of the free as opposed to the land of the blacks he wouldn’t be allowed to go to school with white students until he was at least seven?

That the first time black people could truly vote in the land of the free would be the first time my father would be old enough to do so?

Ironic that four million people had no freedom for hundreds of years in the land of the free.

Isn’t it ironic that the patriot act still exists in the land of the free?

That you can’t vote if you’ve been to prison?

That you couldn’t marry who you loved until four years ago?

That the land of the free, backs military dictators around the world because we don’t really give a damn about preserving democracy if it makes us a quick buck?

See I’m asking myself free for who?

Who’s free?

Who feels free?

Does Brock Turner feel free?

Does George Zimmerman feel free?

Isn’t it ironic that the star-spangled banner was written at a time when brown and black bodies were considered only 3/5 human?

Isn’t it ironic that we call it the land of the free at all?

Why not land of white privilege?

Land of the school to prison pipeline?

Land of the most obvious racism you’ll find.

Land of police brutality.

Land of Trayvon Martin, of Freddie Gray, of Eric Garner, of Nabra, of Sandra Bland.

Of stealing land from the natives and then calling them illegal.

Land of segregation.

Of reconstruction.

Of forty-four white male presidents.


Isn’t it ironic?

Or am I wrong?

Have I made a mistake?

Is this not what irony is?

Does irony sound different?

Does it make you laugh instead of cry?

Does it not make you feel like you’re nothing?

Like you come from nothing?

Like you are the daughter of diaspora that was disregarded by both homes, both parents, both lives?

Does irony not make you hate yourself?

Hate where you come from?

I guess it isn’t ironic then.



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