Lessons

not every Bengali who speaks Bengali is “Cultured”
not every person who speaks English is Western
not every bomb dropped is evil
not every evil person get bombed.

. . .

September 11, 2001: Terrorists hijacked airplanes and used them to kill thousands in NYC.
We were 13 and in school and some of us got called down to see the principal. Some of us were told our parents had died.
September 11, 1973: Chilean General Augusto Pinochet, with the help of the United States, overthrew the democratically elected government of Chile, and who for the subsequent decades afterward, imposed his own brand of fascism on his people.
September 12, 2001: The cafeteria served chicken patties and some type of lasagna.

. . .

January 20, 1981: Former actor and governor of California, Ronald Reagan, is inaugurated as President of the United States. Millions of Americans cheer and wave American flags. Once in office, he helps to create the biggest divide between rich and poor since the Great Depression, and continued to ignore the issues affecting communities of color. Reagan is reelected three years later.
January 20, 2009: Millions crowd around their TV sets, computers, tablets, and around the White House to experience the inauguration of President Barack Obama, the first person of color to serve as president of the United States.
January 20, 2009: We were 20 years old and watched with friends, our eyes filling up, our hearts feeling strong again. This was our time. Our time. This was it. We can do this, we knew. We can do this.
January 21, 2009: Wake up, and go to class, go to work.

. . .

April 3, 2007: At Rutgers University, we filed out of our classrooms and filled into the front lawns between college buildings, calling for an end to the Iraq War. We chanted and marched round and round the main campus and area around New Brunswick.
April 3, 2007: We played Guitar Hero in our dorm rooms, as the protests swelled outside, playing music by the Beatles as the air got thick with prayers for an end.
April 4, 2007: We go to class. We finish our assignments with that person in class we have a secret crush on but don’t say anything cause it would feel weird to do so, right…?
April 5, 2007: We smoke weed, and cry, and laugh, and then fall out of dreams.
April 5, 2007: We don’t smoke weed anymore, unless with friends.

. . .

not every Bengali who speaks Bengali is “Cultured”
not every person who speaks English is Western
not every bomb dropped is evil
not every evil person get bombed.
The Great Recession looped and looped,
Reagan smiling from the coals beneath our feet
People power
Boarded up storefronts/ thousands of dollars in debt for that degree at Rutgers
go, find a job, file out, file in,
smoke some
drink some
find love.
listen to some good music as you stay in your corner of the party,
as the only one who doesn’t drink, who never smoke weed or anything,
who writes and paints and prays, and then makes jokes about god
cause god is your friend
cause you and god are a first-name basis by now.
listen to some voices at the party, and think about that person like you,
the same age,
on the other side of the globe.

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