Call Of The Void

By Sahib Ullah, A level student

Like so many young people, I find myself baffled, saddened and disillusioned with the state of the world today. Where did all this hate and division come from and what is my place in all of this? What about the children who have had nothing to do with the destructive and suspicion filled chaos the so called ‘adults’ have created?  And how on earth did it get this far, this quickly without anyone noticing?

Call Of The Void is a compelling series in six parts that focusses on many issues that affect young people today. Issues that we did not create ourselves. Issues that the loud and powerful have manipulated, fuelled and used to further their careers, to stir up hate and to create a climate of fear and suspicion that has led to more hate and more suffering.

In their most recent media project, the young people of Integrate Bristol explore these issues and look deeper into the divisions that are changing our communities in a way we have never seen before.

After seeing and believing the world is in a mess because of our “different ideas of reality and religion”, the main character, Shukri, simply wants to bring people together, calling herself an “emotional Jihadi”.  Like most Muslims, she knows how she is seen by many people because of her faith.  She can rise above it. But then she gets her first period and suddenly, she knows much more.

During her first period, Shukri discovers that she has bled the emblem of the Triskelion, a symbol representing spiritual expansion, and the creation, preservation and/or destruction of humanity. She can read thoughts and she sees visions and what she sees is painful. This essentially acts as a calling for Shukri, a calling that generates all those emotions of anger, fear and bewilderment that also plague all kinds of extremists.  And Shukri faces a choice.

Inaz, another character with  his own set of special powers, stresses to Shukri how they must “remove the roots” of the mind control, of the hatred, otherwise they will continue to put “their reality in [their] heads”.

Trump’s win in the presidential election has increased a reality of hatred and bigotry in the US, as well as fuelling the fire behind right-wing extremism after Brexit, in the UK. His most notable aim is to get everyone “to unite” to “make America great again”; in doing so, he has managed to alienate those who are otherwise peaceful, including both British and American Muslims, as well as other minorities.

Trump and those with other right-wing views, from Britain First for example, have only stirred up more fear among the minorities, and more anger among those they seek to attack. Islamophobia is the key factor that plants the seed for radicalisation. And at the moment, Trump seems to nurture that seed, intending to keep it alive, just to fulfil his promise to make “America great again”. What a joke.

Following his win, Trump has attracted support from British politicians including Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson, who claim his win is a “moment of opportunity” and that we need to “seize the day”.  While most know that the outcome of Brexit had  implications for the relationship between Britain and the US, Farage seems to believe it was in fact Obama’s influence as President that had “damaged” it. Johnson, though previously critical of Trump calling him ignorant and “out of his mind”, now urges Britain not to pre-judge America’s new President-elect as he currently claims there is “a lot to be positive about”.

Tragically, as in the aftermath of Brexit, there has been a notable surge in reported cases of hate crime in the US, particularly those targeting Muslims,  following the Republican win. With Trump’s campaign speeches including his promise to put a ban on Muslims entering the US, the hitherto stifled racism and suspicion has reared its ugly head. Americans Muslims and other minorities are feeling more alienated than ever, which is not just inducing fear, but inciting anger.

Well, we can sit and moan, we can join in the global tirade of insults on either side of the Brexit or Trump camps, or we can stop and reconsider, reach out, do something – anything rather than contribute to the mess.  We teenagers and young adults are the ones who will have to live in this political climate. We young people can say ‘enough’; we can do things differently.