A funny tragedy

Humour is a funny thing. For all the laughs people get, one doesn’t realise how much effort goes into telling a joke. Since setting up Big Pen I have a new found respect for comedians or humorous people in general.

But you know I’ll understand if you don’t find me funny. I mean who finds people with the surname ‘Husain’ funny? Sure it’ll make you cry but I’m quite certain they won’t be tears of joy. Rather tears of fear or anger are likely to follow, depending on who you are.

There have been many an occasion where my surname has caused trouble for me. For example every time I’ve travelled back to the UK after a holiday, despite being a British citizen by birth I’m always asked the same question at the immigration desk – “Why have you come to the UK?”

After 9/11 I bet every black person out there thanked the Lord that they were no longer the point of scrutiny and I guess that explains their expressions when they see me getting grilled at immigration. Probably thinking “HA! That used to be me!”

Ha! Now it’s your turn Ab-Dool!

I do think, though, what kind of people ask others why they’ve come back home? Those who don’t know what it’s like to have a home? Poor immigration officers really have it tough I guess – low paying job and homeless.

But there’s only been one moment where my surname truly hurt me. It was during Sixth Form (A levels) and war on Iraq had been declared. Walking into my politics class, a fellow classmate announced me as “Saddam’s love child”.

Now I mean come on, just because I didn’t have time to wax my upper lip didn’t mean he needed to make it THAT obvious! It was bad enough being the perfect teenager complete with braces, frizzy hair, acne and an all-too-eager-to-please smile but to have your teenage ‘tache exposed!

Other times it was just a blessing. Walk into a restaurant and find out you have to wait twenty minutes? No worries, shout out “M Husain in the house!” and the waiting time is reduced to twenty seconds. I’m contemplating adding a few adjectives to make it quicker – “Angry Husain”, “Hating Husain”, “Explosive Husain”, “Hot Husain”. I am however saving “I’m related to Saddam Hussain” for a special occasion.

Hairy Hussain… what? Why are you looking at me like that?

My sympathies lay with Blair over the ragging he got over the Iraq war (let’s just ignore my participation in the anti-war protests). People thought he never once gave it a second thought. Of course he debated it with his cabinet members and in parliament. But you see, what people don’t know is WHAT was debated and HOW the opposition reacted – who by the way is in power at the moment. So is it any wonder that war was declared when the debates consisted of the following arguments:

1. What’s wrong with not going to war vs. When do we go?

2. Why we must go to war vs Why we must not NOT go to war

Recently I came across a forum where some Muslim kids were professing hatred for gay people. Why DO Muslims hate gays so much? I mean we’re hated globally as it is so surely we’d appreciate some gay love. We could do with some happiness.

What’s that? You thought I was talking about homosexuals? Of course not, they ought to be killed!

But in all seriousness though, I’m perturbed by the amount of hate preached all over the world. Because you see I’m a Muslim with a surname that guarantees hatred before I even express myself, I belong to a minority sect which causes me to be hated by my Muslim brotherhood, I was unfortunate to be born a woman which means I was regarded as a disaster before life even began for me… So, yeah I’m perturbed by hate – it’s usually aimed at me!

And on top of that I can’t stand people who preach self-hate all in the name for improvement. My ethnicity ensures I physically cannot posses more self-hate – I’m Pakistani.

I reckon the one solution to the world’s problems lies in music. Anyone who knows me (or probably doesn’t), knows my insane love for music. But sadly some of my contemporaries don’t feel the same way. The last time I expressed a desire to play the saxophone I was told I was sexually frustrated. Despite repeated attempts to shed off the desperate virginal attitude that defines us Muslims, I tried to unsuccessfully explain that what I wanted to do was play the saxophone. Instead I was told phone sex was not allowed in Islam.

On a related note: Only infidels and Jews use dialling pads.

But I’ll always profess a special kind of love for the Beatles. Their music that is. I was never quite attracted to any of them, much too old for me y’know? Despite adoring their music I have to say I quite like Yoko Ono. Yeah yeah so she might have broken the band up and stolen Lennon’s heart away from McCartney but come on (remember gay is good; homosexual is bad). Cut the woman some slack.

I mean she’s a fighter, arty, strong and vocal. In fact we have quite a few women who posses similar traits too – Yasmin Ali Bhai-Brown, Queen Rania, the Late Benazir Bhutto, Barack Obama… note how I’ve gone from religious rebels to secular identities. Somewhat. I’d throw in some Saudi Royal Princesses name as well but they’ve never been good for anything but boosting the UK economy.

But I suppose none of these will and can never possess what Yoko Ono had thereby killing any pizzazz that could ever be applied to them – John Lennon inside of them.

I’d like to end with a personal touch (as if all the above was impersonal – I only spoke about my gender, religion, sect, homeland, ethnicity, friends…). A great man once said all good humour lies in personal tragedy (wonder if he was Pakistani?).

So here I sit – a British Pakistan Female Muslim Minority who loves music and identifies with hated beings like Yoko Ono and Blair, affectionately looking at my gay (no! not homosexual – I got rid of the moustache years ago!) husband who sadly does not play the saxophone (with me).

Tragic enough?



Categories: The World I Know


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