An open letter to the writer and senders of the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letter,

I’ll be honest as a fellow born-and-bred Yorkshire woman, I’ve always been told to speak my mind but remain polite. Yet I’m equally aware of how passionate and loud we can be on average, so this is going to be a difficult task. Bear with me.


I’m not going to do what others have done, condemning your letter outright, or calling it ‘disgusting’ and ‘sickening’, though in my opinion it is that too, of course. Instead, I’m here to have a conversation, over why you’d want to send letters out to Bradford, Leceister, London, Cardiff and your own hometown Sheffield. I say hometown, because the only identifier we have is that letters have the Sheffield postmark, indicating that they were sent from there. I’d especially like to highlight what a shoddy exercise in communication you’ve committed, and how once again Yorkshire faces some negative press, because well you couldn’t mind yourself. A quality of a truly respectful neighbour, in any part of the world but especially our home county.

But that aside, I’d like to start by thanking you for being so overtly racist, in fact. In a way that only those who’ve experienced the escalation from strange looks, patronisation, or disdain to outright verbal abuse and beatings, could ever truly know. But I’ve got some thoughts, (and heck even some pointers for you) if you really are hell bent on helping those who’ve suffered, and to stop people from somehow mutating into sheep. A hellish thought, not least for motorists on our narrow country lanes.


Firstly, clarity. I’m sure like the rest of us you were put through painfully long English classes on writing a good letter. The importance of addressing your audience, and to make the subject of your sentence clear. Perhaps you were even tested on it, I think even I was and I went to the worst school in Bradford at the time. But mate, I have to say you letter is confusing the hell out of me, who are you talking to? You open up with:

‘They have hurt you, they have made your loved ones suffer.
They have caused you pain and heartache’

But who exactly is the ‘they’ you mean? All muslims or only some. I ask simply because some of your letters were sent to muslim addresses and houses like Councillor Riaz Ahmed’s business address. The best word for this is ‘confusing’ right? Once it could have been a mistake, but many addresses and it’s confusion. Perhaps you’re wanting to reach out to some of these people to join in your game, or give them forewarning, both noble ideas. I hope someone in your collective (if it is that) has some conscience and was trying to do exactly this. The forewarning, not increasing the number of game players for popularity’s sake. I mean are you wanting your followers to punish some muslims and not others, to help prove they’re not sheep?


This leads me to my second point. You seem to be insulting the very people who you are wanting to play your “game”. The saying ‘catching more flies with honey…’ springs to mind, remember no-one ever played with the name-calling class bully.  But seriously, someone whose printed out letters on fancy paper, embedded a table and heck even put in two logos (including a crest) into a letter, has to see the irony in what you’ve done right?!

For clarity’s sake, I’ll make it clear – you’re asking them to not be sheep, to not ‘follow orders’ or be ‘easily led’ and then you’re leading them to do things for points. It’s just absurd. Especially as you’re not even coming forward to make it clear who you even are. We may be warm, open folk in Yorkshire but we’re not gullible enough to follow a shadowy someone who’s not even doing the courtesy of looking you in the eye, shaking your hand or buying you a pint/coffee. For some reasons ‘blind leading the blind’ echoes in my head.

Not to mention the fact that all of the acts you’re dictating are crimes, meaning there’s a high chance someone is going to jail. Knowing how these things play out it’ll be those who foolishly follow your ‘actions’,  but hey they can’t point to you as the leader of this nefarious plan can they? So no doubt they’ll go to prison and you’ll keep on hanging out in Sheffield or down in 102 Petty France, London (who knows?), leaving the poor daft one to suffer alongside their heartbroken, abandoned family because of they hurt they inflicted on another. Wonder if you’ll send another letter clarifying that it is now you, dear writer, who has inflicted the ‘pain and heartache’?


Now the third point, may sound trivial but it’s important, your game has a serious fundamental flaw, your scoring process. Seriously, when did you last play a game? Maybe, I hit the nail on the head earlier, by noting that many people don’t play with bullies, and considering your bullying tone, perhaps this is the reasons why you’ve created a seriously messed up game (in more ways than one!). But I can’t let this one alone, it bothers me something awful…

How can throwing acid on someone be worth less than beating them up? Similarly, how have torturing using electrocution be worth less than using a knife? I’ve read enough crime novels, and watched enough action and horror movies to know that there are some forms of violence that are easier than others.   Also, burning a mosque or bombing it is worth the same amount of points. Do you seriously not know how to value anything? Well I mean of course you don’t, you’re expecting people to take away another person’s life, as well as a significant portion of their own life, all to follow your seriously flawed “game”.


Finally, who is keeping score? Is there going to be a final scoreboard, a bit difficult considering your not exactly putting yourself forward as a ref, and shaking your player’s hands before setting them off to play a game for the day. By ‘day’ do you mean only during daylight hours, or is the night included too. No matter what you think about the premise of the movie “The Purge’, you have to give it to them they at least had the decency to create a structure, and to communicate it well, as well as allow open discussion and criticism. It is in this spirit that I’m putting myself out there to engage with you, as someone who didn’t receive the letter so can only assume I’m a target, but may well have considering some of my fellow muslims in Yorkshire and London did. Because I don’t want a Sharia led police state either, no I’ll be bolder I don’t want any form of police state, I want a democracy. But all democracies are built on ethics, open communication and due process, not badly engineered games, without effective scorekeeping and shady puppet-masters, so why not come forward for your democractic due process and I’ll buy you a cuppa, over which we can discuss the murkiness of your ideals and communication. Doesn’t that sound nice?


Kindest regards,


Mariam Kauser

Originally from Bradford, but currently on a short spell in London.


Master notes. Master codes.

So, I’m finally deleting the space-munchingly huge application that is Zotero. I’ve been using Mendeley for a couple of years now. To be honest, Zotero never did much for me, I don’t know why but I just couldn’t get into it. Anyway, one of the main reason it’s still followed me, like a rarely acknowledged ghost is due to the capsule quality it holds. This is the programme I used in 2015-2016. A tumultuous time. But also, a time of self-realisation, and blind growth, and clumsy progress. But today the year of the Dog, I have begun the actions to uninstall. Starting with exporting those very few (2) files that have been notarised, and the notes I typed in them (an an xml file).


This element of the code, struck a cord:


Lines of code from an .XML file, detailing a quote and some musings on bell hooks' comments on education

Thoughts on Being. Hoping to Be.

precarity. difference. institutions. systems.

Woven together create the shittest of all feelings.


Promises. Hopes. Longings. Thoughts.

Said before but no longer take root, nor show.


Signed: From one tortoise to another.

I realise now why we fell apart

Finally now, tonight, this moment…

I realise now, in the shower just immediately before now,

Sorry that was a faulted start…

I realise now why we drifted,

no oops we broke,

Broke down and drifted apart.

We got co-opted by the politics of production.

We’d been taken,

Enamoured welders of the power of production,

And it got manifested through our communication,

The communication of production.

See, we’d turned into our parents you see,

Though they’d never meet,

They shared much similarity.

Respectable, but frozen.

Caring, empathetic Idealists,

who’d never quite broken of conservatives

Who’d internalised their capitalistic tools of trauma

Through softly projecting,

Projection and silencing,

Using caring but carefully crafted weaponised trauma,

Trauma that uses tools in a variety of ways.

So benign and loving,

So free and over-coddling,

They’d triggered such triggers but had lovingly helped us get bigger,

Be lovers, be freer.

But not without embedding such poisons of shame and fear.

We’d stopped,


No pricked not snapped,

A prick that fractured,

Such pricks that festered,

And such socio/psychos that only vision of cunts,

though I must stop.

That word births such traumas from the past,

Even recent traumas,

This word is violent.

The violence in that word makes me trigger and hurt…

What I intend or meant,

Instead… is there are hurts caused by both pricks and deep gashes.

Worse are the gashes for they’re rarely anticipated.

But often wound so terminally.

Or else leave unhealing scars that remind us of ancestral traumas and historical scars.

But further… let’s go… we need this to be known,

For other is not our lore.

These weapons, these hurts… pushed us and bashed us,

Broke us and cost us…

Due to them the insidious capitalist production was swept forth,

over our threshold capitalism, ownership and manipulation polluted our floors.

Hurting us more, for it came from allies, sisters, brothers and fickle fictions,

All that we’d seen helped others before,

Factors of social models,

Models that naively I’d thought would allow our us space and a hoover,

To picture visions of discovery and excitement,

Factors to help adorn our love with air, light and free openness,

But instead it was production,

Communication and production,

Of the erasure and weakening of our visions,

So we wouldn’t see the others sense.

it was forward-notions that was used to strangle our hearts,

Production of communication,

Manufactured and tasteless,

Communication of production,

The politics of insecurity and insistence.

Of individualism brought forth by ambition and competition,

We’re not entirely blameless, we could’ve done more,

We didn’t unlearn as we’d done so easily before,

Together forever in liking and lovingly alone.

But also outside and not just behind doors.

We’d stopped listening and looking,

Wondering and sharing,

The blissful visions of how we’d seen the day.

Instead we’d pout and warily stay aware.

Protecting the other through words of ambitious, development and social mobility,

No longer communicating to explore, to love, to connect our lives and quests,

And picture the other in broader roads of idealism and no individualist conquest.

I know I’ve gone on and on,

It was shorter in the shower, I swear it was brief.

Feel free to question,

it’d hell to build our dialogue and give it space for dialogue and digestion,

Of curious questions, and celebration in the challenging space of all connections.

I feel we’re returning,

Adoring and exploring,

But I need to know, that you care about where I’m going,

So that you’d occasionally join me for an odd poem…

And I could return the favour by being your companion, your critically cheerful cheerleader,


Tools of violence

Identity violence

Symbolic violence

Communication violence

Historic violence

Revisionist violence

Repetitive violence

Infantilising violence

Nostalgic violence

Communication violence

Prejudiced violence

Tiring violence

Destructive violence

Sexual violence

Gendered violence

Religious violence

Spiritual violence

Class violence

Linguistic violence

Colourist violence

Male violence

White male violence

Co-opting violence

Toxic violence

Co-opted toxic violence

Ideological violence

Paternalistic violence

Patriarchal violence

Symbolically patriarchal violence

Promotional violence

Just violence

Violence violence

Tiring violence

Too tired coz I’m broken and it’s the result of all the above and more violence

Mental violence

Inferred violence

Implicit violence

Bright-eyed violence

Broken souls violence

The once you had bright eyes but then you got co-opted and are stuck but still need peeps and I get it but don’t you get that I get it, so why you gotta erase the stuff we excavate and stop us entering and flinging open the doors-no revision check, not open the doors break all these fracking symbolic capitalistic colonial walls – so that we can all evolve together and your tired eyes can weep and rejoice in celebration with us all, bold beautiful and brave and bound to the forward March of completing our shared ancestors abolitionist principles and journeys to create a new fair fresh deprogrammed society so we keep being we and us, and you and me, happy and free together… urgh! Gah! For f***! *sigh* but you can’t and that’s violent, violence.

So instead here we stand. Ina pyramid and I keep trying to educate and create and collate and collaborate while we survive and you thrive but I don’t even cry coz I’m proud inside that at least someone who got one part of our ancestral spirit souls good side to the table where it’s all about whose there to dine, and whose outside… not about our fellow people who die and are also pushed towards pipelines to die. Whether quickly or slowly, that’s for us all to see with our eyes.

I’m too tired to speak, so I’ll leave it to that… and sleeps for the night.


wrkwrkwrk collective ▴ reading group ▴ The Transitioning Body: Reclaiming Narratives

This coming Wednesday, 8th of November I’m going to be leading a reading group where we’ll be discussing:

How can bodies reclaim narratives, while transitioning between states or within a process of transformation? Led by Mariam Kauser.



▴ Arun Kundnani (2015) The Muslims are Coming!: Islamophobia, Extremism and the Domestic War on Terror. London: Verso. pp. 1- 25

▴ Angela Davis (1971/2016) Letters from Soledad to Attica. London: Verso. pp 44-47


▴ Noah Michelson (2014) ‘The Powerful Reason Why This Artist Has Been Saving His Urine For The Last 200 Days’, Huffington Post, 16th Sept 2017.

Sydette Harry (2014) ‘Attacking the stream’, Dissent: A Quarterly of Politics and Culture.


▴ Carrie Mae Weems (1995-6) ‘From here I saw what happened and I cried’ ) 33 toned prints. You can currently see this work in the Tate Modern. Alternatively, there is an online slider at:


The reading group is going to be taking place at the University of West London, where I study. If you’d like to attend or find out more do one of the following!


Or check out our tumblr: 


Standing by Believing

I stood by you
through thick and thin
gave you my soul
amidst all this external din

shielded you from the daggers and slices
attracted by views
that we’re engaged in pure vices
from both our families of hawk’s’ and mice’s


Making the most of your surroundings: Year Review

It’s been a little over a year since I re-entered London to pursue my next project, my doctoral research into exclusions in online spaces.

It’s also been about seven years and three weeks since I first connected to the capital, I mention this only because today I was not clocked as being from anywhere else. I have again acclimated to my surroundings, even though I made the conscious effort to keep my broad twang.

So, I thought it was apt I started writing more often. Even though the imposter syndrome might run deep or make things get shady sometimes, I know that for my future I need to just GET OVER IT! With this in mind, I’m trying to acclimatise myself with writing and especially writing on the online page. In a similar way I’m realising how I’m so blessed to be able to enter so many places and to participate in them (marginally) better than those who feel more awkward than I. Only today I had the absolute privilege and energising feeling of being in a room full of “BAME” (hate that word) women and men who considered the future of women in UK politics. So I’m going to make a conscious (and consistent) effort to write more reviews of events I go to, the readings I do, my musings and more… Gotta let them see me work!

On that note.. I better get back to reading Simonden closely. Byeeee




CFP: Rhetoric Discourse and the Communicative-Dialogical Mind

Sent this morning > May be of interest / Keeping it here to refer back to:

Focusing on wide-raging domain of rhetoric communication, the conference addresses past and present issues ranging from Aristotelian Rhetoric to cognitive-oriented linguistic approaches. It is argued that our communicative minds operate beyond cool reason by mixing up semantic domains in multimodal frames both in mass and networked communication. Metaphor use in specialist and popularized discourse contexts must also be accounted for in view of the pervasiveness of imaginative processes in terminology coinage in different areas of expertise.

Researchers from different areas of knowledge and persuasions, from Antiquity to the Present, are invited to present paper proposals, focusing on one of the following themes:

  • Political Rhetorics and mass communication

  • Metaphor and Terminology

  • Metaphor and different approaches

  • Multimodal Communication

  • Digital Discourse and variation

The congress sponsored by The Center of Linguistics and the Center for Classical Studies of the University of Lisbon  features plenary sessions with keynote speakers, and parallel sessions for paper presentations.

Working languages: Portuguese and English.

We welcome:

•  individual proposals for a 20 minute-paper;

•  joint proposals for thematic panels with 3 papers.

Please include the following information with your proposal:

•  full title of your paper / of your panel and respective papers;

•  abstract (ca. 350 words per paper), optionally with a short list of bibliographical references;

• a short biographical note (ca. 150 words).

Please note that:

• All paper proposals will be peer-reviewed;

• Deadline for proposals: February 28, 2017;

•  Notification of acceptance: February 19, 2017 (first proposals); March 31, 2017 (extended deadline);

•  Proposals should be submitted by e-mail in MS Word or PDF format to with the  subject header: Abstract proposal.

See more at: 


Diversity Initiatives in UK Media

This is a quick post rounding up some of the diversity initiatives, keynote speeches and policy document links. These are ‘texts’ I’ve come across when exploring the recent changes being fought for and advocated regarding diversity, representation and changes to UK broadcasting. All of them are publicly available, but I collate them here with a view to mapping out the contemporary terrain of UK broadcasting. The combination of governmental lobbying with industry involvement (and petitioning), is arguably creating new frameworks to improve the UK media ecology. Media ecology is a term to denote the study of media, through looking at the technology that media consists of, the communication that occurs through it and how they affect human environments.

However there is still a tendency within New Media scholarship that situate these changes, termed as political or national as belonging “In Real Life”, as though they do not touch upon or progress all media environs or have an impact globally. Especially as the driving force of many of these changes to the UK broadcasting, is under the banner of ‘Diversity’, a theme concerning identity/ies that resonate across global diasporas. Diasporas that are increasingly becoming connected through ‘cyberia’¹, cognisant of their history and practices and communicating for understanding and change.

A couple of years ago, in 2014, I fervently followed Lenny Henry’s call for action and diversity. Henry launched a petition to affect change through parliament, to boost the number and positions of workers from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, or else there would be a mass boycott of the licence fee. In short, action was called for. Meaning significant changes needed to be made and promoted, made visible, through lobbying the then culture minister Ed Vaizey. Here’s an article by Tara Conlan on The Guardian, which also showcases the “call to action” video that was sent out. A video that collects and projects narratives around how “diversity” or rather differences are encountered by media professionals who are marked as different in the industry. Started up in April 2014. This change came off the back of published polls and research, whose findings prompted calls for ‘media regulators to be more vigilant in addressing coverage of combustible subjects such as immigration and race.’² The poll by the Runnymede Trust found that ’78 per cent of respondents of all ethnic backgrounds believe that media portrayal of minorities encourages discrimination’².  The media is important to people across the world, as it gives people a sense of who they are, what they’ve been and who they can become. In that vein the people across the media industries, within all positions came together to be visible in their calls for change toward media institutions and governments.

A few months later in 2014, ’50 leading creative figures’ sent an open letter to the BBC director general, Tony Hall and the executives of ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and BSkyB – in short the broadcasting corporations that oversee our great media institutions. Articles here, and here. This time however, the call for change was clear. Dismayed at the numbers (5% of employees in creative industries are BAME despite making up 12.5% of population), the call was to ring-fence money to create a stable environment for BAME talent both behind and on screen. To increase the quality of programming. A similar economic framework exists to fulfil programming coming from outside of the London area, but here again these industry professionals feel the focus is on quantity, or ‘box-ticking’ perhaps,  rather than good-quality creative productions.

Now, lets be clear the pace of change has been slow. But by placing spotlights on the lack of diversity in media institutions, across the UK and even in the US, progress is arguably being made. It’s significant that the changes are being called for in the two culturally imperial centres of the world, the US and the UK. All of which reached mediated peak in 2016, so very recently. We’ve seen the ‘#OscarsSoWhite’ campaign, the ‘#BritsSoWhite‘ campaign, ‘#BlackLivesMatter’ – all of these requests from media environments, themselves communicated through mediation and technology show how identity has become a salient problem that must be countered with.

At the beginning of 2016, Idris Elba was invited by MP Tessa Jowell to give a keynote address Parliament on Diversity in the Media, full video of the address is here , a transcript that omits certain things is here. Also, an article by Paul Revoir at The Guardian that gives an overview and contextualising Elba’s career alongside other British talent, who feel the UK media industry needs change is here. Though the focus seems to be on celebrities, or the most visible a number of other persons have also got together to enact change. A debate occurred in parliament in April, 2016, though I must note it seems sparsely attended.


The tying together of Government and British media broadcasting has been there since the inception. But as the government resolves to make key changes and monitor our traditional media industries for the sake of equality, the key market of “new media” is often seen as a separate entity over which no control can be exerted. Despite the fact that the UK government is moving a number of legislation through Parliament that has affects upon the overall media ecologies around us, and will no doubt have repercussions on representation, connections and communication for years to come.


¹ J. Dean (2011) Communicative Capitalism: Circulation and the Foreclosure of Politics in Cultural Politics (Vol 1: 1 ; pp 51-74). Berg.

² I.Burrell (2014) ‘Media coverage of ethnic minority Britons ‘promotes racism’ in The Independent. Thursday 9 January 2014. Link