Indeed it is ‘heart-breaking’. Populist British newspapers have lost sight of the fact that Shamima Begum was a child when she made the decision to join ISIS. British children are not allowed to vote until the age of 18, are not allowed to marry (without parental permission) until 18, and cannot leave the institution of education until 18. And, yet, Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has allowed a letter to be given to Shamima, who was merely 15 at the time of her departure from Britain, revoking her British citizenship.
The voices of self-serving journalists slam Shamima for her comment of having ‘no regrets, turning a selective blind eye to the reality of what the last 4 years must have been like for a young woman, who at the age of 19, is barely out of her childhood. Four years of brainwashing, of being told what to think, of being under the power of a man who married a child. For a female living under the restraining arm of such patriarchal ideology that calls itself ISIS, to have had the audacity to formulate her own views, would have been a sin tantamount to death.
I would surmise, and please correct me if I am wrong, that Shamima would not have had access to any materials, visual, written or audio, that might have disabused her of ISIS doctrines. Unless, a person is presented with other viewpoints, how is she able to pick and choose which ones to adopt and which to reject? At 15, Shamima had not even completed her education, let alone had the time and space in which to formulate her own beliefs and identity.
It is beyond belief that this child, for indeed, even at 19, she is still a ‘child’, as she has not had any opportunity to become an independent – a free-thinking adult – is now, as well as being the victim of ISIS propaganda, being victimised all over again the fearmongering label of ‘terror bride’.
And why, pray tell me, is it so ‘shocking’ (Daily Star) for Shamima to point out the obvious. ‘You should have sympathy’ (Daily Star), she says, and ‘I am just a housewife’ (iNews). Indeed, Shamima, you are spot on. The British government, media and the people who deign to call themselves ‘British’, should indeed have sympathy for you. My daughter is the same age as you, and would I leave her and a tiny grandchild of mine to rot in a Syrian refugee camp?
Britain is a secular and multi-cultural society, that I ought to feel proud to be a part of, but right now, I’m not quite so sure about the provenance of the soil I stand on.
This is my plea to Britain, to Sajid Javid, and to anyone who calls themselves British and who claims to have a conscience:
Shamima was born in Britain; she has no home in Bangladesh. It’s time to bring our daughter and our grandchild, back home!
Copyright owned by freelance writer, Jay Cool, February 2019
This article was written in response to a story about Shamima Begum, covered by The Evening Standard.