[This blog is published anonymously, on the request of the author]
Security know my name. They stare at me and say ‘hi’, a casual reminder that I’m surrounded – made an alien in my own university. When I enter University House, I am followed round the corridors. My friends are probed on my political activities. Every step I take, I look across my shoulder and around me. I am an ordinary student, I think. But am I a ‘domestic extremist’?
I never participated in any occupations. I never broke any doors or smashed any windows. I am an ordinary student, I think? I only ever expressed my political opinions. I go to the demos, and speak occasionally. I sit-in less often than I sit-down with management. I am the one with the megaphone saying ‘This is a peaceful protest. Anyone wishing to be violent is not welcome. This is a peaceful protest’. I do things safely, peacefully, I think. But, in their eyes, in their truth, am I a domestic extremist?
I call out injustice when I see it. I have grown to think I do it more than I should. I can’t help myself, to lend my voice to the voiceless, to speak about what’s wrong and how much better this place we call ‘civilization’ could be. I do it to quell that inner urge to shout, to cry for a breath, for a chance, for the death of hope. Does speaking peace, does crying for love, does working for justice make me a ‘domestic extremist’?
I suppose I’m flattered by the attention. It means we’re striking the right nerve, that we’re making some success. But when the flush of excitement wanes, a lingering feeling of discomfort stays, an understanding that I’m in constant threat of what their sheath may unveil, dominated by the burning fear that my safety, my degree, my happiness may be murdered by my political audacity.
I was an ordinary student. Not any more. Today, I am an outlaw pursued for daring to speak out. Today, I am a domestic extremist.
Ed: for more info on the category of domestic extremist, check out Netpol https://netpol.org/tag/domestic-extremism/