In remembrance of Mario Woods

A personal account


It’s creeping up to 2am, and I’m aware that Its in my best interests to sleep, however something, maybe that incessant need to know of the world, its whereabouts and what its doing has me scrolling further into the abyss of what I call my newsfeed. I casually scroll, half-heartedly paying attention. At this moment, the fatigue is beginning to find its home, understandable; I’ve led quite the gruelling day.

Returning to my newsfeed, I stumble, or rather scroll upon an AJ+ video which I decide to watch, I mean who wouldn’t? AJ+ and a story on Beyoncé? Intelligent matter and my one my favourite icons in a video? Before I know It the video is rolling and I’m engrossed in Bey’s flawlessness.

Now the real reason as to why I’m writing this, the video takes a drastic turn and before I know it, I’m no longer ogling Beyoncé’s Suoerbowl ensemble, but I’m watching a man surrounded with policemen, firearms at the ready and ready to pounce. I can’t help but liken it to a sea of lions cornering their prey, anticipation and excitement as rife as the number of rifles in the vicinity. The video tells me he’s twenty-six but his shrieks, his begging and pleading seem to me those of child in want of something. He seems so small in comparison to them, but the difference is this is a man, not a child, and he’s begging; the degrading thing is that he’s begging for the right to life itself. Funny how human rights come and go within the police force. I’m sure the first one on the list is a right to life?


26 years old, Mario Woods. San Francisco police are being probed as a result of his death

So at this stage, the screen goes black. Before I even have the time to worry, the sound of a shot pierces through my heart, followed what seems to be a never-ending barrage of more, more and then more. They wont stop. I’m praying they stop but they carry on taunting me. They still wont stop. I’m screaming in unison with the video, I’m screaming with his family when I see him fall, I’m screaming when it stops. I viciously try to hide the emotions physically running down my cheeks but I cannot comprehend what I have seen. I cannot think. I cannot for the life of me believe what I have seen. At 2am I just witnessed a murder.

I can only describe the true extent of my feelings as a tumult. A tumult of all emotions related to sadness. I think of Mario, his family, his friends. My thoughts turn incessantly darker. I begin to wonder, if not marvel at those so called “law enforcers”; they stand, in numbers unjustified for one man and amidst his pleading for his life, amongst the excruciating despair echoed in the shrills of his family…. Unhesitatingly pull the trigger. Not once, not twice, but twenty times. Twenty times. One cannot help but think if to them this is merely some form of a sadistic Sunday sport.  How can so many be so inhumane together? How? It is beyond me.

After witnessing such traumatic scenes and being so utterly shaken, I am struck by an incessant need to know more about Mario. I expect that when I endeavour to find this information, the inevitable outcry that will have resulted will produce many articles detailing the injustice of what transpired. Again the media fail me.

All that I am able to find is stories on Beyoncé, her riveting performance, and an interview of the man that was allegedly stabbed by Mario Woods. Few news outlets have actually spoken of Mario, and stories of him seem rare, almost like an antique. I spend what seems to be hours trying to find at least scraps of information but am disappointed time and time again. Eventually I decide it will have to wait for tomorrow.


Freddie Gray, died of suspicious circumstances in police custody, 2015

Tomorrow arrives and Mario’s story is fresh on my mind, it is all I can think about but no one seems to know. No matter who, where or how I approach people, no one knows of Mario, his name is foreign to them.  Its at this moment, I realise that unless you’re lacking in melanin, the media won’t report about you because you’re irrelevant. The value of your life is automatically lessened. Society dictates you have a reduced importance and that similarly to Mario Woods, Freddie Gray and Michael Brown… You’re disposable.  As long as the judicial system turns a blind eye, society’s norms and values will ensure that black lives don’t matter and the real perpetrators will still continue to masquerade as peacekeepers. In the eyes of an ideal law, a homicide should be treated as such, even if the murderer wears a uniform.


Time passes and as people are beginning to recognise the brutality of Mario’s murder, his name becomes more known, prominent even. His name is interchanged with the likes of Trayvon Martin and even Stephen Lawrence. But their names should not be famous. They should be living the lives they were entitled to, not being representations of police brutality and martyrdom. Their names should not need to be taken in memory of them. Their deaths should not have occurred. Yet who actually admits to this?

Similarly, black people should not have to campaign for their right to security. #Blacklivesmatter shouldn’t have to exist, but it does, because frankly its needed. But our brothers and sisters out there are doing a goddamn good job of it.

With love to Mario,

With love to the resilient ones

With love to #blacklivesmatter. May god be with you.





At peace

It was the isolation that choked her. 

It was the concrete knowledge that the seas of people that wished her well, didn’t.

The rope grew tighter

 The grip grew tighter

The reins pulled harder
But she gave in to the only path remaining

That she avoided with her heart and soul

It was the only one providing light

In an abyss of darkness 
Suddenly the rope fell 

The grip retreated

The reins removed

The isolation retreated, cowering into non-existence 
She had found her saviour

A deity above all else 


At peace, in a sea of isolation. 

#30X30: Finish The Pulitzer Project

Wow. So touching, gnawing at the heartstrings and appealing to the inner romantic within me.

the drew moody

On February 9, 2010, my best friend, Joshua, and I set out on an adventure; the challenge we posed to ourselves was to read all 84 novels that had won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in one year. On March 19, 2015—a full 61 months and 87 books later—I finally wrapped up The Pulitzer Project.

I didn’t cross that finish line with a shout or a even a sigh of relief, though; I crossed the finish line with, I have to confess, hesitation, reticence, and a touch of sorrow. Sure, there was a bit of relief mixed in there, but I’d be lying if I said that I had nothing but happiness to close the back cover of the last book and place it back on the shelf.

The Pulitzer Project started out very ambitiously, and it became so much more than a mere reading project or a humble book…

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the semicolon project

This is an amazing read. Never give up, don’t finish the sentence, but pause and carry on.


FullSizeRender-1FullSizeRender Today I went to a tattoo artist, and for $60 I let a man with a giant Jesus-tattoo on his head ink a semi-colon onto my wrist where it will stay until the day I die. By now, enough people have started asking questions that it made sense for me to start talking, and talking about things that aren’t particularly easy.

We’ll start here: a semi-colon is a place in a sentence where the author has the decision to stop with a period, but chooses not to. A semi-colon is a reminder to pause and then keep going. 

In April I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. By the beginning of May I was popping anti-depressents every morning with a breakfast I could barely stomach. In June, I had to leave a job I’d wanted since I first set foot on this campus as an incoming freshmen because of my mental…

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The Charleston Shooting and the Potent Symbol of the Black Church in America

This article perfectly highlights the pitfalls of the American society and their negligence towards black people. Negligence doesn’t even begin to cover it. White supremacy is as rife as ever, and frankly it’s sickening.

The Junto

Emanuel landscapeLast night, Dylann Storm Roof entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, sat through an hour-long meeting, and then opened fire on those in attendance. Reverend Clementa Pinckney, a state senator, was among nine individuals who were killed. Many are shocked at not only the grisly nature of the shooting, but also its location. “There is no greater coward,” Cornell William Brooks, president of the N.A.A.C.P, declared in a statement, “than a criminal who enters a house of God and slaughters innocent people engaged in the study of scripture.” Yet this experience is unfortunately, and infuriatingly, far from new: while black churches have long been seen as a powerful symbol of African American community, they have also served as a flashpoint for hatred from those who fear black solidarity, and as a result these edifices have been the location for many of our…

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The pain
In the face
Of no voice,

The screech,
It beckons
the eyes to a sight.

Her struggle for a name,
For an entity,
To save face.

Is it a woman who must beg,
For a saviour,
A friend,
Is she incapable of all else?

Is it right for a woman
who doesn’t conform
to the norm,
To be treated as a threat?
To be placed as second best?
For she is but just a woman.


The human need to encourage failure.

Yes, I am contradicting the phrase “failure is not an option”.

Rather, I feel as though humans make failure such an easy option, that the fight against it is made more strenuous. Telling yourself that you will never be anyone of significance, or that you lack the capability to exceed, just pushes you further back. The question is, why? Why do we feel the need to do so?

The need, perhaps, lies in the another human trait; the desire to be like those surrounding you. Whether for your benefit or downfall; at least you have someone in line behind you who will fall in just the same way.

Ask yourself this… Is it necessary?


-Unable to fathom the pain evident,

In tired, heavy hearted souls;

I continue, Smiling.

My laughter lines contradict those,

Ingrained upon their foreheads.

Their heavy hearted souls examine

The empty heartedness of mine.

I am lost; in the bliss of my discoveries,

They are lost; in the bleakness of fate.

Their interests mimic my own.

So why am I not aggrieved?

Why do I fail to feel?

I see her crawl from the Jaws of Death.

Painstakingly, Laboriously, Narrowly.

Though I see what I see, I do not see.

They are encapsulated in prayer;

In the hopes of a miracle, divine.

I am encapsulated by life’s pleasures.

Their souls are pure,

Mine is embroiled in its dark abyss.

Yet whilst their heavy hearted souls tire,

As she crawls from Death himself,

I smile.

Happy Holidays!

Hi again,

To everyone celebrating today, have a brilliant day filled with lots of turkey, chocolate and good old Christmas movies ( I am basically talking about Home Alone).

However, if you don’t celebrate Christmas, that’s cool. Just take advantage of the TV.

I love TV if you haven’t realised…

Merry Christmas:)

A Black Day for Pakistan, and the World.


Look at him.

He survived, he was one of the lucky ones.

He is a boy of fourteen, whose eyes encapsulate not humour or joy, but agony. The agony in his eyes haunts the depths of my soul, to the extent that I cannot look at him any further. The image of him claws deep into the recesses of my mind, and imprints there. I try to turn away, yet his eyes draw me in. There is something in the terror there that forces me to continually glance back, and within those moments, I feel completely and utterly helpless. I wish there was something I could do to alleviate his pain, but I know that I am not powerful enough to do so. I know that I am one of a billion spectators, whom I can only hope; share with me these sentiments of empathy.

I am looking at an image. This is Pakistan in 2014, and I am watching the events of the Peshawar School Massacre unfold before me, on a flat screen in my apartment.

Whilst I feel the hairs on my skin stand-to, I cannot move from the nest of my couch. Images flash, second by tedious second, portraying the dead, the wounded… and the perpetrators. I think of how helpless I feel, and wonder if they ever felt the same. I wonder if they ever felt empathy, then I find myself wondering if they were ever capable of such a thing. Suddenly I become wholly submerged in the devastation of it: The loss of 141 lives.

It is in this moment I cast my thoughts to the mothers, the fathers and the aggrieved. If I, a simple spectator, am so devastated by this inhumane loss of life, how will the mother respond to the inhumane slaughter of her child? Her child who was innocent? Her child who in the aims of the perpetrators, was collateral damage? How can you look a child in the eye, and pull the trigger? The extent of inhumanity and cold-blooded insanity baffles me. I cannot comprehend it.

When children are targeted and premeditatedly murdered, you must ask yourself what has become of the world that supposedly claims that we live in the most peaceful time in history. Is this peace? What of Palestine, Syria, Burma, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Bosnia, Libya etc.? What of them? The list goes on.

This is not peace. It is not, and I will not stand for it to be addressed as such. Yes, the times at present may be the most peaceful in regards to worldly history, but not everyone is enjoying the extent of freedom that others may be accustomed to. Whilst inhabitants of some countries enjoy the advantages of modern society, others are denied their basic human rights; they dare not speak for fear of retribution. Imagine living in fear of your own tongue, and what may escape from it?

The world more often than not, acknowledges these facts passively. I can only dream that one day, we will claim to live in the most peaceful time in history, and see that represented in countries worldwide. To attain such peace however, there is a long way to go. These barbaric killings represent that to achieve true peace, we must advance very far indeed.

The barbarism of these killings still bewilders me. Yet, they are a mechanism, used to instil terror, and to attain vengeance, for a pointless feud that will lead to nothing but more unnecessary death in a recurrent cycle of violence.

I will simply say this much, the mass killing in Peshawar was a depraved act all in the name of vengeance. An attempt of vengeance which led to the killing of 132 innocent schoolchildren. Do you call that a fair fight?

Let it be known; the coward attains nothing but the shame of his cowardice, and the burden of his sins.