Salihah AakilNovember 29, 2017

In 1961 the Berlin Wall separating East and West Germany was constructed.
In 2015 an American presidential candidate, first announced that he wanted to build a wall on the Mexico-US border.

And with all the pain and outrage his announcement caused
it only served to remind me of the message one nameless German graffiti writer and, in my mind, poet once scrolled on the Berlin Wall:
“Forget not the tyranny of this wall, nor the love of freedom that made it fall.”

And I carry those words with me because although I do not believe that the U.S.will ever have the money

to pay for the brick and mortar, and break and murder that it will take to build one of our biggest mistakes.

It doesn’t mean the words won’t divide us,
build barriers between communities who needed nothing more than to simply speak, and now are deaf to each other,
tear whole peoples apart, butcher, cut and carve at the last bits of unity we hold on to.

Welcome to the Divided States . . . of America.
Where blacks and whites are at each other's throats, where new and old are at each other’s throats, immigrants gasping while you stand on their throats.

And the only hope I hold onto is that, for every word that builds a barrier there is one to tear it down. Spark a flame that will burn all the hate away and maybe one day . . . Someone, somewhere on this fractured land will say
"Forget not the hatred that built these walls, nor the love of humans that made them fall."

And maybe we’ll pick up pickaxes of hope and hammers of love and break down these walls that separate us.

Like they did in Berlin.
Maybe resilience isn’t all we have to learn from them. Maybe we’ll learn to stop forgetting.

Salihah Aakil is a 15-year-old, African American Muslim writer, artist, and co-founder of Salvage, a non profit. She is a two-time DC Youth Poet Laureate finalist and an outspoken advocate for social justice. She found writing at the age of ten and hasn't stopped using it. Words are her weapon, wonder, and shelter. She uses poetry to express what others don't want to say, has found her voice through it and has resolved never to be silent again.