The Name Tag | by @SannaArman

Posted on Posted in Poetry

When we were younger

Our woolen school sweaters had nametags imprinted on them

Using sharp pointing needles

And some brightly colored thread

To tell Mohammed’s from Mohamed’s sweaters apart.


During the day Mohammed and Mohamed were friends

Played cops and robbers

Though at home they were told stealing was wrong

But hey,

It was just a game

So it didn’t matter

That Mohammed was a villain

With his army of 9 year old body guards

Robbing other 9 year olds at gun point

With AK47’s only visible to them

Or curved out from the branches of the tree

That stood right in the middle of the playground

Dropping pistachio sized rock bombs on large building molded from sand

It was just a game

And so Mohammed enjoyed being public enemy for 20 minutes.



The cop,

Was left to save the day

He had to bring these terrorists to the station

Before the 20 minute break ended

To answer for their crimes

Under the shade of the tree at the far end of the school field

Where they’d each serve their time in a cells

Drawn into the ground using a sharp stick and rings of dried leaves.


Without wasting time

He’d start driving around the whole city

Accapella sirens on

Through the swings

Down the slide

Round the supernova

Up and done the climb over

Driving at 100k/ph knowing if he didn’t run

I mean

Drive fast enough

He’d be mocked all day for being slow.


When the little brass bell tinkled at half past three

All hell would break loose

It was the only time where a little confusion

Would turn the two friends enemies

You see the difference between Mohammed and Mohamed

Was that their names were spelt differently

One was spelt with a double m and the other with a single

So it didn’t help

That they both had their names imprinted on their grey school sweater in white.


Mohammed and Mohamed grew up to be great men!

Hardworking, honest, decent men

And yes,

They both had strength with an iron will

But when they rule with an iron fist

Under a false flag called democracy

It makes no difference how cast-iron your stomach is

Because the taste of blood

And the smell of burning flesh from those lost under stereotypes

Makes you just as sick, as bad food.


See they had no time to iron things out

Truth is

They just needed an excuse

And when the towers came crumbling down

The optimists saw the glass half full

And instead of mourning the lost lives

Decided to strike when the iron was still hot

And declare their war on terror.


Your war on terror

Turned Mohammed and Mohamed into public enemy number one

Cops and robbers was no longer a game played during a 20 minute break

But a life long constant state with a common denominator

The cops would have different faces

And different personas

But Mohammed and Mohamed

Represented the faces of the terrorism at junctions

Airport checkpoints

Or even at restaurants.

The number of m’s in their names became irrelevant

Because the names Mohamed




Served as evidence of the numbers of murders they must have committed

I mean

We all know Muslims are terrorists.


Mohammed and Mohamed learnt that ‘al salaam w’ aleikum’ had two meanings

The ordinary

‘Peace be upon you’

And the socially construed

‘I’m a ticking time bomb… about to take your peace from you’

Their problem stopped being how their name was spelt

But that it was even spelt at all

And so they were asked to have ‘Danii’

Instead of ‘Mohammed’

On their name tags at work

Because “the name Mohammed automatically makes you the enemy

And please don’t get me wrong,

it’s nothing personal.

We just wouldn’t want our customers

Thinking we hire terrorists here now would we?

As for how you look

Try sound less like your people

And more like mine

You’ll be noticed less

And be just fine

Again it’s nothing personal.”


You can listen to this piece on SoundCloud.

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