Zohab Zee Khan: Terrorist for Love

By Rueben Agius, William Cordwell

Slam poet, rap artist and motivational speaker, Zohab has always had a passion for words. He began his interest in poetry when he was a kid. He was very badly bullied as a kid, so poetry for him was a way of escaping the troubles of life. A lot of his work deals with racial issues, as he has routinely abused for being of Middle-Eastern heritage. He seeks to create a better and more peaceful world through poetry. Zohab is a firm believer that anything, as long as it has “one or more words”, is poetry, so according to him, this article is poetry, although, it probably isn’t very good poetry. Poetry is easy, if you can speak then you can make poetry. He also discussed the importance of having literary devices, as they make your poetry sound more interesting and make you sound “smarter than you really are”. His favourite technique is alliteration, as his favourite rap artist, Tupac uses it heavily in his songs. As well as being a slam poet, he also writes motivational speeches. One of the exercises he got the class to do was meant to help your happiness and self-esteem levels. It was called “The Universal Shoutout” and it involved standing up straight in the natural position of your spine, facing forwards, pushing your chest out and taking deep breaths. Then, you put your hands up in the air and yelled your name as loud as possible. The position is known as the superman position and is scientifically proven to increase dopamine levels, the chemical released by the brain which increases happiness. This game has a special place in Zohab’s heart as when he was young, he was bullied to the point where he began to believe that his name meant loser. His mum made him do this, and immediately after he began to view his name in a positive light. He asked his mum what Zohab meant, and she told him was named after his great grandfather, who was a warrior. From that moment on, Zohab no longer meant loser, but warrior king. The racism he experienced prompted him to write poems about terrorism, though not the terrorism we normally think of, terrorism in the name of love and peace. “I am on a jihad for peace” was one of the lines from his poems.  His experiences of racism and bullying have to lead him to fight for a world free of hate, where everyone can be happy with who they are.