Why I started my politically-charged YouTube series in a chaotic political climate

A leading creative in the real world, Mateen Manek decided to take to the online world to share a new endeavour – his Youtube series, Politically Mateen, which he has since ended to pursue new projects. In this feature, Mateen provides a glimpse into the inspiration behind his project, and how it aimed to spark healthy discussion in a time that needed it most.   

Conversation is important. Through conversation and dialogue, we can express our opinions and learn from others. What many people don’t understand is that dialogue allows us to be wrong, and, most importantly, allows us to tackle negative ideas.

Politics and global affairs, at this current moment, are filled with negative ideas. Debates are becoming more partisan, politicians are taking on extreme ideas, reporting is becoming increasingly polarized, and people around the world are suffering from inequality. With so much to worry about, from climate change to state surveillance, fear and stress are becoming more common. Negative ideas are infiltrating our society and dividing us.

That was one of the reasons why I started my Politically Mateen series; I wanted to be one of those voices in the great conversation about what is going on in the world. I’ve always enjoyed acting and performing, so making a video series seemed an almost natural choice for me. I wanted to share my knowledge and my thoughts with the world, especially on topics like Islamophobia and voting.

That was the catalyst to the creation of my videos. As a proud Canadian and Muslim, I was beginning to see Canada change into a country that used divisive rhetoric and targeted its own citizens. The anti-Muslim rhetoric by politicians was worrying to not only myself, but to many Canadians around the country. Many on social media took to attacking, with very negative and hateful language, who wrote Islamophobic messages, but I felt that a yelling match didn’t solve anything. I felt that if we’re going to tackle these negative issues, we need to approach them rationally.

Now, Politically Mateen didn’t start off as perfectly as I had hoped. In fact, the first video of the series was very different from the last video, but this attests to the learning process. I was constantly striving to make my content better, across multiple platforms. My videos also had a positive effect on myself; I was constantly researching and perusing the news for interesting stories to talk about. I hope I was able to help the politically unaware (or even aware!) around the world.

By having a politically-charged YouTube series, I hoped to create discussion surrounding the issues that affect us. Negative and harmful ideas are becoming more prominent and more invasive in our society, and it’s becoming more important to discuss them openly. I don’t know if my videos will have been successful in the long run, but even if one person has been or will be inspired, I will know that all of this will have been worth it.

By Mateen Manek

Mateen Manek was the host of Politically Mateen on YouTube for about four months. His book of poetry, The Traveller: Part I, was released in June 2016. He has also written and produced four short films, and also expresses his ideas through his blog, the clearly illiterate cafe. He also serves as the creative director for the creative writing website 30 Nights of Ramadan.

Mateen can be followed on Twitter (@mateenmanek) and Instagram (@politicallymateen).

Please note that opinions expressed are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views and values of The Blank Page.