London Bridge; “You have no right to be afraid.”

-I am someone who is paranoid by nature. Anyone who has had the misfortune / pleasure of speaking to me for a while knows this.

-My family and I fled Yemen in the year 2000. Our financial situation was dire, my father’s health was critical and my mother said the country was going to fall apart soon. We called her paranoid. Of course I am grateful to her now for getting us out when she did, given that Yemen has been a state of war coming up to three years now. The city where I used to live in particular has basically become an ancient ruin.

-I moved to England in 2000 and I had a few months of peace and a promise of a new life in a civilised country where people were nice then boom, 9/11 happened. 

-We became the most hated people alive real quick that year. And by we, I mean muslims. Sure, nothing major happened to me, but the comments were there, the minor physical attacks were there. I was always on edge. Always looking behind my back.

-I westernised myself as much as possible not even to fit in, but to become invisible. I did not want to become anyone’s target. I refused to wear the hijab for the longest time for this very reason.

-From America to Paris and everywhere in between, the world fell apart in terms of these horrific attacks in the name of Islam. We became that neighbour everyone bitched about and ganged up on.

-The attacks eventually got closer to home with Manchester falling last week and now London being targeted as well.

-Having just finished watching a video of Police instructing people in a bar to get down for their own safety, my ever so alert ears picked up the dulcet tones of a not so gentle man saying, “fucking muslim cunts.” And honestly my heart bled.

-No one cares though, right? No one wants to hear how I feel, how much I fear for mine and my family’s safety. After all, it’s “my people” doing this so I have no right to be afraid just like everyone else. Nay, how dare I indulge in such emotions only available for privileged non muslims?

-I have no idea why any educated being thinks these people would think twice about mowing me down if I was walking on London bridge tonight. I assure you, that van would not have slowed down to spare my life just because I was “one of them.” They’d just think; “her family would understand, she left the world for a good cause.”

Because these people don’t care. They have got zero awareness or care on how their actions affect others’ lives. They do the deed and boom gone, then it’s people like me that have to face the consequences of something… wait for it, we didn’t even do. 

-Do not generalise the actions of 1000 crazy muslims onto the 1.6 billion of us minding our own business, or trying to as we watch too much Netflix, stay up too late on the weekend and stumble into work with one eye closed. Not. Unlike. you.

-Still, I take some comfort in imagining these men’s reaction when they see that what awaits them in the skies above are not “72 virgins” but God’s wrath for taking away the lives of innocent people. 

-Until the next attack, where you will look at me like I am everything that is wrong with the world and make me feel shit about my day for doing absolutely nothing, I shall remain on edge and paranoid, not unlike I was 17 years ago, because I have no right to feel afraid. Apparently.

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20 comments

  1. You’re so brave for writing this Tam…I’ve been uneasy since the Manchester attacks because I want to write too, but I just don’t know where to begin. And now this. How do you voice the concerns of a people that are, in this given situation, not permitted to have a voice? Like you’ve said, does anyone even care about what we have to say?

    1. Thank you Zoya. I’m not sure many care at the moment. Not to sound Harry Potter but dark times are ahead of us. May Allah swt protect us from all evil.

  2. Like others, this was very brave of you to right. I have been struggling with this issue myself, and have only recently put out a post about what Islam means to me. This is a really powerful piece.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. It was hard to feel and easy to write in the end. May humanity replace intolerance soon. Amen.

  3. I hope you feel better soon, Tam Tam. I’m sorry people do this.
    People do alot of stuff, right? Both good and bad.
    Wasn’t it you who told us about a story of an old lady on the bus or something? I think I will take the time to dig it out.Maybe it will make you smile. 🙂
    ( I hope it was your blog otherwise, I’ll go sleep. 😛 )
    I was so shocked when I heard about the attack. </3 Aakh sometimes..umm leave it.
    Just *hugs*. And prayers.For everyone! Breathe.
    Keep writing, it helps and you know that!

  4. Ahhh yaaay I found it! And I found another one that is related. 😀
    First I found this one using the tags https://tamtam01blog.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/an-act-of-kindness-%e2%99%a1/
    and then yaay you mentioned the one I was looking for…this one…
    https://tamtam01blog.wordpress.com/2016/01/16/the-one-where-a-hindu-lady-found-this-muslim-gal-a-place-to-pray/
    I hope you re read them or like just remember this also. I know this is quiet kiddish of me. 😦 But honestly, Idk what else to say or do.I know you’re umm what’s the word maybe ‘sadmad’ ?
    Life is disappointing sometimes. </3 I was talking to a friend today and I told her something..really simple I'll just share it.Just a reminder.

    You know when life gets tough three things will make your life better. (Three things except the obligatory things)
    1⃣Dua.2⃣Salat ul hajat. 3⃣Sadaqah.

      1. Anytime! I thought it was very well written post. I wish people wouldn’t judge people on the actions of a few individuals who have twisted an ideology to suit their own perverse interests. It’s not fair. I’m sorry that you have to deal with that. 💜

  5. Love these words. I have never given in to the “hatred” of others before, but I feel it so much more now. Im actually too scared to go and vote on me own on Thursday lest I get kicked out…the joys of living alone. :/

    1. Bless you… you won’t of course. Then again, times are scary indeed. I’m not comfortable venturing out anymore either. I go where I need to and come home that’s it. Sigh. God help us.

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