london

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.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, extra? This guy.

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If we are talking about unexpected visitors in photos, it doesn’t get more unexpected than this guy. There I was, pleased with this Big Ben shot that turned out ok given I was in a moving vehicle, when this guy shocks the daylights out of me by jumping over the fence. At the time, I was furious he ruined my shot. Today, I see this photo in a whole different light 🙂