Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear God, please don't let this be a Muslim

Security officers on site leapt to the aid of those injured
Dear America,

You're smarting from a great tragedy. A terrible, terrible event happened in Boston. A joyous occasion was brutally crucified to make way for pain, blood and agony. Innocents were hurt. Innocents perished. The cowards who did this did not have the guts to own up to it. They deserve to rot in an open square with people ogling at them, taking cognizance of the abomination that these barbarians are.

As news reeled in off those who were killed, and those who were injured one prayer leapt to my lips:
Please dear God, don't let this be a Muslim. Don't let this be a Pakistani. Please dear God. Don't let this be.
But I see I was late in my prayer. You see a Fox News employee had already sent out a tweet condemning me to death. He also condemned the 1.6 billion other followers of Islam to death by saying "let's kill them all".

When I read that tweet I realized something. I realized how broken we all were. How disoriented, how unattached from one another. We're all humans yet we've demonized each other beyond reproach. To some all brown people appear as worthy of death. To some all white appear as worthy of death. We can't stop ripping each other a new one all the time. In all this madness people like me, those trying to keep sane amidst the insanity are crushed brutally.

Today I thought back to Pakistan. I thought about the 20 or so people who die there everyday. Then i came across this Facebook status from a friend:
Watching all the media about the Boston bombings, can't help but wonder if this is how the people of Pakistan feel all the time
So I wondered do we feel this way all the time? When a drone fires a Hellfire and kills innocent school children. When the terrorists bomb a market. When sectarian groups engage in systematically wiping out those who are opposed to them. Doesn't our heart weep when we hear about how another bystander was lost? About how a kid lost his parents? About how that poor woman lost her legs? What do we feel if not but pain? What do we do if not cry tears of blood day in and day out, over and over again?

My thoughts went out to the 50,000 innocent Pakistani lives lost in this craze. And then I realized how emotionally detached I was from my own people's suffering. The Boston Marathon explosions had left me shaking, but the 20 people who die in Pakistan everyday simply does not affect me at all. I was ashamed of myself. I was so very ashamed of my insensitivity. Did I think an American life was worth more than the life of my fallen Pakistani fellow? Did the Pakistani life just equal a nameless statistic forever confined to the annals of history to be used in pie charts, or bar charts to explain the year on year increase in casualties?

And then I realized, my desensitization was a defense mechanism.
If we Pakistanis started to give a shit about all those we lose every single day, we would go insane
I feel the same pain, but I refuse to acknowledge its existence. Because acknowledging its existence would mean I have to deal with it, and I can't. None of us can. It's easier to ignore and carry on than to deal with the great tragedy that takes place day in and day out.

Dear America the pain you feel today, I have felt for 11 years now. Every single day like a searing white hot pin piercing my heart. Dear America, when you accuse us of being responsible for all the ills plaguing the world we look at each other, we look at the 50,000 graves we have dug and we weep for the men, women and children we buried who can find no peace even in death. Dear America we die everyday only to find a thankless world tell us we're rogue terrorists who deserve to be locked up and wiped off the face of the earth. Our children's cries do not equal the cries of your children; the weight of our dead bodies does not equal the weight of your dead bodies. Our sacrifices do not exist, because you never see them. Our efforts go in vain because we've been demonized so much.
Dear America we've been so traumatized that now we are scared of saying we're Muslims, we're ashamed of our brownness and we feel deeply uncomfortable and guilty for belonging to the countries which you largely equate with the devil's personal backyard.
Dear America what you feel today is what millions of people living in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan have felt for many years now. I do not even for an instant suggest that you forgive those who have threatened you. I just request that when you send out a prayer for the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions that you remember the 37 Iraqis who were killed yesterday. I request you send out a quiet prayer for the 30 guests at a wedding which was "accidentally" bombed by a US bomber in Afghanistan. I request that you send out a quiet prayer for the 50,000 innocent men, women and children who have paid the ultimate price for a war that they were thrust in for no fault of their own except for having been born in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dear America you see what it has come to now? You see how terrorized, demonized and scared we feel?
Dear God, please, don't let this be a Muslim.


MarylandGirl said...

What...?! America doesn't go to Pakistan and kill children...? No one in America bloody blames The whole Muslim population! We blame the terrorists. You feel terrorized? Americans terrorise Muslims?! What?! Why are you in the USA. When 3000 people died on 9/11 by extremists, Americans have all the reason to be cautious. Don't cry foul, please.

And please, don't bring this tragedy back to yourself.

Hamza said...

"America doesn't go to Pakistan and kill children" -

Madam please verify your sources. This is a link to the names and ages of children killed by America in Pakistan in drone strikes.


Everyday hundreds die in wars that should never have taken place. All we ask is that you remember the nameless innocents who perish everyday. Innocents who become another statistic who you can't be bothered with. All we ask is you send out a quiet prayer for them as well just to prove you care about humanity. Your angry response betrays your assumption that "No one in America bloody blames The whole Muslim population!"

A lot of crazies in America think all Muslims are terrorists. A lot of people in America want all Muslims to be killed. Google "Fox news reporter tweet" and you'll see what I mean. So yes, we feel terrorized and demonized. We condemn the monstrosity that took away 3000 innocent lives. But for those 3000 lives you have demonized 1.6 billion people. You have terrorized and demonized them into being ashamed of their identities. Can you deny that?

anonomania said...

I'm a Pakistani also, living outside the bounds of Pakistan. While I can relate to your sentiments of Pakistanis and Muslims are generally good targets to get racially profiled and victims of xenophobia, thanks to mainstream media and Hollywood propagandist films like Zero Dark Thirty - which was highly offensive, I think the issue that most Pakistanis are facing is not just that people look them funny and have assumptions about them before meeting them. More importantly, Pakistanis that come abroad and try to settle into new countries are facing a major identity crisis (Hence the term, American/Canadian born confused desi), which also implies to immigrants.

Quoting you above:
"Dear America we've been so traumatized that now we are scared of saying
we're Muslims, we're ashamed of our brownness and we feel deeply
uncomfortable and guilty for belonging to the countries which you
largely equate with the devil's personal backyard."

All I hear is a guy who looks for approval from others and is not in peace with who he is. You are not alone in this but it is far too common for me to see confused desis who don't know what society they really belong in and are always playing the victim game.

If I could stop and tell each one of them that no one is forcing you to not follow Islam the way you see fit, no one is "making you feel ashamed" of being "brown" and no one is intentionally making you feel "guilty" for being of certain ethnicity. If you meet some people who have a negative view about you based on your skin, then you will always find those that are okay with who you are just the way you are. If you are really so depressed about how God made you, just because someone thinks it's "not acceptable", then maybe you also need to address the intensity of your insecurities and while you're at it, reconsider if you really do believe in the values that the Quran teaches. If you want to learn who really got racially profiled, ask Black America and learn from their stories of unity, struggle and perseverance. You playing the victim card only makes Muslims and Pakistanis look bad in general because you're not really doing anything to address it in a more civil manner. You have to figure out what exactly the underlying problem is of all this before complaining about living in a country that YOU CHOSE to live in. If you can't abide by the bullshit it's going to throw at you, then going somewhere else might be the best option.

Hamza said...

Thank you for your opinion. In hindsight this blog does appear to portray Muslims as victims (which you rightfully mention has been the case a majority of the times) but the real essence of this blog was to make the point that tragedies wherever they occur in the world all deserve our collective conscience instead of jumping to preconceived notions and stereotypes. You see if it is a Muslim who has committed this terrible act then you can bet every Muslim is going to feel the brunt of it regardless of how you choose to follow Islam, or believe in the values that Quran teaches us.

Dr. Patrick Star said...

I find it ironic that as a, for the most part conservative American, who believes in the 2nd Amendment, I heard about the terrible Boston bombing and thought to myself, "Dear God, please, don't let this be a white right-wing gun nut".

Hamza said...

Well I hope whoever it is, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, gun-nut, non gun-nut -- that they get exactly what they deserve.

Ezza said...

It is simply all of the devastation we have felt as humanity, not just Muslims. This writer is not making this about us, but about the way the rest of the world demonizes us because of these "Muslim" terrorists. Please don't say that America doesn't send drones to Pakistan, because they do. They set them upon areas where there are but innocence... I had a dear cousin who died from one. I thank Hamza for posting this, I cried deeply when I realized how detached I became after my cousin's death because I never wanted to feel any pain anymore. I cried when I learned about the bombing in Boston, not only because the blame fell immediately on Muslims, but because another innocent child died meaninglessly running away from a threat. Please don't feel animosity towards Muslims or anyone. You may not blame Muslims my friend, but in the back of everyone's mind is the thought, and that's all that counts for us. We don't feel terrorized, we feel pain; I do not label this violence, I see it and weep at meaningless and stupidity of it all. I see it and I think of that one little boy who simply ran the other way... We all cry. Please, please just don't hate against something that you have never experience the pain we have. I'm not saying you haven't experienced it at all, but we do everyday. And we a tired and weak from it and don't understand why we as humans aren't simply left alone, and the wrong-doers aren't the only ones blamed in the back of people's minds. I think of the young boy, as well as the hundreds of other young boys who die because of meaningless violence. No anger... just pain

Ezza said...

I have the most amazing life and friends, the most fulfilling education and experiences, the most touching self-connection with God, and I feel no identity crisis, but I do feel the trauma and pain with my birth country being associated with "the devil's backyard".

Ezza said...

Whoever has done this and anything like this, I truly hope they have the worst time in life from this point forward. No one deserves to die, especially not an innocent boy, and last seeing chaos. And that was my second thought :"Dear God, please, don't let this be a white right-wing gun nut"

Akmaral Janat said...

This is awesome!! I really admire

Liberator said...

This is awesome!!! I really admire the author for writing such a piece. It is touching as well as true. I was mortified when I heard Erik Rush say, "Muslims are evil. Let's kill them all". That is the kind of disgusting behaviour that ultimately leads to violence and war. It is crucial to educate people about what goes on in Middle Eastern countries, especially for people like @696d3be6394506e848f8e6e23e91db18:disqus . That is the highest level of ignorance and misunderstanding.

Akmaral Janat said...

Well, I believe that that the person who did this can have any life he/she wishes. It is not our, as human beings, duty to give that person a hard time. I mean, we are not his judge, God is his judge. The afterlife is ultimately where he will have his fate.

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