Another day, another tragedy, and it seems like the tragedies keep hitting closer and closer to home. I have always identified first and foremost as a Muslim, and you can debate my religiosity all you want but it doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m a fervent Muslim and a vocal one at that. Being a Muslim means every death hurts; every single life on this planet taken away is like all of humanity being systematically destroyed. All murder is personal, but the murders at Chapel Hill feels like someone dropped a gauntlet right in front of every Muslim.
“Pick it up. Aren’t you going to duel with me? Isn’t that what Muslims want, to fight and to kill?”
Man, all we want is to finish school and procrastinate on our readings and eat ice cream because we’re sad that our boyfriend/girlfriend is being a jerk, or because our crush won’t notice us. All my parents want is for me to clean my damn room once in a while and not discard my clothes onto the floor. All we want to do is deal with our own issues, like the inkling of OCD that still plagues us, or that the more snow days we get here in Boston, the less we get paid while we’re on co-op, or that it’s been so long since we’ve watched a movie or read a good book, or that we really want to travel someday soon.
Or that we’d really like to go to school and not sit scared behind our desks because the Peshawar Massacre was only two months ago.
Or that our children, two of them newly-wed, were just killed and we’re trying to make sense of the world as a result of it.
Or that all we want is to hold onto hope and look towards a better, brighter future – not just for ourselves, but for the rest of humanity.
We just want what all humans want. We’re just trying to perceive ourselves as we stand in the grand scheme of things…and it’s hard to see the grand scheme of things as anything but against us lately. Death hurts equivocally. A life taken away is painful across the board. Don’t make it any harder by making assumptions against us or by peddling conspiracy theories. Don’t perpetuate a system of oppression by vilifying black youth and people of color. Don’t make living more of a challenge than it should be by telling someone they’re not allowed to love how they wish or dress how they please.
Spread kindness, spread words of support, share your condolences and your stories. It matters more than we can articulate when non-Muslims stand in solidarity with us. Make things a little brighter. Take away some of this malaise and persistent sadness that hounds our footsteps and makes our shadows feel like a burden to carry.
Help us because we need to stand together to fight off this ignorance. We owe it to our humanity.