Tuesday, December 27, 2011

They Hate Me.

When we were young we believed that love could conquer all - that just by hoping with all your heart that the world would be a better place could make it so. I used to think that the louder I shouted about injustices, the faster they would be resolved. I used to know things for sure, I used to believe in the goodness of people over their evil.

The last few years have been like anchors, slowly pulling my head down out of the clouds. I've begun to see that there are very few things in life that are simply black and white. I've begun to lose hope in the world. I don't know when exactly I started to feel this way, but I think that all the hatred for Muslims and Islam that is now a part of worldwide political and social dogma is at the root of these feelings. It's now becoming apparent that it is acceptable to insult and humiliate Muslims without facing substantial criticism. Entire governments are anti-Islam.

Even in Egypt where I am now stationed, the case is the same. You'd think that in a majority Muslim country, you'd be less exposed to anti-Islam rhetoric, but unfortunately that is just not true. Recent elections brought the Muslim Brotherhood and a Salafi Party into "power" (and I'm not yet sure what that even means considering the turmoil surrounding the military's current rule). I'm alright with people disagreeing with these parties' politics, as I'm sure I don't agree with all of them myself. But the anti-Islam rhetoric coming from "liberal" media has been so immense and heartbreaking that I usually just stop reading or turn the TV off.

And my heart hurts more every time I read or watch something about some new person or entity hating me. And I say "me" because the personal is political and the political is personal. Part of me wishes I could escape to a mental state where I was more hopeful in people seeing truth above propaganda. I want to be able to look up at the clouds and not be distracted by the ugly ground I'm standing on. I want to be free of hatred and full of love. I wish I was, I wish I could be.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Jannah Crescent

Over the past several years, my family has been scattered around the world. It seems to happen intermittently - one sibling leaves to pursue some dream in another city or country, and another simultaneously comes back home. I think the last time we were all together was over five years ago.

So there's this small crescent on my street in Toronto that has 6 or 7 beautiful houses - it's actually more of a glorified semi-circle driveway. When my sister and I used to walk past it, we would talk about how awesome it would be if we bought those houses in the semi-circle and everyone moved back home. All the nieces and nephews and brothers and sisters and our parents, and we all got to see each other whenever we wanted. We'd talk about how we'd just all take turns cooking, and how we'd knock on each others doors when we felt like going someplace, and we'd all definitely take food from our parents' house.

It was a happy thought, and it still is. And then we would just sigh and my sister would say "maybe in Jannah, inshaAllah."

Over the years I've realized that all happiness is marred my some sadness. Even if for a moment or two everything seems just exactly right. It doesn't have to be some immense life-altering sadness, it could just be a loved one being too far away for you to share your happiness with her or him. It could be the distant memory of what you wish you could change from all those years ago. It could be anything.

This is not to be confused with pessimism or deep-seated regrets. Far from it. All I mean to say is that there is no pure happiness, sadness, anger, or other emotions. You aren't just one thing at any time. When you realize that this life is more emotionally complicated than you once imagined, it makes Jannah feel more real.

We are continuously journeying towards stations of happiness, but when we arrive, there are always memories of sadness or fear of future troubles. The thing is, when you arrive to the ultimate station of happiness, paradise, none of that exists anymore.

I just hope that someday we get to live in a Jannah Crescent.

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's December

Regardless of where you are in the world, December is just plain old December. And it sucks the words right out of my mouth.