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"Hello brother" - #51Lives

A lot has been happening over the course of the last month, but even in just the last couple of days. I had wanted to make a post about my first month in Gambia (which I will do seperately) but this past weekend was a reminder that the bubble I live in, while sometimes tough, is just that – a bubble.

I’ve spoken out on many things in the past, and I once again am faced with a massive wall casting a shadow on my mind about whether or not I can/should/will speak out about something.

When the shooting at the mosque in Quebec happened, I wrote about. I re-read the article I had written for the paper I worked for at the time while writing this and got teary eyed. (You can read it here).

I woke up on Friday morning with all kinds of notifications on my phone about what was happening. I was stunned, not because this was happening again, but because of where it was and how far reaching and profound the rhetoric of hate coming from a world “superpower” has been.

Like I said, I live in a bubble, expanding everyday, but still limited to the people who can support and love “the other” – I cannot even begin to wrap my head around the constant fear and anger these hateful people live in of this mysterious “other.”

I remember my first encounters with racism with such vividness and pain that I cannot bring myself to begin to forget them, but I have moved forward. Because I encounter racism somewhat regularly, it’s become the norm for me – but it should not have. It should not be the norm for anyone.

I refuse to write the name of the man who is pushing the hateful agenda in America or the names of the perpetrators because that is what they desire above all else, to be known and remembered for this atrocious thing that they did. Instead, the names you should remember and say loudly are those of the now 51 victims.

The moment of Friday’s panic that stayed with me the most is when one of the perpetrators said that the messages of hate from America emboldened him. This should send a clear message that what is happening is wrong and should be stopped. The venomous hate being spread is latching onto the minds of people who are already twisted and will clearly not stop until their warped view of the world comes to reality.

I live in this weird limbo of wanting to hide my heritage in all public settings because I do not want to have conversations with people who are bigoted, not because I don’t want to change their perspectives, but because I don’t want to be faced with violence. That is also not a world that anyone should have to live in.

I would like to thank Jacinda Ardern for her actions in showing solidarity and for skipping the bullshit of “thoughts and prayers” and enacting real change to save her people. Take notes America, take notes.

The facts that got under my skin the most were that (1) the American president called Ardern to offer support and (2) the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave his condolences for this event. The first man is one of the cited causes for this attack and doesn’t realize that he is a monster. And the second man is the reason some of the victims fled Palestine and happened to be at that mosque that (completely ignoring everything else he has done against Muslims, most recently allowing Big Pharma to come in and experiment on Palestinian prisoners in Israel.)

There is a long way to go in term of how social media is a player in this kind of tragedy as well. The attack was live streamed on multiple social media platforms and was NOT taken down immediately. This needs to be better monitored and managed.

The people who have posted messages of solidarity and support – thank you. To those of you who are afraid – I see you and I support you. I am always here to support, whether or not I know you in person.

I said it before and I will say it again. Islamophobia will not win.


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