I know it has been a while. And you’re going to think I’m so depressing between the movie review of The Help, and today. But really. It’s been on everyone’s minds. Ten years ago today, life really changed. I remember it so vividly. I remember thinking the buildings had to be empty, couldn’t comprehend the people. We had visited the World Trade Center on a trip two years before. We had watched the fireworks over the Hudson just that summer. I was watching the news and worrying about literally everyone: my cousins in New York, my dad at work, my sister still at school, my sister who worked at the County Courthouse in DTLA. What if LA was next?
That day was awful, but the days following were worse. People were getting shot just for looking a certain way. A Sikh man in Arizona was shot in his store. His thirteen year-old son, who also wore a turban, cried on the news, mourning his father, worrying about himself. I thought, “What about Daddy? He is actually a Muslim. Is somebody going to hurt him?” My dad reminded me that Muslims were not responsible, and that America would not let innocent people be hurt because they believed in Islam. And I believed him.
The next week, somebody in class called me “Mrs. Bin Laden.” Another day in P.E., my friend who wore a hijab, and I, were running together, and we got pushed into a fence by a jerk that I will never forget. The fear and hatred all come from the same place. Didn’t they think we were scared, too?
And then, I have to think, over the past ten years, I have had it easy. I may joke about being stopped in the airport, but I really don’t mind pulling out my passport and ID. If it makes people feel safer to check, whatever. I have nothing to hide. I don’t come from people who would harm anyone. And my name is pretty darn beautiful. It must catch people’s attention. There are more people dying. Dying for freedom. Many of them were my age when our lives changed forever. Many of them will always be this age, never coming home, never getting married and having kids. That’s not fair. And that is HARD.
All I can do is remember. Cry. And spend my time reminding people that Muslims are not the enemy and have contributed so much to the world. As a history major, my major papers all had to do with Muslim contribution to world history. I feel like that is my contribution.
I’ve been celebrating my birthday this weekend. And this afternoon, I’ll be at Disneyland. It may seem wrong, but why not enjoy what we do have? Why not celebrate life and all of its blessings? All of the people that died that day should be celebrated and remembered. And trust me, there is very little I forget about that day, that year, and the past ten. We’re here now, and we have a lot to be thankful for. Blessings and love to all of you. We’ve got this day to get through.