I am heartbroken, to be honest, torn to shreds by a country that refuses to love me back. I feel like a stalker, constantly going back to an abuser, that refuses to see me as I really am. And every-time I try to leave, like a faithful lover, it beckons me back, with promises of better days and change. But I am no fool. My abuser will not change willingly, my abuser will have to be forced to change, or be left entirely. My abuser, is the United States of America.
It's easy to see just how bad these results can be for someone like me. After all, I do not even have the title of American to hide behind. I, like many others, am disposable beyond belief. I can be deported, or refused entry for absolutely nothing and there's nothing anyone can do about it, especially if it's the latter. I can disappear in an instant, my abuser not allowing me to return home, and I will be left to fend for myself on the rough streets that my abuser has made uninhabitable. And yet, despite my anxiety and my expected fear, I am calm. I am angry, but calm. I am not hysterical, I am not overwhelmed, I am... Fine.
I have checked in with myself repeatedly today, wondering what must be wrong. Am I dissociating this terrible occurrence? This trauma? Am I in denial? But I am well aware of my dissociation, and this is not it. And I am not in denial, in fact, I am the exact opposite, and that's why I'm calm. I am calm because this is the America that I have always lived in. I am calm because this is nothing out of the ordinary for me, as someone that is ALWAYS aware of his foreign ethnicity, race, ability and so much more. I am not surprised in one way or another about the hate that exists, and you know what, the hate that you see, that you've finally learned to see, is not all of it.
The thing is, I'm frustrated, at the allies, just as much as Trump Supporters. I'm frustrated because for years I have been talking about this hate, and I have been shamed for it. I have been told to leave the country if I don't like it here, so many times, by even those closest to me. I have been told to show facts and figures when it comes to my pain. When it comes to my reality, regardless of what it was, whether Mental Illness, Islamophobia, Racism, xenophobia, or anything else that I deal with on a daily basis, very few believed it. For years, except with a very select few, it has felt like I am the only one that goes through this, and it's in my head. But if there's one thing you've learned now, is that it's not. This is real, very, very real. This is the America millions of American's and foreigners deal with every single day of their lives. And it has taken a man that openly talks about banning Muslims, a man that has made fun of individuals with disabilities, a man that openly speaks about sexually assaulting women, and so many more unspeakable things. When all along, many of us have known these things as a part of our daily lives. But let me break it down for you again: If you know anything about US immigration then you know that this is not the first or last time that the US talks about banning groups of people. The only difference is that this time it's still talk, and it hasn't happened. But it has happened before. After 9/11, the US stopped accepting refugees from Afghanistan, who were banned predominantly because they were Muslim. The US has banned immigration from China for almost a hundred years in the last century and a half. The US is not the immigrant and refugee safe haven that you'd like to believe. Individuals with disabilities, and individuals from LGBTQ+ communities have some of the highest rates of homelessness, and sexual assault, and their rights are still not in place in an entirely humane way. As far as sexually assaulting women, if 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted, less than 10% of sexual assaults are reported, and less than 2% of survivors will see their rapists behind bars, then we have a hell of a problem, and if you didn't see it until Donald Trump had to say it, then you have been a part of the problem, and haven't been listening. I can go on and on, but if you didn't live in Donald Trumps world your entire life then you carry more privilege then you know, regardless of how marginalized you are.
I am not saying any of this to shame anyone, or to say that there's no hope. I am saying this because until we fully accept how complicit we've been in the oppression of others we will not build a sustainable better world. The truth is, many of my allies still don't care much about foreign policy and groups that they don't identify with. The reality is that had Hillary Clinton won, many, if not most, would have forgotten all about the grim reality that is US foreign policy. Many would have forgotten about the manufacturing of wars, and how the US systemically spreads systems of oppression all around the world to its benefit.
So yes, I am pissed. I truly believe that a better world is in the making, and I look forward to working with all my allies to create it, and to support any marginalized community that needs to be a part of this, but I am frustrated by the fact that the only reason you see individuals like me, is because you've been forced to. This is not to take away from all the strides that you've made. I am so grateful for all the support I've gotten, for myself, and for other communities, but we need to address this trans-generational pain, that is simply not being healed.
Every single one of us deserves a better world, and I, and many minorities, deserve to know that if you fight for us, you will fight for all of us, not just the aspects that impact your daily life. We need to know that we matter, even when you do.
These are only the experiences of one individual. Other have been speaking about this for hundreds of years. Others have died tried to make others see that Trumps world is really not his at all, it's been there far longer than he has, and will be here for far longer, unless we begin to address it with all it's oppressive histories.
Again, this is not meant to demean anyone, but rather an insight look into a very old problem. The question now is, what are we going to do about it?
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, a Novelist and the founder and editor of Life in My Days. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.