This I Believe

Safaa - Houston, Texas
Entered on December 13, 2008

I Beieve

I am an Arab American and was born in the United States of America. I hold deep pride in my culture, and religion, but to be American is something else. America is a beautiful country embellished with opportunity, freedom, and multitudinous rights that ease the lives of all American citizens. Among these people is me.

My Grandparents were born during the Palestinian- Israeli clash which transformed their lives into an everlasting nightmare and sent them in search of another home. After being repudiated from almost all the Middle Eastern countries, my grandparents finally decided that life for them would be better on the other side of the Atlantic. When they came to America, it seemed as if everything from the wave of the swaying trees in the countryside of Texas, to the lauding of the honking cars in the city of New York seemed to accept the presence of my grandparents. I being the granddaughter of these Arab immigrants grew up among Americans and came to adopt their traditions. I am proud to be an American, but my experiences could have been better.

It was September 11, 2001. I was only a second grader and was not ready for the great terror I was yet to encounter. All I remember was that I was attending school when suddenly a mob of parents rushed into my classroom and snatched their children out of school. Some were crying and others painted acrimonious looks on their faces. I had no idea of the calamity that had just taken place in New York. Moments ago, the World Trade Center was bombed, killing hundreds and injuring numerous innocent Americans.

Then, finally, my mom came to pick me up. Everyone seemed to be holding their breaths around my mother. It wasn’t a matter of fear, it was only a matter of not knowing what to say to an Arab Muslim when a group of Arab Muslims had just murdered countless of innocent humans. That day my uncle was stabbed by his co workers and in a matter of no time the word Muslim carried an acrimonious meaning with it. Now it seemed as if everything from the swaying trees of Texas, to the honking cars in New York was pointing fingers.

Now that I’m older, I seemed to have developed my own perspective about 9/11. Every year on September 11 when I watch the annual memorial dedicated to those that have lost their lives that day, I am filled with feelings of hate, anger, and pity. However looking back to the disparaging name I held for being a Muslim in that time, I am filled with the same feelings.

I believe that everyone has the right to security. Especially in a unique country like America. However, I also think that everyone has the right to be judged as an individual, because there is no doubt that every culture and diversity in the U.S contributed greatly to the success of America.