I’m Scared, Too

June 10, PRAGUE—The crazier this world goes, the more scared I become.

Terrorist attacks, wars, hate crimes, Islamophobia, intolerance, and all kinds of discrimination and racism. And it’s everywhere, but it’s not against everyone, it’s against me!

I’m the Arabic woman from Syria, with black hair and dark eyes.

I was born a Muslim by law, and I was raised to respect everyone, regardless of their religions or origins.

But now that I’m living in Europe, the world is treating me in the opposite way.

Whenever a Muslim commits a crime, it’s me to blame, even if it’s far away in a different country, I’m still the one to blame. I’m related to the criminal by law, by religion, by origin and language.

And I happen to be Syrian, so by default, I’m a terrorist, an uncivilized human being, who was killing her brothers and sisters back home, and who reached Europe illegally to learn how to become a human. And of course, I’m the one to blame, for all the problems, and unrest caused by any other Arabic speaking person in Europe.

So yes, I’m scared.

Because when the Muslim terrorist is going to commit an attack the next time when I’m shopping, he’s not going to consider how close we are, and how much I was blamed for what his friends did! He will kill me anyway.

I’m scared because the next time, when the man who was keeping his gun hidden for years, decides he needs to take revenge and kill a terrorist Muslim to make the world a better one! I will be the one passing by his way.

I’m scared, because of all the reasons that scare you, but I’m also scared of you.

And I’m trying not to silence my voice when I need to speak Arabic in a public place, but you keep staring at me, and some of you might push me, or shout at me. You tend to be aggressive towards me, and that’s, to be honest, a constant threat of my existence in what you consider “YOUR” world.

So, if you think you are in this alone, it’s not true, and if you think we’re in this together, this still untrue, because I am and I will always be more scared than you.

Written by Zeina Kanawati.