Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 We Remember

The authors of Symphonic Discord reflect on 9/11. Our hearts go out to the 2,819 people who lost their lives. God bless.

Edit @ 3:17 p.m. 9/12/11

Youthful Wisdom:

Ten years ago this day I was sitting in third hour US Literature class. The morning went by unusually slower than most. I remember talking to some friends around me about some topic that was probably mundane. My teacher then called me aside and took me outside the class.

"Youthful Wisdom something happened today. Someone knocked down the Twin Towers. I want you to know that people might blame you or say things to you tomorrow. And even if you take your scarf off that you need to remain strong. Okay?"

What??? The Twin Towers? What do you mean someone knocked them down? Blame me?? But I was sitting right here in your class. Take off my scarf??? But I just started wearing two months ago and I love it! What the heck is going on??

I thanked my teacher for her advice and went back into the classroom. I can't explain the feeling inside of me except for it was extreme confusion. All my classmates stared at me silently as I walked back to my desk.

That afternoon we were left out early. No TVs were played at our middle school during school hours that morning. I walked home to find everyone in my family hovered around the kitchen table in fear and confusion watching the news. It was just like my teacher had said; someone knocked down the Twin Towers.

The days that followed things happened exactly like my teacher said they would. My own friends and classmates started looking at me different; I was the only identifiable Muslim girl at the school because of my scarf.

"Hey Youthful Wisdom why do YOUR people hate us so much?"

"Go back to your country bitch!"

"Hahaha I just pulled your scarf off! Whatchya gonna do huh??"

MY people? MY people are YOU but apparently I'm not one of you. And I don't have any country to go back to!! And if you pull off my scarf I'll take you to the principle!

Ten years later these memories come back to me. Memories of a time where my fellow Americans were attacked and where my Muslim American identity was attacked. It's a sad day in my mind representing injustice, misunderstandings, and hatred. But since then I've have positive experiences, including feedback from this blog, that make me truly believe that mutual understanding is possible. That people have the ability to look beyond the lies the media is feeding them and seek out truth for themselves.

May God guide us all and bring us to the Truth, wherever it may be. And may we all become vehicles of positive change and spiritual growth in our communities. Ameen.

Controlled Chaos:

With the 10th anniversary of September 11 upon us, that day has been circulating in my mind more so than it has in the past years. When I think back to that time I remember being confused and a little lost. I don't think a part of me had emotionally or completely understood what happened. And to be honest, I was also uncomfortable with the topic because of the first reaction I had gotten from a classmate.

That day and for many days to come, a student kept loudly declaring across the classroom that I should get my "uncle" to stop bombing our country. Even that statement registered slowly, it wasn't until the next morning that I understood that she was degrading me in front of the whole class and the teacher never did anything. I felt as though I was being indirectly blamed. Every time the topic came up I just wanted to disappear. It wasn't until months later that I felt my first annoyance at my teacher and especially at that student. I was a slow high-school student. And my emotions were even slower.

It wasn't until the following 9/11 anniversary, while I was looking at a full-page picture of the Twin Towers burning in my local newspaper, that I felt my first genuine, deep shock. In that picture, I realized I could see what looked like people, in midair... I thought of how it would feel to be in the same situation. It was a horrible cold feeling. That day I cried. I cried for everyone that had died and who had lost someone. I cried while I imagined what it must have felt like for all those who got caught up in that event. And I cried not knowing what I was supposed to do and frustrated at my own incompetence for the past year. It took me an entire year to register and emotionally understand September 11.

Before I completely understood what had happened, I 'borrowed' reactions of people around me. If someone joked, I joked. If someone got quiet, I got quiet.

For the past few days I've been contemplating ways to show my solidarity for the victims of that day. And besides praying I've come up short. I've considered lighting candles on my driveway and then wondered if the neighbors would take it the wrong way. I wondered about blogging about it but then feared peoples' responses during a time when emotions ran so high. In the end, I chose to blog truthfully. My thoughts go out to everyone affected by that day directly and indirectly both here and abroad. I truly hope the world becomes a better place for us all to live in. Ameen.

Softly Spoken:

I was in eighth grade when 9/11 happened. It didn't hit me that these events would lead to a revolt against American Muslims. I had always thought of myself as American as I was Muslim. I grew up as one of the only visible Muslims in school - but was very much respected - and now live in Detroit which has a good chunk of people who dress and worship like me.

In the 10 years after 9/11, the negative light on Islam and Muslims has grown brighter. It is also politically incorrect to stand by Muslims. The American Muslim community is starting to stand up and speak, some leaving behind traditional jobs and getting more involved in government, social services and journalism, to show a different perspective of practicing faith and living up to America's golden opportunities.

As American Muslims, we too mourn lost loved ones. We too cherish those who work to protect our safety. We condemn those who attacked the World Trade Center and The Pentagon in the so-called name of Islam. We chide those who make it difficult for American Muslims to retain their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We condemn those who stand divided. We stand united with all Americans, as Muslims, to live to the fullest in peace and equality. Amen.


Rationality said...

And finally you unleashed your sentiments.
11/9 was global event that somehow negatively affected on us Muslims and non- Muslim Americans. What really saddened me is that Islam reputation became notorious since that event whilst whoever made a bad deed represents only himself not our peaceful and perfect religion. Sadly, years passed and no one built bridges of communication and peace between us. The thing that I do not understand why they are defying such grievous event! I know it's unbearable agonizing but it occurred since 10 years back. When will they get over their sorrow!

flatpebble said...

I am sorry to hear what has happened to you during that time. I was not in America when the event occurred but my mother was here and the ESL school told her that she should not come in for two weeks so she did not leave the house for those two weeks. Even after that, when she did leave she overheard people say "I hate her"!!! Honestly we are all victims of this horrible attack.
Last night I watched USA and they made a move called "The Space Between" and it showed a Muslim kid that lost his father in the twin towers and it showed how people behaved towards him. I was actually happy that for once they did not make Muslims evil in a movie. I just hope that people begin to use their noggins and not stay in the same path with this negativity to Muslims. I feel that this yearly remembrance is no longer for remember those who were victims, I feel as if it is a way to remember that Americans are to hate Muslims.....But on the brighter note, I am one of 3 Muslim families in my city and Alhamdillah people still respect us and we don't get harassed by the people :) so I think it is just the media that wants to make something of this tragic event.

controlled chaos said...

Rationality- I agree that bridges of communication seem to be lacking but I don't think it's fair to demand people who were so hurt by an event to get over it... Allahualim

Flatpebble- alhamdulillah for your neighborhood. I think a lot of Muslims are starting to share your sentiments. I'm not sure why it's happening but it is.