Saturday, July 3, 2010

Reading at Pier 8

I had a lot of housekeeping to do so didn't get finished until about 4:30. Took my chair and the Shuttle bus down to Pier 8 and read "How Does it Feel to be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi.

An excellent book which tells about life in the States for young twentyish people of Arab descent after the tragedy of 9/11. It didn't really matter if they were Christian or Muslim Arabs, they were all lumped together. I am blessed with having both Christian and Muslim Arabs as friends and in my opinion, fear took over the people at that time and reason left by a back door!

In many ways, it was the same thing as what happened to the Japanese people even though many were born here. They were all lumped into the same "enemy' category! It happened also to the Germans here in Canada although, I have been told that they just had to report in once a week and were well treated. That was in Montreal, in any event.


My friend Asma bought me this book and brought it with her at my first jewellery party but up until now, I have not had the time to read it.

The first story reminded me of what happened to my Jordanian son Ameen. I still lived in Toronto at that time and all of a sudden, he disappeared. His cousin Feraz didn't know where he was nor did anybody. You can imagine how his parents felt not being able to contact him.

Ameen is a very quiet young man and a real respectable and good person. I am very fond of him and he calls me Mom. He isn't into drinking, smoking or doing drugs. He prays regularly and is a practicing Muslim.

Three months passed without any word from him and I feared the worst. One day, I got a call and it was Ameen. He had been picked up by Immigration and detained - not because he had done anything wrong, but because he was young and Arab.

He didn't tell me too much about the three months in the prison, except that without his faith to keep him strong, he would have been in total despair. The lack of privacy and having to shower with others was definitely hard for him to take. I could see that to talk about it was to cause him pain so we didn't go into details.

The stress caused by this "disappearance" was hard on everybody. Lest people think it only happens in other countries, it happened here in Canada. I also have seen a Somali woman harassed by a white guy telling her to go back to her own country. Mind you, I have seen a drunk white guy tell two Hispanic fellows to go back to their country too! Lucky for the drunk guy, I spoke to them in Spanish and told them to calm down as they were going to punch him for the insult.

This writer of this book is a darn good one and he has gone into very good detail. As I was reading the first story about a young girl and her whole family being taken from their beds into a detention center in Brooklyn, it brought back the memory of my dear Ameen.

Memory flooded back and feelings overwhelmed me as my mind forcefully was jerked back to just after 9/11. I remember the Eaton's Center being closed down, the children's parents having to come for them early, me having to stay until the last child was safe with their mother. I remember wondering if I would be able to even get home from school.

I didn't know if a bomb would be dropped on Toronto as it was such a shock to learn of what happened in New York City, and Toronto could easily have become another spot to be bombed.

The feelings of uncertainty, fear, unbelief were all mixed up as I went home that day.

Memories of no planes flying overhead, news flashes constantly and worry that Canada would be next as we are so close to the States and perhaps would be lumped in the same category as the States.

At that time, I had a wonderful Iranian friend called Husmann and it affected him very drastically as he had experienced warlike actions and burnings of buildings done against people of his religion which was Ba'hai. I am proud to say that I have several friends who are Ba'hai and find them good people.

As usual, I digress, I would recommend this book for those who truly would like to learn a little more about how others feel.

While I was waiting for the return of the shuttle bus to get back downtown, I was glad that I had my chair with me as the bench is now gone. I also found out a very useful thing, I can get off at King William now and also get it there to go down to the waterfront.

I am so pleased with that!

Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

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