The Olive Skinned girl, at the Olive Garden
In the last month or so, so many tragedies have occurred that I’m not sure where to begin or where to end. I was sitting at Olive Garden, (my pasta heaven, what I consider my garden of Eden) the other day and it occurred to me that I don’t have to be anywhere special these days; it is just as likely that I will be shot in an Olive Garden as anywhere else by a potential shooter or terrorist. It occurred to me that this is not heaven and things are looking a little hellish. For a moment I was afraid.
You know what some people may be saying about this type of fear: “Welcome to my world.” It’s interesting that we now think we suddenly have a gun problem when people have been shot left and right in the inner cities for decades. Now it’s happening in the suburbs, so now it’s a problem. People around the world are living in war zones where they cannot go outside without fear of losing their lives. Now that it’s happening in America, it’s a problem. The world has a violence problem, a gun problem, and a hate problem: Not just America.
In America, we have first world problems though for sure.
My first world problems are that I hate Donald Trump and It’s more likely that I will die in a car crash than die in a terrorist attack. I do not fear every time I sit in a car that it will crash. Nor do I fear every time I step outside my door that I could be shot. You know why? Because they want me to fear for my life. I won’t give them that.
I was in New York on 911 and if I learned one thing from that horrific attack: I will not hide, I will not fear for my life…I walked around outside that very day, I went to public places where people were huddled around televisions. I had a picture of a Muslim woman wearing Hijab on my window before the attack. I never took it down all year. I had pictures of Turbaned Sikhs also up on my wall. It was some sort of form of protest.
All brown people look the same to many white people, I have often been confused as being Middle Eastern. Many of my turbaned Sikh brothers were mistaken as Muslim terrorists. Sometimes I think I’m a Sikh American or Indian American, the title of American Indian is already taken. But the truth is, I’m an American, American.
I’m so spoiled I think it’s a chore to do laundry when laundry actually does itself in this country. I’m so sheltered I get upset when my wifi doesn’t respond in a matter of microseconds at this point. (I’ve heard the Internet can actually go faster than it does, but that it would be too much for us if they let that happen.) Maybe I’m an American Indian Princess. Maybe all Americans are kind of royalty in this messed up world. I have no idea what it means to be hungry, and maybe that is a good thing.
You know why they Hate us right? Because we don’t know…there is so much we don’t experience in this rich, abundant country. I know not everyone is rich, but I will tell you when you see a naked beggar with leprosy outside your window in India, you realize there is a different kind of poverty in many parts of the world. When you see footage of kids running away from bombs in the Middle East, you realize we have a relatively peaceful existence.
I don’t know what I did to deserve such an honor to be in such a safe and amazing country such as the U.S. I don’t think America is perfect, I just think I’m glad I grew up here than in a country where women are married off at a young age and are given less than perfect freedom. If I grew up in India, I would have been married in my twenties possibly to a man who was a perfect stranger and have produced like four kids or so. I would be told that my ‘writing’ was too radical that if I didn’t tone it down, people would hurt me. I might even be censored. People might hurt me. India is not a bad country, that is not what the point of this is. We can talk about the merits and demerits of our countries later. Right now I’m talking about my privilege in America.
I have so much privilege because I don’t have to worry about being kidnapped by the Taliban, or ISIS. I can walk outside and loudly sing a prayer from my scripture, and no one will bother me. I have the right to write this. I’m not scared. Bloggers are being killed all around the world. Salman Rushdie had the fatwa, the death sentence, thrown at him for much of his adult life for writing things against Islam.
This is not a joke, is it? I live here, with the freedom of speech. I’m allowed to say bad words about ISIS and Donald Trump and join all the haters. The haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate. Let’s sing about it…
I’m allowed to do all of that. But for a minute I’m tired. I’m tired of using nasty words that my mother swears no young woman should say about presidential candidates and terrorists. (it’s cute that she still calls me young). Much of what is now ISIS began in some of the poorest countries in the world: Pakistan, Palestine. Those people in those countries who teach young kids to hate America hate us because they think we are rich and we don’t care about them.
The truth is, I’m relatively rich, in a worldly sense. I don’t remember the last time I cared that there are people around the world sooo poor, without jobs, that they having nothing to do but hate. When is the last time I cared about that more than I cared about balancing my own checkbook? And if I care, what do I do?
I think it starts with a conversation.
Those little kids in those schools who are taught to hate America in the Middle East, those are just kids. Those people who blow up cities and airplanes and buildings, they are just people, big kids. Of course, they are doing the wrong thing, but do we ever ask ourselves, why are they doing it? They hate us, we hate them. And we don’t even know who them is, or where they are. We hate, and we don’t know who to hate, they hate and they don’t know why they hate.
In fact, there is so much hate…that all of a sudden I hate, hate.
I’m not gonna go ahead and say love your terrorists and kumbaya. I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s a little crazy, that’s asking too much.
Maybe instead of ‘loving’ an extremely poor country like Pakistan that is harboring terrorists, and instead of just giving them aid so they can make nuclear bombs…Why don’t we build something for them, like help them have an industry, jobs, a decent way of life? We are not doing this because we have to take care of the world, we are doing this so they stop terrorizing us.
I’m not a politician, nor do I ever want to be one. I don’t think I or anyone for that matter has the answers to these difficult questions of terrorism and leadership. I am only sure that Donald Trump can’t fix these problems alone, nor can Hillary Clinton. In Barak Obama’s speech he mentioned us, we the people. It’s time for us to step up and take a stand. These geniuses at the top are not gonna cut it anymore.