New Year, New Journey, New Fears
Every year in December, I have this urge to purge…not sure why, but it comes in full force during the end of the year. Perhaps, because it is the end, and, I don’t like endings. So, I feel the need to create new beginnings for my family. Saying goodbye to the previous year and planning our next family adventure is something I always look forward to, whether it be learning Spanish in Puerto Rico, revisiting Morocco to explore the Sahara desert or learning about Japan’s agriculture.
But this time it’s different…as much as I am excited about 2016, I am also filled with intense anxiety. I love our nomadic lifestyle and the freedom our family gets to enjoy holding those little blue books, our American passports. Yet, this past month I have witnessed so much hate and racist comments after Mr. Trump announced his plan to ban all Muslims traveling into the United States.
Was that reality? Did he honestly say that?
What does this mean for Americans who work abroad and are living in Islamic countries? What happens if I want to travel to Islamic countries? Will being an American put me and my family in danger?
As you know my children are multi-cultural (Lebanese/Hawaiian), born and raised in Hawaii. My husband and children are also Muslims who carry American passports. Every single Muslim family living in America (if they haven’t already) are thinking of, if not planning their exit out of the United States, including my own.
The hatred has even touched our soil here in Hawaii, the “Aloha State” where a girlfriend of mine, born and raised in Hawaii, was harassed because she wears a hijab (head scarf). This man sang a song over and over whilst walking behind her in downtown Honolulu:
“Muslims will be hung in the White House today!
Muslims will die in the White House today!”
She was afraid and chose to do nothing. Because if she did, she would be giving in to his hatred. Thankfully someone asked him to stop singing but he responded:
“Why? I can sing whatever the F$%# I want, I’m an American.”
Funny thing is, my friend that he harassed, is an American too. Born and raised in Hawaii and lived here all her life!
A few days ago, my daughter and I had this conversation:
L: Mom, am I a Muslim like Dad?
Me: Yes, and No. Why do you ask?
L: Because the man on TV said he will get rid of all the Muslims in our country. Aren’t we from this country?
Me: Yes, you are from this country, and you were born into 2 religions, so you are a Muslim and a Christian. But you’re way too young to be worried about this now. Go play Minecraft with your brother!
I learned something from this conversation. She is an innocent child that knows nothing of race, color nor religion, and I don’t want her to know any of this right now…especially from our media. The only thing she should be learning is how to be a compassionate, loving, and giving person. I want my children to grow up in a safe place, appreciating its beauty, making friends, away from as much racism, prejudice and crime.
I personally do not feel safe living in the US anymore, especially when most of my neighbors and friends are now buying guns. I have never thought about changing my citizenship, but are seriously looking into it. We want our children to live amongst a more educated society, where people still help each other, appreciate the beauty our world has to offer and not have to worry about a hydrogen bomb being dropped from North Korea or a shooting next door.
Perhaps, not having a plan for 2016 is a better plan. Maybe we’ll just say goodbye to 2015 and hope for a peaceful 2016…pray for peace, love and compassion. That in itself is a task big already.