We all feel right and wrong as though it's ingrained in our souls. But still we cause each other harm. We haven't embraced our humanity... it seems to me that we're trying more and more to deny it, to blur its edges, to dilute black to pale grey. I've realised how much one needs to submit to one's humanity, over and over again, each day, every conscious moment requires one to acknowledge it with humility and respect. You see, it can't just be done in a whim. It takes consistent effort. Everything does, and yet I'm sitting here feeling inadequate. Being inadequate.
At the same time, I understand how much I've got to embrace my beliefs - my faith in God. I've got to learn to deal with things, learn from things, and most of all, NOT to cry in front of the one who made me cry. Man, nobody warned me how tough it was to grow up! It was never like that in my dreams, you see. I have to face up to things that wouldn't be expected of me as a child, but I still think, or rather, I think because of this, that one must not forget the essence of humanity - the untarnished heart of a child.
(That reminds me - Finding Neverland is SUCH a good film. If you get the time...)
My purpose with this post was originally to talk about my trip to Nice, where I stayed at a French woman's appartment with two of my classmates and friends. Hah, I feel like I'm setting the scene for an enthralling tale...
Little did she know, the young'un with the scarf draped round her head, that that very cloth would irk Madame so... How was it possible that one could bear having to prepare vegetarian meals (as agreed) as well as having to look at the girl with offensively modest dress? Especially as one had protested against this very act of subjugation in 1968 or roundabouts? No, no, it was not! It was one's duty not to bear such intolerable contentedness with anything less than a threat contained in a warning on the second night of the little Muslim's stay.
"Do you have the right to go out at night? ... It isn't my responsibility, nor the school's, if anything should happen to you if you wear that headscarf outside ... Nobody else would accept you [into their home] knowing you wear that, you know ... they saw you at the airport [for the reader's information, I'm pretty sure there was 1 family out of 9 at the airport]. I'm just telling you for future visits [Oh yeah, it would just be dandy to come back to this again] ... I mean, I agreed to take you even though you were vegetarian [Very brave! Does it take a lot out of you to pluck sausages out of lentils and serve as is?] ... And if I had known that you wore a headscarf, I would have said no ... No, that's not discrimination - you must take that back - that is my choice! ... Now I don't know why you're crying, you girls are here to enjoy yourselves. Let's end this conversation."
It was the final night of their stay when one of the other girls, Sophia, asked for a picture with Madame. The veiled one took their picture, and for nothing but to be polite, asked for a picture with Madame herself. No response. Sophia repeated her request. "I can't. I can't." They watched Madame's back out of the door.
She returned a moment later.
"If you took off your scarf... If you were a free woman, like me... then I would take a picture with you".
I am freer, because I won't be subjugated by you, either, Madame.
I've realised that I cried from anger. Gut-wrenching, breath-shaking anger. But yo, it ain't no biggie. I'm aight. But I feel so, so sorry for the poor girls who have to accept this as a part of life. And I feel so, so grateful that I live in a society where sharing and learning about differences is so important that intolerance is not tolerated.
God knows your pain. Gaining strength is a much greater ordeal than surrendering to it. Although the latter isn't what I intended, it's what comes across when you see a girl crying at being insulted. God, please give me and all those who believe in You strength of character so that we follow the example of the beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, and worship You in our every act.