By: Michael J. Oghia
Dedicated to all my Arab–American brothers and sisters that know exactly how I feel.
Who am I, but a complex amalgam of contradictory identities?
Two, which exist paradoxically, yet never seem to make you feel complete.
They glare at you for one,
Snarl at you,
Hunt you down,
You stand up,
They knock you down,
Reduce you down
To hurtful names,
To a disease,
Making you feel like the world would be better off without you,
Constantly resonating the bitter warning:
“You will never be one of us.”
Others say you are the reason for everything bad:
Stealing everything that can fit into a Black Hawk helicopter.
They fight you,
Spit on you,
Knock down your buildings,
“Because habibi, you are the problem.”
Is this the plight I have to live with?
This constant burden of living as two things that cannot simultaneously exist,
Just because me and those like me were born this way?
As this apparent hybrid monstrosity of alienation?
We never asked for it,
We never begged for it,
It was ascribed to us on day one.
Why is this our fight?
Why can’t we ever go “home?”
Where is home!?
Why can’t we be proud of who we are?
How can we!?
Why can’t we just be normal?
We are always in the middle.
Trying to fit in,
But we are the new marginalized.
Patriotic on one hand,
Public enemy number one on the other,
We are the enemy,
Even in a place we call home.
Who wants us?
We are foreign both here and there,
Always an outsider,
No matter where we go:
Constantly carrying a cross embossed with a crescent,
Chained to the baggage begotten to us by both nationalism and ethnicity;
Embodied by a passport that is our contrast,
We are prisoners to our own country,
To our own identity.
To hyperbolic politics,
And abandoned relics.
We belong nowhere…
We’re never good enough for anyone!
And no matter whom you ask,
Or where they’re from,
Regardless of their religion,
Their eye color,
Their ID card,
This is always who you are in their eyes:
Arab as a sickness,
American as a curse.
Thank you Alia for posting this 🙂