Black. Lives. Matter: A humble opinion piece from a modern day Arab girl
Posted on June 17 2020
'I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their colour' - Malcolm X
2020 has been quite a confusing year. Not only has Covid-19 had a big impact on our daily lives but also the police brutality and unfortunate killing of George Floyd (may he Rest In Peace) has made people very angry (rightly so). One could say that the killing of George Floyd was the tip of an iceberg. The Black Lives Matter movement was building up for years and now with such a great, powerful and positive force - peoples’ voices are beginning to be heard. This has led to people standing up for their basic human rights, fighting what many have called a ‘pandemic of racism’
As I sit here and write this blog, I find it challenging to put myself in the position of someone from a different race and say I know exactly what you feel. From a young age we were made aware of the unfair treatment specific racial profiles receive. As an Arab myself, my parents taught me that people may be racist towards me because of where I am from and to simply ignore them and be the better person. When America got their first black president, I felt a sense of relief because the world must be moving towards love, kindness and equality.
But the truth is, like many others, I need to educate myself further on this topic. One of my favourite books is 'The Confession' by John Grisham, in which a black man was wrongly convicted and he spent years behind bars. Only until a couple years ago, did I know that this still happens today and that lives are being treated like they don't matter. We don't hear about the stories that many families have faced on a daily basis - how many mothers, fathers and siblings have lost a loved one. In 2019, I watched this movie 'Just Mercy' and it brought me to tears. Based on a true story, you learn how many wrongly convicted black people there are; you learn that most of these people are put on death row without proper evidence; you learn the patience and love these families have for their loved ones, despite the horrible behaviour of others. We need to hear more about these stories in order to grasp how prevalent the oppression really is. We don't hear about how they are mistreated until anger builds and the silent screams start becoming louder. This is why Black Lives Matter. We need to hear, we need to learn, we need to be educated.
George Floyd represents a whole community. He was a man filmed begging for his life, crying out for his mum and saying he cannot breathe. In the hands of those who think they are more powerful or more important, George passed away in a horrible and unacceptable manner. With the power of politics and money, some people never had their rightful opportunity to grow, flourish and mark their place in the world.
Who is anyone to take a life from another.
The expressions of those in the movement are the ones you really should be looking at, learning from, feeling for and helping out. It is only they who can express what they really feel and I can support them and express how the world population has failed to support them in many ways. I can take this opportunity to reflect and recognise that there is a lot of injustice in this world. As a citizen of the world I feel a responsibility to learn about these shortcomings and help anyone who is in a position of injustice within my capability.
Coming from Lebanon, we ourselves have daily protests and the country has fallen into bankruptcy. I know the anger of the people, I can feel the sadness, the pain, the loss, the resentment, the heartbreak, the tiredness and how this is their right for a right to life. This is how I know that the fight of the Black Lives Matter movement is a fight for life, for existence, for opportunity and for fairness.
I can't understand a person's mindset when they think their race is above another, nor can I understand how one justifies taking someone’s life. The world is unjust and our voices have been silenced for so long. This can no longer be the case and it is up to the people to make that difference in any way they can. What is more important than this is persistence - we must have the energy to continue fighting for our rights and also help other peoples right. We cannot forget that each one of us has a right to be on this earth and the foundation of everything human being is to be pure, good and kind. There is no room for anything else.
I am proud of the Black Lives Matter movement because it sheds light on a much wider injustice. I do hope that this movement persists, I hope we can all grow in a global scale and I hope that we can all be one. No judgements. No criticism.
Black lives is important and so is others
What I really idolised about the Black Lives Movement is the energy, strength, commitment, determination and how people really looked deep within and stood as one. I hope that for those who once didn't appreciate different races, recognise the mistakes made and seek forgiveness and remove bitterness; I hope for those who are fighting for human rights to get there and grow beyond what you think is impossible but most of all, I hope for everyone facing the same oppression - I hope you look around and see what can be done, to value yourselves and to recognise that we are all one. I hope people don't remain scared or feel silenced.
What I hope for myself and others - educate yourselves. Realise that our world is politically and powerfully driven. We need to dig deeper and honestly learn about all the wrongdoings in the world and when something is wrong, I hope we stand by those in need and help them also make a difference. Like I said, I once knew stories on the surface when I could have actively known more. Whoever you are and wherever you are from, educate yourselves on a global scale; put yourself in the shoes of another and simply help. Our voices cost nothing, but they bring us closer to freedom and equality.
I hope the Black Lives Matter movement empowers us all, in the hopes of a better future. I honestly hope, that this movement changes the way the system is and more so, I hope it remains an exemplary example to why all lives matter.
We have to remember, everyone who faces unfortunate casualties may not be able to express their voice. We fight for the fights of all the children, men, women who died in unnecessary wars; for those whose lands are preoccupied by others and treated like prisoners for being born somewhere; for those who were born to be a different race and ethnicity and for those poor enough who will do what it takes to survive.
It is enough of suffocation, it is enough of 'supreme ownership', it is enough of people being scared. Mostly, it is enough for people to feel like they have to justify their right to exist.
A close friend of mine, Joy Ismail, wrote and performed a beautiful poem about the Black Lives Matter movement. The beautiful thing about Joy is that she always knows how to put feelings into words and when I read it, I felt like she took the words out of my mouth (and I am sure when you listen to the poem, you will understand what I mean). When I read it, I thought about how the Black community have suffered for a long time, how many people have not found peace at home, how a lot of poor people have not been able to yet sleep soundly and how political parties have robbed their own people.
As I mentioned above, I find racism difficult to write about because I don't understand how one is capable of doing horrendous acts when we ourselves are not perfect. Joy asks the questions I would also love to ask those who commit such acts. Most of all, do you not feel bad?
Let us come together and build a world that matters.
P.S - Joy does tap into many different poems and if you are interested to learn more, please visit her page here