I am back from my hiatus and unfortunately, the topic to bring me out of my writer’s block is terrorism. I am disgusted by this act and quite frankly, scared for our future. I mean, just when we start to believe that maybe, just maybe we are past the days where people have to pay with their lives for the dumbest terrorist attack, this happens. The terrorist attack on the people of New Zealand is another reminder that we need to take more action.
I was 9, just got back from school, still in my school uniform when my nanny at the time decided to listen to the news. I am going to try to get through this without crying haha. ok, so there I was confused and scared because all I saw on the tv was dead bodies and people crying, screaming /running. I asked my nanny what was going on and in tears, she said it’s Boko Haram and me being a 9-year-old, could not understand what those two words meant. I kept asking but she was too sad to answer me. Later that day, she sat me down to answer my questions. She said and I quote ” so basically, you know how we go to church every Sunday? 1000+ Christians in the northern part of the country did the same thing we do and they were killed by Boko Haram, a terrorist group.” I remember being so numb and just scared to death. I couldn’t but think of my parent’s safety as a 9-year-old, wondering whether my parents, being Christians would come home every night. I was scared for the lives of the Muslims and Christians in my family. No one was safe. Why did these people die? because they didn’t agree to be converted to Muslims. That was not the only massacre in Nigeria but that is the only one I remember vividly. I would cry myself to sleep every night and at the same time think of an escape plan from a shooter or just an armed robber. My mom used to make very spicy soup and my game plan was to pour a pot of hot soup on a shooter’s face. I had to protect my family and that was genius to me. Now, I think back and just thank God that I was never in the position where I had to use my game plan because I would be long gone. I also remember sitting in the living room, shaking, in the middle of the night waiting for my mom to come back from work, saying repeatedly that she’s fine, she’s not dead, shes just stuck in traffic. I WAS NINE YEARS OLD. it’s being 10 years and I am still as scared as I was when I was 9 years old. No kid should ever have to live like that.
As a kid, I wanted nothing more than to become a doctor, get married and have 6 kids, 3 sets of twins, 3 boys, and 3 girls. Today, I will settle for a dog. Having kids or even getting married gives me anxiety. I don’t think I could ever handle not knowing whether my kids would come back home from school every day or if I’ll get a call that they were killed because they are black, Christian, Muslim, gay, straight, mixed, or just because they were at the wrong place at the right time, just freaking collateral damage. This world is scary, people die every day and their families are left behind to carry the burden. Mean people have suddenly become the ones to decide who lives and who dies because they are angry? depressed? or just wicked. Personally, I am sick of hearing people blame mental illness for their terrorist acts. Mental illness is a serious illness and people suffering from it or anybody, in fact, should not have access to guns to start with.
From all the attacks that have ever happened in this world, not just the United States, I have gathered that terrorism has no race, color, sexuality, and most certainly no religion. We are all victims of hate crimes, although some more than others. Sometimes all we can do is say a prayer, observe a minute of silence and move on with our lives but some people never ever move on from this. I mean how could they? They probably didn’t even get to say goodbye.
I am sorry for the Black families that have lost a loved one or multiple loved ones, the White families that have lost someone, the Muslim families, the Christians, the Latino families, and I want you to know that all of your lives matter. I am heartbroken for you and although I don’t know what you are going through, I know that nobody should have to live like you have been forced to. I am bawling listening to Ariana Grande’s song- “Get well soon” where she talks about wanting to give hugs to victims of the suicide bombing that happened at her concert in Manchester. I want to give you a hug and tell you how special you are and how much you matter.
I am going to end with one question that keeps me up at night. America, how many more people have to die before you make better gun laws? New Zealand’s prime minister, just 24hours after the attack, banned semiautomatic guns. We need to STOP blaming mental health and face the problem head-on. Get rid of the damn guns.
I hope that one day, all this will be stories we tell to our kids/dogs. I hope that one day we can feel safe in our homes, schools, worship centers and most importantly, our own damn skin! That bombs and mass shooting will be a thing of the past and kids can sleep innocently at night knowing their parents are going to be back safe. That we don’t have to be forced to mourn our loved ones. That our kids will not be scared to go to school or parents scared to let their kids go to school. That our biggest problems would be picking out ice cream flavors at the park and not wondering whether someone would come to shoot our kids at the park. I hope that one day we can all do more than hope but for now, that’s all I’ve got.
I am upset and at the same time scared. I love you and please stay safe.