Photo credit: Myself
Pictured: Malak Wazne and children in Jerusalem, Palestine
It seems as if with every waking moment we are hit with the news of another crisis over seas or somewhere in the States and it can be really difficult to keep up with every country’s struggle. Arab-Americans are disappointed time and time again with the minimal or complete lack of coverage by American media outlets on issues and deaths happening in the Middle East.
Within the past couple of months, I observed so many people in my community take part in something that has always existed but was never talked about. There is a subconscious nationalistic superiority that many Arab individuals possess living in Dearborn. Until it is recognized and overcome, Dearborn can’t move on as a progressive and open-minded community when its people divide themselves up with invisible borders and restricted conversations that tiptoe around contrasting opinions and beliefs.
It’s not out of the ordinary for a person to be upset about any injustice committed against their own people. But what we fail to realize is that at the end of the day, we are all seen as one people despite our differing countries of origin or faith or looks. This superiority of only caring about an issue when it is impacting you is dangerous and incredibly selfish. I come from a Palestinian background and am not proud to say that I know Palestinians who have been silent against the massacre of Syrians and the starvation of Yemenis. Yet, when news of Al-Aqsa mosque being attacked reached them, they grew livid and actively spread the word and protested. I know of kids my age who recently graduated high school and although they do have roots back home see themselves as superior to their families. This may be something they do subconsciously but unfair nonetheless. Many of these individuals choose to stay ignorant of any injustices instead of grant them attention and in any way help the situations out.
I attempted to write a speech for my class’ graduation ceremony and although I never had the chance to read it, I wish I could have spoken out somehow on the importance of being an activist and a soldier against injustices dismissing the need to be selective and what community service project looks best on a college résumé. The list of what identifies a person on being a selective activist is pretty long and the easiest way to avoid being one is to simply care enough about humanity as a whole and that every person deserves their rights.This constant comparison of struggles and which is more deserving of attention or is in dire need of more help is comedic and tragic at the same time. I see it from a refugee’s point of view or a child homeless and orphaned in Sudan’s perspective, where there are people outside of the scope of Dearborn pleading to help and instead of listening, we choose to ignore. Instead of paying all an equal amount of attention and learning their struggles, we choose to compete and forget our values and sympathy.
Yes, I have too much hope and may sound naive to many but I honestly know this city can do better and can stand up and speak out when for any people facing a genocide, oppression, or hate despite not having a direct connection to any of it. No struggle should ever be deemed less significant than another and to even begin to call oneself an activist requires an equal amount of attention committed to every cause at any time.