Not an “other”

A mosque up in flames in Texas where my sister is, another in Quebec City where 6 people were shot last night. I don’t see this as an anti-muslim thing only. It’s worse. It’s much bigger. It’s affecting all of humanity. I’m reposting this because it’s the same old story..with no new words.

So Many Hats (or Veils)


You would never have shot me

Or beaten me to the ground

If you knew me

If you knew me,

You’d never have been angry or afraid

If you knew me

You’d have loved me

You’d have shed more tears for me

than this blood on your hands

I think you know it

Yet can’t bare to know it

So you avoid my gaze

As the life leaves me body

You may look at me

But you don’t seeme

If you saw me,

You’d have seen yourself

Not another

Not an “other”

In February 2015, 3 Muslim students were shot in the head in their apartments. Days ago, a 24-year-old Saudi student was beaten to death by a stranger- who used his fists as bludgeons- outside a pizza shop.

I just don’t know what to say, except: Don’t shoot! It’s me! It’s you..

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I will be happy when…No you won’t.

How long have you been saying that?

I’ll be happy when I get into this program, get married, have a child, get a haircut, get thin, get published, pass an exam, get a job, retire..

And on and on the list goes. 


There will always be something looming ahead promising happiness.

It’s an empty promise, it’s time to wake up..

and be happy now.

Empty tank



For several nights in a row now, I’ve been stumbling to my room so tired, that I fall face down, fully dressed, on top of the covers, legs dangling from the side of the exhausted that I fall asleep and my children are the ones to cover me and kiss me goodnight.. before going off to bed.

No matter, I march on the next day and the next, gotta keep going. Today, something happened to make me pause for a second.  While driving home after dropping them off at school, and mentally going through my to-do list, I noticed I was running low on gas. Great, one more thing on my to- do list. Can’t run on an empty tank.

“What about your tank?”

“Wha..? who’s that?..Oh, it’s you”

Everyone, let me introduce my self-compassion voice. She’s new, and her voice is still very low..or  is it a he? I haven’t decided on the gender-or the accent for that matter. He’s kind of like my internal Siri. Let’s go with deep throaty Irish accent today 🙂

So, Irish here raises a good point.. What about my empty tank? what about my falling asleep all over the place? huh?

So. I stopped the car downtown,  walked to my favourite store, and  bought this belt with pink feathers, which I have been wanting for a while. It was the very last one, and on a double sale!

(if you don’t know the significance of this belt, read this, you’ll enjoy it):

Then I went to one of my favourite cafes and had  a sinfully delicious breakfast (yes, it involved Nutella). And then..I went home, and did some work to ease my gnawing conscience (I’m not used to this degree of pampering). After that, I exercised, then practiced my new secret hobby # 1 and new secret hobby #2 (I’m a beginner and too shy to tell you what I’m learning).

By the afternoon, when I caught my reflection in the mirror, I swear I looked different. Some colour back in the cheeks and some sparkle back in the eyes.

Hey.. there you are, Wid..

You know, we work so hard at our careers and as mothers and caregivers that it’s hard to stop and take care of ourselves. Days like this are so rare and so special. Do they have to be?

In the end I went back to working on my computer and cooked and read to my children (we finished the last chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets today..amazing!). I did all I had to do.

And I wrote..It feels like ages since I’ve written for my blog..

I guess I had something to give ..only after filling the tank.


What’s in a name?


New Year’s Eve, the world is optimistic, hoping..hoping that 2017 will be better, at least less bloody, than 2016.


The attack in Turkey on New Years Eve took the lives of people close to home. Some of the dead.. we know their names, their families. They were related to and -colleagues of -some of my family members. And if I were in Saudi Arabia, I’d be attending the wake of a young woman named Lubna right now. There was also an attack in Madina a few months ago, in the Holy Mosque, where up to millions of Muslims gather to pray every day..there were attempts in Jeddah this year too, where I will be living in 6 months time. (inshallah, God willing).

But you know what the killer is? As if being killed is not bad enough.. what is really special, is that although Muslims, are the most likely victims of terrorist attacks.. we are also the most likely suspects.

No sooner did the attack happen, than the rest of the story unfolded in a sickeningly familiar sequence. The media shouts: it’s the Muslims again! the Terrorists! ISIS! (They are all the same thing in the media you see, who cares about mere nuances amidst such tragedy?)

What people often forget though, is that Muslims form 82-97% of fatalities in terrorist attacks (hey, don’t take my word fort, look it up : ).

No matter. I am always “randomly” selected at airports for extra tests or pat-downs. Here is one particularly painful event: I was traveling alone to New York to attend my mother’s college reunion (Vasser). After passing the metal detector, the security agent-he had kind eyes-said, somewhat apologetically: “I’m sorry M’am, but if you’ll present your hands, palms up, I have to run a test”. I complied silently as he swabbed my fingers. He looked at me and smiled..”Sorry, we have to do this to anyone wearing “headgear” “.

Why did I suddenly feel like crying? “You do what you have to do” I said, tight smile.

but don’t do that. I thought. Don’t be kind. Don’t be human. Don’t you pierce my comfortable prickly shield of anger.. and stir my grief..which is never far below the surface.

Then I’m given the choice of the x-ray like machine or a pat down..hmm, what do you think I’ll go for..I think the pat down is less humiliating than allowing a semi-naked reconstructed image of me to pop up on a screen. Done. I quickly run to the ladies room and cry. To this day, I’m not completely sure what those tears were about, so I don’t really expect you to get it either.

So there it I am..The Muslim (thunder sound effects would be nice here)

The most likely victim

the most likely suspect

you think I am them are afraid of  me

but..I am afraid of them

We all lose

I’m so tired of explaining

and defending




Note: look, I know the security guard was doing his job. I know he is ensuring my safety. I know everyone is doing their best. This is an emotional account. Not a political one. I’m revealing a human facet of myself, and if you can turn or bend, to align  your own facet of humanity to mine, then we’ll understand eachother, and see eachother, and never ever kill eachother, or call eachother names.

Wid Kattan