Often, we’re trapped in our own bubbles of life. We’re focused on the immediate: work, studies, partners, hobbies. And for good reason, especially when we’re so young yet we’re faced with global crises, one after the other. That’s how we manage to keep ourselves in check. We start to measure the extent of damage back to our bubbled standard, and we adjust.
Just as we stepped out of a global pandemic, we quickly found ourselves stepping into a new crisis format: war. And for those who have lived their lives in relative peace for the most part, Europeans for example, there is no threshold for the kind of damage and turmoil the rest of the world experiences and has experienced for decades.
As unfortunate as it is to compare two evils, my mind seems to constantly do exactly that. For I was brought up believing that ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’. And growing up during the Arab Spring, whether by default or curiosity, I was aware of the injustices of the world, carrying their impact into the decisions I made, the people I befriended, the words I spoke, or letters I've written.
You see, our history books are not the same, our political awareness is not the same, our daily lives are not the same. And even as I carry myself through the same streets as you do, our bubbles are entirely different realms.
When I first heard of the war on Ukraine, I felt a certain familiarity that I couldn't put my finger on. And my immediate realization was that even though this war is about two thousand kilometers away from home, my people will still reap the repercussions of one man’s ego.
I went back home, and it wasn't even a few weeks before bread prices had doubled. Our currency was shot by twenty percent, our prices inflated, and our people were put under unimaginable pressure. They hadn't had the chance to catch their breath since 2010. And before that, we knew more turmoil, but I was 9 and I was more concerned with my High School Musical lunch box and matching backpack.
What I find myself wondering amidst all this growing activism in Europe, where was this fight for freedom and justice during all those years of injustice in Palestine? Or Yemen? Or China? To say that I feel so aware of my alienation from an entire continent, my life and its worth instantly deemed less than, is to try to put it into words but not quite.
Don’t get me wrong, I know better than to point fingers or look for empathy when our history books are not the same, our political awareness is not the same, our daily lives are not the same. I only hope that in the spirit of fighting for justice, we start to see more of the people we’ve buried far and away, dehumanized and voiceless.