Letting go of the lifejacket – Middle eastern reflections

They told me growing up to be proud of my Arab heritage.

They told me that our men and women were warriors who fought the Crusaders, inventors and thinkers who transformed the world of geometry, physics, medicine, surgery and astronomy at a time of European darkness.

They told me to never forget where I came from, because that is what made me who I am. And for a long time, I held fast to these words, as if they were my lifejacket.

But as I see the sadistic fires rampaging through Syria, sucking dry the bones of what’s left of Iraq, tightening their noose around Lebanon and Libya, it is obvious that where I came from has long forgotten about me and the millions of children fleeing from these hellholes.

The silence from these so called countries with proud Arab heritage is what is suffocating our children. It is what is sending them and their parents out to die at sea and wash ashore in countries that will never know the joy of their laughter nor the cheekiness of their grins.

Today I let go of the lifejacket and its amnesiac grip. A heritage can only take you so far before it begins to blind you to the legacy you are currently creating.

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