Arab-Americans need a box on the US Census Form!
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(& Smartest) Arab
April 6th, 2016 (11 Comments)
Here are a set of assumptions you might make about me after reading the above title:
She is too feminist.
She's short and ugly.
She likes the word spinster.
She's a liberal, too busy questioning marriage.
She's a philosopher.
She's a drama queen.
She doesn't want her daughter to see President Trump.
Well, some of those things are accurate, but none are the actual reasons why I am writing this.
I am 22, I have two names, two birthdays, and multiple personalities (which means I am good actress). I grew up in Gaza, Palestine, an Arab society. Do I love it? Yes. I just prefer a distant relationship with my country.
The concept of not wanting to have kids, especially a daughter, has always been on my mind, but I have never considered the reasons. Every time I go into a discussion about this matter, I become confused and quite unpersuasive (You have to justify some personal decisions when living in a conservative society) . It was never enough to say, "Well, the world is too terrible to bring more humans into it, especially in my case, the Palestinian case. That's the last thing I want to do to someone. A kid with the Palestinian passport is like a bird born with no wings. Oh man, It hurts!"
Anyhow, I can make a list of hundreds of rational and quite convincing reasons now, but you can conclude what they might be. You're smart.
The other day I was in the court, filing some official papers, which is a bit of a nightmare because I have to don a veil and a burka, otherwise I am not allowed to enter the building. Next to me was a woman whose child had been involved in an accident. She was supposed to receive an amount of money as some sort of compensation. The judge asked, "Where is the father?" She said, "He is outside the country." The judge answered, angrily, "Where is his uncle (Father’s brother)?" She said, "I am his mother!" The judge shouted at her, "Where is his grandfather? Where is the child’s family? Go and bring anyone from his father’s part." As it turns out, you mom is not your family. What a surprise!
I usually go with my mother to get the papers done. And every time, we go through a very long and tiring process. The last time, however, I went with my brother, and to my surprise, everything was completed in less than 10 minutes, without even asking about me (I was waiting in the car). Why? Apparently, my country’s slogan is “Men only.” Transparency, power, and authority are equivalents for manhood.
This a small snapshot of what a woman goes through in my town on a daily basis. For me, it sums up a lot of struggles, difficulties, and a load of crap. What is the problem? Is it the law? The so-called "religious government"? The religion itself? Men? Ignorance?
Ultimately, I don't really care. But the whole thing has led me to one conclusion. I love my daughter too much to ever bring her into this country.