Plus What I’m really thinking
My family has been in the UK for 60 years. We experienced racist abuse in public and at school, and saw our home vandalised many times. But that was the 1980s. Things got better and were meant to carry on getting better. Sadly, the abuse is back.
Increasingly, I practise shameful pragmatism in the workplace. I don’t overdo the Brit shtick (“We Brits don’t do that, do we?”), but I do think twice about admitting I’m not a royalist. I’ve lied to pass the Tebbit cricket test, hiding my love for a team that infuriates me and fills me with pride, while reminding me of days spent with my late dad watching the sport.
I won’t mention the latest attack. If you bring it up, I’ll say it’s sick, awful, depraved. Is that enough? Or should I say I condemn it “as a Muslim”? Are you just making conversation, or are you trying to find out if I’m a sympathiser, a wannabe jihadi bride?
As a human, I’m horrified and disgusted. As a Muslim, I’m mostly frightened. How did we get here? Insecurities and anxieties I had as an immigrant’s child, which lessened in my 20s, have reached unhealthy levels this past decade. My over-consumption of news media means even I can understand why people can’t see past my Muslim identity any more.
So, excuse me if I seem as though I’m keeping my head down and sticking to conversations about work after this latest terror attack.
Like you, I’ll be thinking of the human spirits rubbed out and those defined by this atrocity for the rest of their lives. I’ll also be wondering ho how this chapter of history will end fo for me and mine.