Where is my home?
I am a Muslim, Canadian Palestinian woman, and I do not know where home is.
I hold a Canadian citizenship, yet it feels as though I do not possess the same rights as those around me. Perhaps theoretically I do; however, I am increasingly conscious of how I run to the opportunities that my counterparts are merely walking to. I am becoming more aware that many of those around me intrinsically withhold rights from me, which they believe they are ‘more’ entitled to because they are somehow ‘more’ Canadian.
Wherever I go, I have to ask to “borrow” a place to pray. I have to explain my head scarf, remembering to be sensitive to those who listen. The answer “Toronto Canada” never satisfies the curiosity of those who ask me, “Where are you from?” And when I speak, my voice is not heard as my own and I am not regarded as an individual. My voice here in Canada somehow represents an entire religion comprised of 1.6 billion people.
I carry with me my Palestinian heritage, a home not recognized, literally erased off the map. It is a place wiped out by white settler colonization,where people’s fundamental rights as human beings are stripped away. A farmer stands hours at a checkpoint to get to his own farmland; a mother fears the life of her child’s life as he struggles to pursue an education that children around the world are entitled to. I am told each day that as a Palestinian, I do not really exist.
So where can I feel safe to be, where I don’t have to constatnly explain myself or defend my rights? Although that place may not exist, I will remain a confident, Canadian Palestinian Muslim. I will continue to run while others walk, and I will not let it phase me. I will continue to move forward.