I Am Arabic, I Have Nothing to Hide This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

"After many hours ofdissecting my own thoughts and ideas about the terrorist acts against my country,the United States of America, I have decided that there is no right or wrong wayto handle the situation. The fact is, something just has to be done. I havestudied our involvement in World War II, but the attack on the World Trade Centerhas really affected me. I grew up with the idea that although German- andJapanese-American citizens are innocent, many of us still have stereotypes aboutthem. Why? What is so hard for us to get past? Will our society ever be able toaccept people of every race and color?

On September 11, 2001, my life wasinterrupted when I heard the news of the terrorist attacks on the World TradeCenter. When I watched "Pearl Harbor," I remember thinking that I couldnever imagine living through such a tragedy. I could hardly believe that mycountry had ever experienced war on our own territory because to me the UnitedStates of America always seemed so perfect, nothing bad could ever happen. Thenews said Osama bin Laden was responsible, had funded the attack and had Arabs dohis dirty work.

When I first heard that Arabs were bin Laden's accomplicesI thought the newscasters were just stating any facts about the terrorists thatthey had. In religion class the day after the attack, the question, "Whatshould we do with the Arab-American citizens?" was asked. I felt nauseated.What did that question mean, and why was it asked? My grandfather,"Shid-thie," is from Lebanon, an Arabic country. In fact, he fought forAmerica in World War II. How could anyone question him? Then it hit me - I amArabic also. Any Arabic person I have met has welcomed me as if I were family, acustom Arabs live by. Now people are making it seem everyone should watch theirbacks whenever Arabic or Middle Eastern people are around because they may beaccomplices.

It makes me very sad to turn on the TV and hear storiesabout innocent Arab Americans being held at gunpoint by other Americans. Theseare the same Arabs whose hearts were struck with sadness after hearing about theattack. What right do people have to pass judgment? I am Arabic, I have nothingto hide.

As my religion class progressed, my teacher ex-plained to me thatalthough I am only a quarter Arabic, I would have been sent to a work camp ifthis were World War II and it had been the Arabs who had attacked us. Many of thegirls actually agreed that this was the answer to our problem - send all Arabs"back" or put them in camps.

How could I ever judge someone bywhat they looked like rather than who they are? This is by far the biggest lessonI have learned from this tragedy. This was my rude awakening of what is reallygoing on in the world rather than the idealistic picture I so love to paint formyself.

Two months ago I was an average teenager worried about what I wasgoing to wear Friday night. Now I am a teenager who prays she will not be judgedor looked down upon because of my race. Although many do not see the Arab in me,I can feel it every time I hear someone who is angry say, "Send all theArabs back where they came from." Well, I am one of those Arabs, and theUnited States of America is where I come from - and where I belong.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

BuddingRose said...
May 23, 2016 at 12:44 pm
Hello. Even though I am not of Arabic decent (I'm mainly Italian), I will not judge you. As someone once said "we are all different, therefore we shall not be judged." You are a beauty in God's Eyes (or whatever deity you worship if any). The only issue I see here is spacing issues, but wonderful article.
floaton said...
Oct. 23, 2009 at 3:32 am
i too am an arab american, and my parents from lebanon. in my history class, someone said that we should kill all arabs, send them back "where they came from" the teacher didn't object. i feel your pain, keep speaking out
~AmAnDa LyNn<3Bj wIlLiAm~ said...
Nov. 1, 2008 at 2:57 pm
showin love
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