Like many Indians who were born and brought up in the Middle East, I carried the burden of ostracisation. The clothes I wore were neither Indian nor Arab, neither was the tongue I spoke in. The colour of my skin branded me Indian, but my unfamiliarity with my own culture became blatant when surrounded by the cacophony of India. My passport is stamped with the place of my birth, Qatar. My earliest memories are of it’s beaches, I have cried here, laughed here, celebrated the birth of my sister here, mourned the deaths of family members here, but I and many like me, have never felt like we belong here.
War is inching ever closer, like a noose slowly tightening around our necks. In the last few days alone, Istanbul, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have been ablaze, hundreds have died but, perhaps the greatest tragedy of all is that the world has already moved on. There have been no Facebook filters for solidarity, no buildings lit to honour the dead. People care more about the European Championships than the lives of innocent men, women and children whose only fault was to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. We live in a world where the life of one white man is more precious than scores of coloured ones, where the wants of the rich matter more than the needs of the poor.
In a final act of careless destruction, Britain inked an arbitrary line that cleaved her former home into two, and spawned two new beings. Born from violence, India and Pakistan were thrust into a world polarised by religion. While Pakistan proclaimed himself Muslim, India declared himself stoutly secular, although according to many he really was as Hindu as they come. For seven decades the two have sought every opportunity to demerit the other.
This morning the United Kingdom made history as it chose to leave the European Union. The Leave campaign has painted a picture of Britain under threat. Under threat from refugees, under threat from immigrants, and under threat of losing their “Britishness.” This historic move, which has been championed as a move to reclaim Britain’s sovereignty ,has divided the nation along existing fault lines. It has divided the educated from the uneducated, the rich from the poor, and the white from the non-white. At it’s core this debate has been about what it means to be British.
It’s been several days since the Orlando shooting but my rage is constantly refuelled by the flurry of articles circulating through my newsfeed. I’m horrified by the actions of that young man, but I’m just as disturbed by the world’s response to it. Unfortunately, when an assailant is Muslim, fixating on his religious background and boiling all motive down to radicalism has become so commonplace that it’s almost expected.