It has been over two years since I moved to the States, a year since I last wrote in Muscat Daily newspaper and over a week since we were all shaken by the tragic North Carolina shootings that led to the death of three Muslim college students.
The level of shock, fear and sadness this news had on us was overwhelming. Wasn’t it only months ago that my closest friend and I were studying for our final exams while following the Sydney Siege situation that was streamed on every news channel for days? Or the Paris shootings that had the world roar with “Je Suis Charlie”?
How come then that I found out about the shootings that happened in North Carolina only through a hashtag on Twitter? Was it not news worthy even on a national scale? Are some lives more valuable than others? Did CNN think they were fair when they reported seven simple lines about one of the most tragic shootings in the nation?
So many questions that left my friends and me at loss of what to think or believe. I realised then that I live in a country that claims freedom of speech when its own media goes by selective attention, and that those three Muslim students (Deah, Yusoor, Razan) could have easily been my friends and I leaving the library to get lunch, or heading to the cinema on a Friday night. Basically, I have come to realise that justice can be made relative, that even though the world is turning into a village, we are not getting friendlier, and politics can be a nasty business.
Last night while I was studying for my physics test, one of my roommates who is a white American entered my room, sat on my bed and said: “Us Americans praise ourselves with being successful with the civil rights movement, making all those movies, writing all those books on how we have done it; we have ensured equality, we have achieved Martin Luther Kings’ dream. Yet, I think we just took a 100 years step back, I’m sorry Sarah.”
Let us all remember that our lives do not vary in value, our differences are not necessarily bad traits, and ignorance is not always bliss.