Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Immigrant 3

"You forget how Canada treated you"  I am frequently told when I express how happy and appreciative I am to have my freedom and humanly rights. People see me as a traitor, blinded by western propaganda, lucky...etc. you name it I have been called it.

To them I say no. I know very well how racism works, after all I lived in it all my life and it was really not much different in Canada. I was discriminated against from the minute I exited the airport arrivals 10 years ago, then again at work, then again in public, then again through in laws. I do not feel it much now except every now and then at work from clients whom I feel are just too ignorant to know any better. Not sure if I have just accommodated to it... like the way you develop immunity to a virus once infected.

The worst part of my experience with discrimination here was that which resulted in termination of my medical career. It was the most horrific and most damaging. It was overlooked, excuses were made to defend it, I was blamed, shamed, then could not prove to the courts how cruel humans can be towards someone who they feel does not belong. I had no evidence...

Then came the assault and the exposure of a defective justice system as well as poor investigative efforts by  police who have heard way to many assault/rape cases. More discrimination? Possibly.

Do I feel that I fit here? That I belong? No.

 Having said that I have a blood line here now. My children will be part of the future that will form this country and here is where I could do my part in implementing change. Through them.

I have not reported anything new in this post but as I end it I want to say this;
This post is titled (The immigrant) not because that is how I see myself, but rather that is how I have been viewed by others all my life, as an immigrant.

This immigrant does her part in society and in life. She stands up against injustice, helps others in every possible way, speaks out against wrong doing and very much appreciates that she now has the freedom to do so.

This immigrant is your neighbor, your co-worker, the person seated next to you on the bus reading a book as she commutes back and forth to work. She is a mother, a wife, and a friend. This immigrant does not feel the world owes here much of anything really.

Yet she remains suspended between cultures...somewhat lost. Not here, but not quite there either. Rejected from one culture but not completely accepted by the other. This immigrant is someone who chose to leave a past in a world of terror to live a future in a world of political correctness, lack of rock solid evidence in courts and way too cold of weather.

This immigrant is a Canadian visible minority. She lives in the mid to lower class, suffers from a plummeting economy, pays her taxes, and believe it or not breathes the same air you do. Still, she is different...she is just like you but not really... she has equal rights but not as much. She is not black skinned but she is definitely not white...her English is fluent but not flawless and you think you can detect an accent....and look here! there is a typo so be quick in pointing it out so you can remind her that English is her second language,

This immigrant came to your country for a better life...just not one that is perfect. Perhaps, if the shoe were on the other foot, this immigrant would have not needed to immigrate at all.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

I the Immigrant 2

They treat you as an inferior because you are not a (true Saudi) from a real Bedouin tribe that originated in their deserts. Yet Saudi was founded 1932 by Abdul Aziz Bin Saud who named it after his family name.

 So what does the term (true Saudi) really mean?

It means to insult and discriminate just like they do with every other aspect in their daily lives. Discriminate against women, against non-Muslims, against non-Saudis, against blacks, against Asians....Jews...

A country named after it's royal family that discriminates against anyone and everyone who is not them. It's that simple. Now, add to the inferiority of not being (true Saudi) that I was a woman. So I was double inferior.

I was raised believing I was inferior. Did I develop an inferiority complex? Yes. Big time!

I saw a picture on my Facebook feed yesterday that one of my friends liked. It was of a Saudi woman with her Saudi fiancee. They are young, she is beautiful in her cute white dress and he handsome in his Saudi dress thoub. Something twisted inside me as I viewed the pic. of the happy couple.

I felt inferior,again. That though I was happily married with 2 amazing kids I still was not good enough for any Saudi man. That picture, that exact picture...It would never be me in that picture. Next to my handsome Saudi man. I was not allowed...I was undeserving...I was not pure enough.

I guess, though I fought and broke free of the oppression chains, I still feel the shame of not being a true Saudi and the pain of not being good enough to have been that girl in the picture. But is this real? This image and presumed honor that comes with being a true blooded Saudi?

Or is it all fake? an act, for show, pretense.

I lived in Saudi long enough to know these acts. I know the dark truth behind these big wedding celebrations and expensive show offish engagement parties. I know the Saudi wife life way too well to envy any girl in anyone of those pictures with her noble Saudi prince.

There is nothing noble about Saudi where men own women. These pictures are taken in a moment in time where emotions are heightened and a screen play is taking place. Fast forward 10 year post the picture taken event and pause there.

Are all Saudi marriages destined to the same outcome? Obviously no. But one must consider the laws under which these people operate. The general lack of human rights. The abusive culture. The way women are viewed and treated. Perhaps every now and then you will find a truly equal marriage with happy people in it but that is not the common practice. Not at all.

I digress,

My point is this. Their culture and their values are substandard and by discriminating against me my entire life, they made me believe I wanted these substandard conditions because of the brilliant facade they were presented in. They made me feel so inferior that I deluded myself into thinking I wanted this life.

Now, that I am living my life the way I want it (as opposed to the way everyone else wants it to be) I find that every now and then I default to the inferior position I was kept in back then.

That twisted feeling I got when I saw the picture of the happy Saudi couple in their lavish clothes and party. That is the result of racism I was subjected to all my life by the same exact people...nothing more...nothing less. Only now, I can see through it all...

(to be continued)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I The Immigrant 1

I experienced racism for quite large a portion of my life. Many of my school and university years in Saudi were lived with the struggle of being discriminated against. Then, once I came here (to Canada) I was shown an even harsher form or racism at work and finally, carrying a label of (Visible minority) as an immigrant.

I would like to say, currently, I experience no discrimination what so ever but having said that, I do not mingle much with people. My life has been only about my family for a good 6 years now. Work related events I avoid. Travel is also avoided due to a horrible experience at one U.S airport post 9-11 where I was required to hold a large yellow sign that labeled me (High Risk) as I walked through the airport.

So lets begin with my early years in Saudi Arabia;

My last name was (Bukhari). Bukhara is the capital of Uzbekistan....thus, Saudis recognized immediately that I was an immigrant or at least that I descended from one. Indeed I was no true Saudi. I had no tribe to be proud of coming from and so growing up I was looked/talked down to in school by teachers and (true) Saudi school mates. Luckily my class had many foreign students and half breeds that I was able to connect with.

I went to a private school which had many of the Saudi Royals and lets just say I was invisible to these girls. I was ridiculed for my Egyptian accent as I was 1/2 Egyptian...a mutt and a non original Saudi!

University was not as bad mainly because my father was a well known surgeon who treated prince Al Waleed bin Talal a few times. Still, I was referred to as (Ajam) by some professors constantly. They made sure to point it/me out in class.This word means I am of non Arabic origin.

I will get into more detail about how being non Saudi affected my love life later.

Most of this so far was OK. After all it was the truth. But then it became even worse as I entered the work field. Here is when I realized how truly racist Saudis were.

I would be walking through the hospital ward when I would get yelled at by a complete stranger (man or woman) for not covering my face and the yelling would almost always involve a racial slur such as
(sea vomit, pilgrim remnants). These are the translations of the nasty Arabic lingo that is meant to insult on the basis that immigrants came here through travel (sea) and stayed like unwanted sea weed would or were given citizenship during early days of pilgrimage when Saudi was trying to populate itself and offered residency to those that visited Mecca which is indeed how I sadly became a Saudi.

How would a complete stranger know I am not a real Saudi? Your guess is as good as mine. I do not carry the typical Bukhari features because I am half Egyptian. My only guess would be the fact that I never covered my face led them on to that I am not Saudi...truly.

Now, the love life;

Ever since I can remember I learned I was not and that I never would be good enough for any Saudi man period. At the early age of 18 I fell in love with a prince (silly me) and though I truly believe he loved me too, it was made clear to me (mainly by him) that because I was not from a well known tribe or royal, because I was half Egyptian and an immigrant it would never happen. We still saw each other. He talked to his family and they refused. It ended.

I was deeply wounded. My first pain of rejection based on race. The pattern did not change after this incident. It actually got worse as I pushed harder in hopes that somewhere, somehow, someone would want/accept me for the horrible thing that I was (a non true Saudi).

But no one did. I continued to fall in love with these handsome Saudi men who would all say to me how it would not work because their families would never allow them to marry some one like me. "you are not from a tribe", "You are not from my tribe", "I have to marry my cousin", "You are an immigrant", "I would never marry you because I know you/dated you"...yeah, the list went on and on. So many reasons why I was not good enough...seems that is the only thing I was after a while...

Not Good Enough

(To be continued)

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

10 commandments for the 21st century

10 years later

As my campaign winds down through it's final days I wanted to say this; I have learned so much through this unique experience. Mostly about how kind people are and how they will not stand for injustice (not everyone is like my family and the country I come from).

I also learned that my past 10 years of guilted shame & forced silence were brought on by a strange system that I didn't even think existed. But I came to find out it does. It was not (in my head) that I was shamed, labeled a trouble maker and ostracized from the department I worked in at the hospital. I didn't imagine the hurt of people turning away from me, losing friends, losing trust of colleagues & the repeated requests to (not talk about it). No, all of that and the hurt it inflicted on me were indeed real.

You know why?
Because since I went public I have seen and read the same pattern of shaming/guilting the victim  being expressed by different women who have had the misfortune of not only being harassed/assaulted but being victimized over and over again by everyone around them.

Now I understand that I gave in to the guilt and shame out of belief that it was my fault...and even had it not been, I still should not talk about it. Because no one wanted to hear about it...because we need to speak of only neutral the fucking weather.

I remember sitting down int the Anesthesia lounge talking to a senior female resident about (it)...she panicked and started to look around her then shushed me. She told me not to talk about it at work...

I remember telling a male Anesthetist staff about my assault. He quickly dismissed it by saying as he laughed " I don't believe M would do that. You must have misunderstood his actions"

I remember being called into an urgent meeting with the Anesthesia program director who was quite mad because he was hearing (talk) about (it) that was going around. He told me to "stop talking about it".

I felt awful. I wanted to curl into the fetal position ind cry...but no one was there to care. They just wanted me to shut up and I did. I crawled into the closest hole and stayed there for the next 10 years...away from the hurt...away from the uncaring...away from the judgement.

I wish I could explain how angry I am to everyone. Not only at this odd victim blaming system that I got sucked into and remained in all these years. This behavior that has been adopted into many work places globally but at my own self as well.

Why did I feel so ashamed?? Why did I believe that I should move on with my life and forget about it?? Why does society do this to us? Why are we labelled trouble makers when we report such an issue.

No one wants to live in the past...believe me I get it! But why dismiss such a violation when it does happen and sweep it under the rug of life???

I feel a huge void inside me right now...I feel gutted...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

On the Highway to Justice

I am overwhelmed with the incredible support I have received for my case. Today this inspiring Blogger Martin S Pribble  (@MartinPribble) on Twitter wrote this lovely Entry for #WhiteRibbonDay.

Please take some time to read it and share the stories of these women. Go here and read up on these strong women and read about what the white ribbon campaign is all about.

When will we have a white ribbon day in the Middle cannot help but wonder?

Also, I was recently interviewed by @AdamReakes on the Herd Mentality and here is the link. Go have a listen...

All these great MEN reaching out, helping, admiring and creating change. I am beyond amazed...

Friday, June 28, 2013

My getting justice campaign


         This is to everyone who has contributed to my campaign and/or showed to support to me.
                                                              You guys are amazing.