The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday September 24th

Column: We fell in love in a hopeless place

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Mejs Hasan

I can be obstinate, so ordinarily hearing people say, “Peaceful Muslims are in cahoots with evil ones, do you ever hear them condemn violence?” would drive me to snap back: “Fine, I’ll show just how in cahoots I really am!” Except I am so desperately wild for bombs to please not tear apart places I love that I can’t mind the taunts — I have to do something anyway.

But what? I am just one person who doesn’t know what she’s doing. Maybe I should join the Muslims who do interfaith outreach, but I’m a terrible talker. I’d just spook everyone into thinking Muslims are weirder than they already did.

Maybe I should go around with a “Muslims for America’s Bodyguards” sign, which I totally don’t mind doing, except I think it would alarm, not reassure, people.

At one time, I thought I could write my way to a world where no Muslim blows anything up and everyone thinks that we’re really cool, but no one wanted to publish what I had to say.

Finally, I thought: Why not teach myself how to make animations? That way, I can animate a world where Muslims and non-Muslims get along beautifully, and share it on YouTube. If people see it, we can be it! I figured by the time I was through, the world would be perfectly peaceful.

Foolproof scheme in hand, I entered the confusing world of animations. Maybe I’m super stupid, but it meant three days of Googling to figure out how to import images with a transparent background.

It meant staying up until 2 a.m. to match my animated girl’s mouth to every syllable she says, and biking home at midnight after staying two extra hours at work to eke out five more seconds of my video.

Silly me, I should have known it was hopeless. I uploaded my videos, and still no one watched, no one cared, nothing changed.

What I get told is that my animations are “not effective”. But they are the very best I can do. The same people then scream at me about how Muslims never speak out, never condemn evil things some Muslims do.

I don’t know why I still bother. Perhaps some age-old, primal defiance against slow strangulation in a horrid, crippled world.

A Muslim lady in a turquoise headscarf and “Salam, I come in peace” printed on her shirt gets kicked out of a Trump rally an hour from my parents, as the crowd jeers and a man jabs a thumbs-down in her face, all to Trump’s regal overtones that, “It’s their hatred, not our hatred.”

I finish an animation, promising I am on your side, just as the news reported thousand-strong crowds of Muslim men groping women unspeakably all over Europe’s New Year.

I want that story reported, and I want those men smacked, but I wish someone would listen to me, too. I wish my voice could be amplified, to say (excepting your own dirty, ugly men with anger/entitlement issues) I love you beyond reason and my existence is entirely tied up in yours.

But no one’s interested in that — typical for a world where only hate and anger get an audience.



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