Imagine this for a moment.
You are not born in a clean warm hospital with nurses who think you are adorable, and cute and smooshable. You are born instead to a war zone, probably a dusty back room. Bombs going off at every turn.
How would you sleep knowing that at any moment you could die? Not because of the color of your skin, or even your beliefs, because frankly you don’t have beliefs, you’re only a baby.
You’re five. You’re parents are gone. There’s no one to take care of you, protect you, teach you to read – to tickle you and tuck you in at night. No one says “I love you” No one says “I see you – you matter, you belong to me and I will defend you”. Instead they tell you to get lost, they don’t care that you are hungry and starving, because they too are hungry and starving.
Every single person around you is so busy trying to survive they don’t care if you survive. If you are lucky to have someone who cared they probably died trying to protect you.
You’re ten. Your family, or what’s left of it is fleeing everything they have ever known. They have finally decided enough is enough. Now they’re going to leave their country. For a better life. A chance at a future for their children.
They are tired of bombs, of rapists and death threats. Of children being turned into murderers. They are tired and scared and afraid and sad, and they are broken. Still strong enough to fight for you though, to hope you can have a chance.
So they throw you over a border, through a fence, you’re alone.
You’re going to a new country, possibly with family, probably alone. You have nothing.
All around the world people are saying they don’t want you, you’re a killer, a Muslim terrorist, you don’t even understand what that means. You’re twelve.
You move to a new country, maybe with family, maybe your own, maybe someone you’ve never met before. It’s cold here. It’s cold but there is food, and warm blankets, but will it last? Will they come for you? These terrorists? Will you be here tomorrow?
The dreams. come then, because the bed is so soft, the blanket so warm, the house not full of dust or broken walls – there are no bombs here, you get comfortable, you fall asleep.
You pee the bed.
You’re scared now, will mother and father be mad? Will the guests of the home you are staying in? Will you be beaten? yelled at? Who knows, you do though, you have an uncontrollable fear because fear is all you’ve ever known.
The dreams come, dreams and reminders every sound so new, the quiet, the still, nothing is right, because it’s not like anything you’ve ever known. How do these people live? what the fuck is a McDonalds? Who is Tim Horton? Why do these people not want me? What have I done wrong?
Not wanted in Syria, or America, England, Canada…no one wants me. No one loves me, I am unloveable. I do not deserve love.
I deserve to die, like the infidels, like the Muslim Terrorists.
A gang comes calling. They offer you a family, money, friends. They protect you. They too understand because they came from the same place. You’re sixteen.
Now you have a gun.
Someone could have changed this. Someone could have altered this. Someone could have loved this child just enough, but no one did.
Now you’re addicted to drugs, possibly dead. Does it matter? You’re just another lost one.