Oddly, surprisingly and sadly enough, last night I was the target of an islamophobic attack. Yes, me- a white, Italian, fairly Christian girl. It was truly enlightening. Forgive me if I copy and paste from my facebook profile for rapidity:
UPDATE ON THE STATE OF THE WORLD WE LIVE IN
Fact: a random guy has just attacked me and insulted me on Instagram because I asked my friend the meaning of a German sentence she had posted about, as I’m not that good at German. But that doesn’t seem to make sense, right? Yeah, because it turns out that the REAL reason he felt entitled to attack me and insult me was that he saw my Arabic calligraphy, automatically assumed I was a man (don’t ask me why) and Muslim and wanting to invade and destroy life as he wants it, so why not release his vulgarity and hatred on me – to then apologize and minimize it all as soon as he found out I’m not a man and not Muslim, to then insult me again but now for being stupid and weak and for wasting his time.
I knew this was happening but hadn’t felt it this close before. I guess I’ll have to thank you, you racist sexist ignorant person: you’ve just lit a fire in me that is not going to extinguish before the problem you represent does. And it’s not about improving my German.
Quite a few of my friends commented to express their support and solidarity, which I was super grateful for as this conversation really threw me off my usually calm, serene, strong core. And in between the encouragement and sweet words, an interesting debate ensued, mostly over the best way to react to aggressive, ridiculously offensive people like this guy. Here are the comments that best represent the points covered:
FRIEND 1: The probability of being commented by an idiot on FB is directly proportional to that of finding a morning poo on the glass of your car.
1. You should have stopped reading at “uncontrolled jihad” (which I found quite creative btw, I will use it!;))
2. You felt somehow to justify who you are and what you were doing (studying Arabic), then for him you were “ok”. Do not waste your time,just ban him by notifying to FB inappropriate comments (assuming that fb adopt fair censorship)
3. I was insulted many times for being pro Palestinians, just take it as a further demonstration of the widespread racism and stereotypes about “the others” in general. Sociological eye.
4. Keep being strong and focused on the right side of life.
Hugs my dear ❤
ME:[…] Thank you for your message
Maybe I was so shocked by that guy’s hatred because I don’t have a car and hadn’t thought about statistics. That’s probably it
Just a couple of notes about the first two points: this actually happened on Instagram and I actually couldn’t find a way to report the guy. If I understood well, there seems to be much less space for reporting than on facebook, and much less “disciplinary action” but rather suggestions like “just delete whatever you find offensive”. Perhaps I should write an email to the Instagram Lords.
Then, it is true I could’ve refused the conversation to begin with, but if I had I never would’ve known what he had (or thought he had) against me, and I would’ve felt that I had missed an opportunity to try and make the world a better place. For all we know, his mistake (for lack of a better word) with me might have gotten him thinking. Maybe, maybe, the whole thing changed hima tiny bit for the better. I like to try and engage in all sort of conversations and hope my words have some positive power 🙂Points 3 and 4 I tooootally agree with- I’m sorry to hear you were insulted too, by the way. Hugs back L.!!!
And another one:
FRIEND 2: This guy is fueled by his own inner demons. He’s right when he says to “roll on”, because HE isn’t worth your time…guurrlfriend (beyoncé finger wag☝🏾)
ME: Hey random distant friend I’m very grateful for your support and really appreciated the finger wag … but let me tell you what I’ve already told a few others who have a similar stance to yours: sorry to disagree, but everybody is worth my time. Especially people who are clearly troubled by something. Because in the end- yes, last night I was hurt, I was angry, I had a hard time. But in the bigger picture I am totally fine and he obviously is not, as he seems to feel threatened even by people who actually have zero impact on his life. So while I’m certainly not superior to anybody, if I think there’s even the slightest chance of opening a new horizon to somebody, I will try to do it – in my very imperfect and uneffective way, but I will try because otherwise I wouldn’t be happy with my own ethics and morals. Lol man sorry you didn’t ask for this super long reply but… yeah. Hugs, […]!
Other friends also said that there are too many idiots in this world and we should just let them talk to each other and ignore them, that “an idiot is forever” etc. Now… maybe they’re right. I honestly don’t know. But I want to believe that something can be done about this, that my Arab and/or Muslim friends are not doomed to be insulted and attacked like this more and more often now (I say “now” given the current political wind and its legitimization of such behaviour) and that… well, that I’m not a useless individual.