I'd like to think I'm only a mildly paranoid person.
i.e. I never fail to say 'inshallah'(God willing), outloud or in my head, when making plans; even though I'm not ...errr... religious.
I also try to think pessimistic thoughts when a movie/book I've been anticipating gets released because I'm afraid I'll jinx it somehow by hoping too much.
I always take my phone out while walking alone anywhere in, the relatively safe city of Toronto after 10pm anticipating a s_xual predator lurking around the corner, just in case.
You know.... the usual.
But lately with all thats going on around the world, I've realized that I might be a tad more paranoid than I thought.
or Am I?
Is it paranoia to think that Toronto would be the next place where a terrorist bomb will go off?
I mean, the logical people in the world DO know us as peacekeepers and non-supporters of war esp. the Iraq war, but the terrorist have not proven themselves to be very logical have they? Combine that with the obvious presence of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, no matter how peaceful the agenda is, has put us on the 'List' of that bearded-presumably-walking-undead lurker of caves.
There is a rapidly growing Muslim population in Canada which is great until you realize atleast one person you know has come in with a bogus refugee claim. As innocent as that reason might as just wanting a better life for your children, can we, in all confidence, not think that some might have a not-so-innocent agenda for being here?
Then we have the 'Islamic-schools' here most of which teach nothing of the multi-faith-multicultural-rapidly developing world that the kids are growing up in, but only the importance of correctly pronouncing an Arabic letter. Brainwashing anyone?
So, external or home-grown , the logical conclusion is that we'll be hit by terrorists.
At some point in the future.
That doesn't scare me as much as thinking of the after effects of such an act.
No doubt, like NY, Bali, Spain, London and Dhaka, Toronto too will survive and move on.
But how much do you think the dynamics of Toronto will change because of such an action?
We claim we are multicultural and show much less prejudice than our neighbours down south.
But are Torontonians tolerant enough?
Think back to the SARS scare of chinatowns across this city.
Heck, even my mother stopped buying fish from the Chinese stores in mississauga when her own daughter was working in a hospital that was treating SARS patients!
Where was logic and tolerance then?
But back to the future.
I would hope that neighbours will not resort to punching out a 'Muslim-looking-man' in the back alleys following a terrorist attack.
Some anti-Islamic graffiti, for sure.
Possibly a lot of dirty looks flung to anyone 'Brown' looking accompanied by the 'most widely used word since 2001' - "Terrorist" at even the most nonMuslim looking women showing legs upto the armpits.
At which point, you'll need to repeat to yourself "Words will never hurt me" "Words will never hurt me". .....and thats probably true.
But at the end of if all, will I be able to continue loving this city? calling it mine?
After 9 years, I've already gotten used to explaining the religion at every corner and I've even stopped getting mad at the obligatory "No, where are you really from?" question from peers/random strangers, but can I survive being made to feel like I don't belong in this city? this country? that I'm not a worthy citizen? that I should ''Go back to wherever the hell I came from"?
Even as I sing "I will survive", my heart will probably be chipped forever.