So I am sitting here on the tarmac waiting to take off- after one of those short but much needed trips back home. It’s that quiet moment between when the cabin doors are closed and the plane starts its race down the runway. The anticipation is there for everyone- and there is a stillness that allows you to be alone with your thoughts- and so I am.
With all the horrible tragedies that have happened inside of the last week- I find myself so raw- so utterly disenchanted with people in general- and It’s sad. Sitting at the gate I noticed the multitude of obviously Muslim travelers and couldn’t help but study them carefully- after all- is is after tragedies such as those in France that the “evil” “people”- and I use those terms loosely- seem to have the most momentum- it’s when they are really motivated to hurt others. I am not really sure what I am looking for, and the folks in question look like regular old passengers- with hijab and abaya of course.
I am almost angry at myself for thinking this way- this is the same thing us Jews complain about- being stereotyped- and yet try as I might- I am still so angry- but more importantly I am afraid.
This flight is from Boston to Seattle- a 6 hour flight with lots of fuel- perfect target for terrorists- I wonder what the terrorists from 911 looked like sitting in the terminal?did they seem normal? Angry? It was the same airport- same distance. I sit here in my seat and listen to the slow steady breathing of the Muslim man seated behind me- he smiled as he walked by me to his seat- would he have smiled if he could see the 5 pointed star I wear that is neatly nestled under my sweater? I have to wonder.
As a Jew and a covering one at that- I am certainly not hiding who I am- or what I stand for- how could I when so many others marched to their deaths for the same thing! Yet I find myself afraid at every turn that I have made myself and my family a target. A military and Jewish family- talk about a double whammy! Yesterday two women in hijabs stopped talking at the mall as I walked by- their conversation turned to whispers- of course our toddler daughters still smiled and made noises at each other across the little store- what do they know of this deep seated whatever this is.
Jihadists have called for the killing of Jews-the way you might announce hunting season- and these “people” don’t go after the men with guns- they maim and murder woman and children- for sport- to please their god.
Yet all anyone talks about Islamiphobia and how Muslims are being unfairly bullied for things that “10% of the population” did. Well geeze how can we NOT be scared? When individuals who claim to represent this religion- put a hit out on our entire religion?! What would you have us do? Is it fair to the man behind me that every time he gets up to pee- My heart goes into my throat? Is it fair to his daughter that each time she reaches into her purse I hold my breath? Is it anyone’s fault that I am asking my Army husband what to do in a potential hostage situation? Probably not- but how am I supposed to know who is radical and who isn’t? It isn’t like they wear name tags. The only answer for now is to keep this status quo- be hyper vigilant, stay alert, and be wary of everyone.
Someday perhaps the world will be a different place where Muslims and Jews can live together in peace and I hope I see that day- but as I sit here in my seat pressing my fingers into the star around my neck- I silently weep for the folks at Charlie Hedbo and for the women and children in Paris and I pray that whoever or whatever is responsible for the events of these past days is brought to swift justice- and may Hashem send Moshiac soon.