On wind he walks, and in wind / he knows himself. / There is no ceiling for the wind, / no home for the wind. / Wind is the compass / of the stranger’s North. / He says: I am from there, I am from here, / but I am neither there nor here./
By traveling freely across cultures / those in search of the human essense may find a space for all to sit.. / Here a margin advances. / Or a centre retreats. / Where East is not strictly east, / and West is not strictly west, / where identity is open to plurality, not a fort or a trench./
– Mahmoud Darwish (excerpts from his elegy poem to Edward Said)
I’ve felt so many things following the Boston Marathon bombings; it is impossible for me to narrow it down to a single sentiment. Events that touch on identity are challenging for me to process, as I’m often left in a schizophrenic daze. Throughout this ordeal, I felt myself shift from one side of my Self to the other, and from one emotion to the next. So, I won’t try to simplify what is inherently complex. I will simply present and reflect, and nothing more. No fancy theorizing, no overarching message. This post is only meant to be a glimpse at personal identity – that wild thing which one cannot pin down.
• HEARING THE NEWS
I heard about the Boston bombings first from a group of Saudi, Arab-Nationalist friends. I was driving to class at the time, and felt my chest tighten as I read the news on my phone. My first question was: “did a Saudi do it?” I thought again, “did an Arab and/or Muslim do it?”.