A Poem: Good Morning Fortress Europe

By Rouba Mhaissen

My alarm woke me up
It’s 2017
Good morning Fortress Europe
Today is another day
I’ll get randomly checked
At an airport nearby.

Trying so hard to fix my turban
To hide my inherited racial and religious dysfunction:

Not too Muslim
Post-Modern from the sides
Not too Arab
Civilized color to say:
I studied at your universities
That taught me about rights
Exclusive to your peoples.

Not too Syrian
To have fitted on a boat
Not too Migrant
To be stealing your jobs
But silky enough
To have been made by dark hands
In your new-age slave factories

The reception rings: taxi here ma’am
And my bad hijab day
continues
I can’t fix it, goddammit!
It’s 6 am
Try again
And I heard the
Oppressed
Repressed
Depressed
Arab submissive woman in me say:

F* you, I’m Muslim.

As I wrap my hijab
Tight enough for a Syrian
Dark enough for a Muslim
Traditional enough for a barbaric Arab
Thick enough for your prejudices

And if one racist episode
If one Islamophobic feeling
Can turn my morning prayer to a curse
Don’t ask me why
Angry Muslim men
Raised in your systems
Isolated by your fears
Colonized by your whiteness
Liberated by your tax payers money
Flying with bombs over kites
Unemployed by your recessions
Guilty until proven innocent
by your silent-to-tyrants courts
Will turn your colorful
Open minded
Civilized
Modern fortress
Into a nightmare

This morning
And every morning.

Thank you Ma’am, I’ll be right down.

–Stockholm, Feb. 3, 2017.

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