Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



by Mubarak Dahir

This article shared 1483 times since Wed Sep 26, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

From my living room window in Queens, I watch surging black and gray clouds eat up the clear blue sky over Manhattan.

In my mind, I try to match the smoke clouds to the images I see broadcast over and over again on television. Though I know different, it seems as if the two cannot have anything to do with one another. The smoke outside my window is so close-just a few minute's ride on the subway. The scene on the television, in contrast, seems like it must be in some far away land. Like the one I was born in.

On my television screen, pictures of the World Trade Center towers burning like candles are eventually replaced with images of them crumbling like sandcastles. I sit watching the TV without really hearing the newscasters. My stomach churns, and my anxiety builds on so many levels.

My first thought: Do I know anyone who works in those towers? I make some phone calls, send out some e-mails, and in short order am assured that my friends and loved ones are safe. I sigh momentary relief and try not to wonder how many people might have been in the buildings when they collapsed into graveyards of concrete and steel.

My second thought: Who did this? And my stomach churns again, for different, more complicated reasons.

Almost immediately, even without any evidence to suggest it, newscasters and talking heads speculate that the horror was the work of "Palestinian terrorists." Later, that turns out to be false, and the talk turns instead to Osama bin Laden. As a Palestinian-American, I try to find what little relief there might be in the fact that a Palestinian group wasn't involved. But a lifetime of living in America doesn't let me rest.

I know that to most Americans, an Arab is an Arab is an Arab. Even worse, I know the inevitable backlash that lies ahead for anyone of Arab origin. For too many people now, all Arabs, all Muslims will be the enemy.

This ugly brand of guilt by association seems especially reserved for Arabs and Muslims. When the fair-skinned Timothy McVeigh and his cohorts bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City--spouting their particular twist of Christianity--white, Midwestern men felt no shame or guilt or connection to the crime. When the Irish Republican Army attacks a British target, American newscasters do not paint all Catholics as religious fanatics.

I know the same will not be true for Arabs and Muslims.

In the days that follow, my fears turn into reality. Frightening reports pour in from across the country. In Texas, at least three mosques are attacked with makeshift bombs. In Seattle, a man rams a truck into a mosque and opens gunfire. In Illinois, an angry mob of 300 rampage through an Arab neighbor hood. In Detroit, an Arab-American newspaper editor is deluged with death threats. In Brooklyn, Muslim women who cover their heads with scarves are chased and beaten.

Now on the TV news I see a woman waving an American flag and screaming, "They don't deserve to live here! They don't deserve to live!" She stares into the camera and calls herself a "real American."

Of my 37 years, I have spent all but six in America. My mother was as American as they come, a poor Southern Baptist farm girl from Georgia. My father, a naturalized citizen, spent nearly 40 years in this country. Though born in Palestine, I have been an American citizen since I took my first breath in this world.

Yet my entire life, I have always been made to feel that I am not a "real American." I have always struggled with my dual identities, part Palestinian, part American, alternately loving and hating each, but always clinging as best I could to both.

And now, when I most need my Americanism, I am pushed furthest from it. If I am completely honest, I will admit that after this latest, horrific attack, I am made to feel less like an American than ever before in my life.

And that makes me angry. After all, New York is my city, too. I live here, work here, play here, love here, like anyone else. As I got the news of planes crashing into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania, I watched in horror and worried about friends and loved ones and shook in disbelief, too.

Yet I was not allowed to grieve as an American. Instead, I was instantly forced on the defensive as an Arab.

The day of the attack, a hand-scribbled cardboard sign appears in a local store window, just one block from my apartment. "Nuke them all!" the message thunders, and I know its venom is meant for me, too.

I walk down the familiar, once comfortable streets of my neighborhood, and it is not international terrorists who pose the most immediate threat to my well-being. I overhear the suspicion and hatred in other people's conversations toward all things Arab, all things Muslim. And I am genuinely frightened. Yes, I am frightened for myself as an Arab, but I am also frightened for my country-as an American.

Mubarak Dahir receives email at

This article shared 1483 times since Wed Sep 26, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

WORLD Indian commission, queer royals, MTV, Putin, attack in Jamaica
India's National Medical Commission has ordered publishers and medical schools to edit their textbooks and curricula to exclude discriminatory and unscientific portrayals of LGBTI people, according to Human Rights Watch. ...

Gay News

More than half of American Indian, Alaskan Native LGBT adults in the U.S. have been attacked
--From a Williams Institute press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that the estimated 285,000 adults in the U.S. that identify as American Indian or Alaskan Native (AIAN) and LGBT report high rates of ...

Gay News

Jury selection in Smollett trial starts Nov. 29
The Jussie Smollett saga continues. Almost three years since out actor Jussie Smollett (TV's Empire; the film Alien: Covenant) was allegedly attacked in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood, Cook County Judge James ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Black AIDS Institute, non-binary person attacked, Rachel Maddow
The board of directors of the Black AIDS Institute (BAI) announced the appointments of Toni Newman as its interim chief executive officer and Dr. Kemal M. Atkins as managing director, a press release noted. In addition, ...

Gay News

Chicago Ald. Cappleman attacked
On the night of Sept. 18, Chicago Ald. James Cappleman was attacked in the Uptown area of the city, The Chicago Tribune reported. Cappleman, in charge of the 46th Ward, is one of five members of ...

Gay News

NATIONAL DC attack, NC law, conversion therapy, trans woman shot
A gay Asian man and his parents were beaten in Washington D.C. near Vice President Kamala Harris' home by a man shouting slurs, LGBTQ Nation reported. Patrick Joseph Miller Trebat was arrested at the scene on ...

Gay News

WORLD Kazakhstan protest, anti-gay attack, Taiwan wedding, Olympics
More than 100 people protested against an event planned by LGBT activists in Kazakhstan's northwestern city of Aqtobe, reported. The protesters said at the Aug. 8 rally that they would hand a petition to the ...

Gay News

Wis. man attacks trans couple but won't be charged with a hate crime
In Wisconsin, a La Crosse official said incomplete state laws prevented them from charging a man with a hate crime after he attacked a transgender couple in a public park, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. La ...

Gay News

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and Walk taking place at Soldier Field
In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, members of the public will join area firefighters to climb the stairs of Soldier Field in honor of the 343 firefighters from the FDNY who ...

Gay News

Pelosi names Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced July 25 that she has appointed U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Illinois) to the House select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, bolstering the Republican presence on ...

Gay News

WORLD Cameraman dies, order for Russia, French priest, 'Benedetta'
A Georgian TV cameraman who was among dozens of journalists attacked by a right-wing mob during chaos aimed at pro-LGBTQ campaigners has died, reported. Co-workers of Lekso Lashkarava, 37, said July 11 that he had ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Panic defense, subway attack, N.J. items, Pride rallies
A bill that bans the so-called LGBTQ panic defense in Virginia took effect July 1, according to The Washington Blade. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam on March 31 signed the measure that transgender state Del. Danica Roem ...

Gay News

Illinois Holocaust Museum makes statement on anti-Semitic attacks
--From a press release - Dear Museum Community, At Illinois Holocaust Museum, we are appalled at the recent rise in worldwide anti-Semitic incidences. We cannot stand by while Jews and synagogues are violently attacked, including in Skokie, New York, Los Angeles, ...

Gay News

Villa Park police fatally shoot transgender man
On May 24, Villa Park police shot and killed Haven A. Bailey, a 25-year-old Lombard resident, after calling 911 to report that someone was walking around outside with a gun, The Daily Herald noted. According to ...

Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition on police shooting of Isaiah Brown
--From a press release - VIRGINIA — In reaction to the police shooting of Isaiah Brown, a Black gay man, who was shot by police 10 times after calling 911 for assistance and declaring he was unarmed, David Johns, executive director ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.