My Dream: Perspective of 9/11 From an Egyptian-born American

Scene number one – Cairo, Egypt:

I am packing my luggage. At last, I am fulfilling my dream. I am ready for a long journey to a developed country that respects science and scientists. I am ready to join the developed world.

Scene number two – New York, America:

I feel shaky. I am stepping on the American land for the first time. I am joyful.  I’m full of euphoria, and I am worried. It’s a new life. I’m looking for a happy future, but am still scared.  What if all of this is just a dream and is not really happening?

Scene number three – Louisville, Kentucky:

Trending: Thomas Jefferson & the Mussulmen (Muslim)

I am not dreaming – it’s really happening. I am in a class in America for the first time. I pinched myself to make sure I’m awake.

Scene number four – a couple of weeks since my arrival:

I’m having an awful nightmare. I’m walking out of the classroom to find all of the faculty, the staff, and the students standing in a line. At the front of the line, there is a small TV in the Secretary’s office. A major terrorist attack has occurred. I wish it’s not true, and that it’s just a bad dream. I am hoping to wake up. However, It was true, I was awake, it was really happening.

Scene number five – I take my spot in the line waiting and my heart is racing:

What if they were Muslims? Please God, don’t let them be Muslims. The news came, the truth was hard. They were Muslims and worse, the leader is Egyptian.

I am speechless. I covered my face with my hands from the shame and I tried to walk away. An American professor tapped on my back with sympathy.  An older American student whispered in my ear: “Take care of yourself. Some people might hurt you in blind retaliation.” I didn’t have a car then, and an American girl who I hardly knew offered to drive me home.

I came here to study and work in a developed country. Later, I realized that the biggest gain is living among civilized people.

Scene number six – many weeks later, I am in the airport:

I am being harassed in the airports by the security every time I try to fly. Every time, I am picked randomly for a body search. This time, after every kind of search was performed on me and I was about to step in the airplane with my carry-on bag, a security person told me: ”Sir, you can’t have this bag with you on the airplane.”  I screamed: ”I have the right to have a carry-on item!”  He repeated in a begging tone: “Please sir, you can’t have this bag with you.”

The worries and the fear in his eyes quelled my anger. I gave him the bag. I murmured: “What is some harassment? It’s a very small sacrifice compared to what was paid by those who lost their lives defending this country.”

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