Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Importance Of Pages Like Humans Of New York

I have always followed the HONY page. I always look forward to reading Brandon's page whenever he travelled out of the US, like when he toured the Middle east and then a bit of Asia.

I know i am not alone in this. I would scroll through people's comments whenever i am done reading a story to see people's reaction. Mine is usually exhilaration, especially stories that directly resonate with me and i find that same exhilaration in other people's comments so why are these stories important to us?

What really draws people to the HONY page is Brandon’s ability to capture a story. Most times, what seem insignificant turns out to be truly significant once an image is placed behind it. It is one thing to read a fictional story or watch a movie on an issue; it is another thing to see a visual representation of someone whom has, in reality, experienced that particular issue.

What makes HONY so important? The Human Story. The power of the people. We may think people’s individual narratives are not important but truly they are. All our stories matter. As a writer, I have always struggled with finding a reason why people would read my work and it is the same as that of HONY. The human story, the human narrative is important.

So many times I have cried through the HONY page, it is not like there is anything I have not watched on TV before or heard stories about, but the fact that this time around, there is an image behind this story, a living breathing life…it changes everything. I scroll through comments on the HONY page and I see people’s comments, amidst the bitterness of this world, there is still a lot of compassion. People find themselves relating to other people’s stories and there is a sense of “I am not alone in this” or “Look, someone in the same situation as I made it, then so can i”, there is so much hope and emotion intertwined in the human story.

So many times, we have seen how a single image and a single narrative can turn one person’s life around, the power of the people is truly magnificent in this sense. Through Brandon, people have reached out and successfully helped other people. If this compassion exists still, then there is still hope for humanity. Then we are not entirely lost. I made a speech one time off the top of my head because I lost the sheet I wrote my actual speech on at the last minute. Most of it is a blur to me right now but I remember hearing myself saying, “There is a story inside each and everyone of us, we are all living stories and sharing our stories sail us through life.” I went home thinking about the words that came out of my mouth without me planting them in my head and I realized that it came from my heart. I truly believe in the power of one person’s story. I truly believe sharing our stories changes our lives in one way or another. I understand why shrinks always encourage people to share their stories.

HONY shows us the significance of a person. We live our lives oblivious to the joys and sufferings of others and we are supposed to be okay with that. To find fulfilment in life, we must allow ourselves to feel. Some of us put up these walls for ourselves, maybe with reason but there is no ordeal, big enough to steal away the compassion and love from a person’s heart. We have to always be able to extend a curtain of love like a Patronus (harry potter metaphor because...NERD) and cover the people we meet along our paths.

I plan on buying Brandon’s book simply because I want to read people’s lives and be filled with a feeling that I cannot yet describe. It is warm and filled with love and other sweetness. You must feel it to. If you have an open heart, you have to feel it too.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Immigrant Diaries (4): Allah In English

Last month your family walked
to europe
last month
the bombs went off in Paris.

now you pray in english
you don't say "subhanallah" when you trip
Mary sneezes in class
you quickly bite your tongue
so you don't say "yarhamakillah"
your father shaves his face
calls himself Mark instead of Musa
your sister packs you a p and j sandwich
it tastes like puke
in the cafeteria you lick your lips

your mother only shops in supermarkets
she refuses to go to the local bazaar
your uncles spread their sajjadah
in the garage
the athan calls
but you refuse to hear it
now you only read books by
Danielle Steele and JK Rowling
you hide your
Kahlil Gibran and Suheir Hammad
under your bed

your teacher says
A minute silence for the dead
and after exclaims
"curse those arabs"
you find some lightening cream in the store
(this accursed brown)
you think
you rub it at night everyday
but the sun has made a promise
on your skin
she simply will not
let up.

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