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The Morning After

November 6, 2008

I may be fair skinned, freckled, fair eyes and I can’t say that I could possibly relate to the barriers that black people have faced in our nation but being a proud, announce it to the world Muslim girl, I’ve had my fair share of “My mommy says I can’t play with you because you’re a Muslim” moments, having been a public school elementary school student during the Iran hostage situation.  Even today, as an adult I get to experience the feeling of an other because a simple scarf on the hair evokes dirty looks, rude comments and there has been worse situation than that – yes, on occasion even I have ventured out in a scarf on the way to mosque.  Yet, still I know that those experiences have been nothing compared to the journey that black Americans have faced.

Still, this morning I woke up feeling like I could really breathe, like the world was magically this new place and certainly we have last night witnessed barriers drop and a unification of Americans over something positive .. we united for change and we picked the best candidate for president.  I could turn to my daughters and say “yes we can” because “yes we did” because this moment is a hope for everyone that we can change circumstances, that we can make a difference and for everyone that has felt like an other this moment proves that barriers can be overcome.

I figured I was a little too elated but I relished those moments and allowed this magical world to wash over me as long as possible.  It would be my morning stop at the gas station that would bring me back to reality as an irrate customer pointed his finger towards I don’t even know where – declaring “That Mexican won’t be drying my car off anymore” and something about “That Mexican makes $800,000 a month tax free”.  I held my breath and turned my back to him as he sought sympathy from anyone in line.  I wanted to scream at him but instead I held my breath.  

The door had not even shut behind the older man who spoke of “that Mexican” when the customer behind me said “someone can’t be too happy about Obama’s election” and the rest of us laughed, nodded and smiled.  I was no longer breathing as easilly as this morning but I was still breathing better than the day before.  It would be foolish to just pretend that everything is okay now.

But, something happened here in America on November 4, 2008.  None of us will ever be the same and we, our children and our grandchildren will be better off for it.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. November 7, 2008 2:52 pm


    he gave a great speech

  2. November 8, 2008 3:26 am

    Isn’t it amazing? I haven’t seen so many people so happy after an election! Or even about anything lately! I remember after the 2004 election everyone was complaining, wondering who the heck had voted to reelect Bush (no one wanted to fess up to it!).

    I hope he is able to make the changes he wants, and that he and his family remain safe, as nut jobs abound!

  3. Owen permalink*
    November 8, 2008 11:42 pm

    None of us will be the same, because the world has changed. It can never go back to what it was. Nothing could ever restore the world that Martin Luther King closed the door on, but as musicalchef says, we must still all hope that Obama and his family remain safe from the fanatics, the haters and the delusional.

  4. Owen permalink*
    November 26, 2008 5:56 pm

    Samaha, our Tower Hamlets Fairtrade Group had its bi-monthly meeting yesterday hosted by the Fair Factory, the fair trade cafe set up by MuslimAid in Whitechapel Road, opposite East London Mosque. London’s just been declared a Fairtrade City. So how about Chicago next?

  5. Owen permalink*
    November 29, 2008 9:57 pm

    I’m cluttering up the comments on this post, but you should have this. Something else. I’ve just been listening to a great programme on BBC Radio 4, in the The Archive Hour series, about the great Chicagoan who only just failed to make it see Obama’s election, Studs Terkel, the American oral historian. Go to, go down the alphabetical list of programmes to “Archive Hour, The” and click on “Listen”. (One hour long). To know what Obama’s election means listen to Mahalia Jackson talking to Terkel. I feel guilty, I’ve spent thirty years not getting round to reading Hard Times.

  6. December 2, 2008 2:03 am

    Samaha, I need quick “help”. I promise it wont take more than 15 minutes of your time. Please respond to my email.

  7. December 10, 2008 7:42 pm

    Salaam Dear Sister 🙂

    How right you are, what a wonderful moment. I was in tears at the joy and amazing blessing of Allah putting the right man in the right place at the right time, when America and world needs him 🙂

    Ya Haqq!

    PS You might like to know that next year, Master of the Jinn will be translated and published in Croatian 🙂

  8. Owen permalink*
    January 1, 2009 11:31 am

    Happy New Year! 2008 is out of the way, 2009 holds great prospects – let’s hope it works out that way.

  9. Owen permalink*
    January 20, 2009 10:00 am

    Historic day today – hope you’re not too busy to enjoy it to the full!

  10. February 5, 2009 8:19 pm

    It was one of the most beautiful moments of my life.

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