A few weeks ago in my class, I overheard one of my students teasing his sister by threatening to read her diary.
‘Oh yeahhh’, he said. ‘Well, I’m gonna get ur diary and read it to everyone! Haha!’
‘Whaaatttt! What diary?’
‘Your flower covered one I know where it is! Under ur bed, all girrrrrls keep a diary!’
Me interrupting and hopefully forestalling the fight: ‘There’s nothing wrong with keeping a diary, lots of people do, even boys. You can call it a journal if you want. You write out everything that happens about your day. In fact, a lot of people have blogs, which are like online journals. Even me. Why don’t you write something for my blog? Sometimes when you write something out you feel better about things.’
He asks, ‘What could I write about?’
Me: ‘Well, you could write about your experiences with what happened to your father.’
He looked thoughtful and gave a shrug.
A few days later the little girl comes to me with a tiny note on purple-lined Lisa Frank paper.
‘This is for your blog, sister Jannah’.
The day my father left was a disaster
the FBI came in the house and made
a huge mess. I really didn’t like that
ATALL. When my father was with me
and was at home, he always told me
“Mama get up were going to the
mosque to pray” I really loved it when
he said that. I love my father dearly
and I would be more than happy if
he came back
home. (smiley face)
(sideways on the paper on top of the kitten angel pic) I (heart) MY DAD!
‘Mama?’, I asked.
‘Yeah, that’s what he used to call me…just…he used to say ‘Mama let’s go’… just like that…’
Her father is one of the hundreds of innocent Muslims detained and unjustly prosecuted by the government in the climate of fear after 9/11. He is currently in jail for the next 15 years and is of advanced years with health problems.