As a daughter from a family who fled from the wars of the middle east to the west, a part of my heart remains in my home country Iraq despite me never being faced with the opportunity to visit. Living in the west has greatly impacted both my upbringing and my thought processes due to the experiences i face and the people i meet throughout my journey of life.

A year ago i decided my begin my own personal trek towards intellectualism. I felt as though my education did not provide the vast scope nor the depth of information i yearned for. Due to being consumed in my own life and my own happiness, i lost touch with my roots and the ties to my culture began to slip from my fingers like fine string. I cannot remember the specific time of my life when i became more aware of my extended surroundings, meaning not just my life but began to peer into the lives of others. This gradual process was, for me, a turning point of my life. I came to the horrific realisation that the world was not truly a happy place but was consumed with injustice and unexplained hatred.

‘I see humans but no humanity’ – This quote resonated with my and there was a constant query that swam in my restricted mind of ‘WHY?’. I simply could not understand how people could be so brutal and why the world cannot live in peace and in all honesty, i still do not have that entirely figured till this day.

I vividly remember sitting with my parents in the living room with Arabic news playing on the television, informing its watchers of another bomb or attack that had occurred somewhere in the middle east. I would watch my parents tut and shake their heads in sadness when finding out the number of innocent lives that had been lost or injured. For us, this became a norm. The country i live in did not bat an eye and i would go to school the next day and hear no mention of it. However as i grew older, threat levels increased and people of the west also became victims of terror occasionally. I remember the uproar it faced, the media coverage, the solidarity, the celebrity attention and…. the blame. Muslims faced backlash all over the world and we were accused with being ‘terrorists’. I was confused. Why did nobody care about Iraq, Syria and all the other countries that faced terrorism? How could an entire be blamed for the radical actions of a few and despite them claiming to be Muslims, they are not Muslims nor do they hold any of the values of Islam. I then understood the sad reality that western lives matter more. They are privileged.

Back to my journey towards intellectualism, i paid more attention to the news and avidly read different news articles. I realised the definitive bias that varied among the different news outlets. I realised why most people thought the same way and behaved the same way. Their minds are manipulated by what they hear. People follow like sheep and do not have the courage or awareness to question what they are fed by the news. Politicians make the matters worse and veil their chauvinism but it shines through their acts of selfishness and heartlessness.