Tomorrow I’m traveling to Europe for a while. First stop is Paris where I will hang out with my best friends from school; Louis, Mayan and Jakob. We’ll be drinking wine, eating cheese, celebrating Mayan’s birthday, catching up on everything that has been going on during the last year and a half. I can’t wait to see them. And I can’t believe how lucky I am to have friends from all over the world. Who always teach me things whether they are American, Egyptian or German. Who keep me curious and wide-eyed. And that we can all fly to Paris from Cairo, London, Hamburg and New York feels like a dream in days like this.
And speaking of. After Paris I’m flying home to Stockholm to get a new US visa. What’s going on here right now is unbelievably sad and scary and I feel very much conflicted about how I should process and deal with it. I’m worried that my visa won’t be accepted and that I have to give up my whole life. Even though I know that the possibility of that happening is minimal. I’m also ashamed and angry that I, as a white Scandinavian, don’t have to worry. Thanks to geography and pure luck, I ended up with a passport that hands me the whole world on a silver platter. While people who are running away from their homes and families, who truly need a place here, are not allowed to cross the border. The whole situation is so fucked up, I don’t know what to do with myself.
I keep thinking about how lucky I am to have grown up and lived in places where all my schools have been multi-colored, multi-cultural, multi-religious. Where my friends have been first, second, third generation immigrants. Where I’ve been invited to dinners where the food was different, the accents were different and the style was different. How much me and my friends have learnt from each other about our countries and routines and traditions, just by walking side by side as equals. And that some people don’t see this as an advantage, but as a threat, is beyond me and it's sickening.
It’s easy to feel helpless, hopeless. But there are so many ways to take action. I know that a lot of you are not living in the US and it’s harder to get off your ass and do something when it’s not happening close to home. But truth is, this isn’t just America. This is Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya. Hell, even Sweden. It’s your friend who has dual citizenships. Who’s name isn’t typically Swedish or German or Spanish. And what happens here, what happens now, will affect all of us no matter who we are, what we look like or where we live. Thinking that you’ll get out of this safe and unharmed, in any way, is being ignorant and stupid. Because fact is that no matter who’s at the wheel, this country has more impact and power than most and so many of us rely on it in so many ways. So please, do something. Show up at protests. Donate to organizations that can help people and companies who’re threatened by the muslim ban or any other decision Trump has taken during the last week. Boycott companies who are endorsing him (burn your New Balance sneakers and delete your Uber account for example). Show your frustration on social media. But also, take a minute to educate yourself before making hasty decisions. Everything is happening so fast now, that it’s easy to get lost in all of it. And of course, the most important thing: be fucking angry, take that anger and start moving. It’s amazing how much love and optimism that is flourishing here right now in the middle of all the hate and lies. We’re the revolution and we know that we’re stronger and smarter and kinder. And that we will win in the end.
Here are two ways to stay updated and educated:
TheSkimm is a newsletter that drops in your mailbox every morning. It basically compresses everything that’s going on into a five minute (sort of) read. It’s a great and easy way to keep up.
Freedom And Dissent is an instagram account run by someone in LA who’s focused on encouraging grassroots activism centered in community and conversation.