When I was 13, I told my mother I was more British than I am Turkish. She scoffed at me and said “if there was a war between them and us, that passport wouldn’t count for shit”. She still stores our passports in a zip wallet under some towels in the furthest corner of our drawers though.
As if immigration will knock down our doors and demand proof of citizenship at any given moment, she keeps them safe. It always baffled me when I saw people bring their passports to a bar for proof of ID. But I guess they’ve never felt the air tense up at customs and security.
I guess they’ve never seen their parents so timid when responding to the question “what is the nature of your visit?”. Just one facial expression from them would be enough to send you into a terrified anxiety, yet here they are, cowering.
So we do everything in our power to make sure they don’t have to cower. So they can stand up straight, proud and unapologetic. They came here for their kids and their kids did not disappoint. Someone once asked me if I would go to Cambridge again, knowing what I know now and how miserable it made me. When my mother boasts that her daughter went there, in her broken English to anyone willing to listen, how could I not? I would go again and again. I would go so her glory would drown out and silence whoever was judging her pronunciation.
We do it so no one can say they came here in vain. So no one can ever say we benefit off of their mediocre land that used ours as a crutch.
But I’m still going to cower at customs and security. I’m still going to be timid when I encounter a police officer. And my child will see this. When I see parents burying their children because of who they are, I won’t be able to guarantee that that won’t be me one day.
They keep saying it was about a parking spot. The parking spot in this godforsaken Western country that we rightfully deserve that keeps being denied to us, no matter how hard we try? Yeah I guess you could say it was, then.