August 12, 2005

As the ink dries

The same night I encountered the "white-anglo" who insisted I should address him as sir, I also witnessed a violent scuffle between a few other people. Some guys who live in my building had gotten into an argument with the Chinese convenience store owner over something trivial, and started smashing the windows of the store.

The Chinese man, enraged, chased the kids outside, where the kids all started attacking him jointly, kicking and taunting him. I happened to be passing by at the time, and pulled one of the kids aside and spoke with him. He was a Muslim kid, a pretty nice guy who tends to find himself in the wrong crowd all the time. He pulled away from the fight, and eventually the others dispersed. Shortly afterwards, police arrived at the scene. By that point, I was long gone enjoying my meal at the nearby Somali restaurant.

Though the dispute was a trivial one, the violence erupted largely due to racial differences. As I witnessed myself shortly afterwards, racism still exists in our society all over the place. Over the last little while, somehow, it has become even more apparent especially within my own neighbourhood.

For the first few months after I moved into this building, there was quite a bit of vandalism on the walls and elevators, with most of it aimed at the large Bengali community in my area. Recently, all the elevators were redone, and for once they were clean and racism-free. Last week though, the vandalism started again; as I was taking the elevator to go down to the musalla, I saw the words "f***ing muslims" written on my elevator.

Thankfully, the building administration dealt with it promptly, and it was removed the next day. As I went down for Isha today, however, all the elevators had been freshly filled with more anti-Muslim and anti-Bengali vulgarity; the ink must be drying now as I write this. As I returned from prayers, I got into a discussion with the guy riding the elevator with me.

"Man, there's still so much racism, eh?", he asked me.

"Yeah, unfortunately. The administration has been very prompt in cleaning it up, though," I replied.

I reached my floor, and thought about the inaccuracy of what I had just said. The administration can clean non-erasable ink, but they can't clean up the hatred of the hearts.


  1. That's terrible... and it makes it worse when you see a fellow muslim involved.

  2. On a lighter note, I also wrote up a little Javascript to pull out the current Calvin and Hobbes comic and stick it at the bottom of my blog. So that image will change every day! Yay!

  3. I love Calvin & Hobbes... it's hilarious. :)