Home. On this day, take me home, take me to my homeland.
On this day, I cry. In pain, and yearnings to be on the lands where I was born.
On this day, I scream. In anger and frustration for the injustices that happen for those who’ve lived, those who are living, and those yet to be born.
On this day, I rejoice. In remembrance of the smell of my mom’s cooking, the taste of Arabic coffee, the noise of our big family gatherings, the elaborate joyful wedding parties, and essence and beauty of my culture.
On this day, I’m baffled. In disgust that for the past 89 years, we, Saudis, swear obedience and adherence to each and every king that takes over.
On this day, I bow. In immense desire to kiss the sand, walk barefoot in the desert, to run in the middle of the 2 million palm trees of my hometown.
On this day, I try to keep my mouth shut. In fear of what might happen if I say that for the past 89 years, we had no choice nor power to decide who rules our country.
On this day, I’m grateful. In recognition that generosity of King Abdullah is why I was able to study abroad, for the privileges that came with being Saudi, the systems that both empowered me and defeated me, for all what you’ve given me and taught me.
On this day, I’m resentful. Raged for the inequalities and oppression, that for 89 years women remain a second citizen, and the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia remains to be the Kingdom of Men.
On this day, I feel like a hypocrite. Because I love you and I hate you. Because I left you but I really want to be with you. Because I want to dance to celebrate how long you’ve came, but I also want to scream at you, unleash my anger, and tell you that I’m never coming back.
On this day, I giggle, and my eyes sparkle. With a naive dream that Saudi Arabia will one day be a leader in human rights, and in optimism about a bright future for my country and its citizens.
On this day, I giggle, and my eyes sparkle... in hope, in gratitude and in love.
📷: Ryan Markewich