“Go back to where they came from.”
Those seven words have hurted many. Seven words. You can hear them being spit out on the street sometimes. On the internet it seems like they’re everywhere. I read and read. Get annoyed, imagine things I would’ve said but don’t say because I don’t know. It feels like some will never get it anyways. I don’t get offended. Not that anyone ever has said those words directly to me, but they’re said to “people like me”. “People who look like me”. People who to some extent believe in the same as me. People who don’t look Norwegian.
Even though I don’t say a single word online when I read such comments, I get frustrated. So many opinions, so many thoughts about humans they don’t really know, but think they know because we’re from Middle East, North-Africa, Pakistan. Because we’re Muslims. Because some are immigrants, because some can’t speak French or German that well. It’s like being talked about, but not talked to.
I don’t feel offended, nor do I feel discriminated. I feel sad and frustrated on behalf of myself and people who apparently “are like me”. Or maybe not, maybe I’m one of those “successful” stories because I am in several ways integrated physically in the European country I live in. I study, I socialize and I speak Norwegian fluently. I feel frustrated because why does anyone have the need to throw those seven words to someone else, just because they come from another country or have roots from another country and are not ethnical Norwegian or whatsoever? Why does it matter? We have one earth we are supposed to share together. Just because you were born in Norway and have parents whom are Norwegian, does not mean you have the right to be here more than someone who was born in Kenya. Just because your family has been living here for many years, does not mean immigrants can’t be here. We do have countries and boarders, but remember that those are boarders decided by us. And if our boarders are not open, then we should at least open up our hearts.
I don’t know if this is the reality, but it seems like one of the reasons why “they should go back to where they came from” is being “they’re” not Norwegian enough in their eyes. Not American enough, not French enough. Not enough. There are for example many Norwegians out there who say that immigrants need to respect the laws and rules of Norway. If they don’t respect the culture, they can’t expect respect in return. I don’t believe in that kind of respect, but if that’s the case: shouldn’t it go both ways? Shouldn’t the people who already live here also respect the cultures of the immigrants? Apparently it seems like for those people it’s a one-way thing.
I was born in Norway. I’ve been living there my whole life. I’ve grown up there, went to school there and now I’m studying there. And despite all this and so much more, I don’t feel Norwegian, whatever that means. Should I be shameful? No, why should I? Should I give in to the Norwegian culture and assimilate myself? No, the process should come more naturally. Do I have to be “Norwegian’ and feel Norwegian in order to live in Norway? In order to integrate in the Norwegian society? No, who decised that? Some people, and who said that I have to listen to them. And what on earth does it mean to be” Norwegian”?
Stop telling immigrants and people of other ethnical origin what they should feel like. They should learn the language, they should socialize with the society they’re now a part of but for God’s sake, there’s a lot we should do too but we don’t do it. It’s easy to point at other people, laugh at them and say that it shouldn’t be done like that, but like that instead but only they know wht exactly they have been going through and are going through. Stop preaching about Norwegianness and Americanness and let people decide what they want to feel like, as long as they respect the laws and the rules. You can’t force people to feel a specific way.
No one gets to decide what I should feel like. No one else gets to decide where I belong. That’s something I would know, that’s something I feel. And if I don’t, I’ll hopefully figure it out and if I don’t; well, I know I’m Iqra and I’ll survive.