Honorable mention: College essay contest — Yassmine Ramadan
A genocide reinvented
By Yassmine Ramadan
In 2010, I hated 764 million people. I remember my mom showing me pictures of kids my age in Gaza dead or without a limb. I wanted to commit genocide against a whole nation — Israel. My Muslim mom regarded my feelings of hate with pride. She believed that we are superior just because we are part of the 1.8 billion Muslims. It was funny thinking about the other few billion human beings living on Earth. They seemed distant, like side characters in movies that no one cared about them.
In 2019, I watched the movie, “The Pianist,” depicting the WWII horrors against the Jewish people. I couldn’t fathom the genocide Jewish people suffered in those concentration camps. However, a moral crisis took over me, although I ignored it with my all until 2020. I stopped believing in God. I can finally sympathize with Jewish people without being shamed by my community. Nevertheless, I couldn’t understand how the Jewish immigrant community that fled concentration camps could inflict the same pain upon another nation while claiming they are right.
In May 2021, the world finally took a look at Palestine and the inhumanity of the Israeli law stating that only Jews could have the right to self-determination. The law automatically makes anyone from any other religion a second-class citizen. I was faced with the dilemma of my Israeli friends not sympathizing with kids being bombed while their parents wept for them. They argued that these kids would grow into terrorists one day, so it’s better to kill them early. They invented a modern genocide where they failed to sympathize with anyone not belonging to their group.
I always wondered: Why can’t people care for the losses on both sides? Religions (especially Abrahamic ones) create a false dichotomy where they create “us” and “them.” The other group includes everyone else who doesn’t follow our religion. Muslim people are constantly vowing that they will win the land back. However, Jewish people keep insisting on their promised right by an invisible creature to commit genocide for a land. Theists have created a fictional character that could divide lands and gift them even if other nationals lived there.
Palestine was a national fight, not a religious one, but people abused the religion to gain legitimacy. If secularism were to be applied, people could live in peace there. It should be a state where everyone could coexist with shared rights. However, both sides are driven by extreme self-interest. If Israel continues to kill more Palestinians, they gain access to more land. However, if they agreed to live in peace, it means less profit for them, but a more peaceful world.
I look to the sky and wonder if the alleged man sitting upon his throne watches the massacres happening because he decided someone needs to worship him. It’s preposterous to use “looking up” to describe looking for his throne because there is no actual “up” in the universe. I couldn’t accept God’s grey morality. I couldn’t favor myself over other nations. I choose to be a human. I want to fight for the weak, not only the people on my side. As an agnostic person, I defend human life regardless of its background.
Yassmine Ramadan, 19, attends Minerva University, where she is studying science. “I’m an Egyptian girl studying science in the United States,” Yassmine writes. “I refuse to believe traditions over science. I help women here in Egypt get access to education. I also support the LGBTQ+ community.”