Today i spoke to a Chinese girl who shared with me an opinion that i have heard a lot around the world - that many American people are friendly, that the American countryside is beautiful, but "i would never go to America". Because it's dangerous. Because everyone has guns. If you are not white you are at high risk of being shot. This isn't propaganda. This didn't start over the weekend. Just since Trump was elected several anti-racist activists have been shot, stabbed and killed by American neo-Nazis. Mosque and synagogue attacks have spiked all over the region, Canada included. There was a mosque bombing just last week. Misogynists and serial sex offenders have been shown to infest every level of American industry, even in "progressive" Silicon Valley. To any self-respecting woman this is, of course, not news. Refugees have risked life and limb - literally - escaping to Canada in the dead of winter. Black people and indigenous folks are shot and killed by the police so regularly that it doesn't even hit the news at all - they've been getting casually murdered by white men in America for hundreds of years. So when Chinese people read in the newspaper that yet another of their daughters studying at an American university has been murdered, it's no surprise.
The Graun recently posted an excerpt from a book by small town white girl who left her bubble and eventually landed a job as a journalist in Turkey. It relates to this whole thing and was quite a good read: Unlearning the myth of American innocence
I am not sure exactly when i became so disillusioned with America. I think it was while i lived in Canada and i finally wised up to the fact that my life-long dream of emigrating there would forever be blocked by their insanely broken immigration system. (Even with 15+ years of experience i wouldn't qualify under Trump's proposed Australia- and Canada-influenced "points system".) Or perhaps it was during Occupy when just hearing my colleagues spout the kind of selfish, libertarian nonsense i had done in my younger years started nauseating me. With the perspective of living in Europe as an adult, visiting Namibia and now flitting around East Asia for a while, it seems inexplicable to me that anyone would want to settle there, especially to raise a family. God knows it's one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but there is so much racism, bigotry and inequality it's horrifying.
When i was traveling i probably got better sleep because i always had something to occupy my mind from one day to the next. Just small things like... where am i going to stay tomorrow? Do i need to buy a train ticket? Why don't i take a walk over to that mountain and see what's there? With those simple thoughts of freedom i can sleep soundly. But, sure enough, the moment i settle down for longer than a week, i am back to the usual insomnia over stupid political developments on the other side of the world. This is a big reason why i set off on this journey in the first place, to reclaim my mental health. I wish i could ignore it all. Am i weak for caring about the livelihood my friends over there? When i was traveling it's not that i didn't care, i just had more immediate concerns. Now i am busy - i am trying to learn a new language and culture - but the routine leaves me with too much dead time. And what i do in that dead time is stay up all night reading the news.
Today's class was a write-off, i was so exhausted. I need to find peace again. I need to sleep.