To Live is to Suffer

The culture of North Africa, Middle East, Islam is various and complex. Under the scorching sun, unforgivable heat, the civilization that birthed Algebra was born. Looking at my life, and the tendencies I have, I realized one thing: our people live to suffer. To be a god-fearing person is to suffer for God. When we practice Ramadan, we suffer with the famished, the deserted the poor.

One day, I helped a mentally ill homeless man at an AM PM on Perris Boulevard who almost attacked a young woman in a car – I screamed at him, leave her alone, you a grown man, you crazy well I’m crazy too. And he got wild-eyed. I looked at him and said: what do you want???? He said some out of this world stuff and said he wanted food. I told him, I got you, grabbed some snacks and I paid for his food. The AM PM cashier looked at me like what’s wrong with you helping this mad man bum. I looked at him, and said “God wants us to help these people”. Is that not what God wants? To help the unfortunate? To feed the poor?

And here I was putting my own safety at risk and all I was there for was to put gas in my car and go to work. I just felt one: no man should be kicking at somebody’s car and threatening a woman, and two this man is in dire need of help, attention, some emotional connection with another human. And so I think back at this experience and think of the compulsion I have with suffering. This has to be a cultural trait.

Leave a Reply