It is the year 2032. The Olympics are taking place in Moscow. The name Wadad Myanmari, a member of the Saudi taekwondo team is participating in the Olympics. Wadad was born 20 years ago, in 2012, when, incidentally, the Olympics were held in London.
Wadad was born in Saudi Arabia after her parents migrated from their home country Myanmar to the Saudi kingdom escaping with their lives and religion, after the displacement of Muslims carried out by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar – and after the decision of the Islamic world leaders to accept the migration of Muslims persecuted in Myanmar. Her parents’ fate was to migrate to Mecca, where God Almighty decides who lives there, near the great mosque.
Wadad grew up in her new country and learned a lot about equality and Islamic brotherhood. She also learned that there is no difference between an Arab and Ajami ( non-Arabs) except their piety. She had also preserved her Islamic religion, which her family fled in order to safeguard and she knew it protected her and her family from any abuse, insult or expulsion and urges the believers to rise above ignorance.
Today, two decades after her parents received Saudi nationality, Wadad became a Saudi, who breathes Saudi air and carries her homeland in her heart wherever she travels, like all Saudis who obtained their citizenship after the unification.
Wadad fell in love with Taekwondo at an early age and was obsessed with it. Despite the absence of Taekwondo women’s clubs in Mecca, her parents who discovered their daughter’s great talent, did everything possible to train her and got her personal trainers until she mastered Taekwondo.
Since the Saudi Olympic Committee wants to participate in the 2032 Olympics, it is necessary for women to partake with the Saudi men’s team. So the Olympic committee found that Wadad Myanmari is ready to represent and honor her country, although the Committee did not participate, not even for one hour in her training or assistance.
Wadad carried her nation’s dream so close to her heart that she entered the competition, a pass she had that she never could have dreamed of . But all of a sudden, Wadad found that the little girl in herself was in the grips of a violent storm of hatred and heinous racism stemming from the dens of underdevelopment and retardation.
She realized that Saudi people have been discussing the same old issues for 20, or even 100 years, i.e. should the representation of women in the Olympics be accepted or banned? Should women be allowed to work? Should they be allowed to drive?
What really hurt Wadad, however, was that she was subjected to the same hateful racist persecution and campaigns of hatred against her religion and patriotism that her parents endured in Myanmar. She felt that the campaign against her was even more painful than what her parents endured during the holocaust of Myanmar 20 years ago.
How could it not be so when the world is filled with people who share her religion, who drown the world with splendid claims and preaching, but soon fall in the trap of racism after the very first test?
Wadad kept questioning herself, but she found no answers to her concerns. Are they not the same people who cried to her parents in Myanmar? Was that a mere lie? Was it only about phony feelings and fake slogans raised by racists in daylight to wash away all the sins they were committing in the dark?
Are they not the same people who wept for the Muslims of Bosnia, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Chechnya as well as the Muslims of Bukhara before that? Are they not the same people who accused “the infidels of the Earth” of racism and ethnic cleansing but when those Muslims fled persecution to resort to them, they only found more accusation and hostility …
It is the same story repeating itself over and over again, all the way from fathers to children to grandchildren. Not even Islam can stop them. With their immorality, they have profaned our Islam and soiled our lives.
(The writer is a columnist with Al Hayat newspaper where this article was first published on August 8, 2012.)