There, on the spot.
Cornered. Confined. Vulnerable.

They all just stare.

Perhaps my story should have started with ‘once upon a time, in a land far, far away.’ Perhaps. But what point would that make? For the time is NOW. And the land … right HERE where we live.

This prejudice … like a virus. Rife, in the world. Until you’re trapped. Cornered. Confined.

They just all stare. Names. Cackles.

A hijab, mixed with dust, tossed on the ground. Tell me: what did I say against them?

But still: frozen. Cornered. Confined. Vulnerable. One poises their fists, ready to swing a blow.
I taste my blood, my fear.

I wake up in a cold, cold sweat. People often say what you dream about comes true. They never say what you live through becomes a nightmare.

Still: my hijab lies beside me. Still mixed with dust.
And blood.

I call for Mama.
But I can’t hear my words.
I call for Baba.
Yet my voice remains silent.

‘It’ll pass, kid. Your voice will come back.”

But it doesn’t. Not a day later, not a week, not even a month.

They take my bloods. They check my tonsils. I have a scan.

“There isn’t a medical reason why you’re unable to talk.”

Suddenly I am no longer the Muslim girl. I am the mute Muslim girl.

Suddenly, that gives them another reason to hate me.

‘I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.’ What was it that inspired me to search for quotes?
Most of them I find hard to relate to. Most of them use words I can’t begin to understand.
But this one, this one is different.

A girl, like me.
A diary that changed the world forever.

Maybe I don’t need to speak. Maybe I can communicate using other means. At heart, those who hate and persecute me: are they kind, deep down?

I know what I need to do. I begin to pour out my own heart.

A heart, which may physically be unable to speak: but has finally found its voice.

Ink and paper.

I smile.
‘Unless you write yourself, you can’t know how wonderful it is.’

The next morning: as they stab me once more with the piercing sword of their words: I’m still alone, but I have a friend, a friend called Anne.

She taught me how to express myself, without even needing to utter a single word. ——

The second day, I return to my newfound friend once more. Ready.
Tears, stop falling … my heart will pour out faster than any of your waters.

But, even with my strength: what awaits for me on the page is enough to take the breath from the boldest of humans. A reply.
‘You are stronger than you think.’

I blink. It’s a trick. It must be.

But another quote appears.
‘You have the power to do anything.’

If only I could believe that. But … could I?

I know exactly what to do tomorrow. I know exactly what to do…

I am not afraid.

And with that, I even shock myself.

I think … I think … my voice is no longer lost amongst this rumbling ocean of hate and fury.

It’s now my turn to speak. I’m ready to fight my cause.

The next morning: they don’t make me tremble. They don’t make me hide.

I was given a cause to fight for. My voice is ready.

As my voice bellows … they stop … listen … astounded … total silence.

“I cannot begin to count how many times you’ve insulted me, how many nights you’ve left me crying!
But now … I shall reply to every venomous, wounding comment you make. But never spiteful. Never something intended with malice.
Something with compassion, and love.”

“Who cares what you say?
Their backs turn. Their eyes roll. Their once straight faces, moulding like clay into a cruel, cruel smirk.

What should I do, Anne? What should I do?

I’ve lost them now. I’ve blown my chances.

But one remains, her face washed over with a mountainous wave of disbelief. She doesn’t hide. Rooted to the spot, she stares into my eyes, tears welling in her own.
“Girl,” she utters, “I know. I admire your courage … but nothing will ever change, so what’s the point?”

“It’s the strongest point ever made. Seventy-eight years ago, a girl was forced into hiding. Seventy-eight years ago, she lived in fear, of each passing day, of each mere footstep.
And she died.
But why? Why was she different?

The simple reason is … no reason. But still she was persecuted.


It all started with one snide remark, just one small grin.
A grin, growing into a laugh, expanding into a cackle and ended … with mass genocide.”

I pause.
“We can change that. We can stop the beast amongst the chaos.

We can stop prejudice.” Silence.

Now it’s her turn to be mute.

“I’m too small,” she finally murmurs, “Bullied years ago, despised by all. I thought the answer was easy, to be invisible to the bullies, to hide within their gang. The perfect solution … or so I thought.
But it’s just proven: I am too feeble, unable to stand alone.”

“You are stronger than you think … you can do anything.” “Can I?”
“You’re never, never too small to make a difference!”


Dear Anne,

This will be my final entry. Not because I’ve forgotten you. For now I know: there’s a little part of you deep, deep in my heart. In everyone’s heart.

You made me stronger, much stronger.

Those replies, did I REALLY write them? Too valiant for me, or so I thought.

You taught me otherwise.

And remember, all who read this: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ That quote, written by George Santayana. A quote more relevant now, than ever.

Just remember.

By AMBER, 14.

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