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Dear reader, this letter is for you. Maybe, it’s for me too. We’re lost. Where has humanity gone? When did we sacrifice love for our fellow human for the self?

Instead, we have problems. Real ones. Systematic ones. Oppressive ones. Police brutality, climate insecurity, economic security. Genocide.

Some of us struggle to ensure our roofs stay over our heads. Some of us struggle with eating. Maybe your house just doesn’t feel clean enough. Most of us are fighting loneliness. “Who do I belong with? Where am I meant to be?”

Everything we once knew is gone. The world around us is going mad. It’s okay. It’s okay to be angry, reader. 

human love
Pro-Palestinian supporters march through central London. (AP Photo)

I’m angry. I’m infuriated that a genocide against my people is happening. My people are dying in carpet bombing. 1,500 people killed in 24 hours, over 11,000 people murdered and 2,000 under rubble. And by the time you read this, those numbers are inaccurate.

It’ll be more. The world feels silent. It’s defeating. One month this has gone on. We’re watching what happened to Native Americans and to Ex-Slaves.

In American Indian Education by Jon Reyher and Jeanne Eder, they write, “An estimated 800 villagers were killed, 580 survivors placed on trial. The survivors were convicted of killing eleven Spaniards”.

How can we still debate what is occurring?  

Finding humanity in the darkest of times

I’m envious, perhaps, that people can wake up and not worry about it. To not feel it in your bones. I can’t explain how each beat of my heart feels every child’s last exhale.

Our shared blood racing through our bodies panicking. I feel the shrapnel. I hear the explosions. I breathe the fear. It’s in my eyes. I see it. And while I’ve never smelt death before, I taste it on my tongue with each inhale I take. 

Some days, I’m desperately sad. I’ve sat on my couch and cried for hours. I had to leave work because of a PTSD flashback. It happened and before I could control any of it, my world was sunken.

Tears flooded my eyes, walls blurred in the distance, stumbling down stairs as I struggled to differentiate between each step. My clothes were suffocating me. Somehow I drove myself home, probably should have never been behind the wheel. 

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep my sweat shirt on or not. On, off, on, off, on, off, on, off. Eventually, I collapsed on my couch, begging, any God or spirit to just make it stop, anybody that could hear me – stop. Make it stop. Please.

How much more could I cry? Would people think less of me? Would people judge me? Would they see me as weak? Do you? Does it matter?

Pain is part of our humanity

These are secrets, we tell ourselves. Only we feel this pain. Only me. That’s a lie. We all feel this. I know you’ve had a day like this, too. Or more. Maybe you drink it away to forget. Maybe you smoke it. Anything to numb it because it feels not okay. Because we have to be perfect and strong. 

It’s okay, you don’t need to tell me. We can share this secret in our hearts. Is it human though? To be grieving by ourselves? To feel pain in private? Is it not something to be shared? It’s part of our humanity.

Our grief is an honor to all those that have been lost. It is our pain that reflects that we still have the capacity to feel. Is it truly strength to hide? It is our pain. We get to own it and to create from it. 

Love is revolutionary. Love is human. We get to be human. 

Instead of stumbling and crawling to each other, defeated because of how isolated we’ve all become – let’s find each other again. Paint. Write. Draw. Build. Read. Run. Swim. Take long drives. Go outside. Use your body. Use your mind.

Breathe in and breathe out. Sit on the couch and cry until you can’t. Drink a cup of tea. Be with each other while you can. Remind yourself; it’s okay. We’re human. 

Tell your children. Tell your friends. Ask for help. Hug each other. Hold each other. Create together. Choose compassion. Listen to another. Before time is gone.

I love you because you’re human

We need each other. We need to find love again. Love willingly, wholeheartedly, honestly and remind yourself: we’re not okay, but we’ll be okay together. 

Reader, I know you’re heartbroken too. It’s okay. We can be heartbroken together. I’ll listen, I promise. So that we become strong together to be happy together again. 

You’re not alone anymore, reader. I’m here with you. With my words. With my heart. With my soul. And regardless of how mad or scared or sad you are, and even if you don’t like me, I love you because you’re human. 

And that is beautiful. 



Joumana Asfour is an American of Lebanese and Palestinian descent living in Boston, Massachusetts.

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