When I was a child, I knew I had superpowers.
I thought I was absolutely amazing because I could understand
and relate to the feelings of brown people,
like my grandfather, a conservative Muslim guy.
而且 我能理解我的阿富汗妈妈 巴基斯坦爸爸
And also, I could understand my Afghan mother, my Pakistani father,
理解得并不深刻 只是很悠闲 相当自由
not so religious but laid-back, fairly liberal.
And of course, I could understand
and relate to the feelings of white people.
The white Norwegians of my country.
你知道 白人 棕色人种 无论如何
You know, white, brown, whatever —
I loved them all.
I understood them all,
even if they didn’t always understand each other;
they were all my people.
My father, though, was always really worried.
He kept saying that even with the best education,
I was not going to get a fair shake.
I would still face discrimination, according to him.
And that the only way to be accepted by white people
would be to become famous.
现在 实话告诉你 我父亲给我讲这话时我才7岁
Now, mind you, he had this conversation with me when I was seven years old.
所以 当我7岁 他说
So while I’m seven years old, he said,
“看 要么选体育 要么选音乐”
“Look, so it’s either got to be sports, or it’s got to be music.”
He didn’t know anything about sports — bless him — so it was music.
所以我7岁时 他收走了我的玩具 所有洋娃娃
So when I was seven years old, he gathered all my toys, all my dolls,
and he threw them all away.
In exchange he gave me a crappy little Casio keyboard and —
Yeah. And singing lessons.
And he forced me, basically, to practice for hours and hours every single day.
Very quickly, he also had me performing for larger and larger audiences,
and bizarrely, I became almost a kind of poster child
for Norwegian multiculturalism.
I felt very proud, of course.
Because even the newspapers at this point
were starting to write nice things about brown people,
so I could feel that my superpower was growing.
So when I was 12 years old, walking home from school,
I took a little detour
because I wanted to buy my favorite sweets called “salty feet.”
I know they sound kind of awful,
but I absolutely love them.
They’re basically these little salty licorice bits in the shape of feet.
And now that I say it out loud, I realize how terrible that sounds,
but be that as it may, I absolutely love them.
So on my way into the store,
there was this grown white guy in the doorway blocking my way.
所以我试着绕过他 我也那么做了 但他拦下我
So I tried to walk around him, and as I did that, he stopped me
and he was staring at me,
and he spit in my face, and he said,
“Get out of my way
you little black bitch, you little Paki bitch,
go back home where you came from.”
I was absolutely horrified.
I was staring at him.
I was too afraid to wipe the spit off my face,
even as it was mixing with my tears.
I remember looking around, hoping that any minute now,
a grown-up is going to come and make this guy stop.
但是 人们匆匆而去 假装没看到我
But instead, people kept hurrying past me and pretended not to see me.
I was very confused because I was thinking, well,
“我的白人啊 快点来 他们在哪里呢？这到底是怎么回事啊？”
“My white people, come on! Where are they? What’s going on?
How come they’re not coming and rescuing me?”
所以 不消说 我没买糖果
So, needless to say, I didn’t buy the sweets.
I just ran home as fast as I could.
Things were still OK, though, I thought.
As time went on, the more successful I became,
I eventually started also attracting harassment from brown people.
Some men in my parent’s community felt that it was unacceptable
and dishonorable for a woman to be involved in music
and to be so present in the media.
So very quickly, I was starting to become attacked at my own concerts.
我记得其中一个人 我当时在台上 我向观众鞠躬
I remember one of the concerts, I was onstage, I lean into the audience
and the last thing I see is a young brown face,
and the next thing I know is some sort of chemical is thrown in my eyes
and I remember I couldn’t really see and my eyes were watering
but I kept singing anyway.
在奥斯陆的街道上 我被人当面唾弃 而这次 伤害我的是我的同胞
I was spit in the face in the streets of Oslo, this time by brown men.
They even tried to kidnap me at one point.
The death threats were endless.
I remember one older bearded guy stopped me in the street one time,
and he said, “The reason I hate you so much
is because you make our daughters think
they can do whatever they want.”
A younger guy warned me to watch my back.
He said music is un-Islamic and the job of whores,
and if you keep this up, you are going to be raped
and your stomach will be cut out so that another whore like you will not be born.
Again, I was so confused.
I couldn’t understand what was going on.
My brown people now starting to treat me like this — how come?
Instead of bridging the worlds, the two worlds,
I felt like I was falling between my two worlds.
我想 对我来说 唾弃是氪星石
I suppose, for me, spit was kryptonite.
So by the time I was 17 years old,
the death threats were endless, and the harassment was constant.
我很郁闷 一次 我母亲让我坐下 她说
It got so bad, at one point my mother sat me down and said,
“你看 我们现在保护不了你了 我们无法保你周全”
“Look, we can no longer protect you, we can no longer keep you safe,
so you’re going to have to go.”
所以我买了一张去伦敦的单程票 背起行囊 我离开了
So I bought a one-way ticket to London, I packed my suitcase and I left.
My biggest heartbreak at that point was that nobody said anything.
I had a very public exit from Norway.
My brown people, my white people — nobody said anything.
Nobody said, “Hold on, this is wrong.
“我们支持这个女孩 保护她 因为她是我们的一份子”
Support this girl, protect this girl, because she is one of us.”
Nobody said that.
Instead, I felt like — you know at the airport,
on the baggage carousel you have these different suitcases
going around and around,
and there’s always that one suitcase left at the end,
the one that nobody wants, the one that nobody comes to claim.
I felt like that.
I’d never felt so alone. I’d never felt so lost.
所以 我到伦敦后 终于重新开始我的音乐事业
So, after coming to London, I did eventually resume my music career.
新地方 不幸的是 旧事重演
Different place, but unfortunately the same old story.
I remember a message sent to me saying that I was going to be killed
and that rivers of blood were going to flow
and that I was going to be raped many times before I died.
By this point, I have to say,
I was actually getting used to messages like this,
but what became different was that now they started threatening my family.
所以再一次 我收拾好行李 离开了音乐 我前往美国
So once again, I packed my suitcase, I left music and I moved to the US.
I’d had enough.
I didn’t want to have anything to do with this anymore.
And I was certainly not going to be killed for something
that wasn’t even my dream — it was my father’s choice.
So I kind of got lost.
I kind of fell apart.
But I decided that what I wanted to do
is spend the next however many years of my life
supporting young people
and to try to be there in some small way,
whatever way that I could.
I started volunteering for various organizations
that were working with young Muslims inside of Europe.
And, to my surprise, what I found was
so many of these young people were suffering and struggling.
They were facing so many problems with their families and their communities
who seemed to care more about their honor and their reputation
than the happiness and the lives of their own kids.
I started feeling like maybe I wasn’t so alone, maybe I wasn’t so weird.
Maybe there are more of my people out there.
The thing is, what most people don’t understand
is that there are so many of us growing up in Europe
who are not free to be ourselves.
We’re not allowed to be who we are.
We are not free to marry
or to be in relationships with people that we choose.
We can’t even pick our own career.
This is the norm in the Muslim heartlands of Europe.
Even in the freest societies in the world, we’re not free.
我们的生活 梦想 未来不属于自己
Our lives, our dreams, our future does not belong to us,
it belongs to our parents and their community.
I found endless stories of young people
who are lost to all of us,
who are invisible to all of us
but who are suffering, and they are suffering alone.
孩子们 我们正败给强迫的婚姻 虚荣的暴力和辱骂
Kids we are losing to forced marriages, to honor-based violence and abuse.
Eventually, I realized after several years of working with these young people,
that I will not be able to keep running.
I can’t spend the rest of my life being scared and hiding
and that I’m actually going to have to do something.
And I also realized that my silence, our silence,
allows abuse like this to continue.
So I decided that I wanted to put my childhood superpower to some use
by trying to make people on the different sides of these issues understand
what it’s like to be a young person stuck between your family and your country.
So I started making films, and I started telling these stories.
And I also wanted people to understand the deadly consequences of us
not taking these problems seriously.
So the first film I made was about Banaz.
She was a 17-year-old Kurdish girl in London.
She was obedient, she did whatever her parents wanted.
She tried to do everything right.
She married some guy that her parents chose for her,
even though he beat and raped her constantly.
And when she tried to go to her family for help, they said,
“Well, you got to go back and be a better wife.”
Because they didn’t want a divorced daughter on their hands
因为 他们想当然地认为 这是家门的耻辱
because, of course, that would bring dishonor on the family.
She was beaten so badly her ears would bleed,
and when she finally left and she found a young man that she chose
and she fell in love with,
the community and the family found out
and she disappeared.
She was found three months later.
She’d been stuffed into a suitcase and buried underneath the house.
She had been strangled, she had been beaten to death
在父亲和叔叔的授命下 她被三个男人 三个表亲活活打死
by three men, three cousins, on the orders of her father and uncle.
The added tragedy of Banaz’s story
is that she had gone to the police in England five times asking for help,
telling them that she was going to be killed by her family.
The police didn’t believe her so they didn’t do anything.
And the problem with this
is that not only are so many of our kids facing these problems
within their families and within their families’ communities,
but they’re also meeting misunderstandings
and apathy in the countries that they grow up in.
When their own families betray them, they look to the rest of us,
and when we don’t understand,
we lose them.
So while I was making this film, several people said to me,
“哦 Deeyah 你知道 这就是他们的文化”
“Well, Deeyah, you know, this is just their culture,
this is just what those people do to their kids
and we can’t really interfere.”
I can assure you being murdered is not my culture.
And surely people who look like me,
young women who come from backgrounds like me,
should be subject to the same rights, the same protections
as anybody else in our country, why not?
So, for my next film, I wanted to try and understand
why some of our young Muslim kids in Europe
are drawn to extremism and violence.
But with that topic,
I also recognized that I was going to have to face my worst fear:
the brown men with beards.
The same men, or similar men,
to the ones that have hounded me for most of my life.
Men that I’ve been afraid of most of my life.
Men that I’ve also deeply disliked,
for many, many years.
So I spent the next two years interviewing convicted terrorists,
jihadis and former extremists.
What I already knew, what was very obvious already,
是宗教 政治 欧洲人的种族包袱
was that religion, politics, Europe’s colonial baggage,
also Western foreign policy failures of recent years,
were all a part of the picture.
But what I was more interested in finding out was what are the human,
what are the personal reasons
why some of our young people are susceptible to groups like this.
And what really surprised me was that I found wounded human beings.
Instead of the monsters that I was looking for,
that I was hoping to find —
quite frankly because it would have been very satisfying —
I found broken people.
Just like Banaz,
I found that these young men were torn apart
from trying to bridge the gaps
between their families and the countries that they were born in.
我也认识到 极端分子 恐怖群体
And what I also learned is that extremist groups, terrorist groups
are taking advantage of these feelings of our young people
and channeling that — cynically — channeling that toward violence.
“Come to us,” they say.
“Reject both sides, your family and your country
because they reject you.
For your family, their honor is more important than you
and for your country,
“真正的挪威人 英国人 法国人是白皮肤 你不是”
a real Norwegian, Brit or a French person will always be white and never you.”
They’re also promising our young people the things that they crave:
意义 英雄主义 归属感 目的
significance, heroism, a sense of belonging and purpose,
a community that loves and accepts them.
They make the powerless feel powerful.
The invisible and the silent are finally seen and heard.
This is what they’re doing for our young people.
Why are these groups doing this for our young people and not us?
The thing is,
I’m not trying to justify
or excuse any of the violence.
What I am trying to say is that we have to understand
why some of our young people are attracted to this.
I would like to also show you, actually —
these are childhood photos of some of the guys in the film.
What really struck me is that so many of them —
I never would have thought this —
but so many of them have absent or abusive fathers.
And several of these young guys
ended up finding caring and compassionate father figures
within these extremist groups.
I also found men brutalized by racist violence,
but who found a way to stop feeling like victims
by becoming violent themselves.
事实上 我发现 让我很恐惧 我意识到
In fact, I found something, to my horror, that I recognized.
I found the same feelings that I felt as a 17-year-old as I fled from Norway.
The same confusion, the same sorrow,
the same feeling of being betrayed
and not belonging to anyone.
The same feeling of being lost and torn between cultures.
Having said that, I did not choose destruction,
I chose to pick up a camera instead of a gun.
And the reason I did that is because of my superpower.
我可以看见 理解就是答案 而暴力不是
I could see that understanding is the answer, instead of violence.
Seeing human beings
with all their virtues and all their flaws
instead of continuing the caricatures:
the us and them, the villains and victims.
I’d also finally come to terms with the fact
that my two cultures didn’t have to be on a collision course
but instead became a space where I found my own voice.
I stopped feeling like I had to pick a side,
but this took me many, many years.
There are so many of our young people today
who are struggling with these same issues,
and they’re struggling with this alone.
And this leaves them open like wounds.
And for some, the worldview of radical Islam
becomes the infection that festers in these open wounds.
There’s an African proverb that says,
“If the young are not initiated into the village,
they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.”
I would like to ask —
to Muslim parents and Muslim communities,
will you love and care for your children
without forcing them to meet your expectations?
Can you choose them instead of your honor?
Can you understand why they’re so angry and alienated
when you put your honor before their happiness?
Can you try to be a friend to your child
so that they can trust you
and want to share with you their experiences,
rather than having to seek it somewhere else?
And to our young people tempted by extremism,
can you acknowledge that your rage is fueled by pain?
Will you find the strength to resist those cynical old men
who want to use your blood for their own profits?
Can you find a way to live?
Can you see that the sweetest revenge
是自己活得快乐 活得满足 活得自由 不是吗？
is for you to live a happy, full and free life?
A life defined by you and nobody else.
Why do you want to become just another dead Muslim kid?
And for the rest of us, when will we start listening to our young people?
How can we support them
in redirecting their pain into something more constructive?
They think we don’t like them.
They think we don’t care what happens to them.
They think we don’t accept them.
Can we find a way to make them feel differently?
What will it take for us to see them and notice them
before they become either the victims or the perpetrators of violence?
Can we make ourselves care about them and consider them to be our own?
And not just be outraged when the victims of violence look like ourselves?
Can we find a way to reject hatred and heal the divisions between us?
我们承受不起 放弃对方 放弃孩子的后果
The thing is we cannot afford to give up on each other or on our kids,
even if they’ve given up on us.
We are all in this together.
And in the long term, revenge and violence will not work against extremists.
Terrorists want us to huddle in our houses in fear,
closing our doors and our hearts.
They want us to tear open more wounds in our societies
so that they can use them to spread their infection more widely.
They want us to become like them:
折磨 仇恨 残暴
intolerant, hateful and cruel.
The day after the Paris attacks,
a friend of mine sent this photo of her daughter.
This is a white girl and an Arab girl.
They’re best friends.
This image is the kryptonite for extremists.
These two little girls with their superpowers
are showing the way forward
towards a society that we need to build together,
a society that includes and supports,
rather than rejects our kids.
Thank you for listening.