The shouting outside, far away at first, was now deafening. They were getting closer. Her brother let out a small cry. She wrapped her arms around him and held him close.
“Shhhh,” she whispered.
They both jumped at the sound of shattering glass. Her brother held her tighter and buried his face on her chest. She covered his ears with her hands. They were too terrified to move. More glass was broken. Each time a window shattered, the crowed cheered. The smell of smoke permeated the air. She prayed that her home was not one on fire.
It lasted through the night. The cheers and chanting of slurs finally ebbed and dawn was approaching. Just as she was getting ready to open the closet, her mother was there. Her dress was ripped. Her eye and cheek were black and purple with bruises. She was missing a couple of teeth. There were scratches and cuts along her arms and legs. She had been beaten, but was alive. Her mother coaxed them out of the closet. She looked around the room. It remained intact, but the window was in pieces on the floor.
She walked towards the window, but her mother stopped her.
“Lida, come. We must pack.”
“Why must we pack, mother?” her brother asked.
“Because we are being sent to a safe place.”
Every shop and every window was broken. Some places were still burning. Everywhere, women, and children were being herded onto trucks. Men and teenage boys were loaded onto their own truck—packed in like mules. Heavily armed guards lined the streets as well as the lines to the trucks. If anyone tried to fight, they were hit with the butt of the gun and tossed on the truck, bleeding profusely.
She looked around at the carnage. Mothers and wives wailing for their lost husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons. Racial slurs filled the air from the crowd gathered behind a police barricade. She saw some women, who were friends with her mother, standing in silence as they the truck started to move. In fact, most of the crowd were people standing in silence. Many people were crying, but no one said a thing. That was the sight that stayed with her as she lay on her deathbed in an overcrowded tenement camp. Not one person stood up to protect them. There were millions of people in the United States, and not one person fought for the injustice of dumping thousands of people into a prison no bigger than a football stadium due to the fact they were Muslim. But history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.