Racism stories: Baseema’s answer

Stories and News No. 832

I read that in Middlesbrough, England, they had the questionable idea to distinguish the homes of refugees from the "normal" neighbors by painting red entrance doors. With the risk, among other things, that the houses will become an easier target of racist attacks...


I am Baseema.
I am seven years old and my name has a precious meaning.
It means smiling.
Now, there is smile and smile.
My father says that mine’s value is double.
Because I smiles before and even after having discovered the real sense of things.
For example, take this red door’s thing.
When I saw it the first time I smile, really.
What am I saying? I heartily laughed, as when you eat something good.
That is, when you eat something.
Big.
A red door? And we are the only ones to have it?
Why? I asked my mother while she mended.
My mother does nothing but mend the few rags we call clothes, where holes are ever much more than the rest. That is the story of our lives, but I am not complaining, because holes hide a priceless gift. You can fill them with anything you like or you can also wait for someone else to realize the dream for you and, in that case, be patient.
For the record, Mom did not answer me and so my brother.
That is, he actually did it, but I long ago decided not to count as answers angry faces, bored eyes and frightened mouths.
My father, however, looked at me carefully and replied with a question. When he does that I hate him. Or, the contrary.
"In your opinion, Baseema, why are we the only ones with the red door?"
I also have some mute answers, to be honest.
The crinkled and whooping forehead, like the sea that brought us here, means ever the same thing: I have to think.
One day, one night and the favorable design has made its way into my mind, in the form of an explosion of unique variations, all of the same color.
Red, made of many red explanations.
As many as the innumerable shades of human skin or the lives out of the same door.
Then the door is red because one day all the bulls in the world, crazy for happiness, will open, at last free from the cruel show that is funny for the audience and pain for the protagonists. The door is red because it burned alive by always on flames, there to remember who has yet to reach the shore, with breath or memory. The door is red like the blood that really never lies, because I do not know if it is always good, but it really is the same for everyone. The door is red like the sky at sunset, so that every night, just at sunset, the door and the sky will be the same. To remind that this house is all we got past the horizon that you already were calling… house.
The door is red for the reasons we all know, but that's okay, and I smile.
Because my name is Baseema, which means smiling.
Because my father says I smile twice, before and after.
The former has gone, and maybe that blessed “after” is not now.
But it will come, I am sure.
And even billions of doors will not be enough to stop me...

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Storytelling with subtitles



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