The Handicapped Section

My parents are Nubian.
I was born olive-skinned,
Like most Egyptians.
My brother, however,
Who’s a year and a half older than me,
Was darker-skinned,
Like most Nubians.

That’s not the only problem:
My brother has a disability:
A chronic ulcer on the sole of his foot.
Ever since he was little,
His gait has always been unbalanced.
He never complains, though,
And he’s never given up.
What’s ruined his self-esteem, however, is how people comment about his skin color.

It started at school…
I’d always find him alone and crying at recess or at the end of the school day.
It was always the same reason:
“The kids called me ‘chocolate,’
And ‘Antarah,’ and asked me why I was here.”
One time, they even said,
“Walk straight, blackie.”
They were making fun of his skin tone and disability.

I would always fight with and beat up the kids that bothered him.
I grew to harbor hatred toward Egyptians,
And I turned into a violent person.
I always hurt people who so much as verbally harassed my brother.

This went on for years.
Till he became 30, and I was 28.
People don’t bother us as much, to be honest.
But sometimes I’ll still catch someone looking at us funny,
Saying strange things when we’re together,
Like “I didn’t know Sudanese people befriended Egyptians.”

The last incident I want to talk about,
Happened about 4 or 5 years ago.
We were on the metro,
And my brother, of course, was seated in the elderly/handicapped section,
And I was standing next to him.
A man, who was in his early fifties, objected to this:
“Isn’t it enough that we’re letting you stay in our country?
Now you’re taking our seats as well?”

Warning The stories on our story archive could contain potentially sensitive and/or triggering material. If a story causes you discomfort or pain, please remember to breathe and check in with yourself before continuing or stop reading completely if necessary.