There are not enough colors bursting through the large window panes of the apartment to describe the ways in which I detest this city.
Built on stolen land, and governed by thieves, Canada's fifth largest city is no more than a showcase for settler colonialism and international dominance.
It is a land that gave me refuge from the destruction of Iraq, and offered me, through anemic government programs, the support that I needed to build my life. However, even such a remarkable transaction of dignity for dollars fails to capture the enormity of our losses, before we came here.
Refugees turned settlers, we are slowly cookie-cut, under the constance of humming, mind numbing, lamps. We watch our homes destroyed on greasy television sets. We eat our minds away in empty parking lots, sparking shots in the dark. Here, we are truly nothing.
There is a mall in this city. In fact, it is larger than the city itself. Neon lights from its operations are powerful enough to ensure a steady dose of much needed sunlight, and secure a healthy attendance at all festivities. Throughout the day, hundreds of thousands of people crawl through the marble castle, picking up prepackaged parts of their identity along the way.
There is little public space here. Plazas, or strip malls, and strip clubs, compete with fast food chains for any land left over by real estate developers. From this condominium to the next, opulent opportunists work constantly to live happily and neglect to wipe the blood off the streets. Instead of renewal and reparations, there are immigration offices and police stations.
Over policed, and under my foot, the City of Mississauga, my home for the last seventeen years, is a violent and grotesque product of our greed and racism. As such, it will never be my home.
Thirty and almost awake, Ahmed.