What it means to lose Jon Stewart

by Guest Contributor, Arij Mikati

I have something important to say. Anyone who has known me for the last decade or more knows that I haven’t missed an episode of The Daily Showwith Jon Stewart since 1999. Watching has been a family tradition since its inception. If you know me, you’ll also know it has unequivocally been my truest, most public, deepest, and most sincere dream to work on this show with him– one that will never come to fruition.

This is a truly heartbreaking event for me. I’ve gone through many chapters of my life where my identity has been skewered by everyone but Jon Stewart.

I am not exaggerating when I say that he was sometimes the only ray of light I felt around me.

In middle school, when the tragedy of 9/11 struck and I was the target that hate was projected onto, I felt like this show was the only one considering that I might be hurting both as an American and a Muslim, and I pushed through. During the Iraq War, when hate crimes against Arabs soared even higher, this was an outlet for me to hear a different perspective. Even now, with ISIS destroying the reputation of my community, this program is reaching others with the invitation to reconsider a growing fear.

So as silly as it may seem, this is a huge loss for me. There is no other show so widely available that has made me feel like the world sees me as a true American while affording me a much needed laugh in the toughest periods of my life. Thanks for 16 years of making people consider their opinions through laughter, Jon. It’s meant the world to me and countless others.

* The above piece was originally published on Arij Mikati’s personal FaceBook page. She has allowed Mozzified to repost her comments.

Arij Mikati is a Lebanese-American working in the education sector in Chicago. She is passionate about eating cookie butter while watching Space Jam.