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Being Palestinian
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President Obama, please say something
by Amer Zahr September 22nd, 2015 (2 Comments)

Dear President Obama,

I’m just like you. Sure, I’m an Arab Palestinian, and you’re a white-Anglo-Saxon-black-Kenyan. But we’re both Americans. And we have one more really important thing in common. Like you, I have one Muslim parent. Your Muslim grandparents were Hussein and Habiba. Mine were Muhammad and Laila. I, like you, flirted with Islam from time to time in my more youthful years, and I still, as you do (even though you have to avoid saying it), consider my Islamic roots an integral part of who I am. We are both, in part, culturally Muslim. We both know what it’s like watching grown men fight over the bill. We also both know what’s it like being around people who don’t know what an “inside voice” is. But most importantly, we both know what it’s like to be told that we don’t belong in America.

We Arab and Muslim Americans are quite accustomed to becoming targets during presidential elections. We remember how Newt Gingrich, quite obliviously, called Palestinians “invented”

A New Generation for Palestine
By Amer Zahr
September 15th, 2015 (7 Comments)

The generation of our fathers and mothers preserved and protected the one thing Israel has tried for 70 years to destroy. They spoke to us about Palestine. From them, we learned the names of our hometowns (and everyone else’s). We heard their stories of displacement, dispossession, and suffering. And we have honored their sacrifices by continuing to keep those stories alive, whether through art, activism, or just casual conversation. They were models of hard work, survival, and endurance. They were stubborn. They kept our narrative alive. Despite Israel’s best efforts, they didn’t forget. In fact, Palestinians are notoriously bad at forgetting. This applies as equally to my grandmother (who always remembered to tell me how she endured in 1948) as it does to my mother (who always remembers to tell me how I’m single in 2015).

In short, our parents taught us how to be Palestinian. And for that, my generation can never be grateful enough.

But when it comes to helping us realize any national aspirations, any semblance of …

Israel, you must be so embarrassed
By Amer Zahr
September 1st, 2015 (7 Comments)

Israel, things are not going well for you.

It’s been 67 years. You’ve tried everything. And we’re still here. It must be so frustrating.

And when I say “everything,” I really mean everything. You’ve tried denying us employment, housing, voting rights, mobility, and education. You’ve tried just flat-out killing us. You’ve even tried taking our precious falafel and hummus. And none of it is working. How irritating that must be.

Last week, you couldn’t even successfully arrest one of our children. A 12-year-old boy. With a broken arm. Because his sister and mom beat you up. Now, this is nothing to be particularly ashamed of. There are millions of men in all corners of the world who have been roughed up by Palestinian women. However, that usually happens in private. The whole world saw your thrashing. You must have been mortified.

You’re incessantly building settlements on my land, relentlessly expanding your wall and choking off my people. I guess that was supposed to annoy us enough to just up and …

Palestine, the alternate universe
By Amer Zahr
August 17th, 2015 (8 Comments)

I am in Ramallah. Restaurants with creative menus and talented chefs abound. You can run into tiny spots with out-of-this-world food, places worthy of a role on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” There’s a Domino’s, a KFC, and a Starbucks (well, it’s called “Stars and Bucks,” but that’s a minor detail). There’s even a five-star Swiss hotel, the world-famous Movenpick. The nightlife is lively, with bars and lounges seemingly on every corner. In fact, without looking too hard, you’ll even find art galleries, hip cafes, and discos.

There’s no reason to think there’s anything wrong. Almost no reason. Except for one thing. There’s a military occupation going on. Forty-eight years later, unfortunately, this still has to be explained. And I don’t want to try to explain it to you by exploring international law or geopolitics. Wikipedia has that pretty well covered. Instead, let’s just talk about some of the things that go on in Ramallah and the rest of the West Bank and Gaza that …

Are immigrants stealing American jobs?
By Amer Zahr
July 28th, 2015 (4 Comments)

I’m an immigrant, sort of.

I was born in Jordan in 1977.  My mother came to America from her Palestinian hometown of Akka in the 1960s as a teenager with her family. She became a naturalized US citizen during that time.  Then, she me met my father during college in California, and they moved to Amman after they got married in 1976.  So, while I was conceived under the Stars and Stripes, I was born outside of the United States.  But, since my mother had been naturalized, I was actually born as an American citizen abroad.  I spent the first few years of my life in Amman, but after a “political misunderstanding” between my father and the Jordanian government, we moved to the Philadelphia area in 1980, when I was three years old.  So I guess I’m an American who immigrated to America for political asylum.

But while I didn’t have to go through any nasty paperwork before I arrived on American soil, I did have an otherwise traditional immigrant …

A letter to Lindsey Graham about Mohammad
By Amer Zahr
July 17th, 2015 (5 Comments)

Dear Senator Graham,

What happened yesterday in Chattanooga was tragic.  Everyone should agree about that.  It should be assumed.

The alleged shooter, Mohammad Abdulazeez, was a 24-year-old American of Arab descent.  He came to this country with his family as a young child from Kuwait and became a naturalized citizen (like many of us).  His friends and fellow community members reported being shocked by his actions yesterday.  They didn’t see it coming.  He showed no warning signs.  He wrote a blog (some are calling it a “manifesto”), where he basically gave some sermons on Islamic belief and basic principles.    It was a little religious for my taste, but nothing overtly extreme.  To this point, Abdulazeez has not been found to have any connections to any organized group like ISIS or otherwise.

Dylann Roof is the 21-year-old American of white descent who murdered nine worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 18.  He was born in Columbia, South Carolina.  Some of his friends and fellow …

Israel can’t survive the world wide web
By Amer Zahr
July 10th, 2015 (4 Comments)

Something funny happened on the internet this week.

On Tuesday, Snapchat featured Tel Aviv in a 24-hour “live story.”  Now, for my social media-challenged readers out there (my dad), let me explain how this works.  Snapchat is a messaging service that allows one to share a photo or video with a particular person or group of people.  The message then self-destructs after 10 seconds (sometimes even less).  Every now and then, Snapchat decides to feature a particular city, locale, or event.  Users can then upload videos, which cannot exceed the ten-second timeframe.  The videos are then gathered by Snapchat moderators and featured back-to-back for a 24-hour period.  The viewer (that’s you, Baba (my dad)) can then watch these videos, 1-10 seconds a time, one compiled after the other, in one movie, the “live story.”  After the 24-hour featured time slot, the videos disappear and ascend to internet heaven.

So, On July 7, Snapchat showcased Tel Aviv. Users contributed all sorts of videos showing the beauty and vibrancy of the city.  The resulting montage …

Dear America, this is our ISIS
By Amer Zahr June 21st, 2015 (3)
We have no right to be shocked
By Amer Zahr June 18th, 2015 (3)
A Palestinian’s guide to Palestine
By Amer Zahr June 3rd, 2015 (6)
After 67 Years, Palestinians are finally cool
By Amer Zahr May 15th, 2015 (4)
Some advice for Pamela Geller
By Amer Zahr May 8th, 2015 (11)
Welcome to the Black Spring
By Amer Zahr May 1st, 2015 (3)
Why do some people hate America so much?
By Amer Zahr April 10th, 2015 (9)
Aren’t “terrorists” depressed too?
By Amer Zahr April 1st, 2015 (9)
A quick lesson on “allah”
By Amer Zahr March 24th, 2015 (31)
When racism is a minor offense
By Amer Zahr March 19th, 2015 (14)
She wished there were more Palestinians like me
By Amer Zahr March 12th, 2015 (12)
We need to talk about white people
By Amer Zahr February 28th, 2015 (15)
From ‘American Sniper’ to Chapel Hill
By Amer Zahr February 14th, 2015 (10)
Murdered for being Muslim, and the news is unfazed
By Amer Zahr February 11th, 2015 (11)
There are no excuses for ‘American Sniper’
By Amer Zahr January 31st, 2015 (4)
Why is Netanyahu crashing Congress?
By Amer Zahr January 24th, 2015 (7)
Where do I apply for “terrorism expert”?
By Amer Zahr January 16th, 2015 (12)
I refuse to condemn
By Amer Zahr January 9th, 2015 (31)
Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, (Al-Quds)
By Amer Zahr December 26th, 2014 (19)
Santa, All I want for Christmas is…
By Hadeel Khalifeh December 26th, 2014 (0)
Ten ways you might be an Arab
By Sam Oudeh November 2nd, 2014 (3)
Headline: America still clueless about Islam
By Amer Zahr October 9th, 2014 (5)
A Palestinian wish
By Nadine Jallad September 26th, 2014 (4)
Ten things you need to know about Arabs
By Sam Oudeh September 17th, 2014 (129)
The occupier has no clothes!
By Amer Zahr September 4th, 2014 (5)
Where is my black president?
By Amer Zahr August 28th, 2014 (8)
The jobless activist?
By Lexi Zeidan August 27th, 2014 (0)
Why my test score is different than yours
By Lexi Zeidan August 20th, 2014 (2)
Being black, being Palestinian
By Amer Zahr August 17th, 2014 (5)
Light at the end of the tunnel
By Lexi Zeidan August 8th, 2014 (0)
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