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Palestine, the alternate universe
by Amer Zahr August 17th, 2015 (7 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 Comments)

ISIS a fringe group that believes it is saving the soul of the Islamic world. It believes that its lands have been poisoned by outside, corrupt, polluted forces. It sees itself as the true representative of true Islam, however unhinged from reality that view may be. It carries out this worldview through domination and violence. It is driven by an ideology of Muslim supremacy.

Dylann Roof, the young white man who murdered nine black worshipers on Wednesday night in Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church, told numerous friends that he believed in segregation. He told police he wanted to start a race war. He told his victims that they had to die because black people were raping white women and taking over the country. He believed, in short, that this country belongs to white people, and, further, he considered the presence of black people as a threat to that precious creed. It’s White Supremacy 101.

So it’s time that we Americans realize something. Despite the efforts of …

We have no right to be shocked
By Amer Zahr
June 18th, 2015 (3 Comments)

What happened last night in Charleston triggered a range of emotions. President Obama said he felt “heartache,” “sadness,” and “anger.” We all feel those things and more. Fear. Anxiety. Concern. Dread. Violation. Loss. Despair. Panic. Abandonment. Terror.

But none of us, not one of us, has the right to be shocked. That would mean that we were caught by surprise. It would mean that we had no idea something like this could happen. And we Americans can say no such thing.

When we live in a culture where a father celebrates his son’s birthday by giving him a gun, and where buying a pack of bullets is easy as buying a pack of gum, and where large segments of our society celebrate those “freedoms,” we cannot say we are shocked by Charleston.

When we live in a culture where a white cop shoots at an unarmed fleeing black suspect eight times in the back on camera, only to be supported by a group of concerned citizens who …

A Palestinian’s guide to Palestine
By Amer Zahr
June 3rd, 2015 (6 Comments)

I have just returned from a two-week trip to Palestine. I am quite sorry that I was not very active online during that time, but Palestine can really eat up one’s time. Family and friends took up about half of my trip. The other half was spent on hummus.

Let me make a quick note here. Even though most Palestinians live outside of Palestine, when we do go there, we don’t “visit.” We “return.” Israel, as you might have read, was able to expel many of us. However, if you do pay attention to numbers, you might realize that she did a quite terrible job of it. We are still a sizable “demographic threat,” getting more “demographically threatening” with every wedding. In any case, one “visits” a place if he is not from that place. He “visits” a place if he has no connection to that place. He “visits” a place that is foreign to him, where he doesn’t speak the language, know the food, or understand the customs. We …

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 (124)
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)
Tyrant on FX… Not so racist after all By Firas Naji August 8th, 2014 (2)
Israel’s new plan of self-defense By Sam Oudeh August 8th, 2014 (5)
The accents of the Israeli team By Amer Zahr August 6th, 2014 (35)
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