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Being Palestinian
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You may yearn to breathe free, unless you’re Muslim
by Amer Zahr November 19th, 2015 (5 Comments)

The inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads:

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

The horrific attacks in Paris last Friday by ISIS-affiliated criminals, resulting in the murders of 129 innocent people, were part of a quite scary rash of assaults. The downing of the Russian jetliner over Egypt, which killed 224 innocent people, and the market bombing in Beirut, which occurred just a day before Paris and killed 43 innocent people, were also the work of these lunatics. One may call the perpetrators extremists, jihadists, radicals, terrorists, or simply, and perhaps most fittingly, a–holes. In any case, their crimes seem to be targeted to cause not only mass death, but mass fear as well. And sadly, at least as far as many American politicians (especially those on the right) seem to be posturing, ISIS is getting …

The lazy reporting around Detroit’s anti-Israel billboard
By Amer Zahr
October 28th, 2015 (1 Comment)

Late last week, WXYZ Detroit, the local ABC news affiliate here, told us about an eye-catching billboard in the city.  The “controversial” advertisement reads “America First,” and underneath that, in much larger letters, “NOT ISRAEL.”  The bottom of the billboard notes who footed the bill for it: “Paid for by Deir Yassin Remembered.”

Of course, while the billboard is a simple exercise of free speech, albeit on a hot topic, the real story was WXYZ’s terrible, irresponsible, and amateur reporting on the whole episode.  First, the news station reported (and continues to report) that the billboard reads, “America first over Israel,” something it clearly does not, as one could observe from the photo above, which was also in WXYZ’s story.  Now, you might say, what’s the substantive difference between “America first over Israel” and “America first not Israel”?  Perhaps there is none at all.  But it does show how little thought was put into WXYZ’s work on the story.

And it didn’t stop there.  The news team immediately defined the story in a …

Wait, Netanyahu said what?
By Amer Zahr
October 22nd, 2015 (3 Comments)

There were warning signs. We all knew he was a little off, but I never thought it would get this bad.

I have heard him call Palestinians a “demographic threat.” Of course, labeling indigenous people a “demographic threat” to a colonizing enterprise is pure nonsense. So, I knew he was a little bizarre, but even I never thought it would get this bad.

I have heard him call Israel the “one and only” Jewish state. Of course, as far as I know, no other person or entity, not even the Upper East Side of Manhattan, has made a claim. So, I knew he was a little out of touch, but even I never thought it would get this bad.

I have heard him speak in front of the United Nations many times. This is where his delusion has made special appearances. Just this year, he spent 44 seconds staring at the audience. It was awkward. In 2013, while talking about Iran at the United Nations, I heard …

President Obama, please say something
By Amer Zahr
September 22nd, 2015 (5 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 (8 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 (5)
A letter to Lindsey Graham about Mohammad
By Amer Zahr July 17th, 2015 (5)
Israel can’t survive the world wide web
By Amer Zahr July 10th, 2015 (4)
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 (33)
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 (13)
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 (134)
The occupier has no clothes!
By Amer Zahr September 4th, 2014 (6)
Where is my black president?
By Amer Zahr August 28th, 2014 (9)
The jobless activist?
By Lexi Zeidan August 27th, 2014 (0)
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