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Being Palestinian
Makes Me Smile

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  • 20150515_zahr
    After 67 Years, Palestinians are finally cool
    by Amer Zahr May 15th, 2015 (2 Comments)

    Today is Israeli Independence Day.  We Palestinians call it “Nakba Day.”  “Nakba” translates from Arabic into English as “catastrophe.”  Independence. Catastrophe.  You say Po-tay-to. I say Po-tah-to.

    Now this could easily be a sad day for us.  We Palestinians have every reason in the world to be depressed.  Our land was stolen.  The vast majority of our people live outside of their homeland.  Entire UN agencies are dedicated to us. Our land was stolen.  We live under a brutal military occupation.  Israel uses our residential areas to test military technology. Our land was stolen.  The media portrays us as subhuman.  Israeli politicians call for our extermination.  Oh, and our land was stolen.

    There’s more.  On days like today, we are reminded that we don’t have any real holidays.  We just have commemorations.  May 15 (the theft of our land in 1948).  June 5 (the theft of more of our land in 1967). March 30 (the theft of even more land in 1976).  Do you see a theme?  Just …

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    20150508_zahr
    Some advice for Pamela Geller
    By Amer Zahr
    May 8th, 2015 (11 Comments)

    Dear Pam,

    I’ve been watching you.  Now, I don’t mean that I’ve been “watching” you in the same way the FBI watches us Arabs and Muslims.  I just mean I’ve been following you.  Wait, I don’t mean I’ve been “following” you the same way those crazy guys followed you to Texas. I just mean I’ve been keeping my eye on you.  Observing you. Trailing you.  Okay, none of that sounds good.

    I see that you are spending a lot of time trying to offend Muslims.  In fact, you have made a bit of a career out of it.  And while you might think otherwise, you’re not doing a great job.  You’re going about it all wrong.  Sure, drawing cartoons of Muhammad might get a couple of crazies to crash one of your events.  But the vast majority of Muslims aren’t really going to do anything about it.  You’re just a small nuisance to most of us.

    I’m a half-Muslim Arab American, and most of my friends are Arabs and Muslims.  …

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    20150501_zahr
    Welcome to the Black Spring
    By Amer Zahr
    May 1st, 2015 (3 Comments)

    Sidi Bouzid is a modest city of about 120,000 in central Tunisia. Mohamed Bouazizi was a fruit vendor on its streets. He never graduated from high school, toiling every day, earning about $150 a month, supporting his mother, uncle, and younger siblings. He was even able to put one of his sisters through college through selling his produce.

    Mohamed’s life was not easy. Not only did he work a job where he was barely able to maintain his life of poverty, he also lived in an utterly corrupt town. The city officials of Sidi Bouzid constantly harassed Mohamed, threatened his livelihood, and demanded bribes. On one particular morning in December 2010, a municipal official approached him, confiscated his produce, and destroyed his cart. Mohamed had finally been pushed too far. He marched down to the governor’s offices and demanded answers from the government, the same government that was supposed to protect him. Witnesses say the governor refused to see or listen to him.

    Riddled with humiliation, neglect, shame, and abandonment, …

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    20150410_zahr
    Why do some people hate America so much?
    By Amer Zahr
    April 10th, 2015 (8 Comments)

    I’m noticing something going on in my country.  America is under attack.

    This week, at the University of Michigan (my alma mater), Arab and Muslim (American) students protested against the showing of “American Sniper” on their campus.  Now, they weren’t simply protesting the movie being screened on campus.  They were protesting against it specifically being shown by the Center for Campus Involvement, which describes itself as “a dynamic, student-focused department that serves undergraduate and graduate students campus wide through its programs and student organization support. Through meaningful involvement, the Center creates transformative experiences, a vibrant community, and lifelong memories for University of Michigan students.”

    Now, some might remember why these students would possibly be upset.  The film, while becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2014, prompted many moviegoers to tweet utterly hateful things about killing Arabs and Muslims right after seeing it.  Many in my community were quite shocked and scared by such outbursts.  The film dehumanized us in a quite cursory fashion, and it was celebrated for it.  “American …

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    20150401_zahr
    Aren’t “terrorists” depressed too?
    By Amer Zahr
    April 1st, 2015 (8 Comments)

    The media has damaged me.

    I must confess something.  I was watching CNN last week when the first reports of the Germanwings tragedy hit the airwaves.  The crash killed 150 people, including students, teachers, children, and the perpetrator, co-pilot Andreas Lubitz.  As an Arab American, I did what I always do when the news informs me of such terrible events.  I was watching the coverage, whispering to myself, “Please don’t be Arabs. Please don’t be Arabs.”  To be honest, I am quite embarrassed.  But this is what I do.  I can’t help it.

    Of course, we all know what would have happened had Andreas been named Abdullah (sorry to all the Abdullahs out there).  I don’t think CNN would have spent its last week of coverage focusing on depression and mental health issues.  We also might have seen a different breed of “experts.”  Instead of getting the aviation and mental health kind, we would have gotten a steady dose of a quite different sort of specialist.

    But Andreas is not …

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    20150325_zahr
    A quick lesson on “allah”
    By Amer Zahr
    March 24th, 2015 (30 Comments)

    Last week, in upstate New York, many residents of a small town got all bent out of shape. Pine Bush High School decided to celebrate National Foreign Language Week by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in a few different tongues. The plan was to have students narrate the pledge in Italian, Japanese, French, Spanish, and… yes, Arabic. Well, on Wednesday, an Arabic-speaking student took to the school’s intercom and pledged allegiance to the flag in her heritage’s language.

    And exactly what you imagine might happen happened. Some students started hissing and booing, and a number of parents called the school in protest. By the end of the day, the principal announced an apology over the school’s intercom system. I guess these kids texted their parents. When I was growing up, we didn’t have cell phones. The only way your parents heard from you in school was if you got sick, got in trouble, or faked that you got sick.

    Without getting too much into the whole fiasco, I think …

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    20150318_zahr
    When racism is a minor offense
    By Amer Zahr
    March 19th, 2015 (14 Comments)

    Imagine this.

    A ninth-grader sits in school every day. He has no disciplinary problems. He is the only black student in his French class. His teacher constantly refers to him, in front of other students, as “the thug.” On one occasion, she says, “Look, the thug is here.” On another, she calls on him by saying, “Ok thug, what’s the answer?” In yet another instance, she declares, “Let’s ask the thug.” She even calls him a “thug” in other languages. The other students laugh, following their teacher’s lead. She does this for some time. On one particular day, she decides to refer to him as “the nappy-headed thug.”

    The child finally tells his father what is going on. His father approaches the school administration, complaining about the teacher’s bigoted remarks. He asks for a public apology from the teacher. He is told he will receive no such thing. The father then approaches the press to tell his son’s story.

    We all know what happens next. Al Sharpton shows up at …

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    20150312_zahr
    She wished there were more Palestinians like me By Amer Zahr March 12th, 2015 (11)
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    We need to talk about white people By Amer Zahr February 28th, 2015 (12)
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    From ‘American Sniper’ to Chapel Hill By Amer Zahr February 14th, 2015 (10)
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    Murdered for being Muslim, and the news is unfazed By Amer Zahr February 11th, 2015 (11)
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    There are no excuses for ‘American Sniper’ By Amer Zahr January 31st, 2015 (4)
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    Why is Netanyahu crashing Congress? By Amer Zahr January 24th, 2015 (7)
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    Where do I apply for “terrorism expert”? By Amer Zahr January 16th, 2015 (12)
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    I refuse to condemn By Amer Zahr January 9th, 2015 (29)
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    Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, (Al-Quds) By Amer Zahr December 26th, 2014 (19)
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    Santa, All I want for Christmas is… By Hadeel Khalifeh December 26th, 2014 (0)
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    Ten ways you might be an Arab By Sam Oudeh November 2nd, 2014 (3)
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    Headline: America still clueless about Islam By Amer Zahr October 9th, 2014 (5)
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    A Palestinian wish By Nadine Jallad September 26th, 2014 (3)
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    Ten things you need to know about Arabs By Sam Oudeh September 17th, 2014 (123)
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    The occupier has no clothes! By Amer Zahr September 4th, 2014 (5)
    20140828_zahr
    Where is my black president? By Amer Zahr August 28th, 2014 (8)
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    The jobless activist? By Lexi Zeidan August 27th, 2014 (0)
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    Why my test score is different than yours By Lexi Zeidan August 20th, 2014 (2)
    20140815_zahr
    Being black, being Palestinian By Amer Zahr August 17th, 2014 (5)
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    Light at the end of the tunnel By Lexi Zeidan August 8th, 2014 (0)
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    Tyrant on FX… Not so racist after all By Firas Naji August 8th, 2014 (2)
    20140808_oudeh
    Israel’s new plan of self-defense By Sam Oudeh August 8th, 2014 (5)
    20140805_zahr
    The accents of the Israeli team By Amer Zahr August 6th, 2014 (35)
    20140730_zahr
    What is Netanyahu up to? By Amer Zahr August 2nd, 2014 (7)
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    Losing my mind in Gaza! By Dalia Alnajjar July 28th, 2014 (1)
    20140723_zahr
    To Jon Stewart… thanks, and no thanks By Amer Zahr July 23rd, 2014 (36)
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    Israel, listen, I know what I’m talking about By Amer Zahr July 20th, 2014 (4)
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    From a mother In Gaza By Maysoon Khatib July 20th, 2014 (4)
    20140718_zahr
    Palestinians need to act appropriately By Amer Zahr July 19th, 2014 (11)
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    Informed Compassion: Reflection on the events of July 16, 2014 By Susan Muaddi Darraj July 18th, 2014 (0)
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