The first Americans I met were the Marines. On July 15, 1958, hundreds of U.S. Marines landed on the beaches of Beirut. They did not storm any fortification, and no hostile force fired at them. They were greeted by curious, mostly happy onlookers, enterprising vendors eager to sell them American cigarettes, familiar nonalcoholic beverages and Lebanese food, and scores of children clamoring for candy, chewing gum and chocolate. I was one of those children. I was barely eight-and-a-half years old.
As I grew up in Pakistan in the 1980s, gun culture was a big deal, as large a presence in society as it is in America. Guns were to men what jewelry was to women. It took the emergence of a real threat to change Pakistan. Can America similarly adapt?
The grievous injustices inflicted on Palestinians are destructive to the Jewish community as well as to the Palestinians living under oppression. We must demand peace for all, not just security for Jews — starting with accountability for the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh.
Shireen looked and sounded like us, and it didn’t matter that we were not even privy to her religious identity, which we learned after her death when we watched in horror as her coffin made its way to the church while Israeli soldiers beat the pallbearers.
The concept of the Deep State began as something real and tangible: a parallel network of power behind the politics of Turkey. In America, though, it is the realm of conspiracy, seized upon by Trump, the Jan. 6 insurrectionists and QAnon supporters alike.
We took a big risk when we left the life we had known and returned to our ancestral village, guided by the desire to reconnect with nature and the land. Our new life amid the olive trees leaves us physically exhausted every day. Our minds, however, are finally at peace.
Before bedtime I stacked up the blue divan pillow blocks one over the other, placing the large ones on top in the manner of a fort. My son’s baby mattress leaned against this wall of feathers, and the cushioned roof sheltered him in his little blue bassinet.