What can Euro-American modernism mean to an undergraduate student of literature in Kuwait today? My students are much more focused on claiming identity than appreciating the power of not belonging. What this desire to identify forecloses, however, is contingency, openness, transformation — the possibility that things might be differently arranged.
In Thanksgiving’s essence lives a kind of perfected American Dream — everyone is welcome, there is enough for all, bring what you’ve got and add it to the spread — even if America has never actually lived up to such lofty ambitions.
While news outlets often turn refugees into faceless numbers and politicians weaponize their struggles to fit their own agendas, I find nothing more powerful than individual stories, and the way each of us tries to make sense of the burning question: What is home, when you can no longer return?
My father’s decision to join the Waffen-SS Galicia Division testifies to Russia’s long history of tyranny against Ukraine. His reasons for doing so provide context for understanding how, then as now, Moscow drove young Ukrainians toward a moral precipice.
This is a thought that I cannot escape: My family chose to return to Afghanistan, where there was light and the promise of a better future. Yet for the Afghans being kicked out of Pakistan today, there is nothing but darkness — especially if you are a girl or a woman.
When you spend time under occupation, your standards must recalibrate. With every humiliating experience, your threshold for tolerating discrimination gets higher. The struggles of the occupation seep into your daily life, and you forget that such a dehumanized existence would be impossible to accept in your other home, in America.
Perhaps Monique, the illegitimate child of a Congolese mother and French father in a village ruled by the Belgians since the turn of the 19th century, was abducted by the Catholic Church. Premarital sex remains a sin in the eyes of the religion that still dominates the country today, but back then it was also against the law for Congolese men and women to sleep with white people. Her quest to find some answers led to me.