In recent days, we’ve been bombarded with news stories of the fallout of Trump’s decision to halt refugee resettlement efforts, stop refugee entry, totally ban Syrian refugees and step up deportation. Stories of people stranded, handcuffed, turned away, stripped from their children and deposited at the Mexico border with nothing but the clothes on their backs. These stories, like the decision that started all this coverage, were hard to digest. I was angered, frustrated and at times, sad, lacking hope. As I often do when distressed, I sink into books. I find that reading helps me to either recenter or escape (and regroup later when I emerge). I opened my reader, hoping to find my center, and scanned the various unread titles. I ran across this one, A Country Called Amreeka: U. S. History Retold through Arab-American Lives. How appropriate at a time like this, I thought and hurriedly launched the book.
This non-fiction book by Alia Malek is a history book (covering the ’40s through the early 2000s) told in parallel. One parallel track is the Arab-American version of history as told from the perspective of various Arab-Americans who lived the history and the other parallel track is the American political/media version as reported by news outlets and governmental agencies. I purchased the book last November (2016) after meeting the author and hearing her speak. Back then, I was impressed with her message on inclusion and unification, and her thorough knowledge of U.S. and Middle East history. But since reading her book, I have been more impressed with her ability to educate me. In Amreeka, the Arab-American word for America, I have deepened my knowledge of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the struggles Arab-Americans have had in America, and how slanted news reporting can be. Also, through her thorough and insightful education, I have been reminded of what powerful tools “hope” and “prayer” can be.
I have not finished the book yet but already I am telling everyone I know to read it. It’s a heart-opener for those who need a reminder that all people are worthy of fair and equal treatment regardless of skin color, religion or national origin. It’s an educational lift for those who rely solely on mainstream media/news sources, and it’s an eye-widener for those who thought they knew the ins and outs of our American political/media system.
Again, the book is, “A Country Called Amreeka: U. S. History Retold through Arab-American Lives” by Alia Malek or visit http://www.aliamalek.com/ for more details.
Now is the time to live for others, to fight for all!