Tuesday, January 20, 2009

an american abroad

feels good. it is good. at least for the moment. to be an american, that is. to be an american abroad today. an american in "the muslim world," for that matter.

i spent much of my two years as a peace corps volunteer coming to terms with my american identity, among other things... i also spent a good deal of that time wondering why my government was making it so difficult for me to be an american abroad. especially in "the muslim world."

all that is on hold for a moment... i pray it'll be more than just a passing moment. of hope and change. for those of us abroad. and those of us in america. after all... we, too, sing america.

praised. seeker of the subtle. purveyor of patchwork.


  1. i just got an email from a friend of mine (also an arab american) who sent out that very langston hughes poem, asking, what if langston had lived to see obama? i came back to your blog to find that "we, too, are america" entry to send her. what did you think of the benediction by rev. lowery? i loved it, but this may be my favorite part b/c god's love is eternal and indestructible:

    "We go now to walk together, children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone, with your hands of power and your heart of love."


  2. ellen, you've also got a way of beating me to the punch on these comments... so to speak. i loved the benediction. a perfect ending to a moving inauguration.

    but i have to admit that – as a muslim arab american (though i'm sure this isn't unique to being all that) – this moment of hope, as i refered to in my post, is also bittersweet.

    it's authentically sweet, as there are parts of me that are proud to be an american abroad (i'm in the middle east right now). but minutes after posting my thoughts, i couldn't help but have second thoughts...

    i'm still reading Hollow Land, and the insight into the intentionality of both israeli and american aggression and occupation is hard to harmonize with feelings of hope and change.

    but perhaps something good can come of this tension i carry within... b/w the beauty of the prayers and poems in washington and the despair of images from gaza

    ni Allah sonama... insha'Allah.


  3. what i didn't say earlier (cuz i have a rep for being a buzzkill by talking about reality), was that the benediction was the ONLY part of the inauguration that i really liked. leave it to a seasoned civil rights leader, a man who has surely faced down the klan, to remind everyone watching of their equal value and their smallness before god. the day before i was at a protest for gaza. the woman next to me, not knowing i wasn't new to this, was holding photos of children bombed to death and gently asked me, "did you see what they did to our children?" we had a language barrier so our conversation was brief. gaza was on my mind all through the inauguration, as is the congo, sri lanka, etc. every place on earth that is suffering - esp where the USA is perpetuating it. that's why i quoted that one part from lowery's benediction. he reminded us that the good fight is not over.

    peace. :)

  4. all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen!

    amen :)