I think this is an important topic Arabic youth in western culture.

This may seem off topic but is about cultures. Often when I speak with Palestinians they speak of the right of return and the native American culture in a sort of solidarity. I can only speak from where I have been. Lately I have attended many lectures on refugees and the right of return, I also went to a ceremony lead by a Nigerian medicine man. I have been invited to a dinner on what it is to be privileged . I said that I do not feel privileged. But of course that is a matter of situation things can always be worse. I grew up in a melting pot and I am a melting pot. I am part Native American, part Scottish ,part Irish, part English. My grandparents were born in New England and the Canadian Maritimes.

I think it’s the native American part that rebels because it is not heard. My mother would say that she was giving me back to the Indians and she really was speaking the truth. The native part hardly got voice because my grandfather held some shame. Sometimes he spoke of these roots in quiet ways and the pride came through. When I was young he showed me an old article from a Maine Magazine about my native American side. These are your people he said. On church he would say We do not need to go to church to be good people. We worship the earth and show respect for all people and all living things. My Grandfather was a wonderful artist and unique among men. He was always his own man. He did things that most men of his time did not do, he was an incredible cook. He designed his own house and built it. He had beautiful gardens and he taught us to draw. He only worked for himself. He was very creative and always came from the heart.

We still live on our land, the people of the dawn, but we assimilated. Those who survived the plagues and massacres of the 1600’s and 1700‘s. If we have the right papers, those who not ashamed of there heritage and kept track, we can go to college here for free. There are reservations but they are small . They have no gates and the people of the dawn are free to move where ever they please. We can study our language and our culture at heritage centers. If we are mebers of the tribe we share the profits of the tribe. I am not a member of the tribe officially.

I like the assimilation, because I do believe that we are moving to a global culture and to live in peace it is good to be respectful and embrace each others cultures, thus enriching our own. It is not easy for Arab youth here, there is a strong culture clash from what I can see and some prejudice on both sides. One issue that I have seen is the gender gap in Muslim cultures. Oh don’t let them fool you there is a gender gap in most cultures, but it is perhaps not as pronounced or expressed differently in the western culture than it is in the middle east.

Most of the Muslim men I have met here recently have become more liberated in their attitude towards women, in that they are willing to embrace equal rights for woman and that woman do not need to cover their heads unless they want to. It is hard at first. American woman are friendly, they aren’t shy. They just want to say hello how are you. They want to get to know you, they are interested in you your culture your ways. Most American women are not used the constraints of the middle eastern world. I am sure that this is an over simplification of the situation. It is good to be mindful of this bump in the road. Most Americans I know try to be respectful of cultural differences. But I hang out with poets, artists and activists.

A poet I know received a grant to teach writing to Somali women refugees. It was a paradox. They were bound by their culture not to share their writing with him. They did make a video of them reciting their poems in English eventually. He asked if I am not a Muslim man am I a man?

I wrote a poem about refugees you can see it on my page. The gender issue is one of many. When refugees come to our shores the youth learn the culture and the language faster which is difficult for parents and that is a whole other topic…. But I think to enrich us all it is good to keep your feet in both worlds and to keep an open mind.

It is a give and take sort of situation, we can all enrich each others lives and make a better world. Respect is key and checking in with others as to what is okay is always good. Assume nothing.

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Replies to This Discussion

Not at all Dragan. I appreciate the input. I think that there has always been hybridism. Really when you think of it. It seems quite a natural process. Although the colonialism is an ugly feature. But now I think it can be different. I would not want to lose the rich layers of culture in the process. And I actually don't think that needs to happen either.
I can't say that I can think of the earlier migrations of civilisations as particularly peaceful, but they seemed to work out. You are probably right about the reaction to multiculturalism. I wonder what we can do to quell that. Do you think the effect of internet is enough? Probably not because not every one has access. I am thinking about how women finally got the vote. It happened when there were more advances in communication.

Now who is getting off track?
By the way I like your avatar what is it?


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