Duck! and Gather

Archive for March 2010

Two young American men, both of Middle-Eastern descent, both in their 20s. Ali grew up in Washington state and attended high school in Iowa; Omar grew up in Alabama. Ali’s father came from Iran; Omar’s from Syria. The moms of the two kids are standard-issue white-bread Americans. Both kids seemed to have been relatively popular in high school. Both are “cool kids”.

That’s where the surface similarity ends. Google Ali Farokhmanesh. Google Omar Hammami.

The first story lifts my heart; the second saddens it.

But both stories make me think. Both ask a pressing question: What makes children turn out to be who they become?

Yet both stories make me proud to be an American. I like Ali’s path; I don’t like Omar’s.

But I like that each kid chose his own path. I know this to be true because this is America. Culture does not chose our path for us. Family does not choose our path. We choose our own.

In America, by the time we reach our 20s, our path is our own. And it reveals truly who we are.

This weekend, I’m looking forward to watching Ali in the Sweet Sixteen.

And thinking about Ali this weekend will bring Omar to my mind. I will pray that Omar experiences yet another dramatic reversal in his world-view, this time toward peace.

But Omar’s path is his own. As is Ali’s.

for the money has gone too far

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March 2010