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On Being Latino and Muslim

Since my project is all about being between two worlds, I thought I should share an interesting radio story I heard recently, on the complexities of being Muslim and Latino.

Listen here:

"Latinos are a fast-growing group within Islam in the United States. Michael Simon Johnson, producer for NPR's Latino USA, and Maryam Jameel, reporter based in Washington, D.C. who co-produced this story for Latino USA, discuss the complexities of life for Latino Muslims."

The Unacceptable

Our challenge is to match words to deeds to stop allowing the unacceptable.
— Madeline K. Albright, Former United States Secretary of State

... and we must be clear with our words, in defining what is unacceptable. What makes the Holocaust so unbelievable is how much atrocity was "acceptable" to the perpetrators and those who lived through it and did nothing...

Phoenix - how does war change personal and national identities?

I recently saw Phoenix, a moving film based on themes central to my Mischilnge Exposé, and wanted to share a few quotes from the article included in the DVD booklet that resonated with me. 

From "Just Be Yourself," by Michael Koresky:
"Phoenix is a German film preoccupied with how war forever changes personal and national identities."

"With her entire family dead, her Gentile husband having abandoned her, and her face disfigured, Nelly is essentially without identity. As the film will go to demonstrate, however, identity is never fixed. Does Nelly consider herself a German or a Jew? Is she her own person or somebody's wife?" 

"Other tensions are of a more spiritual nature: When will Nelly accept the possibility of a future untethered to her past? How will she truly identify herself? All of this is in aid of a story that is at its core about the lies we tell to ourselves, and about ourselves, so that we can function within societal structures..."

Powerful film!!
Read the whole article here:

Watch the trailer:

Elie Wiesel: Never forget.

"To forget the Holocaust, he always said, would be to kill the victims a second time."

I am saddened to hear of Elie Wiesel's passing. He was an incredible person. I treasure the occasions when I was able to meet and speak with him, with my husband Marc. His legacy will not be forgotten. We must remember the horrific events of the Holocaust, both to honor those lost, and so that it never happens again. 

His perseverance in the fight against genocide and violence worldwide is well-described here in the Washington Post's obituary.

The New York Times writes: "...He was defined not so much by the work he did as by the gaping void he filled. In the aftermath of the Germans’ systematic massacre of Jews, no voice had emerged to drive home the enormity of what had happened and how it had changed mankind’s conception of itself and of God. For almost two decades, both the traumatized survivors and American Jews, guilt-ridden that they had not done more to rescue their brethren, seemed frozen in silence." Read their full obituary here.

As the number of living Holocaust survivors dwindles, the onus comes upon those of us in the second generation to keep the stories alive. This is the urgency that I am answering with my project: to remember what happened to my father and his generation, and to speak of it so that he will not be forgotten.

Edgar Feuchtwanger: “I Was Hitler’s Neighbor”

I highly recommend this article in the New York Times about Edgar Feuchtwanger's new book, I was Hitler's Neighbor. 

The Times writes:

"Today, at 91, he could well be the last German Jew alive who grew up within arm’s reach of Hitler and observed him day to day, if only in fleeting glimpses. 

It was not until the mid-1930s, Edgar Feuchtwanger recalled, that Hitler assumed his full dimensions. It was still possible to walk on the sidewalk in front of Hitler’s building. Hitler had not yet taken to wearing a military uniform at all times in public or traveling in motorcades.

After he became chancellor in 1933, things changed. Mr. Feuchtwanger’s mother now complained that she could not get milk because the deliveryman was steering extra bottles to Hitler. SS guards moved into the apartment below his and took up positions on the sidewalk outside. Pedestrians were made to cross to the other side of the street."

The irony of the pictures in his notebook, doodles of Nazi symbols, strikes me. From the present, we look back at this time period with a "Black and White" view, when, in fact, it was so gray and gradual.  It took a while for people to understand the full threat that Hitler posed.

You can see this gradual change also in the Nuremberg Laws. The restrictions were not suddenly imposed, it was just one thing after another being taken away until there was nothing left to take.