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  • i.
    I want to stand in solidarity with my Syrian counterparts. My heart goes out to them and I buckle under their unimaginable pain. I watch the news, soak in the most recent calamity.
    Assad has developed biological warfare.
    Dozens dead in Houla massacre.
    Tens of thousands killed over the 17-month conflict.
    United Nations is helpless.
    I see the pictures in the magazines and bite my lip hard for the injustice.
    Children killed by regime shooters.
    Men gather to pray and grieve in the Maraat Al Noman graveyard.
    Protestors bear pyres with the bodies of the slain.

    The air in over the patio is thick with booze and smoke and laughter. My tan-skinned, dark haired relatives are reveling in summer. Aunt Laurette, slurring lazily, points at Uncle Glenn and shouts, "He's not Italian! He's a FUCKING ARAB!" Hysterical laughter ensues. They reminisce about growing up as a family of six children in a tiny, inner city apartment. They remember the Syrian food, they remember sleeping over Tete's house, they remember the distinctly middle eastern features of their grandparents. Mixed with the fondness, though, is a bitter mocking, almost as if they don't really want to be affiliated with that culture. They're Americans now, not Syrian.

    Pasted on the wall of my little bedroomsanctuary are pictures cut from newspapers and magazines; pictures of people from all over the world. Drag queens, Buddhas, protesters, Bhutan royalty, native American danvers, teenage girls shopping in Cairo. Maps, too, of my favorite places. I wear a peace pendant every day and, despite pacifism, a fierce passion roils like a snake in my chest, desperate to help the downtrodden citizens of the world. I want to be everywhere conflict is. I want to fight alongside my family in Syria, to topple the brutality of th Assad regime. I hate this being stuck, helpless, in my pretty little house in New England.
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