How does it feel to be a problem ? is a book addressed to everyone,but particularly to those who think that America is the land of care-free young adults who have nothing to worry about. Being Arab in America has never been easy. Being young Arab living in America is quite something. When I first laid eye on the book,which was given to me by my great English Dr. Sameer Ismaeel, Al-Najah university,I thought it was another book of how miserable Arabs are in the United States. These stories are fimiliar in the Arab world. People are divided into two categories,those who glorify America and make it the dream land of everything.
And,those who tare it apart and only see rape,drugs and carelessness. Genuinely,both are incorrect,as America is just another land and another society with all what that means from the good to the bad. I started flipping throw the pages,and not surprisingly I stumbled upon words such as “too religious,””terrorism,””muslim””anti-arab,””anti-american,” and the the alike. It’s not that I deny the problem,or even lessen the matter,but all I wanted was a fresh read in my short vacation and the book seemed quite disappointing. However,taking the book form my doctor,I had to read it.
“What if he asks me about it? ” I would get confused and say it was “amazing”,something so abviously dumb and so clearly showing my ignorance. So,as sliy as I can be,I started reading the book out of possible,unlikely future embaressment. And for that,I thank God! The truth is,I couldn’t stop reading it until I finished the last page. It’s a very good book,greatly written and beautifully organised. It’s fresh,original and up to your expectations. The book is not about ploitics nor is about religion. The key word in the whole book could be “youth”,or maybe even “life”,something eveyone can relate to .
The book is written in 9 chapters as I like to divide it. A preface,an introduction to why the author,Moustafa Bayoumi,wanted to write such a book. Reading thourgh the pages,you can easily picture Mr. Bayoumi shrugging his shoulders off his frustration. As every word you pass,you get clear images,colors,smells and sounds. The language used is very original and the author’s voice is clearly heared. It’s quite impressive how different is the style of each chapter ,the language and the tone,somthing that would capture you in a blink of an eye.
While the book is written in prose,you can sense the lyrical sound when Mr. Bayoumi presents the stories of how young Arabs – Americans are ” forging lives for themselves in a country that often mistakes them for the enemy. ” The next seven chapeters are seven stories different in detail yet similar in core. Seven stories about seven twenty-something young Arab-Americans trying to live,with what we might call “an urge to find a place in this world. ” Somthing all of us want and easily forgotten in the mess of this war on terror era.
Maybe we can’t relate to their stories in detail,but the struggle and the fight to fulfil their needs and desires are what almost all young adults are striving for: Apportunity,happiness,marriage and the chance to reach their highest potential. But what they get is less certainity and more difficulty than they had ever imagined: Work place discrimination,warfare in their countries of origin,goverment surveillance,the disappearance of friends and families,and alot more of what this politcal state has given birth to.
The last chapter is called “afterward,” which I have no idea why it’s called so,because I think it should be a “before-ward” kind of chapter since it gives the historical information about Arabs and Muslims in America. This particular chapter annoyed me,but it’s typical of me to get bored once the words start piling up. Yet,it’s a very important chapter,because it talks about how these groups have contributed in America ,and how it’s quite unfair to question how patriotic they are or what is they stand for. At the end of the day,I would give this book a 7.
And,again,it’s just my immature opinion. It’s abook that doesn’t leave you with a ” wow ” face or a “ha” sound,but it does what it was written to do. It gets you to that table where mr. Bayoumi had interviewed those 7 amazing characters. For that,mr. Bayoumi is successful in sending his message. Thanks to mr. Bayoumi for writing such a book,and ofcourse,a great thank you goes for the great Dr. Sameer Ismaeel for lending me this refreshing,educational and great book.
Now,i’l leave you with some references and guides. *key words : young-arab-muslim/nonmuslim-american-dreams-family-love-world-prison-problem-9/11-palestine-iraq-terrorism-home-life. *guide through the 7 stroies: 1)Rasha : The girl with the jail story. 2)Sami: The christian american soldier in Iraq. 3)Yasmin: A high school girl standing up for her believes. 4)Akram: The grocery kid dreaming of changing his stars 5)Lina: An Iraqi girl living in America and Iraq. 6)Omar: A graduate guy in search for a job. 7)Rami: The relgious guy. *An arabic artical about the book : http://www. aljarida. com/aljarida/Article. aspx? id=165814 *Great interview with the author : http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=42IKxUPGmxw.