I’m Muslim and not gay!
The last 3 weeks, Twin Cities have seen, one of the largest film festivals in the country, the 35th MSPIFF Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival showcasing more than 200 new films from around the world. All these years I have seen this festival developed from a small venue at the U of M film society with the legendary Al Milgram who was the the brainchild of the film festival. Now under a new leadership of Susan Smoluchowski, Executive Director, Film Society of Mpls. St. Paul who is doing a splendid job to make this festival a landmark for Twin Cities art community. But what I Want talk about here is a different film festival that I was invited to a few years back. The OUT Twin Cities Film Festival, that according to their website has a mission “… to connect and celebrate the diversity of the community through the art of cinema by producing a provocative annual festival showcasing Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer filmmakers”.
Writer/director Musa Syeed’s film takes place in Minneapolis, which hosts a sizable Somalian immigrant community. The story, regarding a down-on-his-luck Somalian refugee named Adan (Barkhad Abdirahman), doesn’t shy away from showing the specific cultural conflicts a Muslim Somalian immigrant may face in the U.S., but the general issues depicted could easily apply to someone from any culture or country. Just like many people who leave their lives behind in order to start from scratch in the U.S., Adan tries to integrate into society while working to make a life for himself, all the while struggling to keep in touch with his culture and religion.
Notes from America
Who Ate my Cheese!
Who Moved My Cheese? a self improvement book written by Spencer Johnson, coauthor of The One Minute Manager, the book illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. is often distributed by managers to employees as a motivational tool, but as was reported in a review “the lessons it teaches can benefit literally anyone, young or old, rich or poor, looking for less stress and more success in every aspect of work and life.” Who ate my cheese, is a story about self preservation, it is about Arabs Americans and their cheese. Arab Americans in tough times would seek comfort and refuge in the warmness of their ethnic foods. As their nomad ancestors had done for hundreds of years before them; carrying their food wherever they go would save them from the harsh inhospitable desert terrain. Uh… the frying sizzling of falafel, the richness aroma of shaworma (Gyro), the tanning smoothness of BABA GHANNOU and Hummus, the beauty of artfully display of meza and the heavy sweetness of Baklava all take us back to the comfort and security of our home. But no other Middle Eastern food reflects our ethnicity and identity as feta cheese; we have as many different kind of feta cheese as nationalities; Egyptian, Greek, Lebanese, Moroccan, and Palestinian and we try them all. So if you want to measure the Arab American melting pot index in the US, don’t look at the employment or housing index, you should look at Who Ate my Cheese? Look at the consumption of feta index and its ratio to the consumption of American cheese. Americans seems to treat cheese as dead food that is wrapped in plastic bags and kept in the refrigerator like corpses. Arabs treat cheese like fresh meat that should be cut before your eyes and kept in the open for everyone to see and smell. Second generation Arab American children; however, lose this reverence right after their first trip to MacDonald’s restaurant and experience the taste of the melted cheese in their happy meal. Continue reading The story of an ethnic restaurant, Tahini Authentic Falafel & Shawarma→
“Our flight MS181 is officially hijacked. We’ll publish an official statement now.” Egypt Air posted this tweet, which was the beginning of the most bizarre hijacking incident in aviation history; the twisted love lust hijacking saga of a 59 year-old Egyptian, Seif Eldin Mustafa which captured the world’s attention for six hours.
Apparently behind the daring adventure of Mr. Mustafa was a Cyprus woman – and five children – … The reports about what actually happened on that flight were sketchy and comical at best.
At first the paranoid Egyptian authorities, which usually blame all the world’s illnesses on the Muslim Brotherhood, identified the hijacker as Ibrahim Samaha, describing him as a university professor on his way to a conference at the University of Atlanta. Mr. Samaha’s incensed wife had to contact the Egyptian media to assure them that her husband was a passenger on his way to Cairo and “certainly not the hijacker” of the ill-fated plane. The twisted hijacking saga didn’t stop there, as the world is focusing on terrorism; an act of speculation was the usual reflexive reaction.
Later we learned that a British passenger thought it was a good idea to ask if he could take a selfie with the hijacker. The hijacker didn’t mind, so the passenger, Mr. Innes, then sent it to his friend with the caption “Best Selfie Ever”. Later, he told reporters that he wanted to get closer to the explosive: “I figured if his bomb was real I’d have nothing to lose anyway,” such bravado being hard to understand considering the circumstances.