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Big Fat American Wedding

I WAS INVITED TO AN ARAB AMERICAN WEDDING LAST WEEK.THE CEREMONY TOOK PLACE AT A SMALL TOWN OF LESS THAN 3000 PEOPLE IN WESTERN MINNESOTA. I DROVE FOR MORE THAN THREE HOURS ON A SINGLE LANE HIGHWAY, LISTENING TO THE ARAB DIVA UM KALTHUM SINGING, “LOVE IS THE POLLINATION OF JASMINE FLOWER OVER THE WORLD OF LOVERS HEARTS”. HER MAGICAL STRONG VOICE QUICKLY SPREAD OVER THE ENDLESS LANDSCAPE OF BEAN AND CORN FIELDS, MIXING ARAB PASSION WITH THE GENEROSITY OF AMERICAN FARMLAND. I HAVE ALWAYS HOPED THAT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE WOULD BE AS GENEROUS AS THEIR LAND. I FINALLY ARRIVED AT THE TOWN WHERE THE WEDDING WAS TAKING PLACE…BUT WHERE IS EVERYONE? THE STREETS ARE EMPTY. I WONDERED, ARE THEY IN A STATE OF TERRORIST HEIGHTENED ALERT?I KEPT ON DRIVING ON A DUSTY ROAD UNTIL I FOUND WHAT SEEMED TO BE A COUNTY FAIR, WITH LOTS OF CHEVY AND FORD CARS AND PICK-UPS SURROUNDING A BIG TENT NEXT TO AN OLD FARM HOUSE. IT WAS OBVIOUS MOST OF THE TOWN’S POPULATION WAS HERE. HUNDREDS OF FOLKS WERE DRINKING, EATING AND DANCING INSIDE THE BIG TENT HAVING A GREAT TIME. I HAD NEVER SEEN SO MANY NON-MUSLIMS AT A MUSLIM WEDDING BEFORE. THIS WAS THE BIG FAT AMERICAN WEDDING IN REVERSE. I WAS OUTNUMBERED, AND OUT OF MY HOME SECURITY COMFORT ZONE. I DESPERATELY HOPED MY FELLOW WEDDING GUESTS DIDN’T RELY HEAVILY ON FOX CABLE NEWS FOR THEIR DAILY FIX. OR THINK THAT I MADE IT TO THIS WEDDING BECAUSE OF AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION OR A GOVERNMENT DIVERSITY PROGRAM.ACTUALLY, I WAS INVITED TO BE THE M-C OF THE WEDDING RECEPTION BY MY FRIEND, THE EGYPTIAN-AMERICAN GROOM. THE WEDDING CEREMONY WAS SHORT AND SWEET, DEVOID OF ANY EXCESSIVE RELIGIOUS OVER TONE. WE ALL SAT INSIDE THE TENT CELEBRATING THE HAPPY OCCASION; NEXT TO A TABLE WHERE A FEW ARAB GUESTS WERE SEATED, AN OLD COUPLE SEEMED TO BE UNCONCERNED THAT AN ARAB GUEST MAY STAND AND START SHOOTING IN THE AIR, AS ARABS CUSTOMARY DO IN THEIR WEDDINGS. SITTING NOT TOO FAR DISTANT THE GROOM’S MOTHER WHO TRAVELED 10,000 MILES TO ATTEND HER SON’S WEDDING; SHE WAS AWFULLY QUIET FOR A MOTHER OF THE GROOM. SHE DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH AND THE BRIDE’S PARENTS DON’T SPEAK ARABIC -PERHAPS, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, A BRILLIANT ARRANGEMENT FOR A LONG HEALTHY MARRIAGE. AS THE NEWLYWED COUPLE WAS CUTTING THE CAKE, I WONDERED FOR A BRIEF MOMENT; WHY WOULD A YOUNG AMERICAN WOMAN RISK MARRYING AN ARAB AMERICAN NOWADAYS? HASN’T SHE BEEN ALARMED ENOUGH? AS I WAS DEEP IN MY THOUGHTS THE NEWLYWEDS KISSED AND HUGGED AT THE DELIGHT OF THE CHEERING CROWD. I HAD A GREAT TIME – EVERYONE DID, THE DIVINE POWER OF ALCOHOL OVERCAME ANY POTENTIAL OF UNWARRANTED HOSTILITY. I FINALLY STOOD UP AND ADDRESSED THE EAGER CROWD WHICH WAS CORDIAL AND IN A GREAT MOOD. AFTER THANKING EVERYONE FOR ADOPTING MY FRIEND TO THEIR VILLAGE; I REMINDED THEM THAT IT TAKES A WHOLE VILLAGE TO RAISE A GOOD ARAB. Ahmed 9/2004
Producer/Host of the Arab American TV Show BelahdanMinnetonka, MN

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Ahmed Tharwat …. in the middle AhMedia.... احا مديا A media critic, and a media consultant... A show with an accent for those without one! AhMedia احا مديا Ahmed Tharwat/ Host BelAhdan TV show Freelance Writer, Public Speaker, International Media Fixer www.ahmediatv.com

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