#25Jan 2011

I knew something was brewing when I returned to New York City after doing teaching fellowship interviews in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania. That day, January 25, 2011, a magnificent snowfall had blanketed New York City. I was staying with Peace Corps friends just three blocks from Central Park on 79th, and they had encouraged me to take my camera into the park in the snow.
I just wanted to quickly check my Facebook notifications before I left. That was how I learned of the protests on Tahrir Square, half a block from our classrooms and three blocks from my roommate’s balcony.

Rumors and speculation had been flying since Ben Ali had fallen in Tunisia the month before, speculation of which dictator might fall next. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was either the most or least likely candidate, depending on who you asked.

Our Interconnection with Muslim Lives

the sermon I delivered at the Midcoast Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Damariscotta, Maine
When my mother was a senior in high school in Reading, Massachusetts, in the mid-Seventies, her family hosted an exchange student for a year: a young Afghan woman named Fakhria. One day, they went into Boston. Fakhria looked left and right everywhere they went, and got increasingly agitated. Finally, she said, “Where are the beggars?”

She had filled her pockets with nickels and dimes, as she had always done in the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. Her parents had taught her that as a Muslima, as the daughter of a family with privilege, she had an obligation to give to the less fortunate. She wanted to know where the homeless were in Boston so she could contribute. I think of Fakhria most days, whenever I pass a homeless person on the New York City subway.