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"My Father is a Muslim Arab Refugee, and America is Breaking His Heart."

"My Father is a Muslim Arab Refugee, and America is Breaking His Heart."

My father began his journey as an American immigrant on August 21, 1983. He was a dark-complexioned Arab graduate student with stammering English. On his first day in the U.S., he was shortchanged by a taxi driver, locked out of his dorm, and left to wander alone into his first Burger King. He was dazed and displaced, but these feelings were not new. My father was born a refugeein the Gaza strip, and in his 23 years 'til that point, he had never known a permanent home.

To be a refugee is to be a ghost. You carry with you a silent history, a past life, and you seldom speak of it. You drift, haunted and timidly hoping to rebuild some of what you lost. You grip your dignity close, but you cannot escape the fact that you're always a guest, standing on someone else’s ground, to some degree dependent on the graciousness of others.

Despite this, my father silently hoped that everything he believed about America was true, that it would deliver on the promises he’d seen on TV screens and heard about in awestruck conversations. America, "Land of the Free." (read more

"Five Refugee Crises You Probably Haven't Heard Of" on Bustle

"Protesters Take the Fight Against Donald Trump to His Backyard" on Bedford+Bowery

"Protesters Take the Fight Against Donald Trump to His Backyard" on Bedford+Bowery