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Home Sweet Home? MAG
I was born anAmerican, but that was not my choice. When I was 13, I realized for the firsttime that this fact did not need to ruin the rest of my life. If I could waitfive years, then my country of origin would be of no importance. I could get apassport and leave this place, and never come back. At least one of my teachersdid not agree with my plan.
"What do you want to go to Israelfor?" he demanded. "If there's something wrong with America, fixit."
I decided to keep my mouth shut instead of arguing. Report cardswere due out soon and I could not afford to upset him.
His response to myambition prompted me to remain tight-lipped. Adults like to think they knoweverything, and I learned at an early age not to tell them what they don't wantto hear. Especially American adults, who are Americans by choice no matter wherethey were born.
I did not know it at the time, but my two-minuteconversation with - let's call him Mr. X - was the most personal nonviolentterrorist attack I had faced so far, but it was not the last. In that discussion,he questioned my ideals, embarrassed me, and informed me I was wrong to the pointwhere I nearly cried. Mr. X sought to change my fundamental beliefs and instill asense of fear and hopelessness in me, and he almost succeeded.
I nevergave up my ambition to move to Israel and serve in her army next to my Israelibrothers and sisters. I never let myself believe that attaining peace in myhomeland was not possible, nor did I ever let myself become lazy and think thatsomeone else would take on that responsibility.
I want to be in Israel andI want to be there now. I will not settle for spending a summer touring Europeinstead (which isn't much safer for proud Jews like me), nor will I wait for awar that hasn't been declared to end.
I am not flamboyant or arrogant inmy desire. In ninth grade I realized young Americans who would become adultAmericans are also uncomfortable hearing about action and change. So I stay quietwhen my friends and classmates discuss colleges, and quieter still when myfriends who are already in college talk about their majors and what kind of jobsthey would like after school. I will take my PSATs with them and schedule myguidance appointments also, but on days when the focus in school is all about howproud we are to be united, I am stronger than they are because I know that I willnot live my entire life surrounded by so much disgustingly hypocriticalpatriotism.
I do not hate America, or the ideals on which the Declarationof Independence and the United States Constitution were written. I cried onSeptember 11, 2002, the first time I was able to cry for the act of terrorismthat will define the lives of so many Americans in my generation that occurredone year before.
I cried for the waste of life and the ignorance thatdrove men to give their lives as "freedom fighters" and for the factthat so many well meaning people are furthering the work of those dead fighters.I cried for the men and women of this country who drive around in their SUVs withAmerican flags and bumper stickers, consuming Arab oil because they are tooscared to fly.
I cried for the pitiful reaction this country has had tothe attack. My American family members were not murdered because of a lack ofpatriotism. It is important that Americans stick by their country and not allowothers to make them abandon it, but it is also important that victims ofterrorism learn from their mistakes. They must make significant changes in theirsecurity and foreign policies. Until that happens, my heart still lies in Israeluntil my body can join it.