Nonie or Mahmoud Darwish?

By Marcia Lynx Qualey During a recent visit to Minnesota from my adopted home in Cairo, I went to my mother’s public library in search of a translation of superstar-poet Mahmoud Darwish. Darwish, for those unfamiliar with his work, is one of the great forces in contemporary Arabic poetry. Although he died in 2008, his voice continues to resonate: Two translations of his final work recently came out, In the Presence of Absence (Archipelago 2011), trans. Sinan Antoon, and Present Absence (Hesperus 2010), trans. Mohammad Shaheen. If I were to name two unmissable contemporary poets who wrote in Arabic, they Read More …

Barack Obama: Global phenomenon and international inspiration

By Lolla Mohammed Nur, Engage Minnesota It is 7 a.m. on November 5th, and I am in my living room in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with the TV on. CNN has just announced that Barack Obama has won the electoral vote and is therefore the new president-elect of the United States. An endless flow of tears start streaming down my face. My tears are those of joy and victory, not of sadness. This was the moment of victory Obama and so many others—including me—had been waiting for so long. This was the announcement of success Obama had strived so hard to Read More …

Proud to be an American Muslim

By Tanweer Janjua, Engage Minnesota As a long time admirer of Barack Obama’s leadership, I was moved by his speech on Tuesday night. There is no doubt that Barack has shown his leadership again and demonstrated that he deserved to be in the highest office of the land. This is truly an historic and remarkable event and we should all cherish this.  It is truly a time of joy for those who believed that our country needed different direction and leadership. It is indeed a proud day to be an American.   Who could ever imagine this 45 years ago? It is less than half century ago, when Civil Read More …

Critical Thinking in the Face of Propaganda

By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota The elections this year turned ugly as presidential candidate Barack Obama was continuously portrayed as a Muslim, with a hidden negative inference that being Muslim means that Obama supports terrorism, and that being Muslim means bad and ugly. While such attacks came mainly from the Republican party, the Democratic party did not show a strong backbone to repudiate these attacks.  Even Obama showed weakness in not fighting these attacks against Muslims and Islam by proclaiming he is not Muslim, he is a Christian.  He lacked the ability to affect a change in the psyche of Read More …

Accommodation is Key to Change

By Humaira Afzal, Engage Minnesota Minnesota is global: We neither live nor work in an insular society. We are instead part of a growing and competitive economy that demands companies be more creative and more open to diversity. Our state’s Somali population, the largest in the nation, helps give Minnesota a competitive edge. Accommodating and capitalizing on our state’s Somali workers is one important way local companies can compete harder in world markets.