The House of Unamerican Activities


I am an immigrant.

My family left our once beloved country, Egypt, in the 60s.

In the 70s, I was sworn in as an American citizen in the borough of Manhattan. It was in a courtroom where a portrait of Tricky Dick — who was about to resign — hung behind the judge. I repeated the oath of allegiance with probably a hundred others, whom I remember as being mostly of Asian origin.

Because I am an immigrant, I can never be President, but would not want the job anyway.

This week, after a seven month absence that I have spent in my country of origin, I am returning to the US.

The country is roiling from a president (the lower case “p” is deliberate) who is unlikely to remain in the White House till the end of his first term.

Unlike the current president of the United States, I have never attempted to enrich myself though corrupt practices.

I have never had to pay off women with hush money to conceal extra marital affairs, which I have never had in my nearly 30 years of marriage to the same woman.

I have never accepted bribes of any sort, nor engaged in any criminal activity.

I am far from perfect, but I have always tried to behave in an ethical manner when it counted.

While the current president of the United States rails against Arab Americans and Muslims in general, the truth of the matter is that most immigrants from the Middle East work hard, obey the law, pay their taxes, and earn a good living in a variety of professions.

In the seven months I have been here, many young people I have met have expressed to me the idea that they would jump at the chance to live in America.

America remains the land of economic opportunity.

It continues to be a place where the idea of liberty defines the country — despite the fact that the White House, under the rule of the deeply corrupt Trump, has now become the House of Unamerican Activities, with odd and deeply suspicious entanglements with oligarchs from the former Soviet Union and other shady characters around the globe.

The Republican party itself professes to represent ordinary folk, the real Americans, but in effect has become nothing more than an engine for political graft. It is a party that countenances chicanery and highly questionable machinations by a sitting president in return for campaign payoffs by mega wealthy right wing donors who embrace the politics of sleaze and disguised influence peddling.

November cannot come soon enough.

The day of reckoning for Trump and his party is coming in 210 days, on November 6th, 2018.

No one can predict if Donald Trump will have resigned in disgrace by then or not, but I sense that a tsnunami of voters will revolt against the forces of Republican conservative tyranny.

They will be voting for one thing.

A return to democratic norms.

leaving america



Achtung, habibi!

Moods Gouna

Moods restaurant in Abu Tig marina in Gouna

With the retweets of the Britain First videos, Donald Trump has now earned the right to be called the Terrorist in Chief, striking fear in the heart of all Arab-Americans that they will now be the target of even more violence and intimidation and harassment by the state and right-wing nut jobs across the United States.

This confirms that my instinct for survival — after being physically threatened by my neighbors in the state of Florida  — was on the money and that my decision to leave America was the correct one.

Few Arab Americans are truly safe today in America.  The Terrorist in Chief has seen to that.  But fight back we must — in the most effective (and legal) way we can.  In my case, before fighting back anything, I still have a way to go on that score;  I am still too shaken, too damaged, by 16 years of living in the American Taliban-controlled Deep South.

To that end, I am signing on Monday a deal to move into a villa (see pics in previous post) in a much quieter section of El Gouna, Egypt.  I feel safe here,  thanks to ironclad security in this part of Egypt.

Here I do not have to apologize or disguise the fact that  I was born Moslem.  Here people pronounce my name correctly.  Here  I can once again speak the language I grew up with and spoke as a kid, which I once could both speak, write and read with fluency. I cannot tell you how much emotional satisfaction that gives me on a daily basis:  to recover the Cairene Arabic slang of my childhood, and to begin again to think like an Egyptian, not some bogus transplant who never quite fit in in America, though for after 3 decades of living in Manhattan, I lulled myself into thinking differently.

My beautiful wife will be joining me in mid December.  She, too deserves a break from the devolution of the United States into a viperous quagmire under the illegitimate reign of the Terrorist in Chief.  I hope she will like the villa, and enjoy playing tennis with some of my childhood friends who have moved here.

I hope she will be happy to see me again, after all these months!

True, Gouna is not perfect.  In particular, Abu Tig marina is only suitable if you’re a tourist passing through, or a young couple here for a long weekend at Party Cerntral.  It is too loud, too transient, and frankly, I did take exception to the nightclubs discoing the nights away as all of Egypt was in a 3-day period of mourning after the Sinai terror attack against the Sufi mosque.

Sometimes there are young Egyptians who come to this apartment building who, to my way of thinking, obviously should not be here; there was one such quartet last week, and they make a lot of noise and acted very arrogantly, and then they left.

Yesterday, a young German couple arrived; they were booked to stay in the same apartment as the Egyptian quartet.  I heard them moving in, but soon I heard the German guy shouting very loudly in outrage about the state of filth and disrepair the quartet had left the apartment, which had obviously not properly been cleaned after their departure.

The German guy demanded another flat, and that was that.

Today, I will not be thinking about the Terrorist in Chief, or about the unending stream of horrifying news that is emanating daily from America.

I will, however, briefly contemplate how similar my reaction to the Nov ’16 election results to the German guy’s vis a vs his holiday rental: get me outta here!

In effect, in January of 2017, I looked at what America was becoming, and said, no, I will not stay here in this evil, hate-filled hellhole, a place that was slowly turning me into something I am not: an embittered, angry old man, who felt powerless, and less than.

But then, after dismissing the thought as ridiculously facile — leaving your rental flat is one thing, abandoning your adopted country quite another –I shall spend the day relaxing at Moods (see pic above), and will have a nice burger for lunch, read a bit, then go for a swim (if the water is not too cold) on its private Red Sea beach, to which I have free access as a resident with a special card, far away from the clutches of the Terrorist in Chief and his troglodyte acolytes.

Life as it should be, as they say here.

Achtung, habibi!


leaving america