Ms. Marvel Review

*This review is solely based on the series as I have never read the original text.

For far too long, the majority of superheroes have been white and male. Thankfully, things have been changing to include women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ community.

Ms. Marvel premiered last Wednesday on DisneyPlus. Based on the comic book of the same name, Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a Pakistani-American teenager who is going through the same growing pains that we all went through at that age. Her parents are overprotective, she is unpopular at school, and desperately wants to spread her wings. She is also also a Captain Marvel Superfan.

Living in Jersey City, New Jersey, Kamala is torn between her own needs and being true to the family /faith that she was raised in. When she unexpectedly gains superpowers, she must use them to save the world.

Like Peter Parker before her, it is her ordinary ness that makes her stand out. What I have watched so far, I like immensely. As the child of immigrants, she speaks to and represents the mindset of many children and grandchildren who chose to leave the land in which they were born and make a new life in the US. I love that she is a nerd and proud of it. I love her imagination and I love her spirit.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

New episodes of Ms. Marvel are released every Wednesday on DisneyPlus.

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Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American Book Review

America’s history is made up of immigrants. But as obvious as this truth is, there are still many who will deny this reality.

Wajahat Ali is a writer and the son of Muslim immigrants from Pakistan. His memoir, Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American, was published at the beginning of the year. Growing up as an average American kid, he lived in two worlds: the suburbia that was his childhood and the Pakistani culture that his parents knew. Coming of age during the 9/11 era, he inadvertently became the face and the voice of his faith. Eventually finding his way as a writer, a husband, and a father, Ali has a unique insight as to what it is to live in the United States with its promises and contradictions.

I loved this book. His writing is funny, sarcastic, heartbreaking, and real. What I related to was how universal his experience is. Though my own family has been in this country for more than a century, I’m sure that my forebears would relate to Ali’s story. The names may change, the places may change, and the language may change, but the sentiments remain the same.

Do I recommend it?

Absolutely.

Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American is available wherever books are sold.

Both/And: A Life in Many World Book Review

It’s easy to think that we know someone famous based on the headlines and the soundbites coming from the press. The reality is that we don’t know them at all.

Huma Abedin‘s memoir, Both/And: A Life in Many Worlds, was published last November. Born to Muslim Pakistani and Indian immigrants in Michigan, she spent her formative years in Saudi Arabia. Taking a job with the Clinton administration in the late 1990s, she has worked for Hillary Clinton for more than two decades. She is also known for her troubled marriage to Anthony Weiner, a politician whose fall from grace can only be described as brutal.

The reader is taken on a journey across the world and across the spectrum of local, national, and international politics over the last few decades. Abedin’s tale is that a woman who has broken boundaries, redefines what it is to be American, and that of a survivor who has thrived in spite of the dark times in her life.

This book is so good. Abedin leaves nothing off the table, telling her story in an emotionally honest and open manner. Her narrative is nothing short of inspirational.

The part of the book that was the most challenging for me as a reader was the scandal that broke up her marriage and opened the door to he who shall not be named. It is akin to a rollercoaster that had no off switch. Given what was being thrown at her, she could have easily taken to her bed and soothed her grief with food or alcohol. Instead, she took it one day at a time and got through it with her head held high and her courage intact.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan Book Review

In many cultures where traditional values still hold sway, women and girls are still viewed as property and less than men and boys.

Khalida Brohi is originally from Pakistan, where she was viewed as less than because she is female. In the world that she grew up in, honor is often dependent on the women in the family. Young girls are socialized early to work in the home and are married off without their consent.

Her memoir, published this year, is entitled I Should Have Honor: A Memoir of Hope and Pride in Pakistan. From the time she was very young, Ms. Brohi understood the concept of arranged marriage. Her own parents were chosen for each other at the young ages of 9 and 13 and she was nearly betrothed even before she was born. Though her parents lived a traditional life in one sense, in another sense, they were non-conformists. Her father believed in educating all of his children, regardless of sex and refused to marry his daughters off before they reached adulthood.

Ms. Brohi’s life forever changed when her cousin was killed by her uncle in an honor killing.¬† The experience of losing her cousin in such a horrific manner inspired her activism to change how women are perceived and treated in Pakistan.

I loved this book. Though the story is specific to the author, I feel like it is universal. Though women have made incredible steps to equality, we have a long way to to go. But with women like Ms. Brohi, we will one day eradicate the idea that women are less than men.

The thing that struck me most about this book is that Ms. Brohi brings up the fact that honor killings exist not to protect the honor of the family, but to ease the ego of the men in the family. When one person degrades or puts down another person, its is solely to sooth the ego of the person who is doing the bullying. Women have just as much ability, talent and drive as men. Over the course of human history, we have been seen as less than when compared to a man not because we were not capable, but to sooth their egos.

I absolutely recommend it.

I’m Tired Of Crying

I’m tired of crying. I’m tired of crying over lives lost for no good reason.

I had hoped that I was done crying after the attack in Brussels last week.

I doubt my tears will truly every cease.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, there was a terrorist attack in Pakistan. Innocent civilians, mostly women and children, were out celebrating the holiday. Many never made it home.

The aim of the terrorists was to maim and kill the country’s Christian population celebrating one of its holiest days.

The arrow met the target.

Maybe it’s my American mindset, live and let live. As long as you let me live how I choose to live, then you can do whatever you want with your life.

But a line has to be drawn somewhere and the line is drawn when innocent lives are taken for no reason other than religion.

I’m tired of crying.

 

 

Two Years And An Untold Number Of Tears

This past weekend marked the 2 year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre. Two years ago this nation mourned the loss of twenty children who would never have the opportunity to grow up.

There was tragedy in Pakistan today. The Pakistani arm of the Taliban forced themselves in a school, armed and ready to kill. As of tonight, 141 were killed, 90% of the victims were children.

There is a famous saying from the Talmud:

Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if they destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if they saved an entire world.

I would like to add to that. Whoever destroys the soul of a child, it is as if they have destroyed ten worlds. Whoever saves the life of a child, it is as if they have saved one hundred worlds.

While I have no children of my own, my heart and my prayers go out to the families of those murdered.

I would say RIP normally, but RIP is not enough.

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