Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Around the World in Oklahoma

Yesterday, in the heart of the great state of Oklahoma, in the heart of its capitol, Oklahoma City, I experienced a trip around the world. I had the opportunity to stand in solidarity with the world and the hardship it is going through. In compassion with the victims of terror, the state of Oklahoma organized a vigil on the grounds of the Murrah Federal Building which was the scene of a terror attack claimed the lives of 160 people in 1995. I was invited to that event by the Allience Francais to attend. We gathered in a wendy Tuesday morning under the Surviving Tree to stand in solidarity with the terror victim in France, Lebanon and all the world.

The event started with political leaders speaking, including the Secretary of State, French Honorary Council, and others. Then religious leaders from the Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith cited interfaith prayers. The French national anthem sang by a friend of one of the Paris attack victims.

The speakers presented in front of the Lebanese, French, American and the Oklahoma flags. The leaders also distributed Lebanese and French flags.

Media was there as well. I held both fags very tight the hole service, then took them to my office to be reminded daily of this events and my emotions. 

After we were dismissed, Fox 25 Camera man approached me and asked me for an interview. I agreed and spoke about why I was there. I told him because I was once a terror victim. I lived in Iraq and was personally subject to many attacks including a sniper attack. I told him I am there to stand not only by the victims, but by the values of free world, the values those terrorists are fighting. Then Oklahoma Gazette approached me and did an interview. 

Later, and as a Board of Advisers Member, the Raindrop Turkish House ( Turkish American Cultural Center) invited me to their Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner started with interfaith prayer. The attendees were from all races, faiths and walks of life. We shared food, love, friendship and brotherhood. Then the Surprise: Enes Canter, NBA OKC Thunder Player appeared #enescanter. He is from Turkey and came to share this spirit. 

That was a wonderful day. It is filled with borderless love and compassion, brotherhood and solidarity with our brothers and sisters all over the world!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

International Festival

Every November, the Office of Global Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma holds the  International Festival. Every international student association has the chance to display their culture in a booth. The booth contain cultural pictures, items, treasures and educational material about their countries and sometimes local food. There is also a chance for every culture to perform their dances, play their music and sing their songs. It is my favorite festival of all. It is like a trip around the world .
in one evening.

This year though, I was looking forward for the festival. However, a sudden illness prevented me for joining. I decided to go for few minutes. I rested for a little bit then walked out from my apartment. It was nice to walk through Edmond, Oklahoma in the sun set. I walked by myself to Edmond Farmers' Market. I went through the streets. I was still weak, but managed to walk there. Walking through downtown Edmond in Broadway Extension refreshed my spirit. The trees were decorated with lights ready for holidays, the decorations, the antique shops, the lonely coffeeshop and the small statues. 

I arrived to the festival. The moment I walked in, I felt that I am traveling to different parts of the world. The Taiwanese, the Korean, the Saudi Arabian, the Indian, the Nepali, the Pakistani, the African, the Chinese, the Latin booths! All displaying culture, food, music and huge part of their countries' cultures. Then the talent performance! It was incredible experience like every year!!!