“Whence all this passion towards conformity anyway? — diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts and you’ll have no tyrant states. Why, if they follow this conformity business they’ll end up by forcing me, an invisible man, to become white, which is not a colour but the lack of one. Must I strive towards colourlessness? But seriously, and without snobbery, think of what the world would lose if that should happen. America is woven of many strands; I would recognise them and let it so remain. It’s ‘winner take nothing’ that is the great truth of our country or of any country. Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. Our fate is to become one, and yet many —This is not prophecy, but description.”

"Invisible Man," Ralph Ellison. 

If you want to know my views on diversity and what position I hope for my country to embrace, you have it here. 

Impressions of an American Thanksgiving

  • Jofid: Did you know that today is also Hanukkah?
  • Limmy: Really? Oh, I didn’t know!
  • Jofid: Yah! Apparently it’s the first time Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is happening on the same day in 125 years. Everyone in America is probably going mad right now.

Most of those who live in the North Caucasus are caught somewhere in the middle: between a perpetually fearful state that is wary of the independent power base even peaceful Salafism represents and the Islamist rebels who, by simply asking for a package of bandages or a piece of stale bread before they return to the mountains, make them a target for the police. Local authorities have responded with paranoid and indiscriminate crackdowns, treating every Salafist as a potential terrorist. Moscow is largely out of energy and ideas; the conflict may have crossed into a state of intractability.

It remains unclear how much of this history had to do with the bombs in Boston. The fact that two young men of Chechen origin committed an act of terror is not the same as saying Chechen terrorism has come to United States. Mr Kadyrov, usually spectacularly unreliable in his pronouncements, may have gotten it more or less right when he suggested via his Instagram account (his preferred method of communication these days) that the “roots” of Dzhokhar and Tamarlan’s “evil” are best found in America, not Chechnya.

In the end, whatever twisted sense of grievance and fury that drove the Tsarnaevs may have found its ultimate trigger in their adopted homeland more than in the one of their memory. Dzhokhar and Tamarlan are Chechen and Muslim, but they are also immigrant young men, struggling with their own sense of isolation and frustration. The language and motifs of the Caucasus militancy may have acted as a kind of salve, however desperate, for whatever dislocation they felt in America. Their uncle, who lives in Maryland, called the brothers “losers” who didn’t know what to make of themselves in America and thus were left “hating everyone who did”.

And so, in Boston, the cultivated sense of grievance and justification of the North Caucasus militants may been infused with the feelings of loneliness and revenge found in American men who commit acts of horrific violence: a case of “Beslan meets Columbine”, with disastrous results. If al-Qaeda and American male-rage have anything in common, it is that both foster the sort of self-obsessed nihilism that can have tragically bloody results. “I don’t have a single American friend,” Tamerlan is quoted as saying in a photo essay that followed his aspirations as a competitive boxer. “I don’t understand them.” Now it is America struggling to understand the Tsarnaevs.

I’ll say it again. 

People running towards explosions to help. Blood bank rejecting donors because they’re at capacity. All wounded made it to hospitals and survived. 

Restaurants staying open to provide food and battery for charging phones, Dunkin Donuts especially, by request of local law enforcement officials

Google doc with lodging offers. Massive photo and video upload to aid investigation.

Survivor comes to and first thing he does is offer description of suspect. 

Suspect was found because a Watertown resident kept his eyes open after lockdown was relaxed, saw the blood around the boat and lifted up the tarp, then immediately went home and called 911.**

Quick on the uptake. Look out for each other. Tough as nails. Don’t mess with this city. City of Heroes. City of Minutemen. #bostonstrong


The Watertown man who found Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hiding in his boat says he is an “incidental hero.”

David Henneberry tells WCVB that contrary to what’s been reported, he did not see blood outside his boat. There was “no indication of anything.” Instead Henneberry was simply going outside to fix some foam rollers that had fallen off.

When he rolled up the boat cover, he saw blood on the floor of the boat, then he looked toward the front and saw more blood. When he looked toward the engine, he saw a body. He did not see a face.

"It’s surreal," Henneberry said. "I wasn’t out on the prowl. I was out to see my boat and I stumbled upon this." (source: The Two-Way, NPR)

His words were, ‘I levitated off the ladder.’ He does not remember going back into the house. He told his wife, ‘Lock the doors,’ and he called 911.” (source: New York Times)

The Rev. Eugene Kim, executive pastor and director of the Christmas concert, said the gift is an extension of the church’s mission.

“We’re just doing what the church is supposed to do,” he said. “We’re supposed to be a community that loves each other and loves others and loves God, and that worships and serves. It’s an old-fashioned idea.”

That’s my home church in Greater Boston, Highrock Arlington! I was blessed enough to sing in this choir for two years, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. The funds raised from the concert go towards funding a part-time social worker position for families in crisis in the town of Arlington. 

"When we moved into town, & bought the building, we really felt the desire to be a part of the town, & basically just do what we feel Jesus calls us to do as Christians, which is to love our neighbors." 

ELECTION SPECIAL: Barack Obama Singing Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer (by baracksdubs)

OMG. Dying. Best way to log the election results on this blog!

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to bring you this important message…

If you’re USAmerican, please vote today!

If you’re wondering why I a foreign citizen like me should care, it’s because like it or not, US foreign policy and economic performance affects me directly, and US behavior—modeling peaceful, (hopefully) thoughtful and constructive political participation—affects me indirectly. Simple as that. We all set the tone for each other on this interconnected planet. Do it!