As many people know, so-called “street gangs” in Chicago have been in the news recently, more so than usual. We are being blamed for the current and skyrocketing violence in the city. This renewed attention to Chicago violence and its gangs have given us chances not only to express our concerns and demurs to police, but with the media’s heavy interest, we had an unprecedented opportunity to undo some long standing misrepresentations about who we are. And just like I said last week: we, the Chicago chapter of the Mara Salvatrucha social club (a.k.a. MS-13), are not “gangbangers.”
The other week the Rolling Stones held a concert in D.C. during which Mick Jagger reportedly said, “I don’t think President Obama is here tonight … But I’m sure he’s listening in.”
Hardy-harr-harr…! Funny, right? Well not to me.
Such jokes and comments are now being made endlessly at my expense, all due to the revelation of the “PRISM” program created by the government after the September 11th attacks. I inherited PRISM upon taking office. Yet I’m now the brunt of scorn, criticism, conspiracy theories and hatred due to a program the National Security Agency created under President Bush. And it’s not fair.
I am Amanda Berry. I am Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight. I am those three girls in Cleveland who were abducted and kept from the rest of the world for ten years.
Until recently the whole country was fixated on their terrifying ordeals until political scandals and the Oklahoma tornado pushed them out of the news. Everyone seems to have forgotten about them. But not me. I haven’t forgotten because I am one of them. I AM the abducted Cleveland women. But in some ways my story of kidnapping, torment and slavish captivity is much worse.
On behalf of the entire Najjar family, I demand, dear sirs, that you suspend your critical chatter about the “situation” with our 22-year-old son, Majid.
Wh…? What? What dare say you, my good man? What…? You dare say, my dear chap, that my flamboyantly gay son, who merely claims to have barely escaped our humble Iran “with his life,” and now makes a living as a professional drag queen dancer in Lower East Manhattan is afraid to come back and pay his ol’ ma’ and pa’ a visit? Preposterous. Hogwash!
…What was that..? You say he can’t come back –in due haste or at his leisure– to our quaint conservative suburb of Uz Kala because he will be summarily executed? O, rubbish! Rubbish, I say!
There’s a trend these days of parents hosting their kids’ parties. They allow alcohol to be served under the their watchful eye to make sure nothing gets “out of hand,” and to make sure the kids drive home sober or have a place to stay if they’re not. The assumption by these parents is that their kids are going to go to parties and drink anyway, so why not be around to monitor things.
But some more closed-minded folks call this irresponsible behavior by parents. They say it’s reckless, still dangerous and sends a wrong message to kids, all signs of parents who care more about being seen as “cool buddies” by their children than they are being seen as parents.
This is hardly the case though with my daughter, Barbee, who knows I’m not just her best friend, but her “BFF.” Hee hee…