Uncovering My Personal Legend: A Journey for Self-Actualization Amidst Chimerical Wish Fantasies


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There are so many opportunities I, and many like me, were denied due to institutional obstacles for immigrants, even one like me, who has lived in the US since he was 6. That was in 1996. It’s now 2016, and I’m 28. I still have no status anywhere except Syria, my home country, which for the most part, has been ravaged by yet another global war.

My story begins in Riyadh. I was born there because like most Arab expatriates, my father found work in Saudi. I am of the so-called generation from Riyadh.

When I moved to the US, it was for similar reasons – cultural freedom, economic opportunity – the sort of scarce liberalism you could not find in the Middle East anymore. Especially after the fall of the Shah, the Lebanese Civil War, and the post-WWII era which saw a combination of colonialism, religious extremism, sectarianism and political primitiveness in the form of authoritarianism – hopes for freedom of any kind were wishful thinking.

Now, I’m 28, searching to establish my footing in America – specifically here in Orlando, FL. Though I know I belong in New York, or LA. I need to be there now. I wish to act too, and direct – put this novel[s] of mine into action. I have come across obstacles here too though, in America. They have been social and economic, since in the free world, democracy limits conflict between civilians – at least to a certain degree relative to non-democracies, where law and order are swept under a dirty rug of lies blood and slander. What I mean is, democracy means we compete without violence – but that doesn’t guarantee justice. Unfortunately nothing or no one can – but God. Trusting any man or group of men with too much power is dangerous though. In the West, struggles are social – against conformity and pressure, and financial coercion [socio-economic]; whereas in the East coercion is more socio-political.

But I was born to be free. Like all humans. Only, I knew, that unlike all humans I must somehow gain the courage, by God, to rise above the average, and fulfill my individual destiny, completely, and wholly. I pray each human can accomplish it, but bearing such a burden is not my responsibility. In fact that has precisely slowed me down. Because people know what I am capable of, and instead of allowing it to flourish completely, they wish to allow it only flourish subtly which I cannot afford because that is not my destiny. I know that. I have always believed it, but they have tried to convince me otherwise. The so-called “THEY” does it – as DJ Khaled calls it. I cannot flourish economically or artistically or morally if I am not to be myself fully and that person is not who my so-called partners but actual competitors do not understand. I do not care anymore. I must flourish. I understand that freedom also means people fail – but I believe in my destiny. It is true, that might either believe it blindly, not possess any talent and so forth – but in my case I don’t think this is so. That is my conviction. I do believe that existence and being is perfect and that destiny triumphs in the end. That being said, I must present particular products and sell them as they are intended, eternally.

That could not be done anywhere but in the freest of the all nations – America.

But even here, I have also encountered political distress, mainly because, after 9/11 the immigration process disenfranchised people like me living inside the US, and people outside. The truth is I am now realizing what it means to be an American citizen, while still being so distant from that reality.

It’s like a ship sailing away from the statue of liberty, but always remaining close enough so that the passengers onboard can still see it.

That is the metaphor of my position.

And even then, I have still striven. I have been persistent and ambitious. In the face of my social dilemmas, and competitors, who, through peer pressure, seek to stifle my growth and potential. I have striven in the face of inhumane institutionalized delays and political injustices. I am the child of immense political injustices [Armenian Genocide; Syrian Crisis], a history stained with much betrayal [Autocracy; Zare; Courage]. I was denied financial aid of all sorts, scholarships, grants, basic public aid – due to my immigrant status.

I thank God for all these feats despite the setbacks, as He makes it all possible. I currently create music as Danny K, my brand, despite many struggles against my competitors as well as with the industry itself. Furthermore, I am enrolled as an MA student at UCF – studying political science, which I hope to utilize in the future in diplomacy, research, writing and teaching.

But the story of my life is of two portions, past and future.

And the future is upon which legacies are made.

The legacy of mine and my family and our Creator shall triumph.

Though troubling, our past has led us to this fine point of no return.

Destiny awaits.

It is time to uncover my personal legend fully. I have delayed it long enough, have I not? For my self and my family, I must do this. But most importantly, for God.

The Gift [Artwork]


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“The Gift”

Art by Nermine Hammam

Executively Produced by KRIKOS

Presented by Colours of the Culture

Kleptocracy on Capitol Hill?


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How could America be expected to promote democracy abroad while not practicing it for its own people?

Sure, there are principles of democracy here and there, perhaps most importantly in executive limits and free elections – but modern oligarchies have corrupted these institutions through socio-economic paralysis of the middle and lower class.

Particularly in the case of minority rights, the U.S. has exhibited non-democratic tendencies. This is more than problematic, considering the majority of the U.S. will be of minority background by 2050.

America is struggling to make a balance between capitalism on one hand and democracy on the other. Democratic movements are bending towards re-enfranchisement of minorities and the middle and lower classes. Can the US’ policies in other parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East but also in Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, be expected to align with democratic movements?

Remember that Karl Marx said he was not a marxist. He saw it as a perversion of his intent. What if so-called capitalist oligarchs in the West are cooperating with authoritarians in other parts of the world to suppress all genuinely democratic movements?

The lack of economic opportunity is related to the absence of equal representation in government in the US and in the Middle East. Immigrants and minorities, religious groups, women and the LBGT community, face discrimination and are underrepresented. Furthermore, they do not receive the same economic welfare from the US government provided to others, particularly minorities and immigrants. To blame this on anything but political underrepresentation is illusory.

The U.S. enables political mobilization – but decades of stagnation has halted progress. Whether or not America is a true democracy is being tested right now. And whether or not other parts of the world can understand the distinction between true democracy and populism, will determine their ability to overcome tyranny.

Thoughts from a Syrian-American on the refugee crisis, Palestine & US foreign policy


I am a proud Syrian American who has lived here since 1996. Despite my struggles with immigration, and the reluctance of the US to recognize me as American as any other, I still do love this country. I love it and its imperfections. I know, deep down, the heart of America is pure. It has stains from a past of injustice, but I believe our future can be brighter and more accessible to all Americans, not just a privileged few. I also believe that, despite the national media’s attempt to slander Islam, that we will overcome this trying time, together, as Americans. I do believe that the most important issue of our time still remains the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict. Its implications cannot be overlooked as they are tied to every single act of conflict in the world that emanates from the Middle East. Before we can start speaking about justice, we must reflect on the human rights violations perpetrated by Israel and its cohorts against the humanity of the Palestinian people. Those of you who have been distracted by recent events, have been brainwashed by mass media to forget the source of Arab misery, the indignation that comes with occupation, and the policy implications that result from it. Without a colonial, ethnocentric theocracy in the Middle East, Israel, entities like Saudi Arabia couldn’t survive; and neither could the entire Gulf, which is built on conflict, tension and arbitrary thievery of resources. The Israeli minority continues to rule the Middle East through a system of apartheid, divide and conquer, and as long as media outlets in the West continue to ignore the significance of the violation of Palestinian human rights, the tougher the road will be in trying to mitigate political violence, conflict and instability.

No Way Out – Syrian Crisis Analysis


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Feeling especially emotional on the issue at the moment.

Will we allow to grip the West? To treat the way Jews were treated by Nazi Germany? Internment camps? Tough screening?

Anti-Arab sentiment a tradition of the West. Hollywood typecasting of ; orientalist oversimplification of otherwise rich Arab culture.

This should also be classified as anti-semitism, since the word includes all Semitic linguistic groups: Arab, Hebrew, Aramaic, etc.

As if the West didn’t help to create this problem.

The solution is America butting out.

has carried on ‘s torch of . By butting out of the Middle East, reform and stability could be possible.

Neither reform nor stability will envelope the Middle East because that is against US interests.

Democracy or reform, will not be brought by the Americans to the Arab world and it never has been.

As soon as butts out, the can enjoy its and an environment conducive to ; what form it may take.

Note America’s overthrow of democratically elected leaders in and . Stop the ignorance and propaganda.

Daesh should thus be called Wahhabi State of Saudi Arabia, given SA has support of Levant & Iraq combined.

The mere existence of the entity of the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” like the “State of Israel” is an imprint of a colonial past.

The guilt of the US is in knowing its negligence and greed essentially enabled Wahhabism. Mainly the policies of the .

Hollywood liberalism and mega church conservatism have suppressed the moderate center in US politics.

Arabs are constantly viewed through the spectrum of culture & tribal lifestyle. This is orientalist, & prejudiced in nature.

If America was actually secular, it would have sided with Palestine long ago. But Christian ultranationalism has pushed it closer to Israel.

Secularism promotes religious tolerance & diversity whereas US ultraconservatives & Israeli politicians promote ethnocentrism and theocracy.

The sensitivities of religion have been exploited for the sake of resources and preservation of global imbalance via democratic-crusaderdom.

All in all, the more power the indigenous populations of Syria and elsewhere in the world are able to wield using the natural resources, geopolitical positioning, and collective unity as leverage, the better chance the country has at mitigating foreign exploitation. This would in turn provide greater political stability to Syria, and could essentially induce a more stable future. It could possibly usher more accountability in governance that could more appropriately address all aspects of Syrian livelihood; whatever “form” that mechanism for accountability may take. And it won’t be on the time watch or the standards of the West, or the East, which means its overall composition may be unique in form, democratic or not. 

Confronting Religious Extremism – Reza Aslan


Blind Populism – 2016


The Democrat-Republican, left-right, Atheist-Cleric dichotomy is a farce.

Political elites know human beings are more inclined to “defend” something than to attack it.

So they create a delusion of competition between theories, such as atheism and religion, which appear to be opposite, and lets say, communism and libertarianism, or democracy and republicanism, so as to keep constituencies controlled and voting for the supposed “opposition”.

But in reality, all of these guys, atheists, clerics, libertarians, socialists – they are all more concerned with promoting their “belief system” or the “lack thereof” than pointing out what is right or wrong, from a rationally based moral system.

These guys, Ben Carson, the Young Turks…they will all promote their bigotry with a slight hint of moral discourse but they will ALWAYS fall short of addressing the main global issues facing us from an impartial standpoint because it threatens their social status and employment.

This applies to Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter, Donald Trump, Glen Beck & Hillary Clintons (neo-cons and/or closet conservatives)

It also applies to the Bernie Sanders, Bill Mahers & Salman Rushdies (populist socialists and/or militant atheists)

You see I put my faith in less ideologically inclined individuals. I prefer to trust individuals of conviction and moderation; those who understand the complexity of human nature. These figures tend to be closer to the “ideological center” of the political spectrum, preferring the wisdom of moderation over the perhaps shortsighted instant-gratification of ideological-populism.

To be frank, of the three contenders, the one who exhibited this type of humility the most was Governor Martin O’Malley, who is least likely of them to win.

He was the only contender to say “Black Lives Matter”.

Nothing New – American hypocrisy at GOP Debates


Pretty sure more democrats have lived pay-check to pay-check than Republicans.

On immigration, Rubio cannot backpedal. His family came here illegally. His father worked illegally.

Speaking in vague nationalistic sensationalist terminology is a strategy, not a victory.

Pointing out realities without solutions is worthless.

What does Marco Rubio know about American complicity in propping up non-democratic leaders in the world? What does Marco Rubio know about the association between illegal immigration to America and America’s tacit support for the tyrannical regimes that have pushed their citizenry to abandon their homeland?

Rubio sounds like he’s been programmed by the “privileged white mentality” which is beyond paranoid about losing their “exceptional” status in the world, instead of having to actually work for it and compete fairly. The irony. America touts freedom, but it depends largely on the subjugation of the freedom of other nations.

GOP is just a bunch of meatheads trying to prove who is more popular and who sounds tougher. Who can lie to the American people better? Who can convince the American people to abandon their selfhood for the sake of blind nationalism? For the sake of what, security?

Larry David is…Bernie Sanders


If this doesn’t speak to Sander’s blind populism or Hillary’s overt power hunger then I don’t know what does!

America is at a real turning point in its political culture.

Many ideologies are on the table.

Where are the minorities?

I like the idea that Democrats are more egalitarian than Republicans, but is Bernie’s socialism really the solution? America’s problem isn’t just economic. It is a cultural ailment; police brutality, mass-incarceration, a terribly hawkish foreign policy dominated by foreign interest-lobbies.

Bernie is super appealing. That’s why I think Larry David fit this character so well. I am not anti-Bernie Sanders, but I am yet to be pro-anybody that isn’t critical on particular issues.

In the realm of domestic politics, we need people who aren’t afraid to point out inconsistencies.

In foreign politics; we need someone who isn’t an Israeli lapdog.

Obama has given Israel the cold shoulder; but he has also given them a blanket to stay warm.

I prefer his strategy over any of the current contenders.

Republicans have nothing to offer but war, as usual.

Imagine an Arab-American president, one that understands the struggles of the minorities inside America, but isn’t all too detached from America’s foreign policy shortcomings. Let’s be frank; America’s domestic politics is completely dependent and a direct reflection of its foreign policies. Why do you think American politicians are less encouraged to bring issues of foreign policy to the attention of the American people? Because Americans would hate to associate their “freedom-loving-democracy” with carnage and evil abroad.

We need leaders who are realists; who are not daunted by America’s history.