“None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free.”
–Pearl S. Buck

It was the gentle calm after the violent storm of 9/11. Americans had by then bought many books about the Quran, Muslims and the Middle East. While a few natives of the Middle East were attacked for being “compatriots” of Osama Bin Laden, many more were noticed for the first time in their neighborhoods.

Seide Sise and his family, recent immigrants to Grand Rapids, Michigan, were part of the latter group. “I thought Americans would make a distinction between those who murdered their loved ones and those who had nothing to do with the wicked attacks,” he says.

Besides, Mr. Sise does not like to be called a native of the Middle East. He much prefers to be known for what he really is, a Kurd from his own country of Kurdistan (largely southeastern Turkey). It was his Turkish-targeted-for-destruction identity that drove him into exile that he would like people to know as his primary designation.


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