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By Zaina Budayr:
When I step off the plane after it lands in Beirut, the past I have experienced comes rushing back in a swirl of sounds, smells and flashes of memory. In the past I had to focus really hard to keep those away from everyday life, because they were that intense and meaningful. Time has definitely helped with healing the wounds. Being Arab-American, the strain of politics has always played a huge role in my life.
Growing up in the U.S. makes it difficult to relate to such an extreme form of politics where people are harmed and broken and loved ones are lost. As children we thought politics was just banter that happened among old people. “Listen to this guy and his crazy tales,” we would say. But in the summer of 2006, I had my own first-hand experience with that world.