Saturday mornings in suburbia mean lawnmowers. Rainy season in the South means trucks spraying pesticide to kill the mosquitoes. To me, all of these mean terrifying sounds and moments of paralyzing fear. I survived Operation Protective Edge, a brutal Israeli-led massacre in the Gaza Strip, and it permanently changed my frame of reference.


The sound of thunder or a door slammed shut can take me from my normal, smiling self into a light-headed, pale-faced, paranoid shadow of myself. The first thunderstorm happened days after we made it back to the United States. It rattled my windows and made me shake like I did in Gaza when the shelling was close by. Once, a storm started during one of my classes and I bolted to the restroom to compose myself and remind myself that I was in a safe place. It is hard to come back to normalcy. It is almost as if normalcy doesn’t exist or cannot exist for people like me, people like those in Gaza who suffered through over 50 days of pure terror. You wonder when it is going to get better and when your mind will finally let you sleep through a thunderstorm.

In all the Western media craze over the young Pakistani activist Malala, there is a key point ignored about her: She is not only a Muslim feminist, she is a socialist with Marxist tendencies. In her own words: “I am convinced Socialism is the only answer and I urge all comrades to take this struggle to a victorious conclusion. Only this will free us from the chains of bigotry and exploitation.”