Friday, November 20, 2015



I don't think anyone in this country, more so than Arabs regardless of place of birth or ancestry, Identify themselves in terms of their religion. Yes, for example, we have Catholics but most only in a secondary way use their religion as a method of Identification. Usually it is Irish, French, Italian or whatever, same with protestants as a secondary identifier they may or may not say Presbytrian, or Methodist, or A.M.E. or Baptist, or whatever.

Among the Arab population and maybe this is spurred by the media it seems as if Religion is the common identifier, not Yemeni or Lebanese, or Saudi or Iraqi, or whatever. Islam is a religion and many Americans are wary of any religion, regardless of how old it's foundations are, that we are unfamiliar with.

The most common statement we read about Islam is "Islam means peace." What does that mean, does the word Islam translate from Arabic to Peace? Or, and forgive the word, is that statement simply a propaganda tool? Does the Muslim community simply want non Muslims too accept something without any understanding of it?

Our conscious understanding of Islam in general started with the the first World Trade Center bombing, then the embassy bombings in Africa, bin Ladens illegal Fatwa of 1996 calling for the death of all Americans wherever and whenever, then the USS Cole, and 9/11.

I will not presume to speak for an entire nation, state, county or city, only myself. Nearly every Arab I have ever spoken to about whatever engaged in a polite and respectful conversation. The conversations never touched on religion, war at times yes, how they came to immigrate here or even something as simple as what goes into a dish on the menu. But the only thing I know of Islam is what I have been able to research out for myself. Leave it be said I understand little of what I read, the precepts in general and in context make sense but they do not jibe with what i see in the Arab world and religious sectarian violence. I read in the Qur'an where it said Muslims, Jews, and Christians are one because they serve the same God. But I never see that in general practice.

And right up front I will say when it comes to religion, any religion, I am a stranger in a strange land. I adhere to no particular brand. Christians would call me an apostate, Muslims an infidel, Jews a goyim. None of which means anything to me except for what the religions and religious leaders espouse their religions to be, they have some adherents that don't understand what they are believing in.

I do not, never have, and will not fear Arabs. But them that present themselves as Muslims first, yes in this day at this time I will not refuse to interact, but I will do so with some wariness because all I know of Islam is that it means peace. Which when you think of that statement, it makes no sense because NO RELIGION means peace.

If I want peace I will sign a treaty and abide by it as long as the other signatory abides by it as well. I want amity, friendship, common understanding as humans sharing a planet, not to be taken advantage of because I am not Arab when spending money in an Arab community or store. Yeah i get it, it's retail business.

IF the Muslims are concerned they must understand so are the Christians. I understand the Qur'an calls for a women to keep her hair covered, so does the New Testament. Then you get away from the basics to differing interpretations, no where that I have ever found in the Qur'an does it ever call for a full crown to shoe sole burquha. My understanding is that was a cultural imposition of mysoginy, to keep the females in "their place." Chritians use their bible in much the same way misinterpretation or intentional subjugation of some as not worthy of a peaceful life or after life.

I don't care what the Imams say, I DO care what the Arab Americans or green card holders say about Arab terrorism and how we keep it out of Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America. I do care what Arab Americans say about home grown American terrorists like Timothy McVeigh and the Columbine Duo and other rampage shooters. these issues concern every American or person freely in this land.

I am willing to listen and form an opinion on the refugee crisis as long as the other side of the debate is not cloaked in religion. I understand why so many people from Syria and Iraq are running from war, placing themselves on the dangerous journey through the Balkans to Greece, a route now shutting down. I am NOT opposed to refugee's coming here under a rigorous vetting process, as long as they come as Iraqi or Syrian and not Shia or Sunni and definitely not Wahhabi.

So my best advice to the Arab American and immigrant population is if you're going to try to use the media, use it as Arabs, explain your feelings in terms of human costs not religious infringements. Tell me why I need not be cautious when near you and understand that the majority of Americans are NOT going to go to Dearborn MI to cause mayhem or shut down Arab cultural festivals or institutions. Tell me where we have accord and where we disagree so we can hopefully come to amity.

Be Well and Stay Safe.

Mark C. Durfee

An American

Monday, November 9, 2015


In the places far and distant where men oft roam
to search out the lost that once existed. 
A journey back through space and time to rediscover
the abandoned places once known in the spirit and mind.
Growing up certainly destroys the innocence of the child born,
time knows no repentance. As we age we grow through
various stages of thought and learn how to be what we have become.

The journey is the back found truth of all destinations reached,
the thoughts of today prove what we are now.
Never are we the same as we were yet
finding the best of what we once had
needs to demur that we are faulty proof
in our corrupted positions concerning the truth
of our now needs. This is why we all
must return, revisit our past no matter the tiring cost
if we are to ever regain that which we set aside, put away, lost.
I left my soul behind me somewhere on the road
to this stage of my life. I filled in, covered the hole deliberately
with every emotion ranging from indifference to rage,
leaving somewhere behind the knowledge the key 
to all things good , kind, practical is found in love's door
practiced in every way from the spiritual to the physical.
I have no regrets for the anger that sustained me
through some extreme perilous times unprepared for.
Life after all can be persistent war ever raging both within
and against the society trying to discard another frail ability.

Now though as I look at the necessary journey.
Searching out my past to find that dead part of me
hoping upon hope there is a resurrection I can see.
I understand this one thing above all else for me,
looking at the path is fruitless, if I am to again be find the best
a man can be. The journey must be walked down
through the mire, murk swamp of aging memory
if the me I once loved is ever to be regained, found,
before the day comes where what is left of me goes underground.
Better to leave behind thoughts of positive goodness;
than the sad truth of a life mostly lived in silent distress.

© M Durfee

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


The only star in the sky
sits atop a tower miles distant,
the only light comes from a pole
blocked by shadows of leaves,
the only noise in the dark of night
is the yap of a small cold dog, wanting in.

Mostly though, for now,
darkness and silence rule;
the slum is eerily absent
of our normal noisy quality.
It is a peaceful moment in the hectic day soon to arrive;
dawn will wake them searching for economic involvement,
a way to become consumers and sellers joining the prosperous elite.

Pot shops, liquor stores, heroin dealers, prostitutes, robbers, con artists
will be pulling the chain on their red, green and and blue neon OPEN signs
and the hazy mid-morning denizens will be out with their lying signs
looking for any change to be found, (no not that kind of change)
wherever it may lay waiting to put lines on someone’s table
or refill and empty, glass, needle or penis of the goods for sale.

I do not condemn this life of leisure
that comes so easily to so very many.
There is no use in condemning or condoning it.
My job is simply to pay for it.

© M Durfee

Saturday, October 31, 2015


I wish I could wake upwards
to fly, to soar in places
found in dearly seen dreams
where desires roam without words.

There must be spaces better by the by
than the ones we waking walk. *Sigh*
Seeming ever surrounded by the clipped wings 
of those that forget they can fly; ever so high.

Just like me, them who, fell and forgot
how to dream of crazy schemes
meant to harm no one; better still
prodding all, that dreams unused—rot.

© M Durfee