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APRIL 3, 2003 · Mandy Terc is a master's student in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard. The 25-year-old Chicago native is in Beirut taking Arabic classes and working on an oral history project about Palestinian refugees. This week, Terc attended a candlelight vigil in downtown Beirut. She was with a few of her American friends, each holding a sign with a message protesting the war in Iraq. Her sign read: "Americans Say Regime Change Starts At Home." This is her War Diary.
As I was holding my sign and my candle, a guy about my age came over who was holding an Iraqi flag and was curious, in very broken English, to know what my sign said.
"And it was this sort of very surreal moment standing in downtown Beirut with candles and signs... and both of us thinking about places we call home that we're far from..."
In my very broken Arabic, I tried to explain to him that my sign meant that Americans feel that regime change is not something that can be imposed and that it should be by the people and that we might actually want to think about some regime change in our own country in about a year and a half.
In our broken language skills, English and Arabic, we managed to find out we're both about the same age and we're both master's students. And it was this sort of very surreal moment standing in downtown Beirut with candles and signs... and both of us thinking about places we call home that we're far from, myself from the States and he from Baghdad, both coming together and sharing this experience of... standing up in opposition to the war and also thinking about the people who've already died from it.
Our connection, I think, was so strong at the moment that we exchanged numbers and we're going to meet later on in the week to discuss ways that we, together, as an Iraqi and an American, can use... that unique friendship to stand together against the war and really make an impact.
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