Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Writer of "What is the Park Slope of Iraq?" Speaks

Yesterday, someone posted what we thought was a funny email on the Park Slope Parents list making light of the "Is There a Park Slope in Boston?" thread at PSP this week. The writer asked, "What is the Park Slope of Iraq"? We posted it early yesterday morning and it was also picked up elsewhere. Some Park Slopers took umbrage, suggesting it was in bad taste. Other, like us, thought it was intended as humor, in addition to poking fun at what can be a self-centered neighborhood ethos at times (to put it politely). In any case, the original writer has spoken and here is the email as circulated. It turns out that the writer is an Iraqi-American:
I think my email was taken out of context and, perhaps, misinterpreted by a few people. I am certainly not one to take the situation in Iraq lightly. I suppose I should note that I am an Iraqi American, born in Baghdad, and have always been very critical of the occupation as well as US policy in the Middle East. I have family (civilians) who were killed by US forces, whose homes were bombed in the PGW#1, family who fled the region and were imprisoned refugees, and most recently one family member was kidnapped and tortured. The war has hit closer to home for me and my family than it has most others in the world.

All that said, the email wasn't about Iraq, per se, as several people have pointed out, though it was politically charged. And it wasn't a serious blow to PSP either. I am obviously a member of this list-serve and live in Park Slope. Yes, I actually own a Mountain Buggy. I also like Trader Joes. While I have not eaten at Red Hot, I do
enjoy Hunan Delight (another shameless plug for them). And, I have also rejected the notion of moving to other neighborhoods because "it's just not as nice as Park Slope". The joke was as much directed towards myself as it was to PSP. And so I am also self critical, and understand that we all often live a life of contradictions. I just like to keep things in perspective every once in a while. Therein lies the humor in the post, or so I thought. And I'm glad many others got it also (I received almost 30 supportive emails). To those who didn't like it, there was no offense intended.
Very well said and, perhaps, not the end of the discussion.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's in bad taste but I think it's funny and odd that we should feign umbrage... for someone else. Are we offended... or are we uncomfortable?

I think it's the latter.

In Iraq, humor is widely used as a weapon against the very grim circumstances. People there frequently say "Ah, the freedom! The freedom!" And they are not saying it in exultation. They are saying it in mockery.

Something to think about...

2:41 PM  

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