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Jul 27Liked by Abdo Al Rayyis

Yes, the American Dream is well and alive among immigrants and aspiring immigrants, even if some Americans have cultivated pessimism about it. I have worked many years with refugees and immigrants, and it's often no picnic for the first generation, but I see the second generation reaping the full possibilities and opportunities. There was an interesting study about working class Titanic survivors. It compared the descendants of the ship's British crew who survived and returned to the UK to the descendants of the steerage passengers who became American immigrants. The former were at the same socio-economic level, and usually still worked in maritime industry, and the latter had more education and were at a higher socio-economic level and in all walks of life. But the American Dream is not just economic. In other corners of the world, if your parents want you to marry (or not marry) a given individual, that is what you do. If they want you to embrace a certain profession or occupation, even if it's not your inclination, this is what you do. If there is a catastrophe, either natural or government-made, it can irretrievably affect your fate. If there is an injustice, there may be no recourse whatsoever. If you cross the wrong person in a small country, it may permanently constrict your opportunities. Traditional systems by their nature change very slowly. Traditional thinking suggests that if it hasn't been done before, it probably isn't worth doing. There is also wisdom in tradition, but sometimes wisdom is in the form of change. I always think change and growth are possible, both for individuals and for countries, sometimes faster than you think. I share your Iraqi dream. It can happen. It will happen.

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