an awkward aside

I had the most interesting interaction today. While checking out at a local place of business, I asked the ten-year-old taking my money what his name was. His father had been speaking Arabic, so I was curious. “It’s Omri,” he said. I asked where it came from and he said “Morroco and Israel”. Omri means “my life” in Arabic (maybe also Hebrew?), which is quite a sweet name for a little boy. I asked if he spoke Arabic and he said no, not even Hebrew. He proceeded to tell me how the Jews and Muslims had been embroiled in war for many years. His father nervously cut in: “That’s because they’re cousins!” I honestly could not parse the background of this exchange, especially since I’m in Brooklyn. Amazing how weirdly complex things can get in such a basic conversation about a little boy’s name.

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