To Whom Much is Given, Much is Asked
by Murad Siam
A little over 15 years ago, my parents’ home in California burned to the ground. I drove up as the rubble was being cleared away and asked the workers to stop so I could rummage through and see what was salvageable. In a small frayed pouch I found all of my deceased father’s documents from when he moved from Palestine to the US – his government of Palestine passport, his military ID and his US immigration papers.
My parents and older brother moved to the United States during President Eisenhower’s administration under the Palestinian Refugee Relief Act. They were three of 50,000 Palestinians allowed in at the time. They came from Jerusalem via Kuwait; at that time it was a British colony. My parents moved to the US because they wanted their children to grow up in a democracy and have the right to vote.
Our story is like that of many Palestinians worldwide. We have relatives everywhere – American, British, French, GCC, Jordanian, Syrian and Lebanese. We’re all part of the huge Palestinian diaspora that scattered all over the world when our country was taken from us. Our family has stayed connected because of our strong family ties, yes, but also because of our common Palestinian heritage and humanity.
So yes, I am a Palestinian and that’s certainly one reason behind why I care about what’s going on in Palestine and the rest of the Land of Sham. But more importantly, I care as human being, who sees a terrible situation and has empathy for my fellow human beings.
I believe in the saying, “to whom much is given, much is asked.” I have been blessed to have achieved success in business and to live in a country that has given me the opportunity to prosper. So, it’s my responsibility to give back and to provide opportunities to those who are less fortunate.
I have been supporting Anera for over 20 years and I can tell you there is no organization like it doing as much in Palestine and Lebanon for as long. They can point to successes in practically every community. I also really appreciate that Anera is non-religious and non-political and it has the stamp of approval from the US government.
Anera has a lot of loyal donors and I am proud to be in their company.
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