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“My brother was appalled at the position I had put him in; his father-in-law is a priest.” Tragically, one day her oldest sister declared: “Suzie, we are disowning you.” Her brother-in-law told her mother, ‘You don’t know how to raise girls.’ Suzie was devastated. there were times I just wanted to give up because they just couldn’t get over the fact that he is Muslim. I said ‘I’m going to marry whomever I want’.”“What’s killing us [Palestinians] is not colonialism or the occupation; what’s killing us is the patriarchy.Having to deal with the male ego is what’s standing in our way,” she says.“There is this saying in Arabic, fter a year-long struggle, the couple finally got married.Both Suzie and Saks recognise that they could not have led this life in their respective home countries, but maintain that they are still “very much Arab and Pakistani”. You have to love Pakistan,” Suzie says.“I think we both wanted to absorb and learn as much as we could about each other’s cultures,” Saks adds. Being open to different cultures is the only way to fight racism, they believe.“I don’t use the word ‘assimilated’, because it means you’ve lost something,” the comic says. “That is like you pick and choose, like cafeteria style.”The couple has built a life for themselves and their son, despite their detractors’ predictions that it wouldn’t work.Suzie recalls, “For the longest time they [her family] were waiting to see if Saks turns out to be the ‘big, bad Muslim on TV’.She met her husband, John Kravitz when she initially came to Pennsylvania to interview for a legal job.
While she managed to win over her mother, one sister and one brother, others were not on board.
The narrative was always the same, ‘He will marry another woman; kidnap his children; beat you’.”After years of being estranged from some of her family, the resentment ebbed away when tragedy struck: Suzie’s mother passed away.
At her funeral, she met her brother who had been angry with her all those years.
ifteen years ago, at a crowded picnic in Redwood City, California, young college student Saks (short of Sakib) Afridi couldn’t help but notice Suzie — “a girl with the most beautiful curly hair”.
He tried his best lines to charm her and they worked.