By Lamis Harp
Unis Middle School
“Breathe, just take slow deep breaths. We made it here, and we’re fine.” My uncle, Amin Bazzi, was the first to come here from Lebanon. He came to this country in the 1980s, motivated because he wanted to find a safer place to live. His home country, Lebanon, was at war.Since he made the move three decades ago, 11 members of my family immigrated here, too. Many have married and had children. Now the Bazzi family is one of the biggest in Dearborn. But when Uncle Amin first arrived, he was unsure of how he was going to start his new life. Somehow, he taught himself how to build and fix things. After, he got married and had children. “An amazing experience,” was his his expression of when he first landed in which now is his home … America.
Relatives who followed him to the United States also made great lives here. They were very proud of what they have become in America. Bazzis have owned or worked in many different places. Some of those places are a fruit market, a meat market, a grocery store, a medical institute and so on. “Without the Bazzis in Dearborn, the community would be so different. We wouldn’t have a friendly town, it would be lifeless,” my neighbor, Wafaa Barakat, said.“When I first came to America, I was excited to start a new life in a strange new world,” my mom, Salwa Bazzi, told me. She, too, moved here with her family. “However, it was a whole different system for us. Different language, different currency, different country!”
When she first came here, she didn’t know how to speak the language. “At first, I was worried about how I was going to learn the language. However, as soon as teachers and mentors started to help me, I learned really quickly. They were very patient toward me.”
My aunt, Farah Bazzi, also came to the Americas to find a safer place to live. When I asked my aunt about how the economy was back then, she told me everything was perfectly fine. “Throughout the years I’ve lived here, I’ve noticed that the economy fell dramatically. Everything was different, the gas prices went up and many people lost their jobs and homes. I was utterly shocked,” she stated.“But since the 9/11 attacks, life has been a little harder. Ever since 9/11, we Arabs have been treated very differently. We were assumed to be terrorists just because we were Arabs. Years passed and at last, they realized most of us are not,” my aunt said. Both my mom and uncle agreed. “Every time people used to see us walk their way, they would used to shout ‘go back to your country,’ ” my mom explained.
Despite the troubles, my uncle and the rest of the Bazzis are happy to be here. “We really appreciate living in America. Throughout all the years we’ve been here, we also appreciate everyone that had helped us get this far,” my uncle said, both my mom and aunt agreed. I also asked them if they would ever go back and live in their home country. “If we go back to Lebanon, we would only go there for a visit,” they said.
Many people have had the opportunity to become American citizens and they took it. They didn’t regret their decision and now they’re living the American dream.