Our origins will always hold a dear
place in our rememberings, even if in my case the common "Where you from?"
gives me three options. I can cite my Hungarian birthplace if the inquiry comes
with an accent, or California if geek credentials are apparent, but my youth
was spent in New Jersey.
So it was that I began my NJ tour
in Camp Kilmer, a defunct US Army base that housed the refugee camp where the
Shikli family was first welcomed to the land of the free and the home of the
Camp Kilmer's decaying barracks now
house lawn mowers for Rutgers University, and give little sign that dreams were
born there among the lost and fearful. From the day we stood in the chow line
with our steel trays, unable to move because the spoons were turned toward us,
we assumed a bureaucratic mistake and waited for the servers. One of the
soldiers asked if we were aristocrats. We stuttered about how some of us may
take too much. "Take whatever you will eat," was the reply. We stared at the
spoons and asked ourselves, "What kind of a wondrous country have we stumbled
We were not upset at all to be
questioned about whether we had any communists hiding in our midst. My father
had fought the communists and their Soviet garrison during the Hungarian
Revolution of 1956, which is why we were on the run. We needed no encouragement
to be on the lookout for such interlopers. If they looked, spoke, or acted like
a communist, we were happy to rat them out before someone took the matter into
their own hands.
So it is that I'm confused why we
find it politically incorrect to identify terrorists by their looks, religion,
or country of origin. My guess is the refugees from the terrorist countries
feel like we did back at Camp Kilmer. They have suffered as much as anyone at
the hands of the terrorists and might welcome any and every technique to catch
I wonder if the liberals objecting
to stereotyping and profiling terrorists have asked these refugees and
immigrants if they also object -- seeing how they would be on the receiving
end. They might be surprised to find that most of them are even more eager for
a harsh hand in this than are we.
Washington Crossing State Park, Delaware River.
They make it
look so easy.
Einstein's house in Princeton
Even the pigeons are afraid to land on him
|For more pictures of New Jersey, click here.