By lex, on July 12th, 2009
Those are words you don’t expect to see strung together:
In the first wave of Somalis who left were men whose uprooted lives resembled those of immigrants in Europe who have joined the jihad. They faced barriers of race and class, religion and language. Mr. Ahmed, the 26-year-old suicide bomber, struggled at community colleges before dropping out. His friend Zakaria Maruf, 30, fell in with a violent street gang and later stocked shelves at a Wal-Mart.
If failure had shadowed this first group of men, the young Minnesotans who followed them to Somalia were succeeding in America. Mr. Hassan, the engineering student, was a rising star in his college community. Another of the men was a pre-med student who had once set his sights on an internship at the Mayo Clinic. They did not leave the United States for a lack of opportunity, their friends said; if anything, they seemed driven by unfulfilled ambition.
“Now they feel important,” said one friend, who remains in contact with the men and, like others, would only speak anonymously because of the investigation.
We’ve given away the myth of the melting pot in favor of cultural anomie. Now pre-med students are wandering around the dystopian warrens their parents flew from with AK-47s and suicide belts.
Better now? Or worse?