The First Lady of ISIS


Tania Georgelas, the ex-wife of the highest-ranking American member of ISIS, reckons with her extremist past and attempts to build a new life (via).

This is her story.

And in many ways, it's ours too.

The dual transformation of John and Tania is the most American part of this story. What is America, if not a promise of infinite possibility, and ability to transcend one’s origins? John grew up wealthy, Christian, and patriotic; now he is poor, Muslim, and full of hate for his native land. Tania’s metamorphosis has taken the precise opposite form, as if the universe demanded symmetry in their stories, and decreed that she resume the prosperous suburban life that he left behind. They met in the middle, trading fates. His ending is probably already written. Her life, if she’s lucky, is just getting started (via).

What stuck me most about this story is the assurances of truth. John and Tania, on either sides of their transitions, are so very confident in what they know and how they know it, allow it to guide and direct their lives, even to the point of radicalism. 

Which isn't all that different from so many of us. We may not be joining ISIS, but we are just as confident in our truths and way of life - we too have certainty in what will happen when we die, and it guides and directs our daily lives, even to the point of radicalism.

What we know can change in an instant, shifting the ground beneath our feet and bring our fortresses of faith and understanding crumbling to the ground - SMASH!!!

Then nothing. 

But the chance to rebuild.

Because truly, no one really knows anything for certain. And it is that understanding, that weight of uncertainty that should encourage us all to talk less and listen a whole lot more. To be kind and patient and less judgmental, and to truly consider the holes in our damns because really, we don't know, even when we think we do.

And for many of us, the damn is about to beak.


For more on . . .

-N- Stuff  :  Real People After 90 years, a Jewish woman eats bacon for the first time