Borderline Week #4: Summarizer-Abiha

Chapter 22-Chapter 28: Pg. 175-Pg. 233

During the entire weekend, information about the Islamic terrorist organization, known as the Brotherhood of Martyrs, is constantly flashed across radio and news stations throughout Rochester. The same, old images of Arman, Sami’s Dad, being dragged out of the Sabiri house by FBI agents are replayed as well. Though, they are now accompanied by interviews from the residents of Meadowvale, employees from Sheldon Laboratories and students from the Academy. Confused, tired and frustrated, Sami tries calling Andy and Marty in order to discuss his problems. However, they do no answer Sami’s calls or reply to his texts. Sami is found questioning the silence, wondering if the three are still friends. Left with nothing to do, Sami unconsciously walks towards Arman’s office. Maneuvering the mess made by the FBI, Sami settles himself underneath his Dad’s desk while hugging a picture of the two to his chest. Unwilling to believe the accusations being hurled, Sami questions his Dad’s actions and motives.

Monday morning, Sami is driven to school by his Mom, Neda. She believes that it is necessary to brave the community, to show them that the Sabiri family is courageous and strong willed. However, Neda returns to pick him up from the school midafternoon; a court hearing for Arman has been scheduled for the evening of the same day. When arriving at the Academy, Neda is greeted by Mr. Samuels, the principal. Recommending home-schooling for Sami as a result of the current circumstances (Arman’s arrest), he offers to refund fees for the remainder of the school year. However, Neda declines and walks out of the office holding her head high, she feels that Mr. Samuel is trying to save the reputation of his beloved school. Before leaving, she swiftly reminds Mr. Samuel that Sami has an equal right to attend the Academy and be educated.

Accompanied by their lawyer, Mr. Bhanjee, Sami and his Mom attend Arman’s court hearing. During the trial, an email recovered from Arman’s account is presented as a form of evidence towards his crimes, though, it is vague, providing no real clues. Furthermore, Arman claims that the email is not what it look likes. As a result, it is decided that Arman will be held in custody until firm evidence supporting him guilty or innocent is provided.

Dejected, puzzled and unsure how to help, Sami returns to school the next day only to find himself being targeted by Eddy Harrison (the school bully), and his gang. Eddy corners Sami in the washrooms, subsequently lowering him headfirst into a dirty toilet. Eddy tries blackmailing Sami into accepting aloud that his Dad is a terrorist. However, before Sami can succumb to the treatment, he is rescued by Mr. Bernstein, a history teacher. Before Mr. Bernstein and Sami can report the incident, Sami is called down to the office by Mr. Samuel. Not allowing him to explain, Mr. Samuel expels Sami based on a story already reported by Eddy. He further claims that Sami has simply committed many unlawful actions; getting into fights, swearing in class and vandalizing school property. Mr. Samuel states that he is left with no other choice.

Undeterred by his expulsion, Sami races towards Meadowvale Secondary School in the hopes of meeting Andy and Marty. Sami finds out that Andy and Marty were not ignoring him; their parents had simply taken their phones away and ordered them to stay away from Sami. Moreover, they had tried contacting Sami through pay-phones multiple times, though, their calls were not answered. Powered by his friends’ loyalty, Sami proposes the idea of travelling to Toronto in order to find the terrorist leader, Tariq Hasan, and proving his father innocent. Agreeing to help, Andy and Marty lie to their parents about a cottage visit up north while Sami leaves a note for his Mom. Boating to Canada, and subsequently being driven by Andy, the trio begin their trip to Toronto.

Borderline Week #3: Illustrator-Abiha

As illustrator for the third week of literacy circles, I chose to create two images that are closely related to each other.

Image #1: Chapter 15-Pg. 118

Eddy Harrison Vandalises School Property

Eddy Harrison Vandalises School Property

The first image portrays a vandalised table top, a table with the words ‘SABIRI SUX’ carved in with black marker. I was able to visualize this image as a result of the description provided in the book.

“Two words are carved in the table where I sit:


The gashes are scribbled in with magic marker.”

A very simple image, the defaced table top held great significance for Sami. Noticing the table and seeing his name carved in magic marker broke Sami. He could no longer take it. Sami acknowledged, “I mean, I always knew I was hated. But this makes it real. Real for everyone to see.” The hate was true, forever there, permanent. A sign of embarrassment, one seen by everyone. Sami was left flustered, saddened and angry. In addition, the lunch crowd that usually sat around Sami had moved as well. He was left deserted and alone. Recognizing that it had clearly been done by Eddy Harrison, the school bully, Sami wondered what extent he would go to in order to pick on and humiliate him. Fighting the urge to cry, Sami dashed towards his secret hiding place.

Image #2: Chapter 16-Pg. 125

Sami Sabiri Further Defaces Vandalised School Property

Sami Sabiri Further Defaces Vandalised School Property

The second image, a vandalised table top different from the previous, is infact, the same table. Unrecognizable, the table was further vandalised by Sami in an attempt to destroy the words. The detailed, vivid description provided in the book allowed me to visualize and create the image.

“Then I pull Dad’s chisel out of my knapsack. I start to connect the ends of the Ss, so they look like 8s…

I turn each I into a T…

The U in sux looks like a V. I put a line on top and turn it into a triangle…

I put a line under the A, making it a little triangle in a big triangle, and lines at the top and bottom of the X, turning it into a kind of hourglass. Then I take out a marker and scribble in the gouges.”

This moment brought out the rebellious, bad boy in Sami. He chose to use a chisel and modify the carving instead of reporting it. As a result, Eddy did not get into trouble. However, Sami was caught by Mr. Carson, a teacher. Consequently, he was taken to the office and suspended by Mr. McGregor, the principal. Any claims Sami made were dismissed, after all, the carving looked nothing like the original. Sami was punished, but Eddy, the person who deserved the most trouble was left ignored. This incident brought harsh consequences; Sami’s parents were told of his actions, an official report was filed in his academic records as well. Sami was left angered and frustrated, no one was ready to believe, or, simply even listen to him. They refused to give him a chance to explain.

Literature Circles – Nilsu: Word Wizard

Borderline: pg 124-188

Word #1: Martyr

According to unconfirmed reports, the cell calls itself the Brotherhood of Martyrs. (Allan Stratton, 157)

Here, the word martyr is used in the title of the terrorist cell that Sami’s father was allegedly involved with. A martyr is a person who died or sacrificed themselves for a cause, for example, religion, war, etc. This word relates to the story because terrorists who die in suicide bombings or attacks are called martyrs among their ranks. They aspire to be martyrs because in their eyes, to get to Jannah (Muslim heaven) they must sacrifice themselves in a religious war. In Borderline, Sami’s father is arrested by the FBI for supposedly providing them with weapons of bioterrorism.

Word #2: Bioterrorism

Science types are popping up on all the channels, discussing Dad and bioterrorism.

The word bioterrorism is used when Sami is thinking about all the news channels talking about his father’s work at Shelton Laboratories, and how the substances he worked with could potentially infect the public population. Bioterrorism is when someone intentionally releases harmful viruses or bacteria in order to cause death or illness in people. This word relates to the story because Sami’s father was originally the head research director at Shelton Laboratories, where he dealt with very dangerous substances. Now that he is believed to be involved in an international terrorist cell, authorities feared that he provided the cell with the materials to seriously harm the public.

Word #3: Deranged

That doesn’t stop the networks from posting a video still of Dad’s deranged face under the headline: DR. DEATH?

The word deranged is being used when Sami is talking about a picture of his father’s face from the raid being put up across all the TV networks. At the raid, his father was woken up from his sleep under Demerol, a pain medication. Deranged is an adjective used to describe someone who isn’t mentally sane or well. This word relates to the story because the news networks are making Sami’s father look like a crazy man, which Sami knows is not true. This relates to the over-arching theme of the book, which is appearances. Sami’s father looks like a mad scientist/terrorist, when Sami and his mother know the truth, that he isn’t.

Word #4: Snitch

I won’t snitch on Dad!

The word snitch is used here when Sami is being interrogated by the FBI, and he’s having an internal struggle whether to tell the agents about his Dad in Toronto or not. Snitch is a colloquial verb used when someone is ratting another person out to get off easy. This word relates to the story because throughout the book, Sami has had internal struggles with himself to snitch, whether it be about Eddy bullying him or his Dad getting in trouble with the FBI.

Word #5: Premeditated

He says the carving doesn’t look like SABIRI SUX; it looks like “premeditated vandalism.”

The word premeditated is used to describe Sami trying to turn the vandalism that Eddy wrote into something indistinguishable. Mr. McGregor calls it “premeditated vandalism” because Sami apparently had a previous motive when carving it. Premeditated is an adjective used to describe something that’s planned in advance. This word relates to the story because Sami is always trying to plan things in advance, but they never turn out the way he hopes they do. This happens when Sami plans the cottage trip with Andy and Marty, along with his trip to Toronto with his dad.

Literature Circles – Nilsu: Making Connections

Borderline: pg 59-123

Connection #1)
When Sami is filling a sack up with firewood at the cottage to take camping, Andy and Marty tease him about being over-prepared and like a mom.

I fill the burlap sack with firewood. 
Marty rolls his eyes. “We’ll find loads of driftwood on the beach.”
“What if it’s too dark to see by the time we get there?”
“That’s why we have flashlights.”
“But what if it’s wet? Like, what if it got rained on this week?” 
“Fine,” Marty grumps. “if you’re gonna be a girl about it.” 
“This way’s easy is all,” I explain. “We can get our fire pit going right away without wearing down our batteries.”
“I got it, mom.” (Allan Stratton, 63-64)

I can make a text-to-self connection to this because my friends always call me a soccer mom and tease me when we go somewhere and I over-pack. I understand how Sami is feeling like he’s trying too hard, even though he was trying to help his friends. Whenever I do this, I always feel embarrassed, and I think to myself, “Stupid, you should have relaxed and chilled out a bit.” This might make Sami feel more like an outsider to his friends, because he was already dealing with that feeling when he jumped in the car.

Connection #2)
When Sami is being tailgated by Eddy’s BMW, and doesn’t want to tell the administration about it, for fear that they won’t do anything, despite Mr. Bernstein urging him to do it.

Mr Bernstein pauses. “I’d like you to tell Mr. McGregor what happened.”
“Nothing happened sir.” 

“That’s not true. We both know it.” 
I toe the ground. “Sir, I know you’re trying to help, but here’s the thing. There’s a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. If I tell, I’d get suspended too. My dad would kill me.”
Mr Bernstein puts a hand up. “Zero-tolerance doesn’t apply to bullying.”
“Who said it was bullying? You didn’t see it, sir. You guessed. Which makes it my word against six Academy athletes. Can you imagine Mr. McGregor suspending a quarter of the football team midseason? Especially when their parents are like Eddy’s?” (100-101)

I can make a text-to-world connection to this event because at my school, we have so many options for reporting bullying, like the Tipoff anonymous hotline, our counselors, teachers, etc. This makes me feel grateful, but also upset because kids like Sami who don’t have these resources are still afraid of telling someone who could ultimately make the situation. If Sami had an anonymous way to report Eddy, I bet he’d be less afraid of him and his grasp on the school’s administration.


Literature Circles – Nilsu :Summarizer

Borderline: pg 1-55

Sami, his mother Neda, and his father Arman live in the suburb of Meadowvale in New York state, where his father is a research director at a laboratory, and his mother is a pharmacist. Sami’s father offers to take Sami on a trip to Toronto while he’s at a conference, where they’ll see the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto Maple Leafs play. Sami gets very excited, because him and his father don’t go on many bonding trips together. However, Sami’s excitement is short-lived when his father cancels the trip because he has to cover for someone else at the conference. Sami’s two best friends, Andy and Marty, offer to take Sami on a trip to Andy’s cottage with Andy’s family. His mother agrees to let Sami go without consulting his father because she was still mad at him for cancelling on Sami’s plans with him. On the day that Sami, Andy, and Marty are leaving for the cottage, Sami is being picked on in history class by his bully, Eddy Harrison. It builds to Eddy calling Andy a sand monkey (a derogatory insult to people of Middle Eastern background) which has Eddy sent to the office. Eddy comes back from the office, getting off scot-free. The principal calls Sami down to the office, and Sami runs away from him, jumping into Andy’s car. Sami relaxes, then realizes that Andy’s parents are nowhere in sight. Andy’s parents turn out to be away for the week, which Andy and Marty lied about to Sami. Sami is uneasy, and isn’t sure about what his parents will think of him being unsupervised. Andy and Marty become glum when Sami seems to back out, but Sami finally tells them he’s in. They drive away, off to Andy’s cottage.

Borderline Week #2: Passage Master-Abiha

Passage #1: Chapter 8-Pg. 59-60:

“The lot’s almost full. Fathers and sons are getting back from a few hours’ fishing, couples are heading out for a sunset cruise, and people like us are going to their cottages. Most everyone’s white. I stay glued to Andy and Marty, hands in my pockets, hoodie up, face down, trying my best to be invisible.

‘What’s with you?’ Andy asks.

‘Nothing. Just don’t want to get hassled.’

‘Don’t be so paranoid.’

‘Easy for you to say.'”

I chose this passage because it provides an insight to Sami’s thoughts and emotions. This passage has developed Sami’s personality, as a result, readers were able to learn more about the character. The author has emphasized Sami’s identity as a Muslim. Though he has travelled to Canada, once again Sami finds himself  to be the only Muslim in the area. As a reader, this paragraph has taught me that Sami is conscious and embarrassed of who he is. He is constantly aware of, and examines his surroundings. Being a Muslim is difficult for him; he is afraid of being scrutinized and standing out. This passage has further formed the mood of the story. No one, not even Sami’s closest friend, Andy, understands his struggles. Andy is incapable of seeing issues from Sami’s perspective. This passage has shown me that truly, Sami is all alone. He is frustrated, tension and fear are building inside of him.


Passage #2: Chapter 14-Pg.114:

“‘Lies!’ Dad yells. ‘Lies, lies, lies! It’s all lies with you! Secrets and lies!’

 ‘Look who’s talking!’ I hear the words. Are they still in my head? Or did I actually say them?

Dad backs up, breathing heavy. I guess I said them.

‘What do you mean?’ he dares me.

If I say what I know… what I think…

I glance over at mom. She’s afraid. What does she know, think?

‘I said, what do you mean?’ Dad repeats.

I look straight at him. ‘Guess.’

There’s a flicker of fear in his eyes.”

This passage is a significant moment in the story. The tension that has built within Sami has finally been released. He has voiced his suspicions against his Dad. The dialogues between Sami and his Dad emphasize their inability to trust each other. During this passage, Sami is established as a rebellious, disrespectful child. He has broken the “perfect” family image by yelling at his Dad and accusing him. This passage further foreshadows towards the upcoming events of the story. Sami has blamed his Dad of holding secrets and lies, who in turn has reacted with fear. As a reader, when analysing this passage, I asked multiple questions.  “What has Sami accused his father of?” “What is his Dad hiding and or lying about?” “Why has Sami’s Dad reacted to his accusations with fear?”

Passage #3: Chapter 14-Pg. 115

“I see Dad throw back his shoulders.

I hear him say, ‘I have no son.’

I see him storm out of the room.

And I see Mom look at me, bewildered.

I look back, ashamed. Ashamed for having lied to her, for bringing the cops, for opening a door into a place we’re all afraid to go.”

This passage is a turning point in the story. Sami’s Dad has denounced him, as a result, the tension in the story has mounted. The unstable relationship between Sami and his Dad has accelerated. Sami has further acknowledged that his family has entered uncharted territory. A place that they have never been, a place that is unusual, frightening and uncomfortable. Sami’s Dad has stated, “I have no son.” While reading this phrase, I was prompted to ask myself multiple questions. “How will this affect the lives of the Sabiri’s?” “What are the consequences of this proclamation going to be?” “How will the conflicts between Sami and his dad be resolved?”

Borderline Week #1: Word Wizard-Abiha

1.) Chapter 1-Pg. 4

“Mom’s green silk hijab is folded loosely on top; she only wears it at mosque and prayers-a big relief, as far as I’m concerned.”

A ‘hijab’ is a headscarf, similar to the word ‘veil’. It covers the hair, ears and neck. Predominantly worn by Muslim women and young girls as a sign of modesty. This word establishes the identity of Sami’s Mom as a Muslim. The quote the word is embedded in allows readers to know and understand that Sami’s Mom is a moderate, modernized Muslim.

2.) Chapter 1-Pg. 6

“Before Mary Louise Prescott, things were normal.”

The word ‘normal’ is defined as the usual, typical and expected standard. It is what people are used to, their daily behaviour or routine. The way and moment in which Sami has used the word is significant to the story. Sami has indicated that the relationship between him and his father was better, different. A relationship that was easy, light and fun.

3.) Chapter 2-Pg. 9

“Our mosque is a half-hour drive away in Rochester, so I never got to hang out with the kids from my Saturday morning madrasa.”

The word ‘madrasa’ is an Arabic word used for a religious educational institute. This word emphasizes that the Sabiris are a religious family. Sami attends a ‘madrasa’ and learns about his religion of Islam. The use of this word by the author further expresses that Sami is secluded. He spends Saturday at the madrasa, as a result, he is unable to spend time with kids from his school and the neighborhood. He has not established a strong, positive relationship with the people in his community.

4.) Chapter 2-Pg. 13

“‘Why did those boys call you ‘Prophet‘?'”

The word ‘Prophet’ is a title used for people who are chosen to speak to God. These people convey God’s message to the believers and provide guidance and support. They are the teachers of religion. Sami’s friends, Andy and Marty, initially nicknamed him ‘Prophet’. In the quotation provided above, Sami’s Dad is questioning the use of the word. The author has established that Sami’s Dad is religious. He finds the word ‘Prophet’ to be sacred, a word that holds importance and must be respected.

5.) Chapter 3-Pg. 25

“‘I’ll make it up to both of you, Inshallah,’ Dad says.”

‘Inshallah’ is a word derived from the Arabic language. It means if Allah (God) wills. By using this word, Sami’s Dad has established his firm belief in the religion of Islam. He has made it clear that things will only happen, that they are only possible if Allah (God) wills them to be. Once again, the use of this word indicates the religious personality of Sami’s Dad.

Borderline:Summarizer by Laela Shibli Due:Fri June 5

Summarizing the last 8 chapters from chapters 28-36

1. Chapter 28,page 227-228,Sami sits down in his home and just goes through what his family is going through at the moment and hes worried.His mom is unemployed.Dad in jail.He’s worried about where the money is going to come from,to pay off the lawyer and the house.It seems like at this moment the family is at their lowest point in the whole story where they have kinda given up and think there’s no way out.But there’s only one chance and its up to him to clear his father’s name,hoping the he can do it.

2. Chapter 29,page 229 Sami,Marty and Andy are taking a “roadtrip” to toronto to find info on tariq hassan to help his dads case.Just hoping that its all worth it.

3. Chapter 29-30,pages 235-243, Sami and his friends finally reach their destination in toronto,Canada.At what they think to be Tariq Hassans alleged terrorist “nest” or apartment.But they have to find a way to get in without getting caught which is going to be difficult because you need to get buzzed in for the doors to open.So they decide that Sami should act like a pizza delivery boy which ends up working.

4. Chapter 30,page 243-248,Sami gets up to the apartment after some bickering with the person that is to believed in Tariq Hassan’s apartment such as his companion.When he does arrive at the door of the apartment,he slides a note saying to meet him somewhere and sooner then later gets a note back telling Sami to meet him somewhere more private and better be on time.

5. Chapter 31,page 251-259, Sami finally meets the person who he thinks to be tariq’s girlfriend.They talk for a bit but think its better to go somewhere out of site.So they make a plan that not only ends up with Sami friends getting lost following him but meeting “the hideout”.They get to a can and just so happens to meet the one and only Tariq Hassan.

6. Chapter 32,page 260-267,Tariq knows about Sami saying that his father spoke of him on several occasions.He goes on telling Sami about a story of a man and a women having an affair while being married to another,but ends up feeling guilty and regretful so he decides that suddenly he wants to be loyal to his wife but did not know that the women ended up being pregnant.Sami starts to read in between the lines and figures out that not only was his father that man but the boy just so happened to be Tariq.Tariq is Sami’s half brother!

7. Chapter 33,page 270-274,The “terrorist package” was just a package of family photos.Now knowing the whole story was set up by a man named Erim Malik that was friends with Tariq,he created the so called “Brotherhood of Martyrs” that the social media set up to be the name of the secret terrorist group.All the videos of Tariq and the group saying things that would sound like something a terrorist would say(whatever that means),was sent to the cops and ended up making Tariq look like an enemy of the state and put a target on anybody associated with him which meant Arman Sabiri and the group.But it just so happens that Erim was not arrested.

8. Chapter 34,page 277-284,Sammi arrives back home,he explains what happened with Tariq to his mom and the layer.But the mother has been digging in for info and went right to the source the father.Stating that the mother also knows everything and a little more.Saying that all they needed was a note to prove his innocence but his mother says the FBI had destroyed it while searching the house.But Sami get an idea,he runs to the photo of “Dad and Me” and finds the note.

9. Chapter 35,page 285-291,Sammi wants to take his mind off all the conflict around him so he decides to go back to school with his friends,hes mad that the FBI can’t take the fact that they were wrong all along.It gets better for Sami though,Eddy the bully is looking for Sami,Sami finally stand up for himself instead of running away and this time wins,eddy is the one to walk away with his head between his legs.

10. Chapter 36 page 292-296,Arman finally gets released from the FBI while they give a brief statement of apology.Arman asking for forgiveness from his son but Sami has already given it.Sami and his father’s bond is being repaired again.The family is finally getting better their no conflict happening in their lives,the family seems to be happy and in peace for once in a long time.Sami dreams that it will get better and knows that one day it will.



Borderline:Illustrator by Laela Shibli Due:Fri May 29



On Chapter 29,page 202,Sabiri is at school and It seems like the only place he could hide has been found by his bully’s.”When I arrive,there’s a sign taped under the stairs SABIRI’S SPIDER HOLE.It’s from Eddy.” Sabiri got bullied a lot while at the academy and under the stairs was his hideout,but not only has it been exposed but his bullies now know where he goes and Sabiri is afraid for the reason that he has nowhere to hide .”One thing’s for sure:I’ve lost my safe place.If I’m trapped here now,I’m dead.” Sabiri gets bullied a lot just because he’s the only muslim american at the school,its a group of bullies that come after him,they try to get him in trouble as much as they can.Eddy the “Alpha” if the bully group tries to hurt him more verbally then physically,he wants to but never really gets the chance but when he is verbally abusing Sabiri he calls him names that are racist.For example, one chapter 23 pg 184,”He mouths “Osama” and gives me a creepy wink,” on chapter 26 page 202,”Hi there,terror boy.” Eddy always gets away with bullying even if the teacher finds him doing something the principle just sends him back because Eddy’s parents “give” a lot of money to the school and without saying so they intend to keep him “safe” even though its his doing students should be safe from.There has been multiple occasions where Eddy simply asks even after getting called down to the office to leave and he could.On chapter 26 page 206,”Mr.Samuel let me go sir.”Eddy smirks and saunters down the hall.Then on those same occasions Sabiri is always the one to get in trouble, on chapter 26 page 206,”Mr.Samuels and Mr.McGregor would like to see you and Sabiri.” On top of that the school itself is trying to kick Sabiri out,but in the “nicest way” possible.On chapter 24 page 190,”Homeschooling is an option you might like to consider.” Mom looks him straight in the eye,” so you’re concerned about the family’s connection to the academy.” “No nothing like that.” Mr.Samuels says,temples red.(which is a form of knowing someone is lying) The principle is implying that its for Sabiri but as you could tell this is clearly for the school.