October 20th, 2014
10:36 AM ET

Revisiting my 'Roots'

Watch 'Roots', a CNN special, this Tuesday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

For the past couple of months, CNN correspondents and anchors, including me, have been doing deep reporting on a topic that's rather foreign to most of us. That topic is ourselves, our family histories, where we came from. In short, our roots. It was something that didn't come naturally to me at all, but in the end it was fascinating.

You know, I'm curious about the world and about how it works and about what's going on politically and economically and technologically around the world. I'm not that curious about where I specifically come from. I'm just one guy among the billions of people on earth, and I have never until this project, never, ever looked into it in any way one way or the other. I came to America and I naturalized and now I'm an Indian-American.

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soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. Blue Saffron

    I tried it and I liked it. Everyone should do this and find out where their ancestors live and what they did. I myself am a German American and I'm proud of it. The only problem I have with this is that the current leaders of Germany are a bunch of money-grubbing, self-serving bureaucrats sitting around waiting to carry out orders from Washington D.C. We need to bring back the Hohenzollern Emperors Germany had prior to 1918 and pull that country out of the EU!

    October 20, 2014 at 10:51 am | Reply
  2. palintwit

    You can always spot a tea party patriot by their beanie copter hats and size 34 floppy clown shoes.

    October 20, 2014 at 10:51 am | Reply
    • So True

      And they think they are "American Patriots" when they want to secede from America. So their new country can be called "Country that is Not-America" and then they should the be called "Patriots of a Country that is Not-America".

      October 20, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  3. palintwit

    We were warned

    "Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them."

    -Barry Goldwater

    October 20, 2014 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini

      Thank you, palintwit but what has this to do with our ancestry or where they lived or what they did? Aren't you curious?

      October 20, 2014 at 11:53 am | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      @ palintwit is right this time.
      Whether Goldwater said that or not, Republicans would benefit from a loss of preachers.
      Democrats, please remember to vote for your own party next month. It's important.

      October 20, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  4. banasy©

    Not JIF

    October 20, 2014 at 12:46 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Not banasy©.

      October 20, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Reply
      • trigtwit palin... America's favorite tard baby.

        Spoork fffttttt arg ? Blecchh flell ! *drool*

        October 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm |
      • banasy©

        Aren't you clever and edgy.

        October 20, 2014 at 2:20 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        I can't tell anymore.
        Hello @ banasy, if you still come here.

        October 20, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
      • banasy©

        Hi, JIF.
        I hope you and your family are doing well.

        October 20, 2014 at 3:23 pm |
  5. David

    An interesting piece, Fareed. I found it ironic and strangely suitable that you discovered a trace of Jewish ancestry, which is especially poignant given your constant anti-Israel rhetoric. Perhaps you might now revise your editorial tone towards Israel, to give more balanced coverage of this plucky little state surrounded by so many depraved, villainous neighbours.

    October 20, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  6. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    I am an American. I don't want to limit that.
    When I first visited England, I saw that my cultural heritage had been well preserved in our family.
    Some aspects of some cultures are better when they are severely modified or dropped.

    October 20, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • rupert

      Ok. Enlish. But although u are not Italian,u seem so.
      I guess we all have our own ideas about others.

      October 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm | Reply
      • Lester

        You cannot be that dim.

        October 20, 2014 at 10:04 pm |
  7. rupert

    George Washington was my great,great,great,great,great, grandfather
    He married my great,great,great,great,great, grandmother.

    October 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Complimenti, rupert.

      October 20, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Reply
    • Ann

      Given that George Washington never had any biological children with Martha - he helped raise two of hers - your claim that you descend from him seems a bit over the top.

      October 20, 2014 at 6:08 pm | Reply
      • rupert

        But ann. I was talking about a different George Washington. Not the father of our country 200+ years ago. I'm sorry. I didn't make it clear. Mine was a drunk. He died as he slept by the train tracks, passed out.
        Oh ann, you write so nicely.

        October 20, 2014 at 7:10 pm |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Right, @ Ann.
        @ rupert, Ann's post explains my Curtis post to you. The father of our country adopted Martha's two children by her first husband, Mr. Curtis.

        October 21, 2014 at 7:27 am |
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        CUSTIS, doggoneit!
        The StupidPhone continues to correct my excellent spelling, probably because my grammar is elitist.

        October 21, 2014 at 7:33 am |
  8. Philip

    My ancestors were all Arab-African slave masters. Oopsy. Check that. Those were president Obama's ancestors. (Ansestry.com)

    October 20, 2014 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      Shrug. Everyone has skeletons in their closet, as you well know.

      October 20, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  9. Philip

    My great grandfather, George Roper, homesteaded near Steamboat Springs CO and ranched horses. On his 100th birthday he rode his buggy to Flynt, Michagan, and purchased his first vehicle. A model T pick up truck. Henry Ford took him for an airplane ride and gave him a gold watch! 🙂 He went blind when he was 103, and lived to be 106 years old. Except he wasn't really my great grandfather. My grandmother cheated on George's son...Emil.Roper, with a native Indian.

    October 20, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • banasy©

      So you are descended from the native Indian? What's his story?

      October 20, 2014 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  10. rupert

    Really philip? Chrissy is from Michigan. Maybe u two are distantly related.
    Say..third cousins.

    October 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • Philip

      Maybe not.

      October 20, 2014 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  11. dazzle

    The study of ones roots is fascinating. All it takes is a tongue swab to open a world of discovery. Hello to all.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  12. rupert

    Lol. Maybe not.
    Blue Saffron and Blue Diamond have their roots from India.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  13. rupert

    Yes a tongue swab.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Reply
  14. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

    Hello, @ dazzle.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Then, maybe not really @ dazzle.

      October 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm | Reply
    • dazzle

      Hi Joey

      October 20, 2014 at 6:26 pm | Reply
      • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

        Let's see...
        @ dazzle, you used to live near an establishment that calls itself "Blue Ribbon'" Something.
        What do they sell?

        October 20, 2014 at 6:32 pm |
  15. chri§§y

    Lol @ rupert...bite your tongue! And my family has lived in michigan long enough to know how to spell the state correctly as well as the city of Flint. Which btw is NOT a very desirable place to live. Plus Philip said his almost relative only visited.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  16. dazzle

    Joey, that would have to be the bakery on Downing.

    October 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm | Reply
    • Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©

      Yep, @ dazzle.
      I got bumped off the internet and didn't see your reply until now.
      I doubt that you bought their bread, since you can bake your own, but I got bread there.

      October 21, 2014 at 7:40 am | Reply
  17. rupert

    @chrissy. U never know. I see a genetic similarity between u and philip.
    Non stop PERSISTENCE.

    October 20, 2014 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  18. chri§§y

    Funny @ rupert, because you just described YOURSELF!

    October 20, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  19. rupert

    No. U cuz u are always fighting trolls
    Philip is always talking about the same stuff

    October 20, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Reply
  20. chri§§y

    Lol thats called INDOMITABLE @ rupert. Persistence is YOU persistently trolling and jacking OUR names!

    October 20, 2014 at 8:24 pm | Reply
  21. chri§§y

    And ive TRIED conversing with you and your numerous names, pretending that i dont know you are all one and the same person. Then you start talking your gutter crap til you totally p i s s me off, which im certain was your intention to begin with!

    October 20, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Reply
  22. Thomas

    Roots are good , and freedom

    October 20, 2014 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  23. rupert

    Yes Thomas. I agree.
    Now chrissy, that is soooooo not true. Anybody who knows me, knows that I only blog with rupert or stuart and no other name. And I've had the exact same i-con since cnn started using them.
    I am hurt. I am insulted. I am going to call it a night.
    Good bye chrissy.

    October 20, 2014 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • Lester

      You have a different icon every time you post. Why bother lying?

      October 20, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  24. rupert

    @all trolls.
    See what u did?
    They think it's me when it's not.

    October 20, 2014 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • dazzle

      @rupert, don't forget little mister and my personal favorite @kenny Rogers.

      October 20, 2014 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • dazzle

        How can I forget Kathy. That was well done. Good night.

        October 20, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
      • stuart

        Good night dazzle.
        At least someone appreciates rupert.

        October 20, 2014 at 10:42 pm |
  25. Ferhat Balkan

    As far as ancestry goes, I'm a Turk, but I was born and raised in the Balkans region of Eastern Europe. I then traveled to the US after communism collapsed during the early 90s and became a naturalized citizen. I went to high school and college in the US and have been working in the IT field since then. Ultimately, deep down I believe we're all the same. Our ancestors all originated from Africa some 200,000 years ago. Genetically, we're all children of Africa.

    October 20, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Reply
  26. chri§§y

    Lol like i said @ Lester and @ dazzle...hes persistent lmao! But i am trying to imagine what family night is like in his house lol. No one knows WHOs showing up until theyre there ya know. Lolololol

    October 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  27. chri§§y

    Lol @ stuart, rupert is my most favorite of roems characters since he retired little mister. But he needs to get real and admit hes just one of the "fantasy family!" As do you!

    October 20, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  28. anonymous

    Jeff Roem does not exist
    Jeff Roem does not exist
    Jeff Roem does not exist

    October 20, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  29. chri§§y

    Youre trying awfully hard to convince someone of that but it doesnt matter. Because WE know otherwise! And he is a mentally ill person and has been since his trolling days on TJI!

    October 20, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Reply
  30. amin1446

    Mr Fareed Zakaria, please allow me to share the real roots of your ancestors as per my knowledge. Fareed Zakaria s/o Dr Rafiq Zakaria s/o Balumiyan Zakria s/o Alisaheb Zakaria natives of Sopara Village which is 40 KM from Mumbai. The family nicked as Zakris of soparas and were well educated in ancient times when education in India was a big boon. The Zakaria family were / are part of the Kokani Muslim community who would speak Kokani ( Marathi language with Arabic and Urdu add-ons ). The traces of the community comes from Arabs, Zakaria family were from a Arab clan viz. banu zakaria. The family had a large houses and lands from their ancestor. There is a mosque by name Jama Masjid at Nawayat Mohalla at Sopara the small street where the family resided. There are few prestigious families who are members of the mosque and have the voting rights to select an acting committee.

    The writer is part of the community and village and am proud of my culture and heritage.

    October 21, 2014 at 1:41 am | Reply
    • excuse me?

      My dear amin1446, you have merely suggested that 3 generations of Fareed Zakaria's family come from a Konkani Muslim background from Sopara District, from the outskirts of Mumbai, India. That spans the last 100 years!!! But you have totally missed the fact that the Muslims invaded India in 1150 AD, which allowed them to populate the Indian Subcontinent! Ever heard of Mahmud of Ghazni and Mohammed of Ghori? How about Allah-ud-din Khliji and Mohammed bin Tughlaq? Get real, my friend! The Muslims who invaded India have a huge link to Afghani Muslims, who have a huge link to Mongol Turks and Persian Farsis, who have a huge link to Arabia and Central Asia. So the analysis of Fareed's roots goes way way back to his Turkish ancestors! Yes, it's a complicated world when it comes to seeking out our roots! It is not at all wrong to consider the fact that all of us humans hail from Africa. Ever heard of Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania????

      October 21, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Reply
      • amin1446

        Dear Friend excuse me?, All information provided by you cannot be denied. What you have mentioned was the entry of Islam through Sindh ( now Pakistan ), through land route that is why there are large Muslim population in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Arabs navigated to entire world through Sea routes for trades and religious obligations in pre-islamic and post-islamic period. Arab traders used to visit the Malabar region, which was a link between them and ports of South East Asia, to trade even before Islam had been established in Arabia. This relation started as early as the 4th century CE. They intermarried with local people in Malabar and with this admixture the large Mappila community of Kerala evolved. Secondly, Quraish, who were related to Muhammad ( PBUH ) through Nazr Bin Kanana. These were the residents of Madina Munawwara. They migrated to India during the period of Hajjaj bin Yusuf and they got down on the coast of the Indian Ocean. Having got fed up with the cruelties and tyrannies of Hajjaj Bin Yusuf. the first caravan of Muslim Arab Migrators took shelter in India on 8th Hijri that is in the year 699 A.D. There were, in this caravan, some Arab migrators of the village of Basra., which was called Nayat. You must have read in my earlier message "Nawayat Mohalla' which comes from the word Nayat. Their family tree is connected to the tribe of Quraish through the family of Banu Nazar.

        Against the courageous steps of Abdulla Bin Zubair Radi Allahu anhu, Abdul Malik Bin Marwan encouraged and incited Hajjaj Bin Yususf to killings, plunder and blood-shed. He made many a people of Banu Hashim prisoners and made them to suffer great hardships. Some of these people went to North Africa and Spain and one of the caravans of the migrators got down around the islands of Bombay. They got down at Sopara, Thana, Semore (Chambur). a seaport at that time. And thus the Kokani community evolved.
        Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania is too far away to discuss and beyond my knowledge.
        Thanks for the reply!!

        October 22, 2014 at 4:50 am |
      • Thank you amin1446

        Great comments, based on history. Thank you amin1446. Problem is........... this thing called religion....... your muslim religion teaches you "jihad"........ my christian religion teaches me "crusade".......... and so we kill each other............. firmly believing that we are right.............. can you imagine "God" looking down upon us from a cloud, and watching our silly behavior????? We are truly a disappointment to our creator........ yes???????? What kind of humans would pray 5 times a day to "Allah" and then do "Jihad"............... which means they then proceed to kill humans that are different than themselves????? Very screwed up humans, don't you think????? It is time for all of us humans to understand that we are all human.............. no matter our religion or race.......... and then to reach out to each other, IN LOVE,............ so that we might work together in harmony............... yes???????

        October 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm |
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