Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Egyptians' Views of Americans



I wrote this for the Austin American-Statesman, my native daily. No matter how much the Internet takes over the world of print, it is still very exciting to know that this is being read over coffee, clutched between two hands on a giant broadsheet:

Among Americans in Cairo these days, the stories of xenophobia are traded freely and a bit compulsively, in spacious apartments and colonial-era hotel bars. We all have the anecdote of quickening our steps or avoiding eye contact, of having our IDs checked, or just a few too many questions from a few too many random men on the street.
Example: At a Chinese restaurant one night, I meet a father eating out with his wife and three small children. As his toddler climbs onto his lap to try his fried rice, the father's questions drift subtly from friendly small talk to interrogation. "You're here studying Arabic?" he asks. "Only studying? Not working for a company or a government?" His tone grows aggressive, and when I don't budge, he nods with a "hmph" and returns to his rice.
Read the rest here (or if you're in Austin, check out the print)

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