I have a rule of not posting "scary" things because I want to preserve my mother's sanity. But today I will break that rule.
Without going into massive detail, tonight I was the most afraid that I have been in a long time.
Four Pakistani men (in traditional clothing) confronted, stalked, and harrassed my friend and I in plain sight while we shopped at the night market. Because of some assertiveness, watchdogness, and quick feet - my friend and I are fine. We ultimately ran around street corners then hid from them in a bakery away from the windows until the coast was clear. I'm tearing up as I write this. It was an ominous experience of being corralled, taunted, and threatened - seemingly helpless.
I will not be telling any middle eastern men that I am from America for a long time.
I just wasn't thinking. When one man showed up in my face as I perused strands of pearls and demanded to know where I was from, "America," I answered. Then I looked at the expression on his face and thought, "shit."
The backlash from today's top news story is great. Please think of American's abroad, especially those living in an international community. The international travel security advisory out out by Homeland Security is no joke.
As I log into my facebook and see statuses of jubilation, pride, and nationalism...I wish that I had the same freedom to express certain views. Not here. I must maintain humility, discernment, and know that one person does not equal a nation. One person does not embody their entire culture. I have good friends from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. I have friends from Libya, Oman, and Burma.
These people are good people. I will not allow one circumstance to taint my view of them. And I wil be extra careful of how I represent my country in the days to come. I want to be a peaceful, graceful, humble representation.
But the next time a bearded man in a topi approaches me...I might turn and run the other way.
I am just filled with thankfulness that we are ok. That the situation had an ending. And that I do not live in constant fear like so many people around the world. The heart-beating, body-shaking, adrenaline rush of fear was an unfamiliar feeling - and I guess that I have to be thankful for that.
Another chapter in the Chi.na adventure. In fact, my friend and I high-fived on the bus home. We made it. We showed them. Don't mess with us. I may shake like a leaf and tee-tee in my pants when you scare me...but I won't stay scared forever. Because sooner or later the fear cloud will rise and I'll hear these sweet words whispered to my soul...
"...I will fear no evil for You are with me, Your rod and your staff they comfort me..."
God bless Ame.rica. God bless the world.
walk slow. xoxo.