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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When the Political becomes Personal

I walked into a bar/restaurant recently and, as I ordered my coffee (black no sugar) I tuned into the conversations around me.  I think it was the woman shrieking "menteuse" (liar) that caught my attention.

The crowd at the bar was discussing recent events and they were both drunk and angry.

I've talked a little bit about the dark side of being an immigrant and this moment, in this bar, in this place perfectly captures the fear and loneliness of being caught in a foreign world that is sometimes friendly, mostly neutral and, once in a blue moon, actively hostile.

You have learned to grow an extra layer of skin and you stay calm but the knowledge that you are, oh so vulnerable and outnumbered, makes you fearful and angry.  And you wonder how it will go with your next encounter with the bureaucracy since passion is leading people past rationality and into a dark realm where the individual is secondary to scoring points against the national of an offending (and offensive) nation.

These are the moments where "immigrant rage" comes to the fore.  You can't win against the many, you can't reason, you can't even be a part of the conversation with the native-born caught in their own emotional web of angst and anger.  All you can do is submit, stay silent, pay the bill and prudently remove yourself from the situation.

And, yes, that makes you very angry indeed.

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