Posted by: j | August 24, 2009

Does She Have Swine Flu?

How to dramatically minimize street harassment in Egypt: Be American.

Because the entire world is engaged in a collective freak-out about the dreaded swine flu pandemic, I’ve begun to notice bizarre behavior in Egypt. Every time I step onto the metro, I watch Egyptians eyes widen in fear, and hear people’s hushsed whispers asking “Is she American?” or “Do you think she has the swine flu?” People even go so far as to cover their mouths and noses with their veils or shirts when I’m around. And for once, I’m not constantly harassed when I’m in public. People are literally terrified of me.

And even though I haven’t been in the United States to contract this entirely over-hyped disease, I continue to let Egyptians think I could be a carrier. Finally, I’ve found some peace when I’m out and about. Fear is a good thing.


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