Sometimes, issues hit closer to the heart not when you identify with a nationality, know a neighborhood, or speak a language. None of those abstract ideas that we go through pains to describe properly. Sometimes, things hit closer to the heart because of sheer silliness. Acts of sheer abandon that remain stuck in your memory forever. The acts of simply sharing good moments with good people – those are the acts leave an echo in your heart.
Seeing pictures of the “Marine House,” in the US Embassy in Tunis, burned and pillaged, afforded me this closer experience. It was only months ago that I attended a party in that very same building, and played pool on that very same table, which has been turned upside down in the video below (@ min 5:00).
It was on that very same terrace (@ min 5:36) that we enjoyed a nice burger with Heinz ketchup and classic yellow mustard (the things you pine for as an expat…). The same one that we merrily sang along to the Black Eyed Peas’ “Tonight’s gonna be a good night.” Carefree.
To see photos of that same area burned, pillaged, and looted somehow made it all the more real for me. I still have the phone number of the guard who helped my friends and I find a cab after the party – his watch area was burned down. That Tunisian employee, who had a family to feed, probably lost his job. This is more of a personal entry, yes – and I want to so badly write out my more analytical thoughts about what’s happening. Perhaps I will tomorrow.
But Tunisia is not well. Not well at all. That’s all I will say for now.