While working at my current company I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some really amazing people through our internship program. One such person is a former intern named Nuh. He’s easily one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met and I am so honored to be able to call him a friend. He was in America on a student visa and when the visa expired late last year, he unfortunately had to return to Pakistan. He’s lived most of his life outside of Pakistan so I can imagine being forced to return to his “home country” was a bit daunting as he’s spent most of his life abroad. Unfortunately, Nuh has an American accent and it’s made him a target. He just posted a recent experience on Reddit and I’d like to share it with you all:
I was assaulted and threatened to be killed by a mob in Pakistan for being an ‘American Oppressor’.
As the title says, I was assaulted in Pakistan by a mob and my life was threatened for being an ‘American Oppressor’.
This happened right on the road outside my house.
Today, August 17th 2012, after the Friday prayers in Pakistan the roads were backed up because everyone was going home from the Mosques. I got stuck in the middle of a junction of two roads. I was stuck bumper to bumper between cars. If you’ve been to Karachi, or know of it, you know how bad they drive here to begin with.
Sitting in the car with me is my 50 year old Mother and my 72 year old Nann.
A car drove up on the road moving across and started honking like crazy. I motion in front of me and behind me to show that I’m stuck and can’t do anything and the guy keeps honking.
He then gets out of his car and comes to my window and says ‘Move your car’. I say I can’t move anywhere, look at what’s behind me and in front of me. He keeps insisting I move and finally I say; “Look, where the fuck do you want me to go, I’m stuck here!”
He then grabs my arm and is pulling me and tries to take my car keys. I shove him away and I say “what the hell is your problem” and he starts screaming in the middle of the road at me about how I’m a son of a bitch and I’m doing this on purpose.
Then the OTHER guy, a much BIGGER guy, gets out of their car and walks up to me and starts off himself. Meanwhile the first guy is shouting about how “Americans” come to Pakistan and oppress the people and starts pointing to my car and screaming that I’m an American and he gathers a large group together and is doing this really racist rant.
One of this newly formed group, an old man, starts shouting, “Beat the American! Kill the American!” and I’m in my car freaking the fuck out saying “What is going on?!”
They gathered around the car, and started to try and pull me out of my car. They’re grabbing me and they’re still shouting about beating me and killing me and chanting stuff about down with America.
Then the guys in the two cars behind me get out and run up and shove everyone away and tell us to lock our doors and roll up our windows, and they clear a path and get us out of there. One of the guys who saved us said that this ‘mob’ had every intention of killing me because I’m an American.
Here’s the thing though. I am NOT an American. I’m Pakistani. I just have an American accent, and, well, sort of look like I’m an American (or as they were shouting ‘The white man’). This is the first time I’m actually ‘really’ living in the country, I’ve lived abroad most of my life, but I’ve only ever had Pakistani citizenship so I’m stuck here between visas.
Luckily, I made it out, and it doesn’t look like I have any bruises or any real physical harm done. Mentally though, I’m really, really scared. I’ve had people insult me behind my back and to my face when they think I can’t understand the insults here many times about being an ‘American’, but this is the first time it became physical…and life threatening. My Mom is going crazy and I can’t even imagine what my Nann is thinking.
I don’t speak the language here, I understand enough to get by, but that’s about it. I don’t understand the culture or the traditions, and don’t enjoy the local shows, movies or music. The weather doesn’t suit me. My mother has to cook special dishes for me because I can’t handle any of the local food. My little brother is in the same boat as me.
I am literally stuck. And now my life was threatened.
They made something simple escalate immediately into physical violence, and it wasn’t like those guys were thugs or anything, they looked like educated businessmen.
And I live in what is considered the safest neighborhood in Karachi.
The worst part is they were trying to kill an ‘American’. That was their psychotic intent, to kill the ‘oppressor’ who had invaded their country. And this is where I get put in a tough situation.
If I was an American citizen, then I probably could have gone to the Embassy or Consulate and taken care of this. But I’m not an American, which means I effectively can’t do anything about it because laws don’t mean anything here (considering the cops were down the road handling traffic at the stop sign and didn’t do anything, yeah…).
So I’m stuck until the next incident like this happens.
My family’s afraid because of my accent and my looks it could happen again since everyday the city’s violence escalates. In the past 24 hours alone 25 Shiites were murdered on a bus, and today there was some kind of explosion that may or may not have been a bomb.
I’m really freaking out and could use some support Reddit, moral or any other kind.
Send Nuh some love/support/good vibes!