We dressed up for Halloween as you see here and went to a couple of parties. Some of the more interesting comments we received were:
Guy, to Miriam: Do you have any bombs strapped under there?
Guy #1, to me: Are you a ninja or a terrorist?
Guy #2: If she blows up, we'll know.
Guy, to Jeremy: Are you Jesus?
Guy, to Jeremy: Are you an angel?
Besides that, we got plenty of strange, even fearful looks. I know it's just Halloween, and maybe I'm overreacting, but since when is it not OK to dress up as an Arab, even a non-typical one? Since a dozen Arab men, who did not even dress like this, were involved in September 11, does that mean that the costume of "generic old-fashioned Arabian man" is off-limits? Of course, this would beg the question, was it ever on-limits? Why is it OK to wear a cowboy hat, a grass skirt, even a feather headdress, but not a keffiyeh or a hijab?
We asked a young man at the party to take our picture. He looked at us for a while and then moved away, without even saying a word. Now, I realize that it's possible that this young man had a pre-existing speech production problem that rendered him unable to respond, but I doubt it.
And we were just wearing the outfits as costumes. I'd hate to think of peoples' reactions if we wore such clothing as part of our lifestyle. It's times like these that I'm so glad to be able to tell people what Syria is really like, what Syrians are really like. I can only hope they'll have the courage to ask.