25 February, 2021

Big Apple, Bitten

Big Apple, Bitten
The cabbie ferrying us from jfk airport into the city is from Pakistan. As he eyes the camera in my hand, he freezes. "I hope you’re not filming me," he warns. "These are dangerous times. But if you switch that thing off, I’ll tell you everything you need to know." Plastered across his windscreen is the American Stars and Stripes. Badge of safety? Or statement of solidarity?

As the car rolls along the ravaged but still-glorious Brooklyn Bridge, I shove the camera away and wait for the revelation. He doesn’t make eye contact, talking to me instead through his rearview mirror. "Why do these Americans poke their nose everywhere? That’s why they’ve been attacked." I say nothing so he pumps up the volume on the radio. A talk show host sounds like he’s about to burst a blood vessel. "Hey Bob," he says, to someone who’s just dialled in with a question. "There were Indians and Pakistanis and whoever in the World Trade Towers. Right? So how come these guys aren’t coming right out on our side more clearly? I mean, don’t we need to screen who we let in so this doesn’t...

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