Sunday, 13 March 2011

Instant recognition

SUNDAY, 6 MAY 2007

My mother is very fair skinned, and my only brother has inherited her complexion.

In may 2003 when he went home he had been away for over ten years, he had gained weight, and lost his accent. He visited family and friends, and wandered down the streets talking to random people.
Wherever he went people would pick him out from a crowd, you have lived away for a long time, but you are recognizably Iraqi they would say.
It may have been his goatee, or his rather militaristic haircut, or maybe the way he walks, but I think not.

As I wander through the streets of this cosmopolitan city, amidst the swarms of people from all over the world, displaced from their homes by need, nature, or other men’s greed.
I often pick them out, the individual or the family, the scarved and the unscarved, brown hair or dyed blonde, in suits or leather jackets, the children chattering in playground English.

It always seems to be eyes that give them away, and when our eyes meet for an instant there is a flicker before we both move on, and in that flicker I know that they have also instantly recognized me.


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