November 29, 2010


Last night I was walking through downtown Djibouti on my way home. It was around 9:30 pm and a man came up to me on the street. He said to me "American?" and I said yes to which he replied "Fuck America!" What a pleasant encounter. This man must feel very strongly about this to stop me on the street only to inform me of this sentiment.

As I was walking home I thought about this as well as the malice with which he said it. He almost spit the words out at me. What brings about such strong feelings of hate in someone? With the US government's ongoing "War on Terror" attempting to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world is it even possible to reach someone like this? I would say no.

I had another similar but less profane encounter last week during class. I posed the question where would you go and what would you do if you had the resources? Many students wanted to travel, help develop Djibouti, or help their families except one student. He had 2 ideas. The first was to go to Yemen to join Al-Qaeda to fight the Americans. His other idea was to go to North Korea to join the North Korean military and fight the Americans there. This student is otherwise a respectful, well spoken student who apparently harbors intense feelings of animosity towards America.

Another student previously told me that someday the Muslims will rise as a military power and they will kill the Americans for what they have done to the Muslims. I asked if I would be killed as well but he assured me that he liked me and had no bad feelings toward me. So apparently I will be spared in this violence.


  1. I'm glad you will be spared will I parish in a jet fuel fire. Miss you

  2. Good for you for being able to have these conversations with your students. I think most of us would be more intimidated, as Americans in their country, to continue talking about this. Conversation leads to so much, so good-on-ya, cous!