Being Iraqi, being from a conflict zone, being Arab, it all means something different to me. It means carrying anxiety I don’t entirely understand, like feeling unbearably nervous around immigration officials.
I don’t understand why I had a panic attack in Cairo last year, after seeing a sketchy guy at our hotel while we were interviewing activists and being convinced that he was listening and recording our conversation. He might have been. I don’t know. I do know that my ragged breath, uncontrollable shaking and the insistence my companion check the corridor multiple times to make sure he wasn’t coming for me isn’t normal.