Dining at a nearby middle eastern restaurant last night, I was reminded of a similar joint in another city. It was an always-busy corner joint that kept weird hours and always had a line out the door. They spoiled me for any other hummus, but, to be fair, everything they served was mindbogglingly good. The late 90’s were a very good time for these folks.
And then, 9/11.
The lines disappeared overnight. What had been one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood was suddenly, desperately, empty. It that all restaurants in the area were empty, just the ones operated by The Wrong People. I don’t know that I’ve ever been most disappointed in my countrymen (at least, of those in my immediate vicinity).
There are some big points in there somewhere. Points about how ugly racism is, and how ridiculous it is to blame people who moved to this country because they liked it better “here” than “there” for the actions of a fringe group of terrorists, and stuff like that. But really, I was just stung by the memory of how ashamed I felt that my neighbors, the people who lived directly around me, acted in such a petty fashion in punishing the restaurant owners (who were also their neighbors).