ABE SALMI

Network Support Technician


LISTEN TO SALMI'S DIARY

APRIL 1, 2003 · Abe Salmi, 26, is a network support technician in a Chicago suburb. He was born in this country, to Palestinian parents. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, Salmi's wife, mother and sister have endured taunts and ethnic slurs when they've appeared in public wearing Muslim headscarves, or hijabs. But a few days ago, Salmi and his family found themselves and their family car the targets of intensified hatred. This is his War Diary.

Last week I was in my bedroom, in my house, watching news coverage in Iraq. Kind of dozed off, wasn't sure if I heard of an explosion; I thought it was coming from the television, around 12 p.m. My wife woke me up. She said there's smoke coming out of the van. We went outside, and sort of saw the shell of the van left... The windows were blown out, there was glass reaching all the way to my front porch. One of the doors was blown off, the rest of the doors were sort of popped out, and the police discovered that it was a Class B explosive that was thrown into the back of the van.

"There's a lot of people out there who are ignorant. But fortunately there's a lot more people who are really caring people and don't like to see this sort of thing happen."

Actually, my mother, just before the explosion... took a peek outside because she was with my two children. I have a son who's two and I have a daughter who's one. And she was almost ready to put them to sleep. They were not 40 feet away from the actual van, inside the house.

If anything good came out of that, we reaffirmed that we have really, really good neighbors. We've lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years. And after Sept. 11, there has always been sort of uneasiness, even with the neighbors we were really familiar with. And there's been a sort of tension. And I think after the bombing, that tension was kind of relieved.

For the most part, people tend to mind their own business, but after the bombing we had neighbors come up that we haven't spoken to in a while. There's a lot of people out there who are ignorant. But fortunately there's a lot more people who are really caring people and don't like to see this sort of thing happen. So for every bad action, I think there was about 10 good actions that came out of this.


A March 11, 2003, Talk of the Nation discussion about how the looming Iraq war affects Arab Americans.

A Nov. 26, 2002, All Things Considered report on hate crimes against Arab Americans.



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