x Hello!
Log in here to add your story.

Post 9/11 Europe

10.01.2001 - 10.05.2001
Original language : English

A brief recollection from a British South Asian writer, Raman Mundar, who visited Vienna directly after the 9/11 twin tower attacks.

I was in Vienna, in Winter 2001, just after 9/11. I had been invited to read my poetry at a literary event. I was excited to be there in a city that held so much history and art. I walked around town in my Punjabi block print shalwar kameez and Doc Marten boots combo (paired with a cropped denim jacket, wild, flowing locks and bright red lipstick) and was met half a dozen times by people passing me and saying things like ‘Dirty Moslem!’, hissing and spiting at me.

I made a planned pilgrimage to the famous Café Central and stood waiting to be seated in the half full cafe. Several white couples who arrived after me where wafted towards tables whilst I waited. I began to smell an injustice and rather than leave, decided to seat myself and give the café the benefit of doubt. I sat and was about to imagine Freud and Trotsky drinking coffee and chowing down on apfelstrudel when a waitress descended upon me and asked why I was sitting there. I explained I had been waiting for a while and needed a table and this one was free and I could see no reservation on it. She looked at me coldly and said ‘There is no table free for you Madame.’

At the Opera House I was excited to have scored cheap seats in ‘the gods’ and settled down to listen to Bizet only to feel the hard stares of the white people around me. I left during the interval.

Welcome to Europe post 9/11.

A brief recollection from a British South Asian writer, Raman Mundar, who visited Vienna directly after the 9/11 twin tower attacks.

I was in Vienna, in Winter 2001, just after 9/11. I had been invited to read my poetry at a literary event. I was excited to be there in a city that held so much history and art. I walked around town in my Punjabi block print shalwar kameez and Doc Marten boots combo (paired with a cropped denim jacket, wild, flowing locks and bright red lipstick) and was met half a dozen times by people passing me and saying things like ‘Dirty Moslem!’, hissing and spiting at me.

I made a planned pilgrimage to the famous Café Central and stood waiting to be seated in the half full cafe. Several white couples who arrived after me where wafted towards tables whilst I waited. I began to smell an injustice and rather than leave, decided to seat myself and give the café the benefit of doubt. I sat and was about to imagine Freud and Trotsky drinking coffee and chowing down on apfelstrudel when a waitress descended upon me and asked why I was sitting there. I explained I had been waiting for a while and needed a table and this one was free and I could see no reservation on it. She looked at me coldly and said ‘There is no table free for you Madame.’

At the Opera House I was excited to have scored cheap seats in ‘the gods’ and settled down to listen to Bizet only to feel the hard stares of the white people around me. I left during the interval.

Welcome to Europe post 9/11.