Karachi, Pakistan, Amir discussed on Tell Them, I Am

Tell Them, I Am
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Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Hey there before we get into today's story. I wanna thank all of you who've donated to support this show, tell them I am would not have happened. If we didn't have support from KPCC listeners, you really are. What keeps the lights on here? And we need lights to edit and do interviews if you haven't donated yet do it. Now, just go to KPCC pie cast dot org and donate thirty five dollars. And you'll get a really cool. Tell the Miami T shirt. Thanks now to the show. What's that? It's michel. So you might already know if you spend some time stalking me on the internet that I grew up in Karachi Pakistan, and when I was around six or seven this is probably the most memorable Ramadan of my childhood a bunch of adults gave me my sister. Some of my cousins and family, friends blocks of money, and we decide will we have all this money. We got to spend it on something. So we walked down the stairs out of our little apartment complex, and we go out into the streets of Karachi. When you walk out from like, the kid view like lower, you you just look up and you see like a ton of light. So we made a left and we kept walking. My sister is so excited about the money. She has that she's literally throwing dollar bills on the floor as we're walking. So she's just like making it rain on the streets of Karachi. And then we turn another corner. And it's like we enter this like mystical world. We see this, man. A literal snake charmer standing right there in front of us with a wooden flute and a woven basket. All of us decide that's what we're gonna do. That's what we're going to spend our money on. We ask him how much is it going to cost and he says, well how much money do you have? So we count up our money, we tell him, and he goes great. That's exactly how much it's gonna cost. So we give him our blocks of money, and he pockets them, and he pulls out his wooden flute, and he starts playing at and he starts playing you really badly. And nothing happens. It's like the basket doesn't even rattle, you know. And then eventually goes, oh, I guess the snake must be sleeping today. Sorry, like sometimes it's a bad day. And then if felt almost like magic like he just disappeared, and we turned around and walked back home. The adults greet us. And they're like, oh, where did you guys? Go. What did you do? And all the kids start telling them what happened and I distinctly. Remember, my mom used to laugh all the time. But in this, particular instance, she couldn't stop laughing. But I was furious. I was so mad that this guy. Lied to us. And that I should have known better that I kept it with me for years. I decided I would never let anybody get the best of me. But now twenty years later thinking about it. I do remember. My sister was throwing money to the ground and worthies rich kids on the streets of Pakistan trespassing on that man's territory. So was he just doing his job? Or is he really the villain that I made him out to be all these. My name is Amir second. I'm from Chicago, Illinois, and I'm a dancer choreographer teacher and activist. Amir how to similar moment I was playing up in the woods. I remember there's a lot of leaves on the ground, you know? And that's where I remember looking down and seeing like the bees kind of blending in with these dry dead leaves in just noticing them. But just thinking nothing of it. This is tell them. I am. So I think I was twelve years old. It had to be like two in the afternoon. Yes somewhere midday. Sun was out. It was beautiful. It was summertime. I was playing up in the woods with my sister, my younger sister and her friends, and we were kind of running around the woods, and we kept circling this one area, and you know, so I'm running I'm running. I keep seeing them around my feet, not pay attention. And then like the third time I hit that area. All of a sudden, I felt all these little pinches all over my body. I knew my way out of the woods, you know, where like at the top of this ridge. And then you had to kind of run down pretty steep hill. And then there's like a patio and then another hill, that's more cleared. And that's where my mom met me. So. She's starting. She ran up the hill to where I was which was a considerable distance and found me just crying and screaming, and she actually had to have my hair, and like French braids like to French braids is she was pulling bees out of my hair. That's pretty gangster. You know what? I mean. Like, she wasn't swatting them away. She was literally like not caring if she gets done, then I came down to the house. And then my dad was freaking out and they threw me in a cold shower. And when I came out of the shower, I was actually like pulling the stinger 's from under my eyes like there were stingers in my face. And I was pulling them out of my skin that part. I was like oh my God. I remember looking in the mirror like trembling.

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