Anjali Kamat

Interrogated at the Israel-Egypt border

We were held for over 11 hours at the border and interrogated about every single item in our possession and repeatedly asked if we belonged to any “peace or leftist or even UN organization.” It was an incredibly harrowing experience — long periods of mind numbing boredom, staring out into the beautiful red sea, watching hordes of Israelis return from a roasting vacation in the Sinai and endless British Bible tour groups and American backpackers pass through security unharassed. An unpleasant boredom punctuated by short bursts of nerve-racking questioning about the most personal details of our lives (as culled from “offensive” sources in our bags like journals, letters, photographs, stationery, and even slogans on T-shirts), our plans for tourism in Israel, how we know each other, why we study Arabic, and do we know any Arabs.