"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus by nautilusmag

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"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus by nautilusmag
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"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print

"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print
"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print
"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print
"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print

"How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire" by Molly Mendoza for Nautilus Art Print

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About this artwork

How ISIS Broke My Questionnaire: I felt the impact of an attack by the terrorist group. So why didn’t my research data? By Lydia Wilson

Illustration by Molly Mendoza

I walk into Starbucks in Achrafieh, Beirut and feel all eyes on me. I tug at my top self-consciously, probably making things worse, and wonder a) do I look like an easy Westerner; b) do I look like a ragamuffin (in comparison to the groomed Lebanese); c) are my shoes weird for this country (I think so); or d) have I got something on my face? This feeling says as much about my state of mind as it does about anyone’s judgement, and I know from past fieldwork that the self-consciousness lessens over time. But it’s early days, so even my order is whispered and has to be repeated, shrivelling inside.

Then I find an empty seat too quickly, so that I don’t notice I’m actually boxed in and can’t easily approach anyone at all. This is all going fairly disastrously. Coffee will surely help, I think; but after drinking it I can’t say I feel any better. The girl over the way is stuck into her Kindle and won’t make eye contact. There’s a man making rather too much eye contact and I don’t want to speak to him. There are two old men, deep in a discussion I don’t want to interrupt. There is a haughty and very sexy woman I feel shabby even looking at, tapping at her diamante iPhone with long red clicky nails.

The longer I sit there the worse it gets, as I’ve been looking around for far too long and then not doing anything. Do I move onto the next cafe? That’s admitting defeat and I know it won’t be any easier anywhere else. One last look around and I spy a lovely pretty face, sitting by herself, looking out of the window. I go over and she smiles up. “I’m sorry to interrupt, do you speak English?” I say, in English, pathetically. She nods. “Are you Lebanese?” Another nod. “I’m doing some research…”

Read more here: http://nautil.us/issue/21/information/the-isis-in-the-room

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