"What is your name?"

"What is your name?" is always the first question I get when an official opens my passport in Israel, looking at me with this incredulous look on their face, eyebrows raised, waiting for my confirmation that my name is Surya which to them, pronounced the way my parents call me, sounds like the word for Syria in both Arabic and Hebrew. (What it really is, or the way my parents intended it anyway, is the sun)

Today I also learnt from someone that apparently, I look like what could be interpreted by many Israelis as a left-wing extremist student come to do activism in the country. And I certainly don't look like the typical intern that would walk into the office, which is a good thing. I do agree, I don't like looking like the norm, I like looking like what I want to look like. Anyway, I was in no way offended by this, I found it rather amusing and very insightful.

I was told this, and it was later confirmed to me by someone else, as I said I was always detained at the airport security when I land in Israel. This is why I find it insightful because according to her the name has something to do with it but so does my look, which is a theory I do agree with as they notice me as soon as I step out of the plane.

They do this thing when they have someone wait at the end of the tunnel that connects your plane to the building and that person looks at the people coming out and calls the funny looking ones on the side. And so the first round of questioning begins, and so the famous first question is raised. I knew I must have had a certain look-type because I never fail to be chosen but now I know what I am probably classified as in their mind when they look at me.

What I have yet to find out is what about my look qualifies as left-wing extremist? It would be easier for you to picture it if I posted pictures of my clothes but I won't. I dress in a rather classical manner, sometimes hipster, sometimes tomboy, sometimes more feminine, it depends of my mood, the availability of my clothes and my degree of hurry.

And don't want to change my appearance though, but for my general knowledge I would like to find out, what in Israeli(/Middle Eastern) standards qualifies as a left-wing extremist activist student. If you have info regarding this, please share!


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