- MARYAM MONTAGUE
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She was in a government building. She was in an important government building for an interview with a high ranking Moroccan government official. After the handshakes, after the business card exchange, after the glasses of mint tea, after the discussion, it was time to leave.
She was accompanied to the entrance flanked by security guards in khaki berets. It began to drizzle and then it began to pour. While waiting for the driver, she peered at the Moroccan tiled wall -- a field of variegated green. The color of a cache of raw emeralds. The color of the sea under a dark sky. The color of her newly born daughter's eyes.
She pulled her camera out of her bag. That was her first mistake.
She took a picture. That was her second mistake.
She took another picture. That was her third mistake.
That's when they stopped her. That's when they escorted her upstairs. That's when they took her to see the Stern Man.
The Stern Man was not pleased. No, he was not pleased at all. Do you know where you are? he asked. How could you possibly take pictures here? he asked. Pictures.......pictures are strictly forbidden, he said. It's a matter of national security, he said.
She tried to explain. She tried to explain about the tiles. She tried to explain about the green. She tried to explain about the beauty. Her hands gestured, her eyes fluttered, her words faltered.
He stared at her, his face blank. Uncomprehending. Unforgiving. Confronted with a dangerous, dangerous woman. A treacherous lover of green Moroccan tiles. A threat to national security......