I find it strange that my ex-husband is leaving comments on my previous blogposts accusing me of having ties to the Middle East when he knows full well that I don't--and he most definitely does!
Many years ago when we were first dating and living in a big city while going to school, my ex- got a summer job with a major moving company and was assigned to a crew of Middle Eastern men. My ex- became good friends with these men and spent a great deal of time with them both on and off the job, but he would never introduce me to them (he said it was a "cultural issue") and talked more about things they'd all done together than any of them as individuals. After this job ended, I never heard much more about the moving men, which surprised me a little because my ex- had seemed so close to them and spent so much time with them. (I do remember him mentioning having run into a couple of them once or twice later.)
During the late 1970s, my ex-husband also had a former college roommate and close friend who lived in Saudi Arabia for a short time while on a job for a prominent Houston engineering firm. While there, he complained of having to endure very primitive living conditions, which I found surprising under the circumstances. This same friend, who has lived overseas for many years now, travels extensively on business, and has spent time in many different countries all over the world. However, he does own a ranch in Central Texas, as well as property in other countries besides the one in which he lives.
A year or so after we married, I remember my ex-husband asking me to go with him to a suburban area of the big city we lived in to meet his brother at a jewelry store to pick up a diamond for an engagement ring being made for his brother's girlfriend (his current wife). The jewelry store we went to was a small one I'd never heard of in a little strip mall. When we got there, my ex- told me to wait in the car because they'd only be a minute, and he and his brother went inside and met with the store owner, a Middle Eastern man I'd never seen before. Their meeting took more like 10 or 15 minutes, but when they came out, I got to see the diamond, which was very large and very beautiful. I also remember being told this same jeweler had sold my ex-'s father a very large and unusual diamond that had been made into a ring for his (my ex-'s) mother. (My own teeny little engagement ring from a major chain store paled in comparison!)
Years later, while I was married and living in my current house in Central Texas, my husband began inviting students doing various local internships to stay with us in a little guesthouse we have. A few of these students were Middle Eastern men (I never saw any women or children with them) who were all very quiet and kept mostly to themselves--except in the early evening, when they would often come over to the house, knock on the back door, and inquire whether my husband was home from work yet and if he would be able to take them flying in his small plane that evening. (My ex- is a pilot who files in his spare time.)
One of these men came back to stay with us more than once with different roommates. I no longer member his name, but I know I could recognize him if I saw him again, because his coloring and features were distinctive. On two separate occasions, a parcel was delivered for this man while he was gone for the day that I took out to him later. I remember that the packages were large yellow manila envelopes that were mailed from Houston and felt as if they contained bundles of cash, which made me uncomfortable handling them. When this man finally left for good, my children and I remember him bringing us a large tray of colorful pastries he said were from a Middle-Eastern bakery in Austin as a thank-you gift. We were particularly touched by this, both because it provided us with a rich cultural and educational experience, and also because it was rare for any of the students who stayed with us to thank us in any way.
Years later, after my divorce, I remembered that around the same time these men were staying with us, my ex-husband had come home one night and announced he'd been invited by the son of a business associate to spend a long weekend with him (the son) and his wife in Dallas. My ex- said his host was a pilot for American Airlines who'd invited him to fly up and try out a flight simulator owned by American, since he knew my ex- loved to fly and was interested in jets. In retrospect, I realized this trip had been rather sudden and that I hadn't actually known whether my ex- went alone or not.
By the time I finally recalled all this, it was after 9/11, at a time when things that had seemed so innocent before suddenly took on new potential meanings. Around the same time, I read a newspaper article about the death of one of Osama bin Laden's brothers in the crash of an ultralight aircraft that had occurred in our area. I also realized there were some other coincidences that could not be easily explained away.
Although I felt everything was probably okay, I decided I'd better let the FBI know about everything just to be sure, so I wrote them a letter. I never heard anything back, so I decided that meant everything had checked out okay.
Later on (in 2003 and 2004), another rather mysterious Middle Eastern man came to my attention, although I never actually met him. A woman who worked very closely for one of the private investigators who defrauded me (and may be related to him?) told me she had married a man from Iran? [I think this was the country she said, but I can't remember for sure] so he could obtain a green card and stay in the U.S. I remember being shocked when she told me this and even more shocked by how proud she seemed of having done it; when I mentioned that I was surprised she'd do something illegal, she just laughed, so I wasn't sure if she was being serious or not. (This same woman later tried to get me to go on a "free cruise" with her and got mad at me when I turned her down.)
Finally, since this is primarily a victims' blog, I will mention one additional fact that has struck me as odd for some time. There were four victims from San Antonio killed in the attack on the Pentagon, and all four of them were women.