I published my post about the skinhead attack on some Lithuanian news portals. The internet comments battle lines are being drawn, and it seems that the internet wants me to go home. I am also a self-important whiny tourist who lacks the moral fortitude to live in Lithuania. I was even given the old American maxim: toughen up, get used to it or get the hell out of our country. So there’s that.
One interesting comment told me that the police are equally as ineffectual for the Lithuanians who need their help. I have heard this from Lithuanian acquaintances a lot over the past few weeks. I totally believe this, since the only reason I was taken even a little bit seriously by the police was the fact that I was there with representatives from the Embassy. It makes me sad that the people who are charged with the protection of people and their rights are not being held accountable. I wish that there was a way to effect change within such bureaucracies in order to make them more effective. I don’t know how to begin to do that in America, let alone in a country that is not my own.
Just a few minutes ago, I was standing outside the Political Science faculty with a friend, and we were approached by a group of young men, maybe high school age. The tallest one asked me where I was from, and my gut reaction was “oh, hell, here we go”. What really happened was that the students were on a scavenger hunt where they needed to get pictures with foreigners and find out the name of the main street in their town. (how convenient for me that it’s called Main Street). They were really nice kids, and I thank them for coming into my life on a day when my view of Lithuanian-Foreigner relations was in very real danger of becoming shockingly one-sided.