Bassel Hamieh is an honor student at Portland State University and a U.S. citizen born in Washington state. Because he is of middle eastern descent, however, a woman who allegedly hit his car subjected him to a racist tirade.
In a video Hamieh posted on Facebook, the woman refuses to give him her insurance information because “he’s not from here.”
The full post reads:
Today was the day I had to confront a RACIST lady, in PORTLAND, OR, who hit the side of my car, denied the fact, proceeded to call me a terrorist, and finally accused me of harassing her.
I was in my car when she hit it and kept driving. Thinking she would stop I waited but soon realized that she wouldn’t, which prompted me to run after her to let her know what she had done.
After I asked for her ID and insurance, she questioned why I would need them and implied that I would be using them to steel her identity and live illegally here in the states. That was the moment I decided to record the incident; one that I had thought was a simple fix, but was in fact something much bigger. Watch the video to see what had unfolded. The police came in the end to neutralize the situation.
I was so startled that I couldn’t find the right words to defend myself, especially after taking an exam and being exhausted from school. However, all I know is that I AM SICK AND TIRED of dealing with ignorance and hate-filled people. I have endured too many years of this kind of abuse and am shocked by the fact.
Regardless of this, I will proceed with a kind heart and hope that one day all things will change. Though I felt defeated for an instance today, the support of my friends and family has reminded me of my worth as a citizen and a human being.
I am making my peace with the fact that I will never feel safe here and will just live, hopeful, that one day we will all love one another and live to make others feel this love. I truly believe that I am BLESSED to BE A BLESSING to others and especially people like her. I hope that she looks back at this situation and reflects about her actions to see that there was absolutely no need to make it about race and that all it took was being honest, compassionate, and understanding to get this situation fixed. I feel pity for her because she is filled with so much hate; that she had been raised to think with hate, see with hate, and express with hate; and that she doesn’t have the ability to see, to truly see, right from wrong.
I will live each day feeling PROUD of who I am and not shame. Feeling LUCKY to be who I am and not unfortunate. I WILL NOT let people like this women define me.
I promise that one day, when I make it “big” I will use all of my power to make this world better, more equitable, and more loving for the underrepresented and forgotten. But for now, I will take all the steps that I can to ensure that I will reach this goal.
As Marthin Lutheran King Jr once said,
‘If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
But whatever you do,
You have to keep moving forward.’
PLEASE SHARE as awareness to the world that racism and bigotry (obviously) are alive and thriving and ready to divide us!!!
The woman finally gave Hamieh her insurance information, but not before she repeatedly accused him of nefariousness because of his ethnicity.
People applauded Hamieh for how civilly he handled the situation.
First, Bassel should be applauded for his civil, law biding and reasoned approach to this.
Second, this woman needs to be on the front page of her local paper.
Someone please make that happen.
— yankeepaul (@yankeepaul) August 24, 2018
Bassel you should be so proud of how you conducted yourself. I would be so proud if my sons acted this way. I am sorry that you had to go through this. Hate is ugly. But for it to be healed, it needs to be acknowledged. Blessing to you! So grateful for souls like your self! ❤️
— Gillian White (@Gill_loveenergy) August 24, 2018
You were classy and calm…you represent the best of America. Her, not even close.
— Primrose Lane (@ridiculoustimes) August 24, 2018
Bassel is an extraordinary young man! He handled this so well. I am deeply saddened over this woman’s treatment of him! I am impressed by his calm demeanor!
— JKWallace (@JKWallace) August 24, 2018
Others were appalled by the woman’s behavior.
Gaslighting is the cause and effect of this woman’s ignorance. Terrorism in America, is by far, committed by Americans.
— Jancan2 (@jancantoo) August 24, 2018
Bassel, this is HORRIBLE behavior on this woman's part. I am so, so sorry that you have to go thru things like this. This is really upsetting to see people like her, racists. Again, I am so sorry.
— Rachael Barrett (@ubuddhist) August 24, 2018
WOW, why? What is she thinking bringing in his race she hit his car? I'm confused by this kind of behavior. What is this built-in hatred of anyone who isn't blond hair Barbies. What is wrong with her? I hope she is ashamed of her self.
— Stacy S (@stacys8828) August 24, 2018
For what it’s worth, according to The Independent:
That being said Hamieh hopes that the woman doesn’t receive any backlash after the video was viewed hundreds of times on social media and hopes that she can learn from her mistakes and can help other people make ethnic minorities feel safe in local communities.