I’m an English teacher. I taught English in the Middle East for thirteen years, eleven of them in Saudi Arabia and two in Qatar. I have travelled all over the region, barring Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Palestine/Israel. Sadly, circumstances have prevented me from crossing over the borders to reach the people of these countries within their own native lands, though I’ve met many of these fine, impassioned, complex, simple, highly interesting people in Saudi Arabia and Qatar especially, as well as in the UK and elsewhere while travelling, of course.
I have been to Syria in peacetimes, and realise it is a lost world – that. It’s heartbreaking. Today I find myself the English teacher of a British-Syrian young man who is proudly Syrian but equally British in that he has been affected by peers around him. He straddles that line that isn’t quite what some insinuate is ‘Half Caste’ in one of the modern English poems I have studied and taught in this country about the plight of a poet coming from ‘mixed bloodlines’; both of this lad’s parents are Arab. So, he’s not fully Arab anymore, and he’s not a native British son. He has adopted the norms (good and bad) of his homeland with a similar passion he contains for the place of his upbringing, which is now in shambles today. The joy this boy, this young man, exudes (probably because of the appreciation for what he now has) saves him from Continue reading What Matters Gets Done