Thursday, February 01, 2007

My Arabic Instructor Takes Exception

I recently heard from my Arabic instructor who taught a course at the University of Richmond which was open to the general public. The course was sponsored by the U.S. department of state and our instructor came to us from Syria. I published an article on regarding this experience. (See "My Articles on": What I Learned in Arabic Class)
At any rate, one of the students in the class came upon the article and alerted everybody else. Apparently this student took offense that I described the instructor as "beautiful". The instructor also read the article and was incensed by other things, as you can see from her letter below. At any rate, I told her that I would post her letter and then in the near future I would write a response. I should have the reponse posted to this site by February 10 or thereabouts.
Dear John,

It's been a long time since I sent my last e-mail. But i am trying today to catch up with all the stuff that i missed

Were you taking any arabic classes recently and HOW MUCH did you learn this time?? Well, I did read the article the time you sent, about a year and a half. But I never got a chance to answer because I was going through hard times; my wedding was called off then. Later, I got very busy with the school that took all my time; teaching for 6 hours every morning and 2 hours in the afternoon in two different places and to two different ages. The short time that I had left was to spend with my boyfriend.

Recently, I got a job where I have 24 internet access so I thought to check on everyone, how you'll doing how much you LEARNT so far taking into consideration the fact that I was banned from logging into the website because of my expired e-mail. Anyhow, I managed to read all the sms and I would like to tell you my personal opinion. (You can post this on the website)

I was extremely disappointed and annoyed the moment I read the article. Annoyed as I read the end when you summarized YOUR analysis of the three characters you've been observing and disappointed when I read the very last line.

I am a teacher and to know that one of brightest students wasn't in my class to actually learn but to critique people from other cultures and judge their political, religious, and emotional behaviour as such.

The fast that your little Arabic was beside the point made me think of all the questions you ever asked and then ask my self: so what was the POINT?

Yes, I was personally living under repressive regimes but I had the courage and the adventurous spirit to explore places beyond my map, which is so uncommon in your country. I did still do like some of how your country functions but hate other aspects as well. There's no perfect place. At this stage I have to clarify 2 important points:

1. After the overseas trip which was a gift from my friend I realized how friendly Americans are and how rough the Germans are (I believe you agree with that) and I still believe this. As for calling America "Home": what I meant by that I wanted to go to the place where I had people who loved me, cared so much about me and I loved them back, that's what I called at the moments home or can't I unless I am a citizen. Well, I guess because of those people I did feel belonging. (take into your consideration that I was not an active person regarding going out and such stuff, 9:00 was normally the time that I arrive home from the only place called UR.

2. As for the point when you said " she was comfortable wearing western clothes", you mean we wear what?? I can't think of any thing, let me tell you, people in Syria care about the elegance and being formal at all times, something that I didn't see in the states.

Even when woman are veiled, sometimes they wear the most fashionable clothes ever. And to give a proof of my sentences, I am attaching some pics of my wedding which was very average, and I am an average muslim. See and judge for yourself.

I also attached an article written by an American who is living in Amman now, ..

That was a feed back about all the stuff i missed,


Seems the pics taking for ever , I will put them on the group thing