I want to go to the Middle East because I want to see if as many people there have blue eyes as Disney’s version of “The Prince of Persia” would have me to believe. Even my mixed friend, who has a white mother and black father, texted me after and said “WOW why were all the main characters white?”
C’me on, Disney.
The real reason I want to go to the Middle East actually is related to the reason, I believe, that Disney felt it necessary that its main male characters all have blue eyes. I want to know what I’m supposed to be afraid of. Over here, the Middle East is villified..they’re “the enemy” (especially Islamic people).
A couple of years ago, I decided I couldn’t just accept that I was supposed to hate that whole region of the world and everybody in it, and I began to read about it. I started with “The Kite Runner” and the “Princess” series–if you haven’t read it, it’s about a Saudi Arabian princess and her struggles in the culture. From there, I just began to look up a lot of things about the reasons we went to war from a historical standpoint, the Palestine-Israli conflict, Islam, Sha’ria (Islamic Law) and Islamic extremism. As I read more, I began to meet people from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon…I even worked with a woman from Kurdistan, and I would talk to them about events from their points of view.
They would describe the beauty of their countries, and bring in foods for lunch that smelled and looked so spicy and colorful (you will all soon learn that I’m obsessed with food) and I would listen and sigh, thinking “Too bad I’ll never be able to see/taste it for myself.”
I assumed I would never be able to go live and work there because not only am I an American, but I am an American woman, and a single, Christian American woman to boot. That probably sounds offensive or ignorant or whatever, but I can’t help the small feeling of alarm it gives me to consider all of those factors together.
But the other day, I was emailing my mom’s friend about TEFL programs, and he said that you can make bank teaching English in the Middle East. I had never really considered the Middle East as an option for something like that, but he said that some countries are open to those kinds of programs or contract work or whatever. I will have to research the mess out of it of course, but it’s really cool to think that this time next year I could be blogging from Kuwait or Dubai or the UAE.