Friday, May 04, 2007

My Arabic Tutor

I have a tutor for Arabic because I need help working on conversation. I can read it pretty well now, but that's because I can get my brain shifted over and that really doesn't happen when I'm trying to think of what I want to say in English and then processing... processing... processing... ctrl/atl/del?

She used to be an archeologist, which is pretty neat. She's also Iraqi and just got here a year ago, so she has a lot of stories to tell. Sometimes the language barrier gets a little too tall and the two of us revert to that special pantomime of exaggerated faces and wild arm movements. I tried to explain In'n'Out Burger to her; she tried to explain Yazidis (a very old religion spread out in a handful of villages around Iraq, Iran, and Turkey that openly worships Lucifer as the peacock angel, a nice guy who's gotten some bad press) to me.

She found out this week that her brother has been kidnapped and the first thing I want to ask is why everyone in her family didn't get out if she could, but I stop myself. I just say that I'm very, very sorry and people say that they're sorry all the time without meaning it so it's a strange, wrenching feeling to mean it this deeply.

Her work permit renewal paperwork is due and, get this, if she admits to the US government that she has sent money to her family to pay the ransom on her brother, she will have admitted to providing support to terrorists and she will be deported.

It's a small lie, I suppose, to say on a signed document that you did not pay money to evil men so that your brother would not be shot and left in the street to be found the next morning. I know that's what she'll do, but on top of everything that's happened to her that she could easily blame on our government and, as far as I can tell, doesn't, it has the capriciousness to force her to lie.

I'm truly sorry. I'm furious that there's not much I can do. This is a selfish post because I can't even write what she might be feeling right now because I really can't imagine. That's all I have.


Blogger *moosie* said...

I'm so very sorry about this :( I wish this wasn't such a raging, idiotic world.

7:53 PM  

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