Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where is that guy?

He's busy, and depressingly bad at time management! And while hopefully one or both of those things will change soon, they're both true today. But you guys are wonderful readers and friends, and I'd like to take a few minutes to keep you in the loop.

What's been happening lately:
- Trips to Lebanon, the ancient Roman cities of Palmyra and Bosra and the Christian holy city of Maalula.
- A new teaching project with some amazing Iraqi refugees who are preparing for college in the United States.
- Me actually understanding people when they talk in Arabic - a little, anyway.
- Exams, exams, exams - for my students, that is. And I thought they studied all the time before...
- A wonderful, four-day visit from my father, who, I'm pretty sure, loved the Syrian experience. My dad can beat up your dad!
- Attacks on churches in Egypt and Iraq, and an attempted assassination of a congresswoman in Arizona. And you guys are worried about my safety? Thank God for the peace that prevails in Syria. My prayers are with God's church in Iraq and Egypt, and with the families of the victims of the Tuscon shooting.

What will happen soon, by the grace of God:
- A 10-day vacation from school. In the middle of January. No, there's no religious or state holiday, but exams are over, and I guess they thought it would be a good time. Found out about this two days ago.
- Due to the aforementioned, a spontaneous trip to some distant corner of this beautiful country.
- More blogging. My promises are probably empty to you folks at this point, but it is a goal of mine. There are so many stories I want to share with you guys. I also want to start posting my thoughts about a book my dad brought me, at my request, when he came: In Defense of Lost Causes by Slavoj Zizek, a Slovakian Marxist and cultural critic.

Reading Zizek's Living in the End Times last summer was a terrific experience, and I'm eager to get back into this guy's head. I don't understand a lot of his jargon, but he's endlessly fascinating nonetheless. Last summer, I followed up Living in the End Times with Fareed Zakaria's The Future of Freedom. Zakaria is much, much more readable, and probably more basic, but it struck me that both men asked the same question - "How can we reverse the tide of destruction and chaos brought about by the free market and globalization?" - and gave opposite answers. Zizek wants to shed all the ties that bind - culture, capitalism, violent force - in a vaguely-defined "global emancipation project." Zakaria forcefully advocates the ties that bind. He favors limits on democracy and a benign class system. Those of you who know me can probably guess than I'm with Zakaria on this one, but my political beliefs are probably more ambiguous at this stage in my life than at any point before. Praise God, who makes fools of wise men, and gives his love and truth to little children.

Hope to write to you again soon. Until then, الله معكن. God be with you all.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to hear from you. Always look forward to these posts.