Table Talk

Lunch conversations among my fellow new AUC faculty:

“So what were those women at your table arguing about in Arabic during the teaching workshop?”
“Oh, you know how we were supposed to talk about how to handle political disputes in the classroom? It turned into a political dispute. One prof teaches human rights, so she talked about the breakup of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins and how it was excessive, undemocratic, etc. And the professor across from her said, no, it was necessary. Then they started arguing about democracy. I tried to join in, and the one supporting the Army said ‘Why should we listen to Americans about democracy. America’s not a democracy. In 2003 they had millions in the street against the Iraq War and they still went to war. Here, the Army listened to the people in the streets.”
“Huh.”

“So you live in the apartments near campus too.”
“Uh-huh. They’re very nice. Good grocery store close by.”
“OK, so it’s close, but is it walkable? No car, remember?”
“Um, theoretically. I wouldn’t though. The traffic is really busy.”
“Imagine the headline: ‘Suicidal Foreigner Steps in Front of Car to Make Egypt Look Bad.'”
“We’re an international conspiracy right here. US, Egypt, you’re from Canada, right?”
“So they’re in on it. What about you? Where are you from?”
“Iran.”
“Perfect!” [Peals of laughter].

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