Egypt and Japan: the two countries that stole my heart away. When I was hired against all odds as an ALT (Assistant Language
Teacher) via the JET Programme (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme), my boyhood dream of going to Japan finally came true. Now that I’m there, I would like to do something Napoleon did.
When Napoleon invaded Egypt, he wanted to know everything about this country to better dominate it. That is why he had his scholars write an encyclopedia called La description de l’Égypte (The Description of Egypt). It would be impossible for me to write an encyclopedia on my own but I will try to understand Japan and explain my discoveries to the best of my abilities.
Editor’s note: This story about Canadian multiculturalism was originally a single 3,600 word article meant for a British magazine. I decided to turn it into a mini-series. It tells the story of Peter, a Lebanese-Canadian youth and his experience of Canadian multiculturalism. He meets different people through his life who influence his thoughts. Although this tale contains many true elements and anecdotes, itis a work of fiction. Read part 1 here, 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, and part 5 here.
I finally get to the door of my apartment building. What a day! I had come across Didier, Saulo and Saeeda on my way back home. I hadn’t seen them in five years.
Didier complained a lot a year after I had originally met him. Now, he complains about the same things, but this time, even more. He complained about how white Canadians are cold and wary of black people. He complained about how he, a holder of a Master’s degree, could only find small part time jobs such as grocery store clerk or delivery boy. He complained about political corruption. He complained about
how hard it was to get Canadian citizenship. He complained about Canadian winter. He complained…and complained… But did he consider leaving Canada? No.
Saulo and I crossed paths in a metro station. He was doing all right. Although he had to work some menial jobs to support his wife, he finally got a job as a programmer. His wife also gave birth to a baby girl. He was ambivalent about the fact that his daughter was born Canadian but he tried hard to look happy about it. He hasn’t been back to Brazil and doesn’t plan on returning. He said, with a bit of disappointment, that he doesn’t feel Brazilian anymore and that he doesn’t feel Canada is home. With the same disappointed tone, he said he had it good here in Montreal.
Editor’s note: This story about Canadian multiculturalism was originally a single 3,600 word article meant for a British magazine. I decided to turn it into a mini-series. It tells the story of Peter, a Lebanese-Canadian youth and his experience of Canadian multiculturalism. He meets different people through his life who influence his thoughts. Although this tale contains many true elements and anecdotes, itis a work of fiction. Read part 1 here, 2 here, part 3here,and part 4 here.
The Brazilians were very friendly. They easily opened their hearts to people who took a sincere interest
in Brazilian culture and the Portuguese language. Because I knew some Spanish, I could understand some of their conversations and I would try to answer them in Portuguese. Although I did plenty of mistakes, the Brazilians were very happy to correct me. They also taught me about their literature, their customs and even taught me some dirty jokes in Portuguese. One of the Brazilians, Saulo, was very interested in learning French and kept asking me to explain to him some French words and French grammar. I recall one of our conversations:
On April 27th 2018, the WWE will hold its Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Pro wrestling fans and online magazines expressed their outrage towards the WWE for removing all matches featuring female wrestlers from the event. The WWE even went as far as removing female ring announcers from the event to avoid offending the Saudi government. Could trying to please this government be a form of support towards Wahhabism?
I remember last year’s reports on the church bombings in Egypt on Palm Sunday. When I heard the news, my blood curdled. I was reminded on Christmas of the harm Salafism causes when I read on Mada Masr about the church attack. I was filled with rage. I was afraid friends and family might have been hurt. It’s as if Islamist terrorist way of celebrating Christmas and Easter was to kill people and bomb churches. I was fed up of hearing from friends and relatives “Don’t worry: the martyrs are in a better place now,” “Heaven needed another angel,” and words from the Coptic Orthodox Pope such as “The Church needs martyrs.” I have no idea as to why heaven has such a great demand for Egyptians.
However, I remembered something else. In Egyptian newspapers and social media, there were mentions of Muslims leaving candles, message of condolences, and flowers in front of Saint George’s church and Saint-Mark’s cathedral after the Palm Sunday attack in 2017. Should this be surprising?
Note: This is an unreleased article about the terrorist attacks on Palm Sunday 2017 in Egypt. It was meant for newspapers.
Sunday, April 9th 2017. Palm Sunday. A bomb explodes in Mar Guirguis (Saint-George in Arabic) church in Tanta, a few kilometers away from Cairo, while another terrorist blows himself up as two police officers, a male and a female, deny him entry into Saint-Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria. Same old story, business as usual, but what went on social media was a bit different. Why are these bombings somewhat usual and what is different? What are the terrorists’ motivations?
Since 2010, Islamic terrorists bomb churches during the three biggest Christian feasts in Egypt: Christmas, Palm Sunday, and the biggest one of all, Easter. Only major incidents are reported because the minor ones have become so common that they have become routine. The reasons for attacking Saint-Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria are quite clear.