Archive for the ‘Peace Corps’ Category

English Village in Mu’tah University by Peace Corps Volunteers: Chris, Adam, Nataly, and Rachel. In addition to the coordination of Dr. Layla Omari

It is hard to disagree with the proverb that “you know the importance of something only when you lose it”.

 

I really enjoyed it… The most beautiful part, getting to now new people. I love Adam the most because he knows how to create and manage debates!

Playing a Christian Song in an ‘English Village’ in Mu’tah University, Insanity?

Chris is one of four American volunteers in a governmental American organization called ‘Peace Corps’. Today, Chris gave us the 4th lecture of the English Village course in Mu’tah University.

Since less than a year, Chris lives in Smakieh, my village. “We, volunteers, don’t choose where to live! Peace Corps just choose where we live!” Chris explained to a student in Qaser-University bus today’s evening.

Today’s lecture was about English songs. It was clearly that Chris had a hard job preparing this lesson for less than 30 students who attended his three-hour lesson. How many hours did he spend preparing the lyrics, downloading the songs from the internet then to his iPod, carrying large speakers to and fro the University, standing for 3 continuous hours explaining, discussing, and interacting with Jordanian students studying in Mu’tah University! If volunteers decided to ask for money in return for their lessons, what amount of money is enough to repay them their favors?

Chris asked us, students, what songs to play. He just enumerated the songs he prepared. Then he would wait for students to decide. After the first song or two he played, he started to talk about a song he had talking about ‘Christian Song’. “Oh God!” I thought to myself. Does he really understand what he is talking about? I discovered that it was only the beginning.

He described this song as “very emotional”. It is about a “conversation between God and his son, Jesus!” I didn’t know what to say or do! Doesn’t he know that he touched the most controversial issue between Christianity and Islam? The Quran talks specifically about the ‘infidels’ who claimed that ‘God had a son’. What? Why? How? I was baffled and my face flushed instead of Chris’.

Chris just continued. He didn’t seem to care. He talked as comfortable as if he was talking about the weather. I wanted to warn him. “You should stop! This is not a topic of discussion! Christians believe that Jesus is the ‘Son of God’ and Muslims…” How could I explain all of this to him in front of all students? Will I deliver my idea correctly? Should I enter in a discussion related to a forbidden subject as “Religion”? I sat silent waiting to see a student or another raising his voice to object to Chris. “How pity is Chris! He doesn’t know much about religions in the Middle East!” I felt sorry for Chris!

Students chose the third song and ignored the idea of hearing the “very emotional Christian song”. I felt relieved! But, for not too long!

We finished the third song. It was time to choose the next song.
Again, Chris began to explain what options we had. Again, I heard him mentioning “God and his Son”. “What is the matter with him?” I thought and thought! Again, the students voted to listen to another song. I was voting with them! I surely understood why they don’t want to understand such a song! Discussing religion is like discussing Sex or Politics. Nawaal Sa’dawee نوال السعداوي , an Egyptian feminist and writer, describe those horrible and unspeakable topics in the Arab World as “Forbidden Trinity”. Choose any other topic and talk about it!

Again, we finished this song. Chris wanted to start another. It was way long before lesson ends. Again and Again, Chris offers the Christian song, and we students, choose the one of the remaining 3 then 2 options.

20 minutes prior to the end of the class, Dr. Layla Omari, a doctor in the English department of the Faculty of Arts in Mu’tah University entered our class. Since the beginning of this course on Sunday, this is the first time the Supervisor doctor attended a lecture with us.

We finished the 5th or 6th song. We were left with two songs to choose from. The first song, you name it. The other one was about ‘loving one’s country’. A fuss occurred in the class, a female student behind me whispered to Dr. Layla. I was sitting between the two. I didn’t turn my head toward them. I didn’t want to appear spying on them. In the first place, why was she whispering? She wants the subject to be classified.

I overheard the following words… “Tell him… Religion…. Religion…” Then Chris just interrupted and all the students, including this one, stopped talking. Dr. Layla nodded like she understood what the girl talked about.

It was the time to choose the last Song to hear. It was almost 5 o’clock. Students had only two options. What do you think we chose? You guess it! I smiled at how Chris insisted on describing what the Christian song talked about. I have never seen him in the Church in Smakieh. Why Christianity was so important to him then?

After the lecture, I waited till all students left. I approached Chris and was beginning to explain to him this controversial issue between Christianity and Islam. “I know!” Quickly he answered. I was shocked. “Muslims doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God!” I said nothing more. It turned out that he knows! Why did he talk about it then? Is this “Bravery” or “Misjudgment”? I thought for a moment until Chris expressed his opinion!

How courageous is to have a principle in life! What is more courageous is to defend this principle! The principle might be wrong! This might be the case as trying to play a Christian song in Mu’tah. But in the end, you are defending what you believe in no matter what Moabite or others think of!

“OK, Muslims don’t believe in this… Fine! If you listen to other’s opinions, this doesn’t mean that you are accepting them! Just listen to them”

What do you think? Is Chris’s principle correct? Should you listen to an idea or opinion you definitely believe is incorrect?