Adonis Diaries

Introspection: Middle school (continue 13)

Posted on: December 25, 2008

Class performance


I was excellent in French composition during my classes of “sixieme” and “cinquieme” and the French teachers were amazed with my mastery of the language and imagination; I was much better than the French students and they believed that I was being aided greatly in my essays but this impression was totally unfounded.  In the class of “sixieme” my French teacher visited my folks to ask them not to aid me with my French composition; he had no idea that my parents had no real schooling, at least in French, to be of any help. I recall very well the subject of the essay; it was about our feeling back to school after a long summer vacation and I wrote and wrote and filled three pages.  I never could retrieve this piece of writing.

I was poor in English and my folks assigned me “supplementary English lessons” at home by my teacher Mr. Sahab, a Palestinian by origin. Ironically, English is the language I exclusively I adopted to write even though French and Arabic should have been normally my preferred choices if I didn’t end up in the USA for an extended period.

Surprisingly, hard as I try I do not recall my class of “quatrieme”, who were my teachers and not even where it was located.  In the class of “troisieme” I did well and succeeded in both the French and Lebanese public examinations the “Brevets”.  The class of “seconde” started well in modern math and my math teacher was overwhelmed with my tests and homework but then my performances deteriorated quickly in graphical algebra and how to interpret equations and the parameters graphically. The class of “seconde” is the most valuable and critical year in math, physics and chemistry and the hardest of all years because the methods are different and the materials new.  We had a very ugly and deformed teacher for our French literature class and he mostly wrote on the blackboard and we had to re-copy what he had written.


Israel offensive war of 1967


It was in 1967 that Israel ravaged the Arab States of Egypt, Syria and Jordan within less than 10 days.  We had a French cleric “Brother or frere” (Irene), possibly from Czechoslovakia, who taught us chemistry doubled with the responsibility of class “mentor” which means he would deliver half an hour discourse at the start of the day at 7:30 on religion and other moral issues.  Irene once delivered at least two sessions to prove “scientifically” that Jesus died on the cross and that he resurrected from the dead; it was if he was scared of St. Paul admonition that “If Christ has not resurrected then Christianity has no foundation”.  Irene was tall, blond, powerful and well built and snow skied; he once gave a ravaging blow to Khalil, the classmate sitting next to me on the bench; supposedly Khalil mocked Irene during study time but I was not there to witness the affair.  

This Brother was mainly pro Zionist and insisted on illuminating us on the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazi camps (to convince us of the necessity of a Zionist State) and forecasted that the Arab armies would be vanquished in 1967.  For some reason this religious cleric alienated me when he mocked me during class breaks for not participating in group sports; I thus had the opportunity to rebut his notion on trioxide CO3 and told him in front of the whole class that what is describing is erroneous because this element is unstable which got his attention and renewed appreciation of me.

I had no idea what this 1967 war was about and when I was told that it is a war between the Jews living in Palestine and the Arabs then I was under the impression that the Jews always lived in Palestine.  French colonialism was keen on distorting political and historical facts and focused on French history and geography.  Since there is no conversation in my family and none with my colleagues at school I was as dumb in politics in general and especially local and regional politics.  I remember that we painted our windows blue for a day and the war was over.

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December 2008

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