Friday, December 24, 2010
Don't Ask Don't Tell
I applaud America for taking a firm step in the right direction and repealing Don't Ask Don't Tell. There is however another DADT policy firmly in place here in Egypt. This one however has nothing to do with gays and lesbians in the military. This is about something else entirely. My 12th graders and I were finishing our unit on war. We had read the Iliad and were entertaining some discussion on more modern wars. During this discussion my students asked me if I knew about the October 6th War. The Ramadan War (or as the West knows it the Yom Kippur War) was fought between Israel and Egypt and Syria in 1973. While Israel suffered an initial setback, history acknowledges Israel as the victor in the end. Egypt however maintains a different story. Here there are bridges with the war's namesake along with panoramas and history books dedicated to the version in which Egypt is the mighty victor. My students, smiling with pride and patriotism, asked if I knew of this war, the war in which Egypt triumphed over Israel (they first said 'Americans' but I politely reminded them that there was a difference.) Observing the pride they had for their country in that moment, and keeping job security in mind, I had no choice but to smile and nod and say yes, I did know about that war. They seemed pleased and one student added, "good, I hate Israel." Though I was tempted to discuss the truth with them, Egypt requires its guests to abide by one guideline. When it comes to the October 6th War it's best if you don't ask, and however skewed it may seem, please don't tell.