Saturday, January 25, 2014

Iraqi Celebration: 93rd Anniversary of Iraqi Armed Forces Day

My Iraqi student, Farah Al-Dujaili, from a year ago in my intensive writing course (and whose MA thesis on women's rights in Iraq I proofread last spring), invited Sun-Ae and me to Iraq's 93rd celebration of what she called "Army Day":

I see from the official banner that it's more precisely called "Iraqi Armed Forces Day." Here's a photo Sun-Ae took of me and Ms. Al-Dujaili -- the woman in the center -- accompanied by a young Iraqi Kurdish woman to her right:

The Kurdish woman -- whose name I didn't catch but whose father is a military attaché -- speaks five languages: Kurdish, Arabic, Dutch, German, and English and is learning Korean! My student speaks Arabic and English, also French, I think, maybe more.

Incidentally, Sun-Ae and I even met the well-known Susan Lee MacDonald, whom I remembered from my first stay in Korea, way back in 1995, when she appeared on television using her Korean and English skills -- she's half-Korean -- to teach English to Koreans, but I neglected to get a photo made of her with Sun-Ae and me, so you can believe me or not. In case you need some prompt to nudge your memory, here's an official photo of Ms. MacDonald from Arirang TV, for which she works as "the host of the new talk show INNERview," so she's come a long way since her early English-teaching days:

Anyway, while we didn't think to get a photograph of ourselves with the very personable and friendly Ms. MacDonald, we did receive her business card.

Sun-Ae photographed other scenes, however, and we did manage to get a picture of this ice sculpture, along with me in frame to prove that there's something even colder than ice:

Sun-Ae was taking the photo, so she's safely on the viewer's side. Notice that I'm trying to smile. Or maybe I'm trying not to smile. I'm never quite sure.

The celebration lasted from 6:30 to 8:30, not nearly sufficient time for the ice sculpture to melt, but just long enough to break the ice, and after only a few conversations and food eaten while standing, the event was over. Sun-Ae and I both enjoyed ourselves immensely -- we even shook hands with the Iraqi ambassador, Farah's uncle, and I praised Farah's intelligence to him because I'm striving to be more personable and because she is intelligent.

I must admit, by the way, that I've never seen so many soldiers of various countries in one room! But I've led a sheltered life, I guess.

Now back to the regular postings from the shelter of my apartment . . .

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At 2:16 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...


Maybe you would smile more if you wore one of those jocular novelty ties?
Or something professorial, yet festive?

At 3:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I think there would indeed be more smiles -- on the faces of others!

Jeffery Hodges

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