Thursday, October 11, 2012

But you can never leave

In the fall of 2004, I was teaching English to pre-teens and teenagers at Amideast in Damascus, Syria. One day, one of my students (an accomplished musician, at the tender age of 15ish) brought his guitar to class. In exchange for allowing him to leave early to attend a rehearsal, I had him play us a few songs. The other students and I gathered around to listen.

One of the songs he played was The Eagles' "Hotel California." I could not believe my ears when I heard that song, sitting there in an apartment converted into a school in the center of Damascus. After a while, he started singing along to his own playing - who even knows all the words that song?? Well, this student of mine did. And at the chorus, the whole class - all these Syrian teenagers - joined in. It was a watershed moment for me - the moment when Syria was no longer Other.

Well, in early 2005, Jeremy came to visit my class and we recorded this same student playing "Hotel California" (he doesn't sing in this version). Enjoy.


Susanne said...

That's great!

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking about him and his friend in the context of the troubles in Syria. Last we met in the cafe they had definite opinions. I wish for their safety and bright future.

sarah said...

What a special video to have!

Bridget said...

I'm pretty sure **** was one of the first to join the FSA. I know ***** is doing fine in Damascus.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Nothing surprising about the course he chose. What is the other doing? Is there enough normal life for people to work or go to school?


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