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Showing posts from July, 2013

The Story of Saida

The following is derived from a correspondence I sent to a former sociology professor (and present friend) regarding a student in my community. After sending it, I decided to tell her story (with a few changes to protect her identity) for a wider audience.

I want to tell you about a student of mine named Saida. In Arabic, her name means "happy," and it suits her somewhat, as almost every time I chat with her, she is smiling. Saida is an outlier among her peers. In a culture built upon clan identity, she prefers to keep to herself. In a culture that stresses the importance of religious devotion above all, she shows no signs of piety (at least, not the conservative Muslim kind favored in Aounate). Saida enjoys reading books and online articles, especially in the fields of psychology, philosophy, and astronomy. In short, she is curious and full with questions. She tells me the greatest thing she can do in life is to discover herself and discover the world. I have not met a stude…