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Language Teacher shot dead in Yemen

 
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crewmeal1



Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:15 am    Post subject: Language Teacher shot dead in Yemen Reply with quote

This is dreadful. My thoughts go out to his family.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17420106

It just proves that no matter how hard foreigners try to help build up a country these sort of acts will always happen.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3959
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taiz has seen quite a bit of violence since the anti-government protests started over a year ago. But this is why Yemen is not the place to go right now, regardless of how "safe" those job ads claim. The country is still incredibly unsettled. Horrible news but thank you for posting this information.
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ryan1981



Joined: 19 Apr 2007
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"A Swiss woman, also believed to be a language school teacher, was kidnapped on Wednesday in the coastal city of Hodeida, and is reportedly being held in in Shabwa province, which neighbours Abyan province."

In this article about the kidnapping it states...

"Militants believed to be linked to al-Qaeda have exploited a security vacuum in the region after months of protests demanding the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh."

"...recently distributed leaflets across Aden threatening to attack English-language institutes in the city.

The leaflet asked for "immediate cessation of study in these centres", which would otherwise be "vulnerable to attacks"


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17399703
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crewmeal1



Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All in all it makes pretty grim reading. It's such a shame because Yemeni people are some of the kindest I've ever met and still have the privilege of teaching some of those who have been lucky enough to escape the war torn country.
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Prof.Gringo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 2011
Location: Paradise, Paradise, Paradise!

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crewmeal1 wrote:
All in all it makes pretty grim reading. It's such a shame because Yemeni people are some of the kindest I've ever met and still have the privilege of teaching some of those who have been lucky enough to escape the war torn country.


One guy that I know from Yemen, he goes back and forth, Yemen to the US. And he has 5 AK-47s at home. And I he alluded to other "items" he keeps at home as well... Sounded to me a very clanish and insular society. Same guy applauded that a woman from a neighboring village turned herself in for the crime of premarital sex... She was given a good amount of public lashings, my buddy said his only regret about that case is they never caught the man...
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xiguagua



Joined: 09 Oct 2011
Posts: 768

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo wrote:
crewmeal1 wrote:
All in all it makes pretty grim reading. It's such a shame because Yemeni people are some of the kindest I've ever met and still have the privilege of teaching some of those who have been lucky enough to escape the war torn country.


One guy that I know from Yemen, he goes back and forth, Yemen to the US. And he has 5 AK-47s at home. And I he alluded to other "items" he keeps at home as well... Sounded to me a very clanish and insular society. Same guy applauded that a woman from a neighboring village turned herself in for the crime of premarital sex... She was given a good amount of public lashings, my buddy said his only regret about that case is they never caught the man...


The fact that also wished punishment for the man shows that he at least doesn't hold an obvious gender bias. And this doesn't prove he's unfriendly at all, his and you ideas of crimes obviously differ but it doesn't make him a bad guy because of this cultural difference.....

And many Americans/Europeans have a collection of guns as well as items in their homes that others may find "clanish". Heck there are many Americans that have a collection of AK's......

Anyway this story is very sad, but living abroad in some countries have obvious dangers, and he knew the risks. Any foreigners teaching there should be on their toes.
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sliim



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prof.Gringo and crewmeal1 are actually both correct. Like every society, one cannot paint with too broad of strokes.

I too had students in Yemen that were absolutely fantastic: young people working hard with big hopes about becoming doctors and engineers so they could improve their society, and so on. Some of their writing assignments would bring me to tears. At the same time there are people that lament the end of slavery (Yemen abolished slavery in 1962) and despise everything foreign--and everything that does not belong to their own particular brand of Islam.

Some may then tend to separate Yemen between its more religious and more secular components, but that would also be a mistake. There are people in Yemen who are very devout yet have heads on their shoulders, and the opposite as well. Yemen is insular, but it is not unaware of the world. It has (or parts of it at least) been a kingdom, a republic, and a Marxist state all within the past 100 years. It is not so easy to pin down. However, people like Prof.Gringo mentioned do exist and are not considered abnormal.

As far as this demand for the "cessation of studies" at such institutes, the reasoning is actually quite clear. Some Yemenis are offended by people studying at private language institutes. These places are coed, so young men and women regularly mix. This means that "language lessons" for the more permissive youth is considered a nice place to meet the opposite sex. Some parents are keen to send their kids to these places precisely for this reason, especially the girls, so they can meet boys and find a husband. But this doesn't sit well with the more conservative elements of society. It is seen as a dating ground and an arena of licentiousness.

Then there are the lessons themselves. Some "scholars" in Saudi Arabia frown upon the idea of people learning English at all and have issued fatwas (how does one make "fatwa" plural?) against learning it except when absolutely necessary. I can't explain the reasoning for this, but I assume it is finely worded gibberish designed to preserve the social insularity that Prof. Gingo is reffering to.

That said, the English lessons themselves are a sore point. Books like Headway, with big shiny cars, pretty girls, hamburgers, and other "temptations" are seen by some as propaganda sent to lead the youth astray.

This is actually a manifestation of what one hears in ESL courses when we are told that not everyone loves the idea of learning English; some people will react to your presence with hostility. Some will view you as the peace wing of the great colonial project, regardless of how well-meaning your intentions are--and thus, the inimicality.

This killing, however, just takes things too far. Good students or no good students. It's just not worth it.


Last edited by sliim on Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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veiledsentiments



Joined: 20 Feb 2003
Posts: 16004
Location: USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The media has released his name: via Reuters:

A police source in Taiz said a gunman riding on the motorcycle driven by an accomplice shot a U.S. English language teacher who was also deputy director of a language school, the Swedish Institute.

Officials from the institute identified the victim as Joel Shrun and said he was born in 1983.

The gunmen, who escaped after the attack, were believed to be linked to al Qaeda, the police source said. A group affiliated with the militant network claimed responsibility.

"This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytising that the West has launched against Muslims," an unidentified person said in a text message to journalists, claiming responsibility on behalf of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law).


http://news.yahoo.com/militants-kill-american-teacher-yemen-123744524.html

VS
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Mr. Bourenmouth



Joined: 03 Feb 2011
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sliim wrote:


This killing, however, just takes things too far. Good students or no good students. It's just not worth it.


Yes. Sadly this action is going to do exactly as planned, and close the language centers, or at least exit all the teachers. It's worked. Highly depressing.

Extremism & Ignorance 1 Free Thought & Choice 0
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sliim



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mr. Bourenmouth,

I take your point, but I do not see the value in risking one's neck for teaching English.

It is not simply the intimidation factor. There is a general lackadaisical approach to teachers' security in Yemen, at least by some of the local institutes.

I worked for a short time at a the Aden Refinery, a subcontract handed to a local institute (I am not sure if I am allowed to name it here, am I?). On one occasion, a nearby pipeline was bombed and there were army vehicles everywhere. So what actions did my employer take, either preventative or in hindsight? None. Zero. Not even a mention of the incident.

So while I agree with your sentiments for free thinking and education, it is not simply a case of being scared off by militants. The quality of the employers also plays a major factor, and when there is little consideration for the safety of foreign teachers compounded with a bad security situation, I can say with great conviction that no, it is just not worth it.


Last edited by sliim on Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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crewmeal1



Joined: 08 Jul 2010
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The one thing I liked about working for the British Council was security. If anything happened you were on the first available flight out of that country and relocated elsewhere when a position arose, all on full pay.

A friend of mine worked in Libya and was evacuated when the fighting was at its height and was lucky enough to be evacuated to Malta then back home. he has recently finished a tour of duty in Bassra all under the security of the forces.

However as much as one may love Yemen for what ever reason, it would be suicidal to go there even for a visit. There is no guarantee of safety as Sliim has stated. Even with a new president installed there is not much hope for the future.
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nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3959
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Parents: Slain American loved teaching in Yemen
By Marc Levy, Associated Press | Mar 19, 2012
(Source: http://news.yahoo.com/parents-slain-american-loved-teaching-yemen-150141618.html)

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (AP) Joel Shrum had already traveled abroad several times and had a growing interest in helping people in far-flung places, yet his parents were still surprised when he told them he planned to move to Yemen to learn Arabic. They read about the country, visited him there and became comfortable with it. And although Shrum had become a teacher and grown to love his work and Yemeni friends, they said, he was shot to death by gunmen who may have targeted him as a Christian missionary.

The U.S. State Department is calling the shooting a terrorist act and the parents of the 29-year-old Shrum rejected the idea, circulating in Yemen, that he was there as a Christian missionary. Jim and Lynda Shrum said their son's quest to help others out of poverty and build bridges between cultures began about a decade ago when he took a college trip to India to help improve conditions at orphanages. "He had a knack with people," Jim Shrum said. "Knocking down barriers, accepting other cultures, taking the good and the bad." The Shrums also said they feared for the safety of Joel's widow, two young sons ages 4 and 1 and his Yemeni friends. They said they didn't want to talk about his widow's plans out of concerns for her safety.

Shrum was killed Sunday by two gunmen on a motorcycle while driving in the city of Taiz. A text message circulated by mobile phone in Yemen afterward said "holy warriors" had killed "a senior missionary," but it was impossible to confirm the claim of responsibility. Al-Qaida and other militant groups are active in Yemen, which has suffered a breakdown of central state authority during the country's yearlong uprising.

Taiz security director Ali al-Saidi said Monday that the investigation is still ongoing. In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that the United States is urging Yemeni authorities to bring those responsible to justice. "We condemn this terrorist act in the strongest terms, and we express our deepest condolences to his family and his friends," Nuland said.

Shrum's parents live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where they moved after raising Joel in a small community about 20 miles (32 kilometers) away. Joel Shrum moved to Yemen in 2009 with his wife, Janelle, and older son. He began working for the Swedish-run International Training Development Centre in Taiz in 2010, and eventually was promoted to deputy director, his parents said. Among the skills taught there are English as a second language, cooking and sewing, as well as how to be an electrician and how to use computers, they said. His second son was born in Taiz. Joel Shrum also was working toward a degree in international business through an online school and believed that teaching business skills was an effective way to help people, they said. Many of the school's teachers are Yemeni, and Shrum had been able to hire some of his friends to work there, his parents said.

A protestant, Shrum was surrounded by Yemeni friends and deeply respected their Muslim faith. On a trip there to visit him in 2010, his parents met friends of Joel and Janelle and were struck by their warmth and hospitality, they said. The school also denied that Shrum was proselytizing, saying that he "highly respected" Islam. It said Muslims and Christians work together on "human development, skill transfer and community development" projects there and that religious and political debates are not permitted.

It also asked the Yemeni people to "reject the hatred and violence in their country."

(End of article)
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uaeobserver



Joined: 05 Feb 2007
Posts: 235

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sliim wrote:
(how does one make "fatwa" plural?) .


depends if there's two or many........
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BlueRainbow



Joined: 26 Dec 2009
Posts: 13
Location: Jeddah, KSA:)

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Fatwa singular, 2, or more Reply with quote

Fatwa is singular
Fatwayan is just 2
and Fatawa is 3 or more.

Kind Regards.
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