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al-Gamma Knife

August 27, 2006

I’m having a strange moment of solidarity with a British neurosurgeon.

I’m watching what appears to be a current news issue talk show on one of the Arabic news channel. The guests seem to be three Arab doctors, a mother and a daughter, and one very very British neurosurgeon. The format has gone like this so far:

a.) Guy Host asks Arab Doctors questions. They argue

b.) Girl Host asks mother and child questions. Child talks. Mother talks. Arab doctors argue. Lots of overtalk.

c.) Guy Host stops all conversation, turns to British guy and asks him a question in English. Suddenly, I know a lot more about what’s happening. They are discussing gamma knife neurosurgery. The British guy gives a long techinical explanation.

d.) repeat steps a-c.

Through the rest of the time. British guys sits there, silent. I’m assuming he knows little if any Arabic. He can only talk if asked a question directly in his own language. One time after he finishes his explanation, one of the Arabic doctors chuckles, and continues to argue with her colleague. British guy looks sideswiped.

Given, if this guy had been on an American tv show, he probably would have been laughed at all the same. He was that British. But for a moment, I felt for the stereotypical British professor. He was all alone in an island of Arabic, and there was no where he could involve himself in the debate that was going on around him.

Kind of how you’d imagine someone from Egypt having a conversation on an American talk show, except they’d probably know English. Silly colonial tradition.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen permalink
    August 28, 2006 1:07 pm

    Hi, Taylor. I’ve read quite a bit of your blog and am enjoying it immensely. The photos too. What a great writer you are! Your blog is bringing your experience to us with your typical humor, insights and unique voice. Keep it coming! and thanks for sharing it all.

  2. Jeremy Ganz permalink
    November 1, 2006 7:21 am

    Speaking as the British Neurosurgeon concerned it surely was a very Cairo experience! You get thrown in without preparation. If I’d known what was going to happen I should not have been there and I really should know that by now. In fact at the time I was more concerned with the TV station wanting to sequester my passport than anything else that was going on.

  3. Anne permalink
    November 2, 2006 5:09 am

    Well, I actually admire this extremely British neurosurgeon. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we can all keep our stiff-up-lip? Maybe that’s precisely what this part of world needs most, given that we’re all trying hard to fit in.

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