Men in the Sun 3

February 21, 2008

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That night he saw Professor Saleem sitting in the hall of the headman, smoking a hookah. He had been sent to their village in Yaffo to teach the children. He had spent so much of his life teaching that the word ‘professor’ had become an inseperable part of his name. One of the men there that evening asked him, “You’re going to lead prayers this Friday, right?”
Professor Saleem answered him simply, “No, I am a teacher, not an Imam.”
The headman said to him, “What’s the difference? Our Teacher was an Imam.”
“He was a teacher of writers, I am a school teacher”
The headman replied, “What’s the difference?”

Professor Saleem didn’t answer, but glanced around the room as if calling for the help of someone present, despite the fact that all seated seemed confused by this, like the headman. After a long silent period, Professor Saleem cleared his throat and said in a clear voice, “Fine, I don’t know how to pray.”
“Don’t know how?”
The group gasped and Professor Saleem reiterated himself: “I dont know how!”

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