Tuesday, 4 December 2007

A teddy bear, an English teacher and a game of power.

Watching the shocked, oblivious face of the poor Gillian Gibbons, the English teacher who arrived at Heathrow this morning, I realised what a palaver has been whipped up out of this whole ordeal, after the woman allowed a class of children to name a teddy bear after one of the children, called “Muhammad” which also s the name of the Islamic Prophet.

This incident which took place in Sudan, where the woman was there as an English teacher, was misunderstood as an act of offence against the predominant religion.

Before seeing her speech on TV this morning, I imagined a battered and frightened woman, but more than anything else, I realised how quickly this misunderstanding had spun out of control as the combination of predisposition of framing an image within a narrow minded idea of that country took over the whole event.

She seamed more shocked by all the attention of the journalists at the airport than she did of her experience in Sudan, which she kept highlighting was not that bad at all, and that she as treated pretty much the same if not better than all the other prisoners.

She expressed even comprehension for the way her action was initially interpreted ad stressed she was very sorry for the offence caused by her.

Gillian emphasised that almost as soon as she was in he first jail, a bed was sent to her from some official for her comfort and that many friends (of which also Sudanese) had visited her as soon as they could, embarrassed for the extreme action taken against her.

Why was the British press so prone at diving into a general panic portraying the situation as though she were to be killed over the naming of a teddy bear?

Yes, the first reactions were over the top; however some tactfulness and understanding could have underlined the report on her case.

It certainly did not help the popular stereotypes the British have for the east.

Above all though, this did seam pretty much like a game of power between two nations.

It seams both natios should take example from Mrs Gibbons.

She does'n seam to see her self as a victim and definitely still appreciates a country that offers much more than just religioun-bound issues.

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