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12/06/2007

A Gesture of Respect

126 While I was clearing away some photos of students taken in front of an old school that had yet to be rebuilt, I felt a little uncomfortable at seeing the children with their arms crossed in some of the pictures.

In Japan, crossing our arms in front of people of seniority such as teachers is considered rude. Upon asking a local staff members about this, I was told that especially in elementary school, students cross their arms in order to express respect for their teachers. I felt much better understanding that rather than a gesture of defiance, this was a gesture of respect shown by children towards their teachers. On the other hand, it seems that it is unusual to cross arms to those of similar age groups.

There have been reports on the improvements of the security situation in Iraq since November; however political turmoil is not over yet. It is too early to tell whether such positive trends will continue.

Every time I see pictures of these children, I hope for the day when they smile from the bottom of their hearts.

December 6, 2007 in Iraq |