Americans In Foreign Cultures

I can not stop thinking about a few American writers who lived abroad. They impressed on the people an image good enough to be called an example for all expatriates working and living abroad. These folks mingles with the locals at their most natural level, did what the locals did, ate what the locals ate, spoke like the locals did, and forged dozens of life-long connections. These writers knew the way to approval and acceptance is trust and accommodation. They did not impose their ways on the others. In fact, those who even attempted to impose their ways on the others failed miserably as the colonial present and past demonstrate.

American writers such as Paul Bowles lived in Tangiers, an international zone then, and came to know the ins and outs of the North of Morocco. He spent plenty of time with Mohamed Shukri, the Moroccan writer of “al-khobz al-Hafi” (the Bare Bread). Through the guy, Paul felt the smoke of town, ate the meals of town, laid on the ground of the north like the locals do. Certainly, not upon a couch.

But Paul grasped oriental living. He lived like one of them. Paul has become a reference in Moroccan universities and in English language departments as the good Western who loved their ways and their cultures.

 

We need the likes of Paul. We need more of the likes of Paul.

 

Of course, there is Tennessee Williams.