I don’t know if you peoples have been following the Jill Carroll story. She was that journalist kidanpped in Iraq a few months back, held for 80+ days and later released.
She worked for the Christian Science Monitor, and has spread her story over 9 days posting an article per day. It has really captivated me and I’ve been reading each one daily.
Here is something along the lines she keeps bringing up, and I think are a good example of how the social sciences (anthro and history for example) are relevent and should be emphasized as much as stupid “No Child Left Behind” tests.
I’d heard that it was best for hostages to try to make captors see them as human beings, to elicit sympathy, so I tried talking to him…I was open, even friendly. That turned out to be a big mistake.
You can’t be that way with men in such a conservative culture. They often take it the wrong way. He began to get demanding, even assertive. At one point, the pin on my hijab came loose, and I started to pin it back up.
To Westerners this may sound like an innocuous exchange, but in the context of the conservative Middle East, this was a totally inappropriate advance. I needed to shut him down completely. I put my head down, held my hands in my lap, and didn’t move a muscle.
Granted, she was under unimaginable stress – but the point is still valid I think.