Half Past Ten in the Afternoon by James Budd

By James Budd

A lot of this e-book is a checklist of the time the writer spent among 1965 and 1970 as an English instructor in Aneiza – a provincial city in crucial Saudi Arabia. In an unique sequence of anecdotes, he describes the everyday life and customs of its humans, his relatives with colleagues and scholars on the neighborhood secondary tuition, and the occasions major as much as his ‘removal’ from the city he had come to treat as domestic, his move to Riyadh, and ultimate departure from the rustic. within the Sixties Aneiza was once nonetheless residing partially within the age of Charles Doughty, the 19th-century explorer who stayed there for a few weeks within the 1870s, and architecturally the city had replaced little over the intervening a long time. nonetheless, its mid-20th-century population have been a great deal conscious of what used to be occurring within the wider international and felt deeply concerned with occasions within the zone. This involvement is mirrored in a bankruptcy on inter-Arab politics, the Six-Day battle of June 1967, and its explanations and aftermath. The author’s tale doesn't result in 1970. In ‘Journey to Makkah’ he writes of his transition from agnosticism to Islam and provides us an account of his pilgrimage to Makkah in 1996 within the corporation of 1 of his outdated scholars from Aneiza. eventually, in ‘Aneiza Revisited’, he describes town in its 21st-century incarnation in the course of his go back stopover at in 2011. regardless of Aneiza’s fabric transformation, although, with its concrete and glass structures and speedy nutrition shops, he discovered that, regardless of taking a look very diversified, it had nonetheless controlled to keep its intimate social personality and crucial congeniality.

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Fine,” I said. ” A tall, stern-looking Palestinian appeared and introduced himself in English as Hatem al-Muhtasib from Hebron, the sports teacher at the secondary school. We exchanged pleasantries in English for a while until Alayan interrupted us in Arabic to propose we should drink some tea. An elderly Saudi, who had been squatting silently in the corner of the room with a large teapot, came forward, poured out a couple of glasses and offered them to us. I stretched out my hand. “No, not like that,” said Hatem.

The other teachers, several of whom were employed at other schools in Aneiza and only taught part-time at the secondary school, were Palestinian. Until recently the foreign contract teachers in Saudi Arabia had all been Egyptians on secondment from their country’s education ministry. However, relations between the two countries had soured with the death of the Yemeni ruler Imam Ahmed in 1962 and the start of the Yemeni civil war, when Egypt sent military support to Yemen’s new revolutionary government and the Saudis backed Imam Ahmed’s successor, Imam Badr.

6. A typical street in Aneiza in 1967. 7. Harvesting dates at al-Wadi, 1968. 8. Making mud bricks, Aneiza, 1969. 9. The Sangar, Aneiza, February 1985. By courtesy of William Facey. 10. Abu Sami, Mr Kreda and teaching staff of the Secondary School, 1968. 11. The author and students at al-Zghaibiyyah, 1969. 12. A school outing near Aneiza in 1967. 13. Round the campfire: a student outing to al-Musaffar, ca. 1967–68. 14. Students in the dunes, al-Musaffar, ca. 1967–68. 15. Abdelmalik al-Bassam and guests in the author’s house, Aneiza, 1967.

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