20 Chapters
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6. Scenes in a Roman Theater

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM TUNISIA

 

With a sigh, Hedi plunked himself down on a stone seat in the Roman theater. As the last of the afternoon’s tourists straggled off and disappeared among the ancient walls, he stared dully at the grand view of the ruins and the green hills of the Tunisian countryside beyond.

He hadn’t done very well today. Only one hat sold. His mother would be disappointed, and he wouldn’t blame her … having to make those hats every night after her day’s labor in the fields, weaving straw till her fingers were sore. Tomorrow he’d try harder. Midwinter break from school gave him a few days to earn money, and he couldn’t waste the chance.

It’d be so much better, Hedi often thought, if he could be a guide, more interesting and more money. Once in a while he did manage to latch on to a friendly couple and show them a few sights … the temple, the theater, the baths and marketplace—and best of all, the communal toilet where twelve people could sit at a time. That always got a laugh, and Hedi would get a few small coins. But that was all. A real guide had to be older and know a lot more.

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4. The Olive Grove

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM PALESTINE

 

Hustling along behind the other boys, Mujahhid stooped to grab a stone, then quickly caught up. About halfway across the open square they stopped. Right next to the military checkpoint was a two-story stone house that the Israelis had taken over. The boys could see the olive-drab helmets of soldiers behind sandbags on the flat rooftop.

“Take that, you dogs!” Mujahhid shouted in Arabic, hurling the stone toward them. “Get out of Bethlehem—it’s our town!”

Shouting with every throw, he then flung whatever he could get his hands on … chunks of plaster, pebbles, concrete rubble, worn bricks from the older streets. The soldiers, of course, had every other kind of missile—bullets, stun grenades, tear gas, shells. Today they weren’t firing, though, not yet. The boys grew bolder and started making dashes to throw from closer range.

You can get near enough to see faces, thought Mujahhid, but not what’s in their eyes. Anyway, they’re all the same … they all hate us. Even the young guys, just three or four years older than us, hard as their rifles.

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Chapter 5

Timothy J. Bradley Argosy Press PDF

“You two climb like little old ladies,” Penny said from near the top of the rock.

“Oh, yeah?” Sid shot back panting. “Watch this!” He tried to reach a distant handhold, but his foot slipped, and he tumbled back from the rock face into the air.

As soon as he started to fall, his zero‑G harness nullified the gravity around him, and he floated gently across the gym, about fifteen feet off the ground. There were already thirty other students in the same predicament.

“Oh, come on!” Sid shouted, exasperated as he floated midair, tumbling slowly.

Just then, Hari fell away from the wall and started floating. Penny was the first one to make it all the way up the wall. She gave a victorious whoop.

“I can see that most of you need a little more practice climbing,” Ms. Newton said laughing. She turned the master control for everyone’s zero‑G belts up a fraction, and the floating students slowly settled to the ground.

“Let’s try that again,” she said, and the students groaned as they struggled to their feet.

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7. Honor

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM JORDAN

 

Yasmine speaks …

I was not exactly thrilled when the biology teacher teamed me up with Wafa Ar-Rahman. We’d be working in pairs, she said, when we started cutting things up—a learning experience I really did not look forward to one bit. And now I had to do it with Wafa. Not that she was obnoxious or stupid, but she was new in school, and so conservative and quiet and shy that she really sort of stuck out.

When I got home, I told my mother that my biology partner would be this girl Wafa, whom I could hardly even see, she was so covered up by her hijab. “She wears her head scarf over her eyebrows, and she doesn’t say a thing. She’ll be so boring, Mum,” I moaned. “I’ll hate that class.”

But my mother was the wrong person to complain to. She was a hard-hitting investigative journalist, and she saw opportunities for social change and noble struggle in practically everything. She was so good at her job, in fact, that she’d won a special fellowship to study in London the previous year, and we’d all spent six glorious months there.

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5. In Line

Elsa Marston Indiana University Press ePub

A STORY FROM EGYPT

 

Halfway home from school, on a lovely clear day in December, I did something really daring. I decided to change my route. Not much, of course, because my mother knew exactly how long it took me to get home and she would be waiting. I just thought it would be nice to walk along the canal a bit and pretend it was the Nile. That’s how it happened I ran into Fayza.

I’d noticed her in class. You could hardly not notice her, even in a classroom as packed with people as ours. She always raised her hand to answer the teacher’s questions—she even asked good questions of her own! What’s more, she was a lot smarter than most of the boys and wasn’t afraid to let them know it. So I’d begun to think I’d like to get to know her. But how? Most people still acted as if I were from Mars, or someplace even farther away, and they couldn’t figure me out. I was afraid Fayza might feel that way, too.

Well, I would try, at least.

Fayza was standing at the edge of the canal, holding a big bunch of flowers—roses so bedraggled they looked as though the flower seller had given them to her for free. But what made me curious was the way she was staring down at the canal. I stopped near her to see what she was looking at. It was a donkey, dead, lying there in the water.

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