Good Grief in the Gulf

One of the very first people who befriended me here in Ajman is named E. Her English isn’t great, or perhaps I should say my Arabic is awful, so we don’t understand each other very well. But yet know each well somehow. Last Thursday afternoon she came to wish me a good weekend — using the…

A Failure of Imagination

There is no phrase more uninspired than “I can’t imagine.” Yet this useless utterance makes frequent appearances, especially on Facebook, in response to people undergoing great difficulty. The phrase — also invoked when face to face with someone in dire straits — has the regrettable result of shutting down communication altogether. I’m concerned about the feelings of my friends who have lost loved ones and are…