I'm grateful.

Today I'm grateful that, completely by accident of birth and through no merit of my own, I have a passport that does not require me to return to a war-torn home country and fulfill a military service requirement. One of my students cannot say the same.

Again I find myself eliding details, but one of my students was waiting for a student visa to a Western country; he was taking my class in the meantime. The visa came through, hooray! But since apparently his home country, which his family fled recently to avoid the rising tide of kidnappings in their otherwise peaceful town, has to sign off on the paperwork, he had to return. And since he's turned 18 years old in his time away, upon return, he has to fulfill the one-year military service requirement.

It's unclear to me, and to his classmates (my other students), whether this will be a matter of a bribe + "wink-wink let's call his service requirement fulfilled, shall we?" and he'll be on his way, or whether this boy - boy, really - will find himself on the wrong side of a war very soon. Wrong side, because his family's politics skew towards opposition, but there is no "right" side, of course.

I find myself horrified by the prospect. His prospect. And now I have another former student to add to the list of people in a war-torn country to worry about.

November 28th, outsourced

CSA in Dubai