To some Gazans English = difficult = complex,
To some Gazans English is the Road Not Taken,
To some Gazans English is the Language they wish to master,
while to others, English is the Language they Love, even more than Arabic sometimes.
“English? it’s very hard!” this is the first spontaneous phrase you hear once mentioning the word ‘English’ in front of those who dislikes it. They simply feel intimidated by it, not knowing that if they put aside all their fears and stereotypical thoughts that “English is the Hardest language”. they would find it pretty much easy, easier than Arabic itself, our native language.
Here in Gaza, most of those who posses a humble knowledge in English or even none, do not bother trying to get to understand the language better, “I’m not completely ignorant of the language, I know stuff, I just don’t wanna go further, what I know is enough” said Sally who is a senior high school student, and when asked why, Sally replied “it’s a tough language”. I continued by asking her why would she say “it’s tough” although she just said that she doesn’t “wanna go further” and that what she said meant that she didn’t dig deep into the language yet, “ well, I don’t know it just is” said Sally shrugging then added ” I only study it to pass exams” . Her last answer supported my thought that most of those who hate English are influenced by the stereotypical ideas other people spread.
While on the other hand there are other people who try to develop their language. In this regard i asked Rana who is another high school student, of how she develops her language -that she seemed to have a good knowledge of it “I simply watch movies, and that is more than enough for me” and when I asked her why movies and not ‘reading’ she said laughing “ there are a lot of handsome actors in Hollywood.. and you don’t find those in books, you know, that is basically why.. plus movies are fun, reading is boring, so I watch the actors I love, have fun for a couple of hours and at the same time benefit my vocabulary”, what she said reminded me of myself actually because this is how I thought when I was 14 about: movies, English and actors..specially actors.
In my university I have a friend who is one of the top students in the department “English Department” I asked her once why she little to never participates in classes, she answered in one word “intimidation” first I didn’t believe her but then she started explaining that she hates to participate, and once she does encourage herself to, her heart rates race and she just couldn’t do it. After a real long persuasions I talked her into participating and now she thankfully does.
Intimidation, Obviously is not only limited on those who doesn’t know the language here in Gaza but also those who does.
Those Who doesn’t, fear to learn it then screw up.. again, specially that they listen carefully to those who say english is a tough language and is a language that is “not to be dealt with” and never listen to those who say it’s easy.
And those who does, fear the mocks of others if they made a mistake and the amount of laughter they would get for it. Which is let’s face it “Stupid” !!
Now let’s go to the title..
You may think that the title has nothing to do with this entire thing, but really it does.
In the second paragraph I said “Here in Gaza, most of those who posses a humble knowledge in English or even none, do not bother trying to get to understand the language better” well I met one of those people yesterday, she was walking college with a plastic bag that said “ I ❤ Liquor”
I ran after her to take a picture of it, and when i couldn’t I asked her “Politely” if I can take one, she was a little overwhelmed .. maybe shocked “why would I take a picture of a plastic bag !!” she thought, after taking the picture I asked her “but do you KNOW what does it say?” she said blushing “actually no” when I told her what it meant the girl stepped back, bit her lip, blushed even more, then said “Oh crap! really ??? I did know the meaning of ‘I <3’ but “”didn’t”” get the last word..
And this is exactly what I meant with “do not bother”. and this is exactly why people here must learn some English.