mal listened gloomily to the little speech that Mr. Kareemhad prepared. He spoke in a halting ashion, almost as though hewere making an apology, but clearly he was as happy as a bird.“And I know,” he concluded, “that my students will greet theirnew teacher with respect and helpulness, and will show how wellMr. Kareem has taught them about our glorious literary heritage.”He laughed awkwardly at his little joke, and some o the girls re-sponded with polite smiles.A shy bachelor, Mr. Kareem inspired more respect than afec-tion among his students. Many complained o his tough assign-ments and rigorous grading, although Amal thought he was quiteair. In any case, no one could deny that Mr. Kareem taught withcompetence and, in his stammering way, enthusiasm. He loved theworks o the old poets and tried valiantly to convey to his studentsthe richness o Arabic literature.
Another teacher leaving us,
How many—four this fall?
But who could blame them? Anyone who had a chance ateven a mediocre job somewhere else—
that wasn’t Iraq—