Archive for the ‘ESL essays’ Category

ESL students tell of customs in native Iraq

Editor’s Note:  Mimi Pollack, who teaches English as a Second Language (ESL), recently asked her students if any of them would like to have their essays about customs in their former countries reprinted by the GC Summit.  Following are essays submitted by ESL students Bahjat Yalda and Nafih Sabagh. The GC Summit welcomes articles contributed by students. If you would like your article considered for publication, please submit them through your professor or send them directly to the GC Summit via

By Bahjat Yalda

GROSSMONT COLLEGE– Every country has its culture and traditions, and different countries, sometimes, have different viewpoints of the same situation. We live in our countries, and most of the time, we have to obey these traditions even if we dislike them. I lived in Iraq for about 48 years. My country, as many other countries in the Middle East, has its culture and traditions that rule the society; furthermore, in many places, they have more power than laws. In Iraq, there are many traditions that I dislike, but revenge and fasil– which will be explained later- are the worst.

Revenge is a big problem in Iraq. Hammurabi, the famous Babylonian king 1795- 1775 BC, was the first lawmaker in history. One of the laws he made states,” an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This law was about 3800 years ago, but for Iraqi people, it is as fresh as Hammurabi’s days in spite of many new laws passed by different governments to put an end to it. If someone kills, assaults, hurts, or does something wrong according to the tribe’s traditions; for example, a boy from one tribe is seeing a girl of another tribe, or even the same tribe, it will be a big problem, and the men of the girl’s family have to do their duty to get revenge for their honor and kill the assailant, or they will live with shame for the rest of their lives.

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