Rezaul Karim Reza – Rangpur, Bangladesh
America, I’m sending you good needs from a small Bangladeshi village on the twentieth anniversary of your nice tragedy. I knew nothing about you earlier than 2001, when 9/11 shook you, and turned the world round. Twenty years later, I do know rather more about you—your folks, and historical past—and need to say thanks.
I first heard about America after I was in junior highschool. Our geography trainer confirmed us a world map, his finger stopped on the road that learn USA. “That is America,” he stated. We have been curious why the trainer talked about particularly ‘America,’ however he didn’t clarify it to us any additional.
Then in 2001, after I was about to complete the tenth grade, we watched the horror of 9/11 on a black and white TV in our village, and I noticed America for the primary time. Whereas watching the large plume of smoke and the towers falling down, I noticed the Individuals. It was the primary time I heard them communicate, one thing compelled me to talk like them and I began studying English.
We had no satellite tv for pc tv channels aside from the federal government run TV station. We had no paved roads and electrical energy not to mention web, so studying English was robust.
After I discovered a hi fi with my uncle, I attempted to attach it with some English broadcasting channels. Thus, I found Voice of America. By listening to VOA’s ‘Studying English’ packages, I developed my English a bit.
I wrote a letter to VOA asking for some books. They despatched me some booklets and magazines and an exquisite picture of Washington DC. I purchased some grammar books and began studying English dailies in Bangladesh. As my English developed, I began to study America and its folks.
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In 2010, our village was electrified. There have been coloration TV units with a number of channels. I purchased a smartphone and related with the web offered by a telephone firm. I opened a Fb account and tried to succeed in over to the Individuals. Though a lot of them didn’t reply, some have been pleasant and answered me, together with a Virginian.
My new Virginia pal and his kindhearted spouse despatched me a terrific many books and small presents. The presents have been typically associated to American historical past, tradition, and literature. The books performed a significant position in my life. I learn Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which helped me study of the American Civil Struggle.
The couple included some nice works of nice American writers, together with Washington Irving and John Steinbeck. Whereas studying The Grapes of Wrath I felt like I used to be transferring with the Joad household to California. That Steinbeck story added one other American historical past lesson to my record—the Nice Melancholy. I posted a few of my already-learned historical past notes in a Fb Group and reached out to some extra Individuals.
I corresponded with my Texas pal although Fb Messenger. He instructed me concerning the Texas-Mexico battle on the Alamo. I got here to know that all the things is BIG in Texas by way of photographs he despatched me. Rodeos, ranchos, and rattlesnakes have been a part of our dialogue virtually on daily basis.
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He additionally despatched me books, magazines, pens, and college stationery that enriched my information about cowboy tradition. After I maintain the colourful pens, I really feel a way of my very own American dream whereas finding out, instructing, and writing tales about his nation.
Then, I moved to California nearly, after I met a pal from the ‘Grizzly Bear State’. From the Spanish settlers to the gold rush, my California pal introduced me extra US historical past classes. Via our conversations, I found a wild America, removed from Bangladesh. He launched me to the large Sequoia forests, Demise Valley Nationwide Park, roadrunners, California quail, and the solar and surf of the seashores.
I used to be unstoppable and met extra Individuals. Certainly one of them served within the U.S. Military. My Military pal introduced me world historical past—the Vietnam Struggle, Korean Struggle, Gulf Struggle, Cuban missile disaster, and extra. He was stationed in Iraq in the course of the battle there. We corresponded about his expertise preventing for his nation, whereas leaving all people again on the US shores. It appeared the lifetime of a soldier could be very exhausting.
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If America didn’t exist, I’d not be who I’m right now. Now, from my tiny village, I can discover the American wilderness, stroll the paths amongst sequoias, and argue with my pals about why Native Individuals are known as Indians. Now I perceive Martin Luther King Jr.’s position in the course of the civil rights motion and might share my ideas about him with different folks all over the world.
I need to thank all these good residents who introduced America—its folks, tradition, and historical past—to me right here in Bangladesh. I thanks very a lot, pricey pals, and thanks, America!
Rezaul Karim Reza is a contract author based mostly in Rangpur, Bangladesh, whose works have appeared within the Christian Science Monitor, Reader’s Digest, and Historical past Is Now Journal.
(Edited from the unique essay printed within the CS Monitor)