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Misdiagnosing homesickness

September 08, 2007

Re "Trip of faith takes skeptical turn," Sept. 2

Your article on Salahudin Ali's pilgrimage to Cairo is couched in all sorts of divisive and baseless rhetoric. The headlines include such words as "skeptical" and "disillusionment," but nowhere in the article is there any suggestion of anything other than homesickness. The initial appeal of the place had worn off for the young man, and he began to miss the familiarity of home; it became easier to reside in that nostalgia than push further into the new culture in which he found himself.

This is something that happens to all travelers; it is about the uncertainty of not knowing a foreign world in deeper terms, not about being disappointed by it.

I am not sure then why The Times framed the article in more polemical terms, ones that intimated a poor opinion of the Islamic world, a regrettable and inaccurate stereotype pervasive in our Western media.

Claudio Cambon

Long Beach

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