Palestinian Man Got Stuck in an Airport

September 19, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. refugee [ref-yoo-JEEREF-yoo-jee] (n.) – a person who has been forced to leave a country because of war, natural disasters, or persecution
ExampleRefugees came to the city after a war started in their hometown.

2. transit [TRAN-sit, -zit] (n.) – the act of passing or moving from one place to another
Example: David is currently in transit so he is unable to take any phone calls at the moment.

3. monotonous [muh-NOT-n-uhs] (adj.) – boring and dull due to repetition
Example: Kevin always complains about his monotonous work at the factory, in which he has to sit and push a button all day long.

4. accompany [uh-KUHM-puh-nee] (v.) – to go together with someone or something
Example:  Diane’s friend accompanied her to the airport to help her carry her luggage.

5. fix [fiks] (n.) – a difficult situation
Example: Always keep your passport and travel documents in a safe place to avoid getting into a fix.


Read the text below.
Mohammed Al Bahish, a Palestinian refugee, has been living in the Almaty International Airport in Kazakhstan for six months.

The 26-year-old, who was born in Iraq, lost his refugee travel documents and was denied asylum by Kazakhstan [kah-zahk-STAHN]. He has no visa to enter any country so he is now confined within the transit zone of the airport, which is legally not considered a Kazakh territory.

Every day, Mohammed goes through a monotonous routine. He wakes up in his small, windowless room that contains only a bunk bed, a chair, and a table. Throughout the day, he repeatedly hears the announcements on flight details and Kazakh custom regulations.

Airport personnel bring him meals prepared for airline passengers three times a day. However, the food he receives has little variety. In fact, he ate nothing but beef and mushroom soup for one month.

Police and security guards accompany him whenever he leaves his room. He is only allowed to go to the shower room used by airport employees, as well as the porch area for some fresh air.

An architect by profession, Mohammed came to Kazakhstan hoping to start a family with his Kazakh girlfriend. However, with the fix he is in, he says he has become more like a prisoner.

Mohammed says he misses being outside and that his mind is filled with thoughts of escape. He admits that he somehow feels angry when he sees passengers coming in and out of the building because unlike them, he is stuck and cannot go anywhere.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were Mohammed Al Bahish, how would you keep yourself entertained in the airport?
·         What do you think can be done so Mohammed Al Bahish can finally be free? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Do you think there is any advantage or benefit in doing a monotonous activity? Why or why not?
·         Why do you think variety is important in people’s lives?


September 19, 2013