Kyrle Probus Club
   of Ross-on-Wye

 

The Lighter Side of the Middle East

Dr Richard Long, the guest speaker at the club’s second meeting in April, gave members an amusing account of his career, entitled ‘The Lighter Side of the Middle East.’ Having graduated from Cambridge University, in Arabic and Persian, he went to Canada to do a PhD before joining the Foreign Office.

He was sent to Baghdad, which he said was the best posting he had. He worked in the British Embassy, in an office next to one once occupied by the famous Gertrude Bell, who was highly influential in British imperial policy in the Middle East and played a major role in establishing and helping to administer the state of Iraq.

He later joined the British Council and his postings included Jordan, Sudan, Turkey and Abu Dhabi, his second most enjoyable posting.

Dr Long amused his audience with a number of anecdotes that included discovering albino cockroaches in a septic tank at the house he occupied in Baghdad; while on another occasion, he met an university examiner who believed that Shakespeare was Arabic.

           

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