Abu Tawil is a 6’7″ pragmatic and sarcastic orientalist* studying as a CASA Fellow at the American University in Cairo. As an undergrad at Middlebury College, he studied International Politics and Economics and developed a passion for Middle Eastern Affairs and the Arabic Language. At one point, he managed to escape from the land of snow and ice and spent a year in sunny and temperate Alexandria, Egypt where he studied at the C.V. Starr School in the Middle East and interned at – or more aptly consumed copious amounts of tea in – the Translations’ Office at the University of Alexandria. Unfortunately, while abroad he was hoodwinked by a clever tout at the Pyramids of Giza who managed to extract from him a tidy sum of backsheesh after presenting him with one of China’s finest kufiyyas and pronouncing him “Abu Tawil”. The kufiyya has since disappeared but the name has endured.
*I define orientalist as the occidental orientalist does. While in contemporary society the term may have become akin to colonialist, I claim to be no more than simple a foreigner studying the Orient (the Middle East or the Near East). In I do not claim to be an an expect on Middle Eastern affairs and hope that whatever biases latent in my western educated and reared persona do not my discolor my writing (any more than my tenuous grasp of the English language and grammar already does). I am, however, human and thus error; for that I beg you patience and forgiveness.