My friend Taieb has been touring the USA since January 5. He is member of a group of “miscellaneous” Canadians invited by the US State Department to visit several places and institutions in the USA.
I have never been to the US although Boston is only 400 kms far away from Montreal.
Here’s a short bio of Taieb by his colleague and travelmate Jay Whetter:
Taieb is a reporter with Media Matin Quebec. This is an employee-run paper that they started after their employer, Le Journal de Quebec, locked them out nine months ago. Le Journal wants staff to work five days a week for the same pay. Staff had been working four days a week. Le Journal also wants reporters to provide reports in various media, including audio and video, without any restriction. Management locked out the workers until they’re ready to come back under the new terms.
Taieb was born and raised in Tunisia. He speaks French, Arabic and English. Taieb’s introduction to Canada came through the Internet. He met his girlfriend from Rimouski, Quebec online in 1998. Her chat room nickname — “Balzac” — caught his eye, and they started chatting. They chatted online every day after that. In December 1999, she traveled to Tunisia to meet him in person. It was her first trip abroad. Over the next two years, Taieb traveled twice to Rimouski before moving to Quebec permanently in 2001. Taieb studied law in Tunisia and got a Masters in public communication from Laval University. He became a Canadian citizen in January 2007.
Taieb thinks he was chosen because of his former involvement with the Canada-Palestinian Coalition. He was often talking with the U.S. consul general and correcting her — politely, he says — on the facts about Palestine.