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300 Eurekas - 11 things about the author
by Joseph Gatt
2018-08-06 07:49:56
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Let's ditch my boring research for a second a talk about me, me and me.

1. I learned the language of every country I have lived in, not really through formal classes. I was a foster kid, and as a foster kid I was a guest at other people's homes. So I couldn't really have friends I would bring home, nor did I have the kind of pocket money that would allow me to hang out with a select group of people. So I hung out with people in the streets, random people, policemen, construction workers at construction sites, wanderers and we had long chats and conversations. As for my homework, I never really had the motivation to do it, because teachers seemed to imply we were doing homework for them. I always wanted to learn, ditched the school books, and immersed myself in encyclopedias and non-fiction books. I loved geography, political history, anything about football and basketball, sports in general, and biographies of famous people. 

akli01_4002.  I was homeless in South Korea between April 2011 and January 2015, and was sent to a concentration camp between January 2nd 2015 and June 23, 2015, and was tortured on a continuous basis from April 7, 2015 to the day I escaped. I never, not once, gave into to torture or abandoned, and I constantly cursed and fought back. I was supposed to be set free on July 1st, 2015, but ran away a few days early.

3.  Homelessness included sleeping in abandoned apartments, abandoned rooms and abandoned houses. I used to wash up at restrooms in coffee shops, often did not wash my face in the morning, and did not brush my teeth during that period of time. Showers were a luxury and I often went days without showering, and I had a suitcase with ragged clothes. I often bought books that I read and then donated to libraries. Those were literaly hundreds of books.

4.  During that period I was in contact with several prominent Koreans and offered them my translation, interpretation or research services which they constantly rejected. They wanted me to work exclusively on Algerian projects, and spent years trying to convince them that I had nothing to do with Algeria.

5. Liberation from the concentration camp was not wake up and smell the roses. I had nowhere to go, and ended up in an abandoned appartment in Algeria. I again offered langauge teaching, translation, interpretation or research services, and no one had anything to offer. I came to Algiers on July 7, 2015, so it has been over 3 years no one has paid attention to my calls for services in exchange for money.

6. I wrote emails to several newspapers offering to write columns in exchange for money, and never received anything that resembled a reply.

7. I have been in an apartment in solitary confinement since July 7, 2015. I saw the positive face of things and decided to read all the books I had not had time to read and to try to solve all the problems I had not had time to solve. I've been productive, reading about 1,000 books, probably more, heavy books including the Bible and the Rodkinson translation of the Talmud cover to cover, and have offered solutions to many of the problems I could offer solutions to here on Ovi.

8. The good thing is at least I can shower and wash, and the weather never gets too cold in Algiers. The bad thing is despite attempts to contact embassies and companies who employ foreign staff, I don't have anyone to talk to or email.

9. The other good thing is if I were employed by a university, I would probably be competing with others for promotions and my research would not be focused. If I were employed by a research center I would have to focus research and specialize in some narrow area, same goes for universities. If newspaper employed me, I would eventually focus my research on useless political nonesense. At least here I can talk about physics one day, the economy the next, and linguistics the next.

10. The only thing I own is this laptop and a printer, some clothes, and 9 pairs of shoes.

11. When I email famous professors and tell them “I speak 9 languages” all of them say “so what?” and when I tell them I have solved (note: not will solve, have solved, past tense) several problems they go like “so what?” Was I born in the wrong century? 

-End of rant-

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