The disassociation between inner belief and outer behaviour allowed many people to enjoy a sense of retaining their inner decency while at the same time not risking any loss of livelihood, any compromise over career ambitions, let alone any potentially more sanctions; hence never revealing any signs of disagreement or openly showing anything less than apparently full commitment to the regime and its policies

Ahead in the distance we could see the main gate, but there was a sea of cars, none moving, people standing, milling around, waiting nervously, perhaps fearfully, as heavily armed MPs and military working dogs searched every square inch of every vehicle, searched every bag on every person, all the while keeping a vigilant eye on the long alley we were stuck in, and on the hundreds of rooftops that overlooked that alley, wary but aware that there were people out there who would gladly hurt us again if given the chance.

In my life I’ve been very lucky to travel around the world and see students and teachers in nearly two dozen countries-but the most awe-inspiring experience I’ve ever had was two years after 9/11 when I had the chance to attend a conference in Manhattan and personally meet many of the heroic teachers who persevered under conditions that in our worst nightmares we could never have imagined. In my opinion there’s not been nearly enough written about those teachers, and I hope that changes soon.

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