By Bonyan Jamall
“I remember the moment of running from classes. Luke’s kind heart couldn’t punish us, but he would still give us that look that says ‘I trust you know what is best for you’. Poor Luke, may Allah have mercy in his soul.” – Sana Najeeb.
“The goal of life isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will. Luke Somers left an impact on those he encountered, and above all myself. In such a short time, he gave me a lot and taught me many lessons that I will carry with me throughout life. As my English teacher, Somers not only taught me the skills of English writing, but also how to leave a mark on people through words. Being a journalist, Somers showed me that checking your sources and being truthful to the cause in hand is what makes a journalist great. One of the best memories I recall with Somers was on a usual school day. Everybody was absent due to the security situation the country was undergoing at that time. I remember having limitless discussions with him that day. From giving me advice on how to master the art of writing to other related subjects as Journalism and media in general, I was mesmerized by his way of thinking and how resourceful he was, not to mention his remarkable intellect. He has increased my passion about writing and doubled my ambition of considering it as a future career. Having detected my interest, he lent me some of the New Yorker magazines he had, and told me to go through them. I did and my interest in both reading and writing grew instantly! It’s such a shame to have him taken away in such ruthless manner. Coming to Yemen has cost our teacher his life, leaving a gap behind in both our lives and the media world. His memory will be forever cherished and the hands that deprived him from his life will always be condemned.” – Esra’a Alnajar.
“I regret all the time I wasted, but we were only kids. The first class we had, Luke asked what was the latest book we read. I was embarrassed to answer that question but he didn’t make us feel bad about ourselves, but encouraged us to read more. It’s a shame now that he was killed in Yemen, the land of faith and sapience. May his soul rest in peace. I’m sorry.” ~Sara Al-Mahbshi.
“I can’t seem to remember most of my memories with Luke Somers, maybe because I considered him as normal as any other person in my life. But now when I look back to some of the memories he left in me, the memories that I had with him, they start to seem special. I remember when I was in high school (grade 12) and he came as an English language teacher. He was calm and serene and he taught us with everything that he had. As we got used to him, the class was never quiet. We used to be so loud in class, yet, he always gave a reason for our behavior. There were classes where he allowed us to stand in front of the class and pretend we were a teacher. He did that for the sake of giving us a chance to express ourselves and learn the language. I also remember Mr. Somers being the only teacher who would actually listen to us. He would just sit and listen without interrupting, then give us advice. Nothing but good came from him. Such innocence didn’t deserve to leave the world without a reason. May he rest in peace now, and grant his friends and family patience!” -L. E
“A fun memory that comes to my head now is a day where most of the school were absent. I was with a friend in the class, and Mr. Luke was with us that day. We started talking about everything, then for some reason we started talking about food and different dishes in different countries. I remember Mr. Luke was specifically wondering about “Moloukhia” and how we eat it. His advices in writing had an amazing style that I would never forget. No matter the reason that made him come to Yemen, his manner spoke for itself and made us all love him. He was such a polite person.” -Shatha Nethal.
“I once wrote a story in my English class. The question was ‘what are your biggest fears?’ We would write about it in a story form. I wrote about fear, called the article “fear” and wrote about how I am afraid from fear itself and freezing in really important situations.
The story was homework, but I was too excited (knowing that its really rare in my school where a teacher goes way outside the curriculum to challenge our minds in that way). I held the pen in my hand and started writing while I was still in class and couldn’t let it go until I finished the whole story.
I raised my head and my teacher was standing over me. I think he was explaining but I was in my own world. He did not call on me or interrupt me in any way. He stood there respecting my writing stream, and when I finished he asked to read what I wrote, but I wasn’t confident enough to let him do so after a long discussion (which wouldn’t have happened with any other teacher). We agreed I would read it to him.
I read what I wrote to the end when I raised my head to look at him I saw his eyes tearing up. I was shocked and I don’t deny a little flattered.
After that the level of support he gave to me was unbelievable. He insisted I would read it in front of the whole class and introduced me with the most encouraging words. Then he took it and gave me some pointers on the details, and he always encouraged me to write.
After school he gave me his e-mail and asked me to send my writings so that he would review them. You won’t imagine the push he gave me to write and how his advice was very helpful until now, and how writing really relives me.
I also remember having a discussion with him about one’s country. He said, ‘My father is from a country, my mother is from another.’ I asked him, ‘But where do you consider yourself from?’ He said, ‘I don’t consider myself from a specific country. The world is my country.’
We kept arguing for a long time about the importance of having roots in your country and belonging to it.
I can’t believe this happened to him for the simple accusation of being an American, an accusation that he himself doesn’t believe in.
I’m sickened to know that Mr. Luke died for just loving Yemen.
We are all, his students, truly sad and sorry for what happened. May Allah have mercy in his peaceful soul.” -Bonyan Jamall.