Joe shares his thoughts of the USA

RETIRED American teacher, Joe Hanania, who lived in Suffolk for 35 years, has written a thought-provoking book about the land of his birth.The privately-published book, My Country, 'Tis of Thee, tells his unusual life story – interwoven with his thoughts about the US.

By Judy Rimmer

RETIRED American teacher, Joe Hanania, who lived in Suffolk for 35 years, has written a thought-provoking book about the land of his birth.

The privately-published book, My Country, 'Tis of Thee, tells his unusual life story – interwoven with his thoughts about the US.

Mr Hanania, 73, has lived in France for the last two years with wife Jacqueline, but made a special visit to Suffolk to promote his book.


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He decided to write the sometimes controversial book, which strongly criticises US foreign policy, because he was disturbed by the bombings of Iraq in 1998 and 1999.

"I had finished it before September 11, but wrote about five more pages to try to express what I felt," he said.

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Mr Hanania was horrified by the events of September 11, and said: "I discovered just two weeks afterwards that one of my former students was working right next door to one of the towers."

However, he strongly opposed the bombings of Afghanistan and said he did not believe this was the answer.

"I don't like the killing of innocent people," he commented.

Mr Hanania was born in New Jersey and tells of his difficult childhood in his book. He was the son of a poor Christian Arab couple. His mother died when he was only one year old, and his father could not cope and turned to drink.

The young Joe was placed in a children's home and later he and sister, Evon, went to live with a foster family, changing their surname to that of their new parents.

After training as a teacher, he read the book Summerhill by pioneering educationalist, AS Neill, and travelled to Britain to meet the author at his famous school in Leiston.

Mr Hanania taught briefly at the American high school on the Lakenheath air base before returning to the US. In 1964 he moved to England permanently, taking up a post as teacher at the former Bentwaters air base.

He also taught at several other schools, including Copleston High in Ipswich, and spent one year in Italy, teaching at a US navy base in Naples.

Mr Hanania also worked in tourism – and led tours of Russia during the Cold War years.

Joe Hanania's book costs £11.50. To order a copy, write to him at 27 Av Beausejour, 87330, Nouic, France.

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