Another Country (Part 1)

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Another Country (Part 1)[1]
Work In Progress
Original Broadcast Date
Joe Frank
Serious Monologue, Narrative Monologue, 58 minutes
Preceded by: Talking About Love
Followed by: Another Country (Part 2)

When his mother was depressed, you could feel her mood spreading through the house like a foul mist.

Another Country (Part 1) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series Work In Progress. It was originally broadcast in 1986.


A narrator tells the story of an unnamed fellow, whom I'll call Protagon to make writing this synopsis simpler. (Everybody else has a name.)

Protagon grew up in Cleveland with a mother who was frequently and seriously depressed. He and his father found her moods crushing. She thought her husband weak. She'd play the piano for hours in the afternoon, classical music. He would close and lock all the intervening doors, but still hear the music.[1]

1:40: Although he enjoyed Temple services on the high holy days, he imagined the stigma Christians attached to Jews for killing Christ.[2] When he forgot to take his skullcap off after services, he'd feel badly: he didn't want people to know he was Jewish. He thinks about the suffering of Jews in the Holocaust.[3]

5:00: At age 25 he moves to Washington DC, lives in a boarding house.[4] Many of the other residents are Arabs, including Naim, 'one of the most beautiful women he'd ever seen: she looked like an Arabian princess.' An Algerian, Ali, also a resident of the building, a law student at Georgetown, is her lover. 'He [Protagon] felt ugly and poisoned because he was a totally anti-social recluse, not really a pleasant person.' He keeps to himself, doesn't socialize.

6:00: Naim faints, Ali asks Protagon to call for an ambulance, because his English is poor. He doesn't. Naim gets mad at him. 'He and Naim didn't speak to each other for weeks after the incident'

7:00: He works for Film Presentations, which he figures out is sketchy.

8:00: Naim and he get to know each other. She's 30, from North Yemen, went to University of Missouri, degree in communications. She took a job in Kuwait to work on Arab Sesame Street,[5] for which she had made a marriage of convenience with a Palestinian, Kamal, because single women are considered immoral there. That job fell through but she kept the marriage to get a Green card. Kamal runs a company in Florida. She's studying linguistics so she can teach English to foreigners. They become lovers on her instigation.

12:30: They go to the Edinburgh festival to see her sister, Fadal (sp?), a famous dancer, perform. He meets Ali there, who figures out what's going on. Naim and Protagon discover their incompatibilities.

18:40: They see Raiders of the lost ark, which makes her mad. She sees it as Zionist propaganda.

20:20: She gives him Men in the sun, her favorite book, because it tells of the plight of Palestinians.

21:20: She takes him to parties, where he meet many Arabs, sees they aren't all violent fanatics.

22:20: They attend a fund-raising bake sale for Palestinian terrorists in Mount Pleasant[6] They talk about how Mossad offers them money to stay in the US, funds their educations.[7]

24:00: 'Thilemzith thevgha atsazhu'[8]

25:50: He moves to a nearby apartment. She helps him paint and furnish it, is there much of the time, keeps her room in the boarding house to keep up appearances.

27:00: He gets a new job with a film and video production company, why he can afford the apartment. He figures out they misrepresent themselves.

28:20: Because her education is about to end, thus her student visa also, she recruits a friend to fund a language school at which she can teach English to Arabs.

29:30: His new employer lets him go. He takes a job with B'nai B'rith. He can't let them see him with an Arab; she doesn't want to go near it.

32:20: Naim's language school fails after 7 months. She takes 2 night jobs teaching English as a second language, lying about having a Green card.

33:10: They take a trip to Ocean City (Maryland) which they hate. They camp, skinnydip by climbing the fence in a closed public pool at night, see the horses on Assateague.

39:10: Naim had wanted to be a dancer like her sister, but a 'degenerative cartilage disease in her knees' made it impossible. She likes to give elaborate parties, with lots of food and dancing.

40:30: Naim tells Protagon she wants to have a child with him.

41:00: They see The land, an Egyptian movie about landlord-peasant conflict in the time of Turkish rule, at the Smithsonian. She's unhappy with the way American movies depict Arabs and the way Arab movies depict women.

46:20: After a call to her home Naim tells Protagon about her family: her mother married at 15, raised 8 children, a father who spends all their money on khat, a narcotic leaf - $50/day. Her father had wanted even his daughters to get educated, come back to reform North Yemen.

49:40: Israel invades Lebanon.[9] B'nai B'rith paints it in a positive light. Protagon and Naim fight about this. Protagon begins to see the Arab point of view.

Legacy Synopsis

The story of a Jewish man with a depressed mother. He thinks of persecution of the Jews throughout history. He gets a job in advertising for a weapons manufacturer. He starts a relationship with a married Yemeni woman. They go to a film festival in Europe together. They fight over her interest in clothes, violence and anti-Arab themes in US movies. They attend a party with exiles from the Palestinian resistance. They choose and decorate an apartment together. He finds work with an fraudulent out of state video production company, then gets a job with B'nai B'rith. She helps found an Arabic language institute which fails, takes several language jobs. They go to a beach resort, skinny dipping at a campsite, and to a wildlife reserve with wild horses. She throws parties and dances. They fight over middle east politics. He's given the job of generating PR to support the invasion of Lebanon.



The first datable event is a viewing of 'Raiders of the lost ark', which premiered 1981 June 12; they went to see it after the Edinburgh festival (in August), before he moved into the apartment. The last is the invasion of Lebanon, 1982 June 6. The language school Naim and her friend opened lasted 7 months.


Ocean City is as they describe it: the worst place on Maryland's Atlantic coast.Arthur Peabody (talk) 00:49, 15 March 2022 (EDT)

I attended parties in group homes in Mount Pleasant in the '80s!Arthur Peabody (talk) 20:44, 16 March 2022 (EDT)

Additional credits

The original broadcast credits state: "Technical production by Tom Strother."


  1. Joe tells the same story in Karma Memories at 37:40, except in the first person and refers to Freddy instead of his father.
  2. The Romans killed Jesus; some 'Christian' antisemites blame Jews.
  3. Joe tells the same story in Karma Memories at 37:40, except in the first person and refers to Freddy instead of his father.
  4. so Joe says; it was a building with separate bedrooms - there was no board.
  5. the Arab version of Sesame Street was made in Kuwait, beginning in 1979.
  6. a neighborhood of Washington
  7. Apparently true.
  8. This is a Kabyle song, from Algeria. Ali is from Algeria but I think it's coincidental.
  9. 1982 June 6. Israel calls it 'Peace in Galilee' 1982 Lebanon war