Syrians who have inspired me – Mr. Kamal. Chapter 7

Today I want to talk about a man I met in Syria who I found inspiring, but I just realised that he’s really one of a kind. Which means there’s not much I could say about him that would keep him anonymous.

So this will be short. He was a successful careerman. He had advanced in his job, slowly working his way through the ranks of bureaucracy. He’d probably never make it to the top of the pile, but he’d done a respectable job of hiking up, one step at a time.

When I met him, he was mid-level management, in a relatively senior position. A respectable position. He was definitely in the second half of his career, with gray hair and grown-up daughters. I know he was getting a good salary, probably more than I’ll ever see in a year. So I don’t think he did what he did merely out of the goodness of his heart. He did it because it was a good job.

But he still did it, and that has to mean something. When I met him, he had assumed a role in which he had to stand up for women and work tirelessly to serve women. I found it strange, because actually his entire team (which, granted, was a teeny tiny team), was comprised of men. What can men possibly know about the needs of women? I told him, directly, that I don’t think men know much about the needs of women.

But then a woman, one of the women he served, told me that she was glad a man held his position. He added credibility to the cause. If a woman stands up and says she wants to support women, you roll your eyes and figure that, of course, a woman wants to help other women. If a man dedicates himself to helping women, you take him seriously.

Sure, he had a little bit of a fan base, and it was cute to see him hold court with a bunch of ladies. But I do think he believed in what he did. And he was a hard worker who took his job helping women seriously.

So, men out there, think about it. What can you do to be more like Mr. Kamal? Sadly, we live in a world where women do need help, simply because they’re women. When women try to help, we create an alternate reality or people don’t take us seriously or we become bra-burning feminists (or at least are accused of such). Maybe if more men were like Mr. Kamal, then we could all get along and enjoy life together?

This arch is on the "Street Called Straight" in Damascus... the famous place from the story of St. Paul

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