flesl.net Paired Stories: Conversation (Abdul Shanwaz)

web address: flesl.net/Reading/Stories/Series1//Abdul_S/AbdulS_conversation.php

political prisoner:
someone who is in prison because of their political beliefs

undercover policeman:
a policeman who is pretending not to be a policeman

unfairly, going against justice

without kindness

kindly, not severely

take into consideration:
think about something while making a decision


political repression:
punishing people to stop them from talking about their political beliefs or from going against the government

• conversation activities for ‘Abdul Shanwaz’

story exchange guide

1: make groups of three or four

2: decide who is going to be A, who B, and who C. (In a four-person group there will be a c1 and a c2.)

3: A, tells the others in a story from his or her own experience about one of the following: (a) someone who was (or is) a political prisoner; (b) someone being tortured; (c) someone who was arrested by an undercover policeman; (d) someone who was unjustly treated by the law.

4: B, repeats A’s story.

5: C (or C1 and C2), asks A questions about his or her story.

6: A becomes C (or C2), B becomes A, etcetera, and everything is repeated.

ideas for conversation on punishment for selling drugs

• The judges at Abdul’s second trial were right to overthrow Anne’s sentence. People like him who sell addictive drugs to the public must be treated as severely as the law allows. The bad experiences they have had in the past are not an excuse for their crimes and should not be taken into consideration.


• Poor people like Abdul who sell drugs on the street should be treated leniently if they are caught. They are really just the victims of the wealthy business people who import the drugs or manufacture them. They are the ones who the police should be arresting.

ideas for conversation on refugees and torture claims

• In general, bad experiences that a person has had in the past cannot be considered an excuse for committing crimes, but torture is different. It is well known that, if a person is tortured over a long period of time, this can damage his or her mental health. Someone like Abdul, who was still suffering from the effects of torture, should be treated leniently if convicted of a crime.


• It is well known that people who want to be accepted as refugees often claim falsely that they were victims of political repression in their home countries. Abdul was probably such a person. How do we know he was tortured in his home country? How do we know that he was a political prisoner there and not an ordinary criminal? And why should we believe his story that he was not being paid for what he did? Most of the things said in his defense were probably lies and, therefore, it was right to punish him severely.