Khalid was a 17-year-old Arab student at the time who was one of America’s best hope of creating a very important meeting in Saudi Arabia. His father was an important figure in the history of Islamic art. His brother, Abdullah, was the editor-in-chief of an art magazine and his other brother, Musa, was one of Saudi Arabia’s most popular young poets.
The three brothers had collaborated on numerous pieces of artwork that traveled to various corners of the world. While all three were at odds with their father, Khalid was more. There was tension between the brothers, particularly when Abdullah learned that his son was getting into an intense game of American football.
Abdullah was very passionate about American football and tried to recruit Khalid to play in a team with him. Khalid’s personality was simply not suited for such an endeavour. Abdullah was concerned about his son’s ability to be in such a fiercely competitive sport. At one point he called his son and asked him to meet him at the stadium where the team was playing.
In the book’s research work I have found out that for all those young boys who dream of making it big in America’s National Football League, this was a dream that seemed to be fully realised. They played the game with heart and eagerness, especially if they were the sons of Arab immigrants.
America’s best hope for a future meeting of leaders in Riyadh, in a project which was to change the Middle East forever, chose a young man who loved America and its sporting pursuits. It is no surprise that he won a place in the United States Army and soon became a captain in the Special Forces.
While he had no real interest in America’s national football team, Khalid was given a chance to wear the jersey and fight his way through Iraq. Khalid was drafted into the US Army Special Forces and spent several months in a remote region of Afghanistan.
As part of their intelligence services Khalid was sent into areas where it was suspected that the Mujahideen was planning attacks in various parts of the country. After a short period of time he left the US Army and joined the CIA and the US Marines.
Was it the moment that he sensed that he was about to be killed that he decided to leave? Maybe, maybe not. But by then he was a famous and well-respected literary figure in America and the Arab world.
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