Tag Archives: Gillian Gibbons

Teddy Bear Teacher’s Own Story Of Captivity

Ms. Gillian Gibbons told Elizabeth Day of the Manchester Guardian the real story behind her captivity in a Sudan prison after being charged with the ridiculous crime of giving a name to a teddy bear. She said it was difficult to explain what she went through during her days of ordeal. “It’s hard to describe what it’s like. I was just terrified, absolutely terrified” being in a hot sweltering prison with dirt and noise as her constant companions. Ms. Gibbons also revealed that parents of the children knew all about the teddy bear being given a name of Mohammed and not a single one objected. “For the children, it was a member of the class,” said Ms. Gibbon, and “the parents had to ask(if their children could borrow the teddy bear for a night at home)so they write and say, ‘Can we borrow Mohammed?’ and they’re Muslim parents, so you can imagine that I had no idea at all that I’d done something wrong because none of the parents said anything.” It wasn’t until two months after the teddy bear was named that a school employee, Sara Khawad expressed her anger at the school by going to authorities and complaining about the teddy bear naming.

Ms. Gibbon noted that when first arrested, she was interrogated in Arabic, a language in which she had three weeks of instruction. According to Ms. Gibbons, at the trial, an irate prosecutor brought the offending teddy bear into the court room, placed it on a table and roared at Ms. Gibbon, “Is this the bear?” She spent the days in jail with great fear and was ridiculed by the guards for being upset, and they wanted to know why she had these feelings. “Well, I’ve lost my job, I’ve lost my home, there’s a mob baying outside that wants to kill me, I’m in prison, and I’m going to get deported, and you ask me why I’m crying?”

This entire incident is obviously a set up. The parents knew about the teddy bear being named Mohammed and not a single one uttered a word of complaint. The Sudan government could readily have contacted the school after Ms. Khawad came with her complaint, and the entire incident never would have happened. It is blatantly cleared they wanted an issue, they wanted to get a mob in the streets shouting something about England or Europeans being hostile to the Muslim religion. The “crime” of Gillian Gibbons is really the “crime” of a Sudanese government which was trying to divert attention from its “crimes in Darfur.” As Shakespeare put it, the teddy bear naming was much ado about nothing.