Facing disability and military occupation, Dr. Hani Khoury tells his story

Natasha Tynes
2 min readApr 22, 2022

Dr. Hani Q. Khoury didn’t have an easy life. Born in Nablus, Palestine, in 1965, he faced two major life challenges from an early age.

He was born with a rare and progressive physical disorder known as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disease, which led him to use an electric wheelchair at the age of 18. In addition to that, his town of Nablus got occupied by Israeli forces.

Despite his disability, he decided to come to America to complete his higher education. He is now a Professor of Mathematics at Mercer University in Georgia.

In his autobiography, he documented his journey: Giving up is not an option: Memoirs of a Palestinian American.

I had the pleasure to interview him for my podcast, where we talked about his life with a disability while growing up in a country under occupation, his journey to the US, and the status of math education in the United States.

What’s your view of failure?

We also discussed the definition of failure across various cultures, which resonated with me since I never looked at failure from a cultural lens.

Failure is generally not taboo in the US, and many motivational speakers talk about the importance of failing to succeed.

In other cultures, though, failing is viewed as something shameful.

How we view failure can affect our outcomes. It always helps to see failure through a cultural lens because it determines how people react.

What’s your view of failure?

You can listen to the podcast at the link above or watch the whole interview on YouTube below.

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Natasha Tynes

Writer. Journalist. Words in @washingtonpost , @ElleUK , @esquire . I write about: ✍🏼 Writing 📲 Creator economy 🌍 Mideast