June 8, 2008

Politics: The only Game in Town.


Spent all afternoon watching the European Football Cup.

Mom likes watching football too. We both get very excited, and I am the one who usually shouts the loudest during a football match with an occasional (OK -- more than occasional) "bad" word thrown in when "my team" doesn't score, to the utter and total exasperation of my poor Mom.

Of course, today I supported Turkey against Portugal, and Switzerland against the Czechs. You see it's all politics. I prefer Turkey to Portugal due to geographical proximity. I suppose the fact that we have a "shared history" had also something to do with it.

And I prefer the Swiss to the Czechs. Again, I suppose I view the Swiss as more "neutral" than the Czechs whom I perceive to be quite racist when it comes to Turks, Arabs and Russians...

Besides, I have kept bad memories from my trip to Czechoslovakia when I was a budding teenager. I later, understood why Milan Kundera's writings give this imminent, foreboding sense of Suicide as the only exit in Life.
Seriously now, I found Czechoslovakia to be a most depressing place for a 13 year old, then.

After the Football match and the loss of Turkey and Switzerland, we settled for the news.

Maliki with his three day beard and 100000 rings silver rings from Qum on his fingers, landed in Tehran, kissing and hugging. He went there to comfort and alleviate Iranian insecurities about the American long term presence in Iraq.
Of course the Iranians are worried because they would like to have Iraq for themselves alone. So he's trying his best to assuage their fears and reassure them that he and the other Shias in Iraq (those coopted by Iran, of course) will do their best so Iran can remain their preferred Occupier.

Mom's reaction was instantenous - Shoofee, shoofee hadha al adabziz. Look, look at this man with no morals, she exclaimed.

We were both taken by this sudden urge to throw our shoes at the TV screen and then decided it's best not to as we can't afford a new one.

Then, H.Clinton appeared and Mom said in her typical Iraqi dialect

- Ballahee, just look at this pappaz. Ballahee means by God and pappaz in Iraqi dialect is an old Turkish word meaning - clown, jester, puppet...

Mom added - Am glad she's stepping down, she's a true pappaz.

So I asked her - What about Obama, what do you think of him ?

- Obama, the booma ? Booma means owl, but in Iraqi dialect it also means someone very stupid - you must be kidding me! The Americans will never vote for a black guy. Besides, his grandmother's name is Sarah Hussein and lives in a village in Kenya and can't speak English. Do you think these cowboys will vote for someone whose grandmother is a Muslim and lives in a village in Africa ? Of course they won't.

- Hmmm... I guess not. So McCain will be in?

- Yes, akeed.- For sure.

- But they say -- he might bomb Iran, you know,

- He won't. But if he does - Bil Janaham. To Hell.

At that point, she got up and poured us some hot, freshly brewed, refreshing, nicely flavored, Iraqi tea...

I can't really blame Mom. After all she's another refugee in forced exile, an elderly lady whose only wish in life was to spend the remaining of her days with her family, in her home, in her country.


Painting: Iraqi artist, Qais Al-Sindy. 2007.