Showing posts from October, 2006

Mothers sitting in the Dark.

My mother is growing more silent each day . She seems to be out of reach . Unlike her old bubbly active self . I have caught her many a times sitting in the dark , alone, slouching on her sofa . "What on earth is wrong with you ?" A question I would incessantly repeat . And she just gazes at me and shakes her head . The look in her eyes seems so distant , so far away . "You have been watching the news again , haven't you Mom ? " . She manages a faint affirmative nod , a yes with quivering lips . "Don't do this to yourself please Mother , don't do this to me " "It is finished " she replies , " It is gone ". I cannot argue otherwise . Indeed , it is finished , it is gone . My mother is my Iraqi fortress . I cannot see her crumble that way . I am my mother's daughter and I cannot see myself crumble that way either . Where will I find the strength for the both of us ? Where will I find the conviction that "things&q

Happy Belated Eid , Abu Fadel.

Abu Fadel is dead . Four hooded militia men , shias , forecefully entered his home on the 2nd day of the Eid at dawn and riddled him with bullets . He left 5 kids behind . The youngest is 5 years old. His monthly income was around 50 dollars . His wife is in a state of shock and his kids can't even cry. They live in a majority shia area in Baghdad .He had refused to leave , he said he trusted his neighbors . He said " there is salt and bread between us " - an Arabic saying symbolizing a long term relationship, cemented by shared food and time . No one knows why he was murdered as he was a quiet man who made sure to keep out of politics and other dangerous undertakings. His very close relatives don't dare approach his neighborhood from fear of more bullets . Who will bury him ? I asked 2 days later . " We are still figuring it out " replied W. "It's just getting there that is troublesome " he added . By troublesome he meant running the ri

The Sexual Politics of the new Islamic dress code

The other night I was watching the satellite TV channel "Iqra" . An Islamic channel . Here comes a program run by a young sheikh , "modern" looking and quite paternalistic like most of them are . His topic was the Islamic dress . It was not whether women should or should not wear it , it was how they should wear it . So he invited two women dressed the "Islamic" way , loose garment , head scarf , no make up . And the pannel consisted of four young men and these two young women . So the topic was ,believe it or not , what kind of Islamic dress is really Islamic and what is not . So our young sheikh urges young muslim women to not only dress Islamically but to also make sure that their garments are very loose , very wide , very long so as not to show any of their bodies contours . He was arguing that some women who dress the Islamic way were not Islamic enough because our young sheikh along with his male guests could still perceive a few contours des

Ramadan , Food and Satellite TV....

It has been over a month since I wrote anything here . Work, travelling and other preoccupations have prevented me from sitting still long enough to put thoughts on paper. Then came Ramadan, the Holy Sacred month for Muslims , like myself . I remember the first time I fasted was when I was 12 or so . It was a real challenge not to eat . I was the only one who fasted in the family and my paternal grandmother who was a Christian would wake me up before dawn and prepare me some food . Years passed and my motivation to fast simply evaporated . I do not know what was the exact turning point but I somehow felt that fasting was no longer something for me . In retrospect , having spent quite a few numbers of Ramadan in Middle Eastern capitals , I may know why . Ramadan is welcomed with both apprehension and enthusiasm. It is after all a stoic act not to eat or drink when the temperature is above 35C . For smokers and coffee drinkers , it is a nightmare . I saw a worker the other day ca