A Misanthrope in Ramadan - Act I


An Occupied Shore

I longed for the Sea.
The sea represents to me the primal waters, the " Prima Mater ", the womb of the earth, the origins of every living thing.
And the sea cannot be tamed. It imposes itself with its tranquility, waves and under currents...

So, when a friend kindly arranged for a short day trip to the seaside, I jumped to the occasion and with great anticipation, hit the road.
I thought to myself, this is the Ramadan season, the place will be at best empty or at worst will only host another "odd tourist" like myself...

I could not wait to feel the sand beneath my feet and immerse myself, like in a baptism in the salty waters, as in a purification ritual. A purification of the body, the senses and the soul from the " negative energies " I have been carrying around like some excess luggage.

And true to my expectation, the shore was virtually empty. I picked a spot in whatever shade I could find...Bliss, pure bliss.

An hour later, two Russian couples, heavy weight size, sat right in front of me, obstructing my vision with their corpulent mass. A bit too close for comfort. After all the beach was empty, why pick here ?
The Russian XXL " Dasha ", then moved her sun bed in the tiny spot of shade I had.
Her partner, " Ivan the terrible " stuffed his bathing suit into the cracks of his bottom, turning it into a thong. He wanted to make sure he gets an even tan exposing his full Russian buttocks right under my nose.

Anyone who travels regularly to these beach resorts in the Middle East, also knows that the average Russian tourist, is known for his/her curtness, lack of consideration for others in particular Arabs, their haughtiness and their nouveau riche demeanor. Our " guests " were no exception.

Half an hour later, two other couples came and sat to my right...Much closer than necessary. They were Israelis, Ashkenazis to be more precise.

Now, nothing, absolutely nothing, beats the tacky Israelis nouveaux riches.
One of the woman had a leopard print dress, a leopard bathing suit, a leopard hat and of course a leopard handbag that goes with the rest of the " ensemble. " Plus the gold jewelry.
She looked as if she just concluded a hunting expedition in some jungle and came out carrying some of her trophies. I suppose " Israel " can be considered a jungle and the Palestinians a species on their way to extinction.
And, as if this grotesque outfit was not enough, she was chewing gum in the most vulgar of ways. I felt I was sitting next to a ruminating cow.

I later learned several " interesting " things about Israeli tourists.

- For one, they never pay in local currency. They get excessively cheap rates back "home" and everything is paid in advance. So the " local " host economy gets peanuts from their visits.

- The second thing I learned is that Israeli tourists are known to be be snatchers.
They basically snatch everything they lay their hands on. Hotel towels, ashtrays, soap holders and even the paintings on the walls. So hotels have nailed their paintings in such a way as to make them unmovable or should I say, un-snatchable. Unless of course, an Israeli bulldozer is called to the premises.

- The third thing I learned is that Israelis don't need a visa, whilst the
" locals " must apply for one, weeks in advance and 9 times out of 10, it is refused.

- And last but not least, there is a holiday festive period in " Israel " and that a number of Israelis prefer the next door shores to their own crowded kitsch beaches.

And of course this particular bunch was your typical loud, arrogant, and downright nasty to the staff, bunch...arguing about every single penny on the bill.



A little later, landed an English couple and proceeded to sit right behind me.
I thought to myself " Patience girl, let's see how far you are jinxed. "
This pinkish looking English couple had the heaviest cockney accent ever.
The " eeyah's and oi's " galore.
The tattooed Brit ordered industrial quantities of beer that his " mate " and himself, gulped down at the speed of ligthning, grabbing fistfuls of nuts from the bowl and shoving them down their mouths as if they had never seen a pistachio before in their entire lives.


So let us recap shall we ? Four Russians in front of me. Four Israelis to my right. Two cockney English behind me and I was waiting for the "grande finale" to happen before the curtain falls down. And of course it happened.


A little later, an American couple came and sat to my left. I nearly fainted. I am jinxed for sure.
The guy looked like some G.I on a short break from the heavy, tiresome duty of killing and his " meaningful other " ( a typical politically correct qualification don't you think ? See, am learning), his partner, an obnoxious, loud thing, called a " woman ".
I can safely state with no exaggeration whatsoever, that the pitch of her voice could be heard to the end of the beach and maybe across the borders...

If you really want to know what it sounded like, I invite you to pinch both of your nostrils really tight and then speak rapidly in the loudest voice you can muster.

Go on, give it a try...Yes that is exactly it!

Her partner, tired from his murdering sprees, turned on his Ipod, obviously ignoring her endless chatter about the latest chocolate fudge she had at auntie Lou's, back home. After a while, seeing she was being manifestly ignored, she picked a trashy Danielle Steel " novel " and would read one line, stop, and chatter some more...
Don't you just love American intellectual conversations ?

And as if all the above was not enough, I got the final prize.
The beach bartender decided to play some music. And guess what he had on ?
Some fucking hillbilly Banjo music that made Dolly Parton sound like an Opera Diva in comparison.

So here I was, caught in a cacophony of unwanted Hebrew, a reactionary brazen Russian, a disdainful cockney English and a loud, nauseating nasal American, the whole speech of tongues crowned by some Banjo music from Iowa....
And here I am, sitting in the heart of the Middle East, during Ramadan.

I got terribly claustrophobic and could no longer breath...I felt as if a thousands walls came tumbling down on me...
I gathered my things and moved to the farthest, furthest, end corner of the shore, anxiously looking behind me, hoping I will not be followed by this occupying mob...

I told one of the waiters as I was heading towards my safe haven :
" For God's sake, change this music...We are not in some corn field in Iowa. "
What I really wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, was : " God damn it, change this shitty yankee music. " But I showed restrain. After all, I was the real foreigner here not them.
" No problem, Madam, I have Celine Dion." He replied.
I can't stand Celine Dion but anything was better than that.

I finally relaxed a little and heard mousey Celine Dion blasting away with the theme song from the " Titanic ", you know - the shipwreck.

I was wrecked myself. I castigated myself for having to put me in this torturous process of " socio - political " observation, that caused me a huge anxiety attack nearly suffocating me.

Feeling my heartbeat slowing down, I reclined back and tried to shut Celine Dion and them from my mind. I switched on my antiquated walkman and since I had no tapes, I fiddled with the radio. A news flash bulletin came up.

- A disabled Palestinian from Nablus was shot dead by Israeli soldiers as he was standing by his window. The man was disabled in 2001, following an Israeli incursion.

- A 12 years old Palestinian boy was run over by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza.

- 15 killed and several wounded in various parts of Iraq...

And as I was listening to the news bulletin, I received two text messages.
The first one from Radhee and it said : " Three have been killed by them (meaning U.S and militias in his neighborhood.) But don't worry we are still alive."

The second one from Zayd : " This evening, 9 sharp, visit, condolences to X. Nephew shot dead in his home by Mahdi guys. Don't be late. Enjoy ! "

I sighed and changed the radio station and fell upon an old Iraqi traditional song, sung in Hebrew followed by a Palestinian folk song, also sung in Hebrew.


The beach was temporarily vacated by then. I guess the various " guests " were preparing themselves for another succulent Middle Eastern " Dinner "....
I could already picture the hotel staff inclining, bowing and snivelling like in
the " good old " colonial days...
Then I remembered what an older Palestinian lady told me a few days ago. She said:
" When I was in high school in Jerusalem, our English teacher said to us - nice girls sit upright with their heads and backs straight. You (Palestinians) don't really need to learn that, only us (English) have a right to such a posture. "


It was time for me to leave. I had a funeral visit to go to, I gave one last long look...
The sun was slowly disappearing into the sea. The water took on a blue silvery color and shined as if a thousand diamonds were floating on its surface. All was gently enveloped in a hue of pink, red, yellow and indigo.
And in a few hours, at sunrise, the sea and its shore will be witnessing a brand new day of...Occupation.

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Sawsan Al-Saraf.: " Tidal Wave "

Comments

Anonymous said…
what the hell....
Anonymous said…
well whatever its abt i look forward 2 act 2
Angel said…
Hi Layla,

Your slice of heavan at the beach sounds like my camping trip.

I love the mountains, (am not a beach girl) we are in the middle of nowhere. Peacefully sitting by the campfire, beautiful full moon. We were pointing out the constellations.

Along comes a couple of four wheel drives, and where do they set up camp? Right next to us.

"How ya goin' mate, come to share ya fire". Out come the mega eskies filled with beer.

I don't drink alcohol, you can imagine my delight.

Whilst it is an Aussie tradition to share a campfire, it is one I dislike. If I wanted to share, I would have gone to a campground, with other people.

At least we did not have to face a brand new day of Occupation. We packed up and came home.

Hope all is well.
I thought as I read your post, we both sat on the beach on the same day, a world apart, you there, I in Australia. So different, the beach is the one place I can go to escape, recharge and you layla dont have that luxury. You are stronger than I, I feel. I could not sit near those who were foriegners in my country, who bought devastation. I hope one day you can sit freely, on your own beach, with your own thoughts..You have a womans strenth. I admire that very much and wish u peace...x
Anonymous said…
Assalamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullah
I pray that you are in the best of health & imaan.
This is a short message to notify you that this entry has been selected for publishing on IJTEMA, a venture to highlight the best of the Muslim blogosphere.
To find out more about IJTEMA, and how you can further contribute, please click here.
May Allah bless you for your noble efforts.
Wa'salam
Anonymous said…
Layla On the beach - surrounded by Israelis, Russians, Americans, British - listening to Hebrew music?

One cannot help but come to the conclusion that - wait for it - DRUM ROLL - You are in Haifa or Tel Aviv!!
Anonymous said…
"lieutenent columbo" is a robot...ignore him...
Anonymous said…
OK, sorry you had a bad time at the beach. It stinks to want peace and have arseholes invading your space.

Another perpective...

I've never been on any vacation that was peaceful, because everyone there is a tourist, and are out to relax, in their own way, which is usually annoying to me.

They aren't just Americans, but Asians, British, and even Middle Easterners.

PEOPLE can be annoying, regardless of their country of origin, wouldn't you say?

Yeah, they invade my space. Or maybe I'm invading theirs? They are, after all, also on vacation, and I don't guess my enjoyment is more sacred or necessary than theirs.

That's how vacations go, I guess.

On the comment about the "GI"... GIs do not get to take leave in Iraq, let alone bring their wives or girlfriends to Iraq. When they get leave (IF they get leave), they literally go to another country or come home.

Most military work 12 hours + per day, 7 days a week. For 7 - 18 months, depending on what their job is. There's no time for vacations for these kids.

On the comment about Danielle Steele's books... not a big fan of Danielle Steele, but I do make a habit to read romance novels. And they rock. To each his or her own, eh?

Lastly, the comment about country music...

Iowa is not where country music comes from. Banjo pickers tend to be in places like Tennessee, Kentucky, and other mountainous southern regions of the US.

I really don't have an issue with you not liking American Country Music. Again, to each his/her own. A lot of Americans don't like it, either.

Dolly rocks. There isn't a sweeter, more genuine, more generous person that I've ever enountered. I find it a shame that you'd drag her into the fray.

Here's the thing... all the characters in your story were entirely stereotypical. And it seems you somehow got surrounded by all the people you hate.

I guess it was convenient. It gave you fodder for another episode of hate and venom.

I think it's about time for another ode to Saddam and his generosity, kindness and all around cool dudedness.
Luneiro said…
It's incredible how I can live in a world where people is sufring and not doing anything...
Thank you for the insight. You've given me a reasson to look beyond me and start acting.
Love the beach. Also hate the turists.
Layla Anwar said…
iraqi Jew,

How come your comment does not surprise me ?
Layla Anwar said…
Anonymous in praise of the U.S.

You obviously understood NOTHING of my post.
First you are dead wrong on the GI's not taking a break. GI or related murderers take weekends off and meet their partner be it temp girl friend, or whatever else they are willing to bed with...
Secondly Colonialism by any other name and under its different aspect, cultural, political, economic.etc smells as shitty!
Thirdly, whether its Iowa or Kentucky it is the same crap to me.
Anonymous said…
don't despair beautiful layla...some huge wave will eventually come onto your "beach" and wash all the occupying types offshore...
Anonymous said…
Layla you might find this interesting - then again you might find it offensive:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/music/harmonies-in-old-iraq/2007/09/20/1189881684906.html
Anonymous said…
Notice how everyone else was fine with different people except layla?
She is a typical arab, hates everyone.

layla, next time go for a swim, so when you go back to your blanket and the people see your scales falling off, they'll leave the beach real fast!
Anonymous said…
oh boy, I can't wait for act II.

I bet Layla returns to the beach with an Uzi and cleans it of the vile inhabitants. All the while humming to celine dions 'A New Day'.
Anonymous said…
Just got back from Oman and you're right - soldiers 'serving' in Iraq do take breaks. One 5* hotel in Muscat was over-run with them... Apparently they get given weekend passes. They were much better behaved in Oman. The US business types were a different story though...loud and obnoxiously brash.

Interestingly, Sultan Qaboos of Oman is an avid anglophile no less. Oman is essential a british colony because the British government helped Qaboos over-throw his father, after Qaboos studied at Sandhurst.

I understand that it was oman that supplied aviation fuel for the forces during the invasion of Iraq....To control Oman is to have some control of the straits of Hormuz through which 25% of the worlds oil passes through.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous above who said:

'There's no time for vacations for these kids.'

Kids.....which 'kids' are you referring to? The ones who are destroying, killing, torturing and RAPING in Iraq? They can't be KIDS if they are doing all these things, and with this kind of heavy-duty work, they won't have time for a vacation, will they? It's one long vacation for them, doing what they enjoy most. Get them some diapers and keep them at home, anonymous - after all, their IQ is just about where you've put them - as kids. Mature GROWN UPS think and don't go on killing sprees, believing it's a computer game.

As for all your nit-picking, it's very typical of Americans (USans) - nothing constructive to talk about, so try to poke holes into Layla's post. You don't have the moral authority to preach to ANYONE about ANYTHING.

Actually, if I were in here place, I wouldn't politely sit there and put up with the scum which surrounded her, particularly the Danielle Steele fan...the sight and sound of these barbarians is deeply revolting - just about anywhere and not only on the beach. Layla's had to put up with their uninvited intrusion in HER LAND for four years now.

And to Tio, who says 'typical Arabs hate everyone': could you please name for us one ARAB nation which has invaded and occupied, destroyed and raped another country - the real word here is GENOCIDE of a nation? So who's the ones who 'hates everyone' (but themselves)? The 'typical Arab', my dear friend, has every right to hate everyone - after all, their region has been plundered and lusted for by those you claim they 'hate'.

And, yes, it's fine for everyone here to have no problem with different people: after all, everyone, myself included, is not sitting in the middle of an occupation with my entire life and country destroyed.

Please do get your facts right before making ridiculous comments here.

Hi Jr., it's nice to see you back.

In solidarity, Layla.
Anonymous said…
That was brutally funny .. ...You could write a humour column...Gd job..
Anonymous said…
"Israelis prefer the next door shores to their own crowded kitsch beaches."
Laila,,I like to remind you,those shores and beaches were stolen from Palestanians,they never were theirs
Anonymous said…
Layla,
A walkman?! You need to upgrade to an mp3 player, walkmans are so 80's.
YoUnicorn said…
Tio
Wrong !
Wrong comment
Wrong perception
Wrong understanding
You are in denial
try again LOL

Wrong !
Alan the Red said…
" When I was in high school in Jerusalem, our English teacher said to us - nice girls sit upright with their heads and backs straight. You (Palestinians) don't really need to learn that, only us (English) have a right to such a posture."

It's true! How can you learn to be a god unless you sit right?

And those Yankee Christians who tell you how "God" saved Israel from the Muslim empire, when it was General Allenby; see, even the Yankee scum admit that god is an Englishman.

I'm so glad you enjoyed your day at the beach. Life is such a bitch, ain't it? Have you ever tried thinking "I'm glad to be alive and sitting on the beach"? Us gods can even sit on the beach in the pouring rain without whining about it.
Anonymous said…
time for part 2 plz layla
Anonymous said…
fuck u tio u son of a bitch
Anonymous said…
Salam Layla,

I am from Iran. Like you, I also live in many places. Our two countries fought a long and bitter war, yet when I was in Iran earlier this year, I met no-one who was happy about Iraq's tragedy and suffering. We together lost by most accounts 1 million people in that war, so I'm pleasantly amazed that our humanity has saved us from enjoying our former enemy's suffering. But that is what we have in common. We do not equate dictators and regimes with people. All over the "east", we differentiate the dictators we hate, from the people who want only to live in peace.

You are right, there are many problems with America, but I do not think we need to focus on this. America is simply an empire, one of many the world has seen in the past few thousand years. And empires are always hated; the Romans, the British, even Muslim empires, the Ottomans as the best example were all hated. Empires rise and fall, and not much has changed much. The Americans are no different than the Romans were in their time. The Romans were also seen as uncultured, greedy, violent, and vicious. You know yourselves the Arabs' view of the Ottomans (and yet when I read Ottoman history, I am always amazed at how peaceful their dominion was. They did not sow the seats of hatred between their subjects. Palestine was a place where Christians, Jews and Muslims lived in peace. Compared to today's Middle East, there was much less conflict).

History is speeding up. In only 10 or 20 years, we may be talking much more than we do now about the new Chinese Empire. For better or for worse.

What I think is important for the Muslim world is to focus on ourselves. We have many enemies both within and without. Our biggest enemy is the divisions among us; most of which were introduced by the British, French and Russians after the collapse of the Ottomans.

We must first and foremost not defend our dictators, whether they be Saddam, the Saudi Royal family, Mubarak, or the Clerics in Iran. All of them must "vanish in the pages of history" -- what Ahmadinejad actually said about Istrael, by the way. It is they who squander our wealth, who keep children uneducated and women down, it is they who allow foreign bases on our soil, it is they who fulfill the wishes of their masters, even before their masters have spoken.

I am not talking about violent revolutions ... that just replaces one tyrant with another. I am talking about gradual change and opposition to their regimes.

Hatred of the Americans only distracts us from the main cause of our suffering. It breeds primitive extremism in our countries, which in turn promotes more dicators, whose only function is to decide which emperor to please the most. Of course, these days in the Middle East there is not much choice.

So don't hate the Americans. They are only a symptom of a larger problem.
Layla Anwar said…
Hi Everyone , will reply to some of the comments later...

Walkman's are so 80's? And occupations are so barbaric...Does not seem to make you flinch.
Al Urudnee al Hurr...I know that. You should not be telling me...instead you know who to address - bala muzayadat :-)
Anonymous said…
layla plz can u translate all remarks in arabic into english so all your non-arabic speaking audience do not feel left out....thanks
Anonymous said…
http://myspacetv.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=3002343 I wish you well Layla, I pray you find the peace and forgiveness your looking for...
datta said…
I've been holding my breath hoping and praying for you to get a break or at least a day at the beach.
ehhhhhh....

Sorry it turned out so
perverse and ironically infuriating!

That being said, the scathing sense of humor in the article is totally hilarious. TOO GOOD. You are a crack up.

Regards
Alan the Red said…
Hey Layla, proof that Babylonian Goddesses walked with their shoulders back.

http://www.gods-heros-myth.com/bmain.html

See, you've just gotta walk right to be a Goddess. No slouching now.
Anonymous said…
Layla, you can learn a lot from the occupation. those people on the beach would've been too scared to sit near you if you hurled insults like you do on this blog. Hell, I wouldn't sit near you if you did that!
Anonymous said…
Tio:
>>Notice how everyone else was fine with different people except layla?<<

True, very true, and so is "everyone" when they are raping the World, both literally and figuratively. The exception here is "The World."
>>She is a typical arab, hates everyone.....scales falling off, they'll leave the beach real fast!<<
You are hopeless. Non-redeemable. Since you are so stupid, I must assume you either don't know the appearance of scales and/or haven't looked in a mirror recently. Make short thrift of it; look at Condolence Rice. And make a collection while you're at it. Either her scales or "the whole Rice."
Have a nice day T'O
Anonymous said…
Layla wrote,
>>GI or related murderers take weekends off and meet their partner be it temp girl friend, or whatever else they are willing to bed with...>

Why so much hostility toward women who have sex without commitment?

Have you had sex since your divorce? Didn't you mention that your ex could last 10 mins max?

Sounds like you're jealous of the girl with the beef-cake soldier...
What you need is a marine, for a long hard fucking.
Alan the Red said…
Hey Layla, I was so touched by your bad day at the beach story that I figured you might like this song by Bob Marley.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg2n039txnk

Hey, did I ever tell you about the argument I got into with some Yank when I told him that I saw Bob Marley, in London, long before he had ever heard of him? Hey, and I'll throw in this one too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnDrbagYm24&mode=related&search=
Alan the Red said…
Hey and I'll throw in another Bob Marley song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VRGANguGQE

Kinda prophetic of him, wasn't it?
Unknown said…
Dear Layla,

I wrote my previous comment before reading this post. I feel for you. It must be hell living in such a pressure cooker. Maybe next time you can try for solitude, or anyhow go somewhere away from tourists, and news.

Paul
Anonymous said…
Layla your visit to the beach letter was a beautiful but at the same time a sad and depressing portray of reality.
Hope yor still have strengh, your comments are needed. Also hope many westerns read your articles.
Anonymous said…
STEP RIGHT UP, READ ALL ABOUT IT...

Occupied Whore Act II will be released October 2nd on beaches near you.
Anonymous said…
Hello Layla.

Just stopped in to show my support.

Stay safe, take care of you and yours.

In solidarity and Union,
Ike
Layla Anwar said…
Dear Friends,

I did say Friends, not any reader...
Thank you for your comments and as promised I will reply to most. I simply cannot for the time being.
But if you have nothing to do and want to kill some time, do take a look at the previous comments section in particular the post
"No past no future "
This may give you something to "mull" over till am back.
Take care of yourselves and my best regards to you.
Layla Anwar said…
or if you are too busy, you may amuse yourselves with the comments on this one...
Anonymous said…
layla i dont think anyone shud b "amusing" themselves when so many pple r being killed.....if people wanna b amused then they shud go fuck off n read a comic
Anonymous said…
Take care of yourselves and my best regards to you.

--

thanks layla...thats very kind of u
Anonymous said…
windy hat gesagt...

STEP RIGHT UP, READ ALL ABOUT IT...

Occupied Whore Act II will be released October 2nd on beaches near you.

--

shut the fuck up u stupid piece of shit.....if layla wanted a unfunny comedian she'd hire 1......now fuck off n dont come back
Anonymous said…
Lord Cerne Abbas hat gesagt...

Hey and I'll throw in another Bob Marley song.

--

lord cerne dipshit how abt i throw a punch in2 your stupid demented mug?? do u realise this blog is abt a woman talking abt war and people being killed??? this is NOT your local niteclub..........so plz kindly fuck off 2 your nearest brothel n go n hit on sum1 in there
Anonymous said…
Anonymous sa...

Sounds like you're jealous of the girl with the beef-cake soldier...
What you need is a marine, for a long hard fucking.

--

anon u disgusting little yiddish cunt what u need is getting your head smashed in...n quick
Anonymous said…
Hi nice blog.After finished my schooling. I decide to continue my higher education Egypt .that’s my childhood dream. Can any one let me know about Egypt Visa and clearing at all.

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