Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Saturday, February 12, 2005
Good morning….
The weather in Amman is still rainy, with fog…. The last week was full of cold and rain since its beginning, then, there was snow.
Our house is in a high-altitude district, and I like watching the snow fall down, but I do not like being confined to the house, delaying all the many tasks I intended to finish that day. I went to the market, and bought more heavy, winter clothes, because it was very cold, and everybody was asking: Do you have cold such as this in Baghdad? And I would laugh and say: No, we have intense heat at summer, just as severe as this cold, and both are unbearable. Moderation is nice…in weather…principals…and the way of life.
And Extremistism is not agreeable, also in weather, principals, and the way of life.
I think the Iraqis living in Amman were delighted to see snow for the first time, a fascinating scene for them. And as my sister, who lives in Amman since the end of the war says, laughing; We have seen wars, missiles, and terror in Baghdad, then the last-year earthquake here, then the snow of this year… ha,ha,ha… we do live to see many things.
These days are the beginning of the Hijri (Islamic) Year… and it reminds us of the Immigration of the Prophet Mohammad (The Prayers of GOD Be upon Him, and His Peace) from Mecca to Al-Medina, to move away from confronting harsh conditions, He and the new Muslims, for they were weak, and couldn’t face Quraish, the unjust, tyrant tribe, who enforced an embargo upon them, and hurt them, preventing them from living peacefully, and spreading the call of the new Religion.
The first Muslims immigrated, leaving behind their homes, and possessions, to save their religion, themselves, and their families to a safe town, temporarily, until things would improve.
And by GOD, as if I see the Iraqis living the same condition now…. Some immigrated to save his religion from intrigue, for as much catastrophes and injustice he encountered, he feared he might one day doubt the justice of GOD, or HIS existence, so, he immigrated to a safe country, to save his faith in GOD. Some others immigrated to save themselves and families from harm, and still, others immigrated in fear for their money, and possessions…
I condole myself, giving myself the patience for leaving Baghdad, and all that I love in it, saying: “…And you might hate something, and it is for your own good…”, we might step out of our immigration with more knowledge, science, and experience, so that we may go back, and help build a new country, an independent, free country, a developed, democratic country, by all that we can give, without losing our roots, and identities…
The election results have not been announced fully yet. But there are some primary indications… if the Shia’at’s list has truly the majority of votes, then the Kurds, then others, like Ayyad Alaawi, then, these would be truly initial indications, from the region of reality. The conditions were excellent, and relatively quiet for the Shia’at Voters in the southern provinces, and for the Kurds in their provinces. So, logically, their nominated lists would have the priority in winning. As for other lists, like those of Ayyad Alaawi, Al-Yawer, and Al-Pachachi, they might get law percentages of votes, because they have no big majorities to support them, as is the case with the Shia’ats and the Kurds.
And the coming government is supposed to organize its affairs, so it would emerge as a homogenous mixture of all the colors that form the Iraqi People, (religions, sects, and ethnics), and I hope the leadership would be in the hands of honest, calm men and women, who would not choose violence and segregation as a method of dialogue, who love Iraq, and all its people, first, and last….and work for its benefit, first, and last.
I think Iraq needs another year, until the picture gets clearer. The new government faces a lot of challenges, like the security file, which is the most important issue that needs to be treated seriously, and logically, then there is the administrational corruption file, and putting logical solutions to stop it from spreading, and thus ruining the country, then there is the issue of writing the new constitution, then, lifting up the broken economy of the country, bringing life back to it, starting building the infrastructure projects of the country, (water, electricity, sewage lines,…), and all other related projects of schools and hospitals, in the far areas deprived of such services. Iraq is in need of a long term building and constructing plan, for tens of years, and is in need of the Iraqi’s expertise, giving them the priority in building their country, but there is also the need to have consultants, Arabs and foreigners, to help them in many fields…
This is how I see the future… improving the security condition is the first key to enter the future. Controlling the administrational corruption in the governmental system, and in other links responsible for implementing the work program for manufacturing Iraq’s new future, that is the second key… and after that, all doors shall be open easily, and safely, by the will of GOD.
The people are supposed to have elected this government, so they have the right to watch her, and question her for what promises they have fulfilled, in providing a good life for Iraqis…this is step No. 1 in the harvest of democracy. Democracy is not only voting boxes, papers, names, cameras, the press, and enthusiastic speeches. Democracy is a way of life, to be learned by people and governments, and a language of dialogue between the two sides.
I do wish Iraqis shall fare good from this new experience in their lives, and by the new faces that shall come to receive the responsibilities. Our hearts are tired, but they are still full with the hope that what is to come….shall be better than what has gone.
As for the occupation, there must be a withdrawal timetable to be scheduled during the few coming years.
I do believe in the concept that says: a hand building Iraq, and the other pushes the occupation out of it.
I read in a book titled: (Women and civil war), by an author named: Krishna Kumar, the book contains a study about societies, who had civil war in their countries, like Rwanda, Cambodia, Georgia, The Bosnia and Hertsigovnia, Guatemala, and El-Salvador. The dangers facing women are the same in all cases; fear for their families and children, from fighting, violence, even though they hide in the houses, then the harm and psychological scars that befall them, due to the loss of a member of the family, or evacuating them and their children to camps, the emotional threat, panic, and losing the feeling of security, then, the harsh accidents they might be subjected to during confrontations; for raping women was used clearly as a weapon, to force families to immigrate, and as ethnic elimination, as was the case against Muslims in Bosnia, and against women in Rwanda, in the ethnic conflict between the tribes there.
Then comes the issue of Treading with women, inside or outside of the family, and of course, these gangs are usually headed by evil men.
I am not against men in general, or am I provoking against them, but I see here clearly the difficulty and spatiality of the women’s position in times of wars and conflicts. Then, they might lose their husbands, so they would face a hard fate, for the family’s responsibility, and the children’s future would land on their shoulders. They will have to work in order to provide food on the table, and they would have to play of the mother and the father, to compensate for his absence from the family.
I find them crushed by the cruelty of life, in need of a helping hand to be stretched to them, for a better life, and to make it up to them, for what pains they have endured, by life’s harshness…….
I look at the Iraqi women, and see the same history, and the same pain, they have encountered it by the Iran war, losing husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons, and how they had to work to make up for losing their provider… then, the cruelty of life after the Kuwait war, the economic embargo, and how much it narrowed the chances of good living, so families had to sell their possessions; properties, lands, the, furniture. The woman endured a great deal of hunger, poverty, and injustice… and if the husband was unemployed, her suffering would be doubled if they had no other family income, and she couldn’t improve that situation. Or perhaps the husband would be an alcoholic, depleting the income by his follies. She might have to work as a house servant to provide for her children, or perhaps, some would have to sell their bodies, becoming loose women, especially those who are not educated, nor with any knowledge.
And after the last war, the same tragedies were repeated in society, by losing the family’s provider, by poverty, and need, and of course, the Fallujah families and some others were forced out from the clashing areas, to tents, mosques, and any skeletal buildings. Thank GOD, women were not violated physically by Iraqis, Thank GOD; nothing so ugly happened here, in spite of all the sect intrigues some wanted to ignite between us.
But the atrocities of Abu Ghareeb prison shocked us, and made us sad, and those were not committed by Iraqis.
But I see with a sad heart, some new satellite channels in the Gulf, whose dancers are mostly young Iraqi women, wearing transparent, revealing clothes, then I remember what the former book says, about the tread of women, and how it flourishes in times of wars. Those women are victims…who need someone to stop the treading of them, rehabilitate them, teaching them honest jobs, so they could live an honest life.
If I should open a file for Iraqi women and their needs, it could turn out to be with a beginning, but without an end…..
There is an issue that seems to make me wonder, and in doubt.
Why would some Iraqi or Arabic women debate the subject of “The Veil”, criticizing it, in the western media?
It is a critical and important issue, which should be discussed in our countries, to find out what is right from wrong. As to opening fire on the veil there, in the western newspapers, it is a kind of cowardice, and hypocrisy.
Why should I ‘tickle’ the feelings of the west, saying; you are better than us, and your culture is better?
Why don’t we discuss our subjects together, to get to a point? Like one family, which houses many different view points? Which is the wisest behavior? To spread our differences in front of the world, or to discuss them calmly, rationally, without hypocrisy, until we solve the problem, and get to a reasonable agreement.
Yes, in my opinion, a woman’s veil is needed, as a sign of respectability, and decency. I myself am wearing the veil, for some two years now, with my own, full conviction. It has never stood one day against my ambitions, or my career, nor has it influenced my personality or way of thinking, but I rather think it gave me more self confidence to move in a conservative society like ours.
The veil is connected with the nature of society, its history, culture, and a long heritage…that could not be easily ignored. But, we could discuss the style of that veil, its influence upon women, their way of thinking, their education, and their contributions in society. I do not like the veil that makes a woman looks like a tent, from top to bottom, or just like a creature from another planet, hiding from sight. The sight of a woman wearing a much exaggerated veil provokes astonishment in me, just like the sight of a woman wearing a much-revealing blouse, displaying most of her chest, half her back, and half her belly, including the belly-button. Huh… modern trends.
Both have exaggerated….. And the Prophet Mohammad (The Prayers of GOD Be upon Him, and His Peace) used to say: (Do not exaggerate…and do not go astray). This is how I understand religion, and the way of life. Do not deprive the woman from the sun and day light… and do not tread with her body. Both are doing her an injustice.
This is what I think, and I would like to discuss the matter with the Muslims first, as an issue concerning us, and our lives. I do not respect those who go to the western media to take cover there, then throw stones at Muslims.
Those are tricks with other purposes in mind…. And those, I do not like.
In our societies, girls and women wear the veil while in universities, schools, hospitals, and work offices, in public markets, streets, while driving cars, and they take their share in the public life, like men.
They join in political parties, organizations, humanitarian and social societies, and in non-governmental organizations.
I am talking about the Arab world in general…. I have seen the same scenes in Baghdad, here in Amman, in Damascus, and in Cairo. Veil was never an obstacle against the woman; I rather think it was a protection point for her, in conservative societies. She might have been deprived of education, or work, if she weren't veiled.
This is my view point in the subject. As to what points I see truly worthy of debate, well, points like giving the women their rights in some Arabic countries, like permitting her to drive a car, joining in societies and organizations in her town, participating in the municipal or national public elections, giving her bigger chances to education, and work, to develop herself, and her abilities, like opening educational centers to teach other languages besides Arabic, centers for computer and internet, and public libraries, where they can borrow and read books that are good to them…. Because they shall be raising the county's new generations.
I think such points are worthy of debate, and to be demanded, not on the pages of western newspapers, but on the pages of the concerned Arabic newspapers. That would be daring, and a struggle to free women from the bonds of stupidity, and backwardness… and not there, in the western countries, through their media, nor by standing and throwing stones at the east.
There is a phenomena much criticized by these women, and that is the increasing number of veiled woman in Iraq after the war. In the book I mentioned before there is an explanation to this phenomena…
When I was in Baghdad, I didn't comprehend that explanation clearly, it was somewhat ambiguous to me: the presence of a foreign occupation force, justifies the need for more decency for women, and to protect them from corruption. That was the idea in my mind. Then I understood the subject more from the book.
The author says; there was a clear phenomena in countries like Cambodia, who suffered from civil wars, then there were peace keeping forces from various countries, and remained for long years, and this created a class of fallen women in society (prostitutes), because of the big numbers of single men away from their countries!!
I smiled, and understood why the veil has increased among Iraqi women.
Perhaps by a personal wish, or by the parents request, (I do not like to use the words ' parent's pressure', for I do not like using such stinging expressions).
The sum of the matter is; I see in front of the women in Iraq, or in other Arabic and Islamic countries, a lot of issues worthy of debate, to open up the horizons of a shiny future for them, that could be accomplished without contradicting religion, or the veil.
Women deserve more attention, in order to guarantee an Arabic, Islamic generation equipped to face the challenges of life, and its difficulties. A generation able to create a new future, different of what we have seen, and suffered from….a shining, illuminated future, containing more truthfulness, success, and accomplishments, and an up-raising of our sad reality, to a more successful reality, with more power of influence…. A reality containing work, production, and economic, political, social, and cultural developments… one that would raise our statues among countries and nations to a new reality, that we deserve…
To a place where silly talk and worthless words would be the last things in our lives, not even to listen up to, because we would be busy with fruitful work, ambitions, and successful accomplishments........
That is the future I hope , for Iraq, and all Arabic and Islamic people.
Translated by May/ Baghdad.

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