madly in love with Iraq


Traditions Traditions!

“Here watch this and keep it” and he handed me a video tape. I recall that day as if it was yesterday. I stood there perplexed looking at him for a minute then I stretched my hand took the tape and before opening my mouth, he turned his back and continued talking to the others.

“Fiddler on the roof” that was my first encounter with this movie in December 1996 and the last is yet to come!

Tevye’s “the main character” message all through the story was “Without our traditions we would find our lives as shaky as a fiddler on the roof!” For him God’s law provides the balance in our lives and from it we establish our habits and boundaries.

Keep them or get rid of them? This is the question that I could not find an answer to then and not even now.

I live in a society which is struggling to keep or bring back the lost traditions.
Traditions here are replaced by the law of man.
The balance is justice and equity nothing else.

You walk into areas in London and feel that you are in the middle of Bombay or Peking or Karachi or Istanbul and even lately downtown Baghdad.

Traditional restaurants, traditional super markets, traditional cloth shops you name it, but untraditional business rate, untraditional customers’ rights, untraditional traffic regulations and consequently all seek the untraditional law to function freely and fairly.

Some Iraqis still to this day consider mortgage haram or forbidden as it involves returning a borrowed money with interest. But in practice this is the only way to own a property in here and I believe everywhere now a days.

An old uncle who used to be merchant in the good old days still think that his word is his commitment and he doesn’t have to sign papers to prove it, but does that really work today?
It is not that “People have changed” but trade has expanded and the competition is very high people are out there to kill for money.

Last month a relative of mine came over with his wife from Iraq. I took them out one night and after I parked my car, I found out that the meter was faulty and I had to move to another bay. As we walked together, the man admired my law obedience and wished that one day Iraqis will behave this way.

I thought a lot about his comment and I wondered whether my respect to the law or my faith or my concern about the hefty fine was the reason behind my action.

A four week investigation that stunned the nation lately was the killing of five prostitutes in Ipswich, a small city that have one red light district with around fifteen prostitutes, five of them were the victims.
I am bringing this matter up because no religion agrees to prostitution.
This oldest trade in history instigate disgust and disrespect among all people. It is also known that even police despise working in cases related to this dirty business.

However when I watched the reverend of Ipswich on TV praying and asking the community to light candles for these unfortunate young women, I thought something here is different, this man wouldn’t have done this fifty years ago.

The dialogue has changed along the way not because people are better or more advanced or they practice a superior religion, but because they found out the impossibility of living with each other otherwise. You have to accept others as humans in order to be treated as one.

Unfortunately God’s law is not enough to contain, control and guide us anymore.

And while waiting for a turbaned man to utter some pearls of wisdom back home, I wish everyone and especially people in Iraq a happy Eid and a happy new year.

And here is my small contribution to the only tradition left in this country apart from drinking themselves to death!


  • i don't want to get super into religion cause a) i don't want to come off preachy and b) i'm not religious, BUT jesus did make a point of hanging out with prostitutes, thieves, tax collectors, lepers and other people shunned by society. at least somebody figured out what that means!

    i think it's a truth with a lot of religions that what they teach, and the idea of tradition as we choose to practice it, tend to be very different. unfortunately for us we equate religion with our cultural traditions, and we assume that that means to be religious the we cannot be allowed to change, which is terrible. you know the maronite patriarch in lebanon was complaining about the protests in beirut because men and women were mixing.

    By Blogger nadia n, at 9:36 pm  

  • Funny how most everybody's traditions involve celbrations with food and family. Surely we can all share that:)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:38 pm  

  • Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka And Eidich Mubarak Hala_s, Keep up the good work and God Bless you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:44 am  

  • I liked that post, and I also liked your words "You have to accept others as humans in order to be treated as one."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:56 am  

  • Salam Hala,

    Eidich Mbarak and Happy New Year.. :)

    I'm sure your re-parking was largely influenced by the yellow envelope that could have been on your windscreen had you not parked elsewhere.. :P

    I'm not sure about what you said regarding the old man whose pearls of wisdom we await so eagerly.. the four major clerics in Iraq have been silent all this time for one reason and one reason only.. to avoid intensifying the friction between people.. Muqtada and Sayyed Abdil Azeez aren't included.. they're doing their own thing and I think it's a load of rubbish if you ask me..

    Anyways, like you, I hope for a day when blinding traditions, be they illogical or plain stupid, are ousted from people's lives so that religion co-exists with traditions freely and harmoniously..

    anyways.. take care and be well.. :)

    Kind Regards

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:00 pm  

  • I loved it !!!
    Thank u Sweetheart!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 pm  

  • Most of your post looked like bigotry, to me. I'm asking again... why do you want to live in Britain? You obviously don't like the British! I don't either, but I don't choose to live in a country where I loathe the people. You know what I'm talking about? And please don't move to the US.

    Beglaubigte Übersetzungen
    learn something useful

    By Blogger mewmewmew, at 3:52 pm  

  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:41 am  

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