madly in love with Iraq


The Wedding

I was on my way to a wedding, a very conservative Iraqi wedding to be precise; I hate women-only parties and I did think a lot about the wasted time and energy and the nonsense I have to put up with, but I had to go.

It was raining heavily, in fact it has not stopped raining all week, and the temperatures have dropped as well, for heaven’s sake we are nearly in June! Even nature is not fair, a bit of this breeze back home will help a lot, a bit will cool down the moods, shorten the fuel queues and might, only might activate the mercy hormone in the hearts of some!

I tried to cheer myself up by imagining myself going in there and having a great time, but deep down inside, I knew that this is only wishful thinking.
I switched on some Iraqi music on the way to prepare myself; the songs reminded me of a friend who solely decided not to be my friend anymore, so that did not help either.

Everything associated with Iraq is sad and gloomy, this has always been the case for as long as I can remember. It makes me really wonder sometimes why am I madly in love with Iraq? Why do I keep on running away from Iraqis only to find myself dying to be among them?

I walked in the hotel and was guided to the party hall.
In the entrance a group of women in black were greeting the visitors quietly in very low voices as if we were attending a memorial service rather than a happy occasion.

Inside the hall the atmosphere was completely different.

The place was full of women in very colourful and revealing clothes, something I’ve always noticed in women wearing hijab in particular, they do exaggerate in showing their assets.. as if to prove that they are covering it by choice, and they are indeed attractive and sexy like others if not more!
There was no music; all I could hear was the loud hum of conversation.

I sat down in my assigned place, on my table there were four other women, I knew one of them only, she was with me in the same University, I don’t really know her very well, but at least a familiar face. I started speaking to suss her out, I talked a bit about my work, and in no time I could see that she was looking through me rather than at me, so I shut up. To make things even worse, she suddenly asked me “How do you cook the meat in this country? It stinks doesn’t it?” and without waiting for my answer, she explained to me in details her original procedure in dealing with British meat!

I looked at the couple of women in front of me, and gave them a broad smile, the younger one started to speak to me immediately, the usual personal questions, her mother got interested and jumped in “How come you live alone? Your family has to be very open-minded to let you stay in here”. I ignored her and asked the daughter of what she thinks of the situation in Iraq? “It is getting awful” she said, “and since we are originally Turkish, I stopped saying we are from Iraq, they think we are savages you know”. Can you see that woman to the left; she pointed out at someone, “What about her?” “Oh you don’t know her? Her husband is one of the candidates for the interior ministry, look at how she is behaving; probably she thinks she will end up 12 feet under rather than 6 like the rest of us!” I gave up on those two and turned aside and looked at my last hope the only woman left on the table!

I’ve seen you before she said; apparently she was eavesdropping, those women are life-loving and shallow, don’t take any notice of them; we have to work hard and prepare ourselves for the other life and get more spiritual.

We were interrupted by someone announcing the arrival of the groom, suddenly all were busy covering themselves, and by the time he went in, I realised that more than three quarters of the women were in hijab. They started playing some religious chants and the poor 18years old bride especially imported from Iraq, raised her head a bit and got a glimpse of all the devouring eyes staring at her.

By then I felt I was suffocating and decided to go out for some fresh air. As I was strolling around I noticed two women smoking and laughing loudly; “Can I join you?” I asked, “Of course you can” one of them replied. They were cousins, one of them lived in London for the last ten years and the other has just arrived from Basra for a training course. The new arrival was telling me, that she would never have dreamt of attending such a lousy wedding in London, even in Basra we don’t have such a thing. What happened to the music and the dance?
If those bunch inside want to live like this, why don’t they go back home?
I lost a father and a brother in one year, they were slaughtered by the new lunatics just like that, since then I lost faith in everything; I would give half my life if they allow me to stay here and enjoy the other half peacefully.

The other woman was silent, and then suddenly started laughing hysterically; you know what, my beloved husband took my two small children and ran away back to Iraq, he says I am a bad mother, and he wants to raise my girls properly away from this place. I will give half my life to know their whereabouts.

I went back to greet the newly wed, and I deliberately kissed the 33years old groom whom I knew and his family for such a long time. He was embarrassed and clenched hard on his beads string; I thought well; if he and his family have decided to put on a new face, I haven’t changed one bit.

I was right; I did not have a good time. These places often make me feel that I am so alone, and that there are very few balanced Iraqis left.

I kept on thinking of what is worth giving half my life to though!


  • "As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit." Emmanuel Teney

    By Blogger Antar, at 6:56 pm  

  • have a look at my last post called "Iraqi", it might clear thing out ;)

    By Blogger Zappy Corleone, at 8:00 am  

  • madly,
    I haven't been here in a while, your blog is down at the bottom of my bookmarks. You're facinating. As i was reading this post, I kept waiting for you to "come down heavily", but you didn't you kept on tip-toing across the rocks in the stream. NICE GOING!
    I usually hang out at Treasure of Baghdad, and I don't read many Iraqi blogs, but I think you and Treasure have the most publication potential outside of Baghdad Burning, in my opinion.
    Got to go, my budget is up.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 11:12 am  

  • Your ideas seems familiar to me. When I was a child I was taught that the right thing to do is learn as much as possible from all kinds of subjects. It's what I did. I read a lot, went to a good university, knew all kinds of people, etc. It was good, but at some point I noted that I was becoming an isolated person. I could not stay anymore in a bar table with a group of people without being anxious about the superficiality of the talks, for example. Some friends (even university ones) got away from me because they could not stand my "obsession" with complex matters. Initially I felt sad, until I realized that it's what happens when you keep your mind in continuous and fast development. Most adults don't have this brain pattern, so to them it's easy to gather in big groups because they can spend hours and hours talking about superficial things and have a very good time. I used to envy them sometimes, but I realized that there is no turning back for me.
    So, if you are going this way, I have some advises for you:
    - don't feel responsible for your isolation, this is just the consequence of your personal development;
    - try to find people like you. It's difficult, but not impossible.
    - don't waste your time trying to adequate yourself to be part of a group. Soon or later the group will see that you are "different";
    - children always have a brain in continuous development. Looking for what is worth giving half of your life to? Children is the answer, not necessarily your children. You can be a godmother, for example. I am a godfather myself (no religion involved, just support) and it's the most rewarding thing I do in this world.

    Regards and thanks for your posts,


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 am  

  • Our hypocrisy is just beyond being real, now, isnt it?

    By Blogger Riot Starter, at 8:35 pm  

  • "If those bunch inside want to live like this, why don’t they go back home?"...The sad truth is, that it's people who were not able to conform or evolve in Western environments that come back to enforce deterioration on their own societies. As a society, if left to our own devices without foreign intervention or support of tyrannical dictators, we would have long ago evolved and become our own unique self...not necessarily 'highly westernized', but then again, not necessarily fanatic. When pushed into a foreign environment, people will cling on to identity. It’s the extremism that comes from this reaction that is coming back to ‘bite us’! At home, we can identify with who we are, our roots, culture, religion, all elements that make up a society. It’s the ‘in your face’ attitude that will cause others to either run or ‘take arms’ (the fight or flight theory). Harmony is part and parcel of stable environments, where extremism is the exception and not the norm. Sadly, we have not lived in one for almost half and century…nor does it look like we will experience one in the near future either!

    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 3:42 am  

  • Riot Starter,
    Whats Real anymore?

    By Blogger Zappy Corleone, at 8:03 am  

  • Hala, a very good entry. It sounds as if you are pretty lonely in England. I wish that Iraq would settle down and that all you 'refugees' could have the chance to go back to the country you all love. I've got a feeling, though, that it might not happen for a long time.

    zz - An insightful comment. Thanks.

    By Blogger Bruno, at 2:28 pm  

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