madly in love with Iraq


Is there a common ground?

Can’t they just shut up and save us their stupid remarks?

I am developing an allergy from all headdresses. Back home we used to joke about head-scarves by calling them intelligence-blockers when the fashion of wearing them was just starting. Later on when they became the majority and the trend entered our own families, we had to shut up.

It somehow makes people who wear them feel authoritative, and obliged to lecture others whenever it suits them.

Obviously today I am speaking about the Pope with his “Episcopal Mitre”; no I am not that clever and not that interested, but I asked about the name of the thing he puts on his head and this is what I was told.

People inside Iraq wouldn’t care less; in fact some of them approve of what he said, as they are waking up everyday to see corpses all around the place and daily murders in the name of religion.

None-religious Iraqis in here are more to the philosophical side, an understandable attitude when you are far from the real action. “He really shouldn’t have said evil and inhuman bout Islam, he is only stirring up matters and inciting more hatred. The world is trying to build bridges and he has just blown them all up."

Religious Iraqis are sure that this was a planned strategy and was thought of and prepared for beforehand, and they went as far as a CIA involvement possibility.

The reaction in Muslims countries is very well expected; burning and screaming and threatening. It makes one feel they are watching an Arabic film; you could easily predict every single scene before it shows on the screen. You don’t have to think or wonder. The movie makers have no intention to tire your brains, and let you continue living in lies peacefully.

I was talking to a new-comer to London lately. He is a recent graduate of medicine school in Iraq, blessed with a British passport. In his effort to prove himself as an open-minded young man, his comment on the pope’s speech was that people should avoid speaking about taboos!!

“And what in your opinion is considered a taboo may I ask?”
He confidently answered “Sex and religion”.

I looked at him and said “You have to accept that you are now in a taboo-free zone, if you cannot live with it you better pack up and leave.”

Later I felt guilty, and thought I was a bit harsh on the guy. I remembered myself and my own shocks when I first arrived.

Many years back on my way home from work I saw an ambulance parked outside my neighbour’s house.
I saw Marie standing outside the front door, and when I went closer to check if everything is alright; she quietly told me “Jack has passed away”.

The two paramedics were checking if anyone is coming over to stay the night with her, or whether she prefers they take the body to the morgue. Marie gently thanked them and said

“My husband is staying in his house; Jack never hurt me when he was alive, and I don’t think he will now that he is dead”.
She slowly left us and walked back to the garden to finish trimming the bushes.
I couldn’t believe that she will sleep the night alone with Jack dead upstairs, but apparently she did.

I pictured the same incident had it happened back home, and I could easily see all the neighbours inside Marie’s house and relatives from all over landing there in no time as well. Let alone the following rituals which will take another forty days.

The bigger shock was the funeral which turned out to be in a crematorium rather than a church, and Jack’s body ended up ashes in a small jar.

Accepting others is very important, but I think facing and admitting your own faults is far more important.

I always try while in heated discussion about let’s say Shia and Sunni to put the blame on the Shia to let the other party soften up and admit their own mistakes so we can reach an understanding or a solution.

The pope would have made more sense if he had spoken about Christianity’s own history of violence; the Crusades, the inquisition and Europe’s religious wars along with his statement about Islam. We are all after a meeting point not further clashes.

But how could he? He is constantly wearing something over his head doesn’t he?

And finally any speech or announcement made about the above matter was overshadowed this week by the great news of the discovery of our great great great 3.3 million year old cousin as seen below:

This is our common ground. This should shut all of them up.


  • Dearest Hala,

    Isn't it always the case with Muslims or Arabs or Shia being portrayed in a way that's similar to the movieS? I think Indian movies are the ones that resemble us most. The good looking farmer falls in love with the evil and very rich guy's daughter and then he has to fight on top of some tomatoes to rescue her from her dad's accomplices.

    With us, it's more of a 'been there.. done that' scenario. It's always known what our reaction would be to something like the Pope's remarks or those Danish cartoons. It'll be shown to the whole world, our supposed leaders will 'condemn' them and then we'd have a huge rally in Trafalgar Square where we burn flags and wear terrorist masks. It's pathetic.

    I think it's all PR. There was an 'anti-extremism' conference held in an Islamic Centre the other day. Apparently, the speakers and organisers were 'outraged' at the fact that less than 20 people turned up. Their real purpose is PR.. a contact here and there. If they were sincere, they'd be more than happy having properly explained Islam to a single non-muslim.

    Sometimes I really DO think that our ancestors were bum-licking monkeys like Lucy and her kid.. but naah.. surely not us!

    Take care and have a nice weekend.

    By Blogger Little Penguin, at 11:08 pm  

  • Dear Hala,
    Maybe it's because we're all essentially family that we fight so much;) I know no one can push my buttons like the closest relatives:))
    We share 99% of our genetic material with chimps. The difference between any two humans is so small as to be negligible, but look at how we draw lines and borders.
    A former co-worker was so wrapped up in his US/"Christian" ID that he was largely ignorant as to what the importance was of those titles.
    He did not embrace the civil liberties, limits on gov and "innocent until proven guilty" gems of the US, instead he reveled in it's world power.
    And he sadly did not cherish Jesus's call to compassion, forgiveness and love, but wrapped himself in a self-righteous bubble of having been "saved" so he could condemn everyone who didn't think like him.
    Yet he wasn't a bad guy. He was a very nice older gentleman.

    But boy did he have some bad ideas, the same sort that lead to killing and destruction across the globe.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:58 pm  

  • Good post, Hala. I really enjoyed reading it.

    As for "Lucy" - only 3.5 feet tall! Hobbits really did exist! But, so ugly!! They say that species is "the missing link" (no longer missing I guess!) and if I recall my evoloutionary theor correctly, that means that species is the common ancestor that humans share with the great apes? Or is the missing link the point at which humans diverged from the great apes? Bah. I forgot. Been too long.

    Thanks for posting that aricle link too, though, it was a good read :)

    By Blogger programmer craig, at 6:23 am  

  • Dear Madly,
    I prefer to focus on Marie. The sense of community, when someone suffers, dies, gets married. The catch, as I have learned from moving here (japan) is that neighbors will feel this way for someone who has lived in the neighborhood for 100 years, but not some newcomer, not some male foreigner. This is a good reason why I spend so much time blogging, you, a collection of bits of pictels and bytes, largely invisible (except Little Penguin ;-) are my community.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 10:39 pm  

  • Hala,
    I loved your post...As usual you always speak my mind.
    Your experience with a co-worker is SO MUCH like mine! My God, it's as if you were right there! God bless your words!

    By Blogger Zaineb Alani, at 1:55 am  

  • What is your point? Christianity had a violent period hundreds of years ago. Islam has one now. Neither were good. Islam needs to rid itself of this violence now!

    By Blogger Original_Jeff, at 12:34 pm  

  • How recently did Christian Violence stop? After the annihilation of almost the entire nation of Native Americans or the Slavery of millions of Africans or the KKK lynchings of the Black population...And please don't argue that they don't represent Christianity because the extremists you see do NOT represent Islam. What about the Holocaust? The death of SIX MILLION JEWS...Was that not initiated by a Chrisitan? Was that not violent? What about "Shock and Awe" was that launched by a "BORN AGAIN Christian" and cause the death of 300,000 Iraqi civilians and they continue to die...? Was that not ALL in the name of Christianity? Is this not the new Crusade?...Give me a break!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:56 pm  

  • It's not a question of representativeness. We all know that Hitler wasn't a representative of Christians (though many of them praised him for what he did with the Jews), similarly, Bin Laden and Zarqawi and Abu Hamza and all them nut-cases do not represent mainstream Islam, despite the fact that what they call for and what they do is viewed by many Muslims as heroic.

    The Pope's remarks were stupid and unreasonable, even for a man of his calibre, not as a religious leader but as a theologist. Only those with an incredibly basic intellect will believe that Islam has only brought inhumane things.

    Kind Regards,

    By Blogger Little Penguin, at 9:22 pm  

  • The idea was to turn the same argument back at them!...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 pm  

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