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!