I've been meaning to write about "this" for quite some time, but as usual, a new level of the Iraqi inferno grabs my attention away, and keeps me postponing "it".
And what is this "it" you may wonder. This "it" is when "love" kills you.
Nope, it's not some romantic, passionate, Romeo and Juliette story, nor a Layla and her Majnoon Qais, but it is tragic nonetheless...
Was watching a program some months ago, on Arabic Al-Jazeerah on HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in the Arab World.
The producer cleverly attempted to broach this "sensitive" and taboo subject, by presenting it as a religious program and invited a guest speaker who is a specialist in both medicine and religious sciences i.e Islamic theology.
And I, in turn will use this TV program to broach the subject here, on this blog.
HIV carriers are on the increase in the Arab World. No one would like to admit that but that is a fact. We all know how HIV is transmitted and we all know that the practice of safe sex and the screening of blood banks is a must.
So this is not what really caught my attention in the program. What caught my attention is that HIV and STD's are also on the rise among married heterosexual couples in the Arab World and not just among homosexuals.
The invited guest's speciality was epidemiology and infectious diseases. And in the realm of his practice, he encountered several cases (undeclared in public statistics) of straight couples for the most part married, infected with STD's and HIV in particular.
In 99% of the cases, the woman was infected by her husband. A husband who had unprotected extra-marital relations, with other women and sometimes with other men.
In 99% of the cases, the man believing himself to be invicible, had refused the idea of protection i.e the use of a condom.
So Mr.returning from his business trip, or his night outing comes home and offers his wife/partner the kiss of death.
Of course you understand that talking about this subject in the Arab World is very taboo. A lot of denial surrounds it and a lot of rationalizations, to the effect that "us in muslim societies don't have such things", "sweep it under the carpet, and don't let the neighbors know-- what will people think"....etc.
The wall of tradition and culture is so dense that it is nearly impossible to talk about this subject in public without being accused of being "decadent, lewd and immoral."
Meanwhile, AIDS victims die in silence, quarantined in rooms made of shame and guilt.
But I really want to focus on the married man who believes himself to be invicible, master of his fate, and above reproach. I want to talk about the Arab man whose ego is greater than the universe and greater than God, about his irresponsibility, his delusions of power and control, his permissiveness, his promiscuous philandering, and his double standards...and ultimately his deceitful hypocrisy.
Of course not ALL Arab men are that way and Arab men are not the only ones. Men in in general, share similar traits in varying degrees, irrespective of their nationalities or race.
However I find these traits more offensive in Arab men compared to others, because of the double talk, because of the hiding, because of the hypocrisy and the duplicitous, double standards that charaterize gender relations in the Arab world.
And because I am sick and tired of seeing women fall ill or dead as victims of these "cultural practices."
A lot of horrors vis à vis women in general and Arab women in particular, go under the heading of "cultural practices" and it is high time to expose them for what they truly are. And what they truly are are nothing but "male practices" against women.
And infecting the female partner because of a deceitful, demented, narcissitic male ego is a CRIME.
Let me give you an example of a demented narcissistic male ego and take that as a yardstick...
I remember during my University years in England, hanging out with a bunch of fellow Arab students. We were young and supposedly carefree...and "sharing experiences" was much easier then...
I distinctly remember a summer night, we were a group of about 6, hanging out in some pub, one of the guys had his eye on a woman standing by. A total stranger. And you know how guys talk.
Him -- I am going to score tonight.
Me -- Score what? I see no football game here
Him -- Score this woman -- pointing his finger at his potential prey.
I was hoping to close the subject as I was not terribly interested in his alleged, would be, sexual prowess.
Me -- whatever you do, be safe.
Him -- nah! she looks "clean" (as in disease free.)
Me -- and who says she is "clean" and who says you are "clean" ?
Of course with the approach he had, one cannot be sure as to how "clean" he was.
Him -- Of course am "clean", he replied indignantly, like how do I dare insinuate that he might be otherwise...
Me -- and how do you know she is "clean"
He smiled with a sly twist to his mouth, a sly twist I cannot forget till this very day and looked down at his crotch...
Him -- He told me so
Me -- He told you so? and I burst out laughing and could not stop, and I could see he was getting more and more embarassed...
Him -- yes he told me so, he insisted - he is my radar.
His dick was his radar...and his radar told him that he and she were "clean."
Getting back to the TV program and HIV contamination -- I am willing to bet you a million dollars that those who infected their partners also believed their "radars" spoke to them...
The "radar" told them - You are a man, you are entitled, it's nothing, your partner will never find out, it's only a safe, passing lust, you are protected by divine powers, condoms are not manly and they bother you, and you are above being uncomfortable, your pleasure is paramount, your desires are absolute, your gratification must be instant. You are the Man. You are the Conqueror, the Invicible Warrior of women, You are the Owner of the Radar...
And am sure male readers can fill in the rest....
So he does what he does and goes back to the faithful, patiently waiting, loyal, well socialized, well tamed, well domesticated --by the same "cultural practices"-- wife, and gives her the Kiss of Death of his invicibility...Because his "radar" told him so.
And don't think these men are "ignorant" or "uneducated"-- some of them may be, but a lot of them are quite aware of the risks, but they are simply too "radar" driven...in other words --too selfish, too egotistical.
And selfish people continue doing what they are doing because they are not held accountable, nor are they held responsible in an all male, egotistically driven society. When it comes to them, all laws suddenly become lax, all prohibitions loosen up, all decrees have exceptional clauses, all "cultural practices" conspire to absolve them...
The Arab male ego who has hijacked the Feminine, who has hijacked Religion, who has hijacked God Itself and substituted himself instead, reproducing God in his own image and worshipping his own reflection...
The Arab male ego, the grandiose "radar" who possesses, controls and crushes, who owns and disposes, who chooses and repudiates at will...
The Arab male ego in its deceitfulness and hypocrisy...
The Arab male ego -- the giver of the Kiss of Death.
Painting: Iraqi artist, Rawee Bazrakan.