Tuesday 24 June 2008

On Love & Sectarianism.

I am really not supposed to be writing. My wrist is sore and bandaged but I couldn't resist the temptation. A temptation prompted by my relative love story.

She - Tara, a beautiful, smart, Iraqi woman in her late 20's, calls me and tells me that she is very much in love and that she finally found the "right" guy.

He - a Lebanese beau (according to her - I never trusted her taste in men), early 30's, from the South. According to her, kind and gentle but a few problems...

Problem no.1 - He didn't want her to wear a bathing suit even though he met her by the pool side! Problem no.1 has been sorted out after much advice from me, urging her to put her foot down NOW or never. If she concedes on that, then she will have to concede on everything else.

Problem no.2 - Is the latest development. According to her last call, everything is honky dory.

So my natural question was "When is the wedding?"

She paused, and said "I am not sure it will be possible"

So I, switching to my mentoring mode, said to her "you know very well what it is like with Arab guys. If you date them for a while and they don't propose, that means they will never propose. And that means he has absolutely no intention of marrying you. And if you accepted to date him, in his fucked up mind, he says to himself, am sure if she dated me, that means she has dated others and will date others...she is no marriage material..."

To which she retorted " No, no, he is not like that at all..."

Of course I took her affirmation with a huge grain of salt. I know Arab men, most of them are totally fucked up when it comes to personal relationships, in particular of the "modern" sort...Their double standards, their messed up minds, their messed up priorities, their warped logic, their hypocrisy, a total disaster...A DISASTER.

- So what is the problem then ?

- His parents.

- What about his parents ?

- Layla, am a Sunni. His parents are opposing any idea of marriage because am a Sunni.

- Bloody Hell, I can't believe that ! And what did he say ?

- He said nothing yet.

- Tara, call me when you put your other foot down. And if you take that nonsense then you're not as smart as I thought you were.

So that was our conversation. But my mind wandered to when I was introduced to my then future parents in law. They were Shias from Lebanon too. And that was a decade ago.

I walked into the kitchen, my ex-mother in law was there muttering something to her "jewel" of a son and I overheard her say to him "Did you have to bring a Sunni to this house! What is wrong with your cousin Ibtissam? " And the "jewel" of a son, did not budge. No reaction, not a word, nothing.

I had come from a very secular home, where Shias, Sunnis and Christians intermarried. I had no fucking clue what she was on about. And in Iraq, we really, at least not in my environment, ever heard or uttered such drivel. It was "Ayb" - shameful to say Shia and Sunni. The proof is that most of my friends and some of my family members are married to Shias. And I was too. Thankfully, in the past tense.

Everything went downhill since...since that conversation I overheard.

And I only realized many years later, with the occupation of Iraq and the disgusting sectarianism that was totally unknown to me, the extent of Shia sectarianism, and how embedded it is in their mentalities.

Of course, not all Iraqi Shias are that way, but a lot of those who came with the occupation and filled ranks are that way and this is where the Iranian Khomeinist/Shia revivalist influence is most felt. The same is very applicable to Lebanon, amongst the Shias there. They are even worse than their Iraqi counterparts.

Ten years ago in Baghdad, no one and I mean NO ONE would say -- why did you bring a Shia or a Sunni to this house. But ten years ago in Lebanon it happened in front of my very eyes, and 10 years later it is happening to my relative, the same thing all over again.

What is the matter with these people ? They really come across like those hardcore Zionist Jews who believe in the purity of their own race/religion as being superior and above everyone else. How disgusting!

I feel totally grossed out. I hope Tara will revert to her senses and kiss this Lebanese slime goodbye. And let his mama find him a cousin to marry. A good way to keep the moronic retards in the family. Don't let their genes multiply outside their narrow, limited, backward, retrograde, sectarian circles.

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Sawsan Al-Saraf.