Wednesday 29 July 2009

A Burnt Heart...

I love the Arabic language. It is most expressive and most rich.

You don't need to be a master in classical Arabic to realize that. Even colloquial Arabic would do. Mind you, classical Arabic language is so vast and rich, no one can actually claim and profess to be a master in or of it, except Allah.

There are expressions even in colloquial Arabic that are so hard to translate into English. Like with some colloquial Iraqi. On some level it may sound very basic, almost rudimentary, but when you dig deeper, it holds all the wisdom of the world.

One of those sentences is - Batinha boordat.

Literally translated it means - her belly has gone cold.

This sentence is usually used when a woman fails to get pregnant - they say her tummy/belly has gone cold.

It is a most interesting expression because it implies that her belly was hot/warm and has gone cold...

Circumstances have made it that it went cold. So again, by implication, all bellies are hot/warm by design - unless....

This in turn implies that there are no mistakes in creation - all bellies are hot/warm unless something "outside" interferes and makes them cold.

Bear with me because this is most subtle...

For me it is not subtle - it is fact, but for you, high-tech people - it may be.

I have studied some Chinese medicine, and in Chinese medicine, the belly is the seat of Heat. Or Prana, Energy. Everything starts from the belly. I am making it very simple for you here. The belly is also the seat of emotions. Whenever an outside trauma cuts the energy - SEPARATES the circuits, the belly goes cold. It becomes divorced from the rest of the body.

Take another example in colloquial Arabic. "Tagalee Marartee or Fa'aalee Marartee".
It literally means - He made my gall bladder explode. This implies that "bile" is circulating in the body.

Again in traditional medicine, the liver, the gall bladder, the bile are the seats of "anger". When someone makes you very angry - your gall bladder explodes - symbolically, that is. The French have a word for it - il a de la bile - he has bile. Meaning he is angry and in second lieu - daring, courageous.

Take a third example from colloquial Iraqi Arabic - and is also used in all parts of the Arab World - hiragle'ee galbee, or hir'alee Albee, depending on the accent you use. This literally means - he burnt my heart.(she is also applicable) .

Oddly enough, we don't have the sentence equivalent to - he broke my heart. For us, it is - he burnt my heart.

For me this is another interesting difference. Broken can be mended. But burnt cannot. It has to be be born again, like a phoenix. Broken can be negotiated, repaired, but burnt cannot.

But come to think of it, we do have the usage of the verb to break - like in "kassarlee khatree". Like in he broke my rib but not the physical rib.
Rib here stands for solidarity. Khatree is very difficult to translate. It means - the seat of sentiments from deep expectations from someone.

A literal translation would mean - he broke my deep expectations of him. But it does go deeper. Khater is not only expectation, it is almost like a sacred vow. Breaking my expectations, breaking what I believed to be sacred...this is what kassarlee khatree means. This is what allegorically - breaking my rib means.

As I said, the Arabic language is very, very rich, both in its classical and colloquial form.

Where does that leave us ?

Where does that leave us with cold frozen bellies from/by outside/external traumas, burnt hearts by the "other", exploding bilious gall bladders and livers, and broken ribs - broken expectations and "sacred" vows.

Come on, you can guess.

Painting : Iraqi female artist, Betool Fekaiki.