neurotic Iraqi wife
May 26, 2008
The Contagious C Fever...
In “normal”, “civilized” places like the Kings Road in London, you have guys cruising in the latest models of cars or motorbikes in attempt to show off their wealth and taste in what they might think is the best of the best. Unfortunately in this Twalled environment, there is no place for cruising. As for the games and gadgets, these are confined to ones own room.
But Cameras, now that’s a completely different story. Although Iraqis are not allowed to bring in anything inside the workplace, no mobile phones, no memory sticks, no laptops etc, they are allowed to take out newly purchased cameras. In fact they can take out anything as long as there is a paper from an expat declaring that he/she has given the specific item to so and so.
Cameras have become the only tool to shed the frustrations that we go through around here. It’s a means of communications to the outside world. Although its prohibited to take photos of certain places inside the GZ, people still find a way to capture moments, precious moments. It has become such an addiction, that some try to take a picture of something as trivial as a grain of dust from all the sand storms we have been experiencing.
As for the Iraqis, they’re catching on. But their addiction isn’t into grains of dust or the eye of an insect (Yup there ARE people who actually do that). Instead they take photos to post them on their personal facebook to keep intouch with all the friends and family that have long gone or the ones they haven’t seen in a long time because of the violence. H, told me that the facebook has now become like a gahwa (coffeeshop) for all friends to meet up and post the latest happenings, photos and events in their lives. That’s the only way we can keep in touch and still stay alive, he says.
H, a shia, hasn’t seen his friend M, a sunni living in Adhamiyah, for over a year now. “I miss him, and I miss the good old days where we used to be able to meet up for an argeela (Hubbly Bubbly) and chat the hours away”. But now meeting up has become impossible, and only possible if we want to end up in pieces thrown away in some side street. Facebook has become our own gahwa. We post pictures of ourselves and share jokes. We can actually share sectarian jokes without having to look over our shoulders to see who is eavesdropping and end up snitching on us.
I like facebook, H says. We can atleast pick and choose who we keep intouch with. If there’s someone that asked me to add him and I don’t trust the guy, I just hit the ignore button. Its as easy as that, H smiles and gestures with his finger. I asked D, an expat, to purchase this camera for me from amazon. Its very expensive, but I like it. I used it when I went to my university re-union, H continues. Sometimes we even forget where we are and start acting stupid and clumsy infront of the camera.
We pretend we are in a normal place and start posing with our girl colleagues. Then I post it on my webpage. Do I look fat, he suddenly asks me. My girlfriend Reem who is in Amman now said I gained weight. Do I look fat Neurotica? H asked. I laughed so much, he caught me off guard. I noticed he was inhaling to keep his beer belly inside. I said, H, exhale, cmon exhale. And when he did, I laughed even harder. I guess that was my answer to him.
He looked disappointed, then said, Ok that’s it, Im gonna have to work out more. You will see, I will work out every day until I end up like Schwarzenegger. I just cringed and made a gag gesture. And on that note I will end this post. H and many many more Iraqis have caught the fever. The Contagious Camera Fever…