Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape neurotic Iraqi wife: September 2007

neurotic Iraqi wife

September 24, 2007

A Neurotic SuShi...

Last Friday, as I was on my way to work, I passed by the weekly bazaar that’s held in our compound and all of sudden I remembered a funny incident which Im gonna share with you. Eight or nine months into my first year here, back in 06, and just after all hell broke loose because of the Samarra bombings, I saw one of my expat ex-coworkers exhibiting a blue stone ring on his pinky finger. A blue stone (turquoise or fayrouz in arabic) or even a Carnelian (aqeeq in Arabic) is widely worn by Iraqi men, by Iraqi Shia’ men to be precise. (There are certain stories behind it, on more information on the significance of these rings, you can go here I just googled my question and this informative site came up). I myself didnt know the real reason behind the rings.

I was bemused at the idea of an American wearing the exact ring, so I smiled and asked him “hey, where’d you get that ring?” One of the Iraqis gave it to me, why do you ask? Do you like it? I stood there contemplating, all focus on his pinky. Umm, no, Im not a big fan of men wearing stones, but I do find it intriguing that you are, since its kinda of a typical thing that men from certain areas in Iraq do. What area he asked. The South I said. The South? He repeated. You mean the Sunni’s? I laughed and said nope, the Shia’s. Is that good or bad? I sensed some fear in his eyes. So I decided to tease him abit to get him going. Well, if you do go on site visits, especially ones that are in the West, I think you better make sure that, that ring is left well behind in your room. Tell me more he said. Theres nothing more to say I said.

So you a Sunni or a Shia? He asked. No I’m a sushi, I replied calmly. The guy just looked at me and said “say what?” I’m an S U S H I, I repeated the letters slowly, incase he didn’t get it the second time around. What’s that? The raw fish? He asked. Are you a Buddhist and got reincarnated into a fish or Are you a Muslim? I just cracked up, couldn’t keep a straight face anymore (nor did I find me representing raw fish as fun). No I’m a Muslim sushi I said in a as a matter of fact tone. Again that bewildered look. You lost me he said. Ok ok ok, I relented and went off to explain, my Sushism.

Me: You asked me whether I was a Sunni or a Shia, correct?
Man: Correct
Me: And I answered, Im a sushi, correct?
Man: Aha correct
Me: Ok so far so good.
Man still looking at me with his confused look.
Me: In Iraq my friend, well, let me rephrase, in the Iraq that my parents once knew, there were no questions of sunni’s or shia’s. You are you, you are Iraqi. Be it a Sunni muslim, a Shia Muslim, a Christian, Kurd, you are an Iraqi. And because I don’t believe in all this sectarian differentiation, Im gonna be a sushi. A Sunni AND a Shia. GET IT?
Man: I love sushi, the food that is.
Me: I love sushi, the new sect that is.
And we both laughed.
Man: You still didn’t answer my question
Me: I think I have. And btw, you know how it is rude to ask a woman her age? (Aha, he nodded). Well its kinda rude to ask an Iraqi about his sushism.

And here my story ends, Im gonna go back to work and leave you with your thoughts oh and by the way, I never saw that guy wearing the ring again, lol… It probably scared the hell outta him. But now after reading the significance of these rings, Im at awe, hey I might even start liking the idea of HUBBY wearing a turquoise on his pinky, hmmm. As for now, if anyone asks about being either a Sunni or a Shia', then SuShi will be my reply. Im still Neurotic, a Neurotic SuShi...
posted by neurotic_wife at 12:50 PM 65 comments

September 21, 2007

The Iraqi Dying Soul...

Alone, AGAIN. The best thing Ive ever done for myself since I came here is to ask one of my excoworkers, S, to get me a satellite dish before he left to Amman for his interview. It was by mere coincidence that I found out we were finally allowed to have one installed. Two years ago, this was a big no no, and we were stuck with the tv channels they force us to watch, of which none were Arabic. But thank god they changed the rules, and now Im a proud owner of a small dish that gives me over 300 channels. I have to admit though, three quarters of those are useless arabic music channels which to me are more like soft porn, with singers (if we can even call them that) half naked swaying their hips to the cameras leaving nothing to one's imagination.

As its Ramadhan, and Im a single married wife again, I tend to spend more time after work in my room watching Iraqi news and series. Im not such a huge fan of series, but those Iraqi ones are just great. Its a pity that its targetted towards the Arab public and not the West. They should have english subtitles so people all over the world can understand the realities, the grim realities that Iraqis are going through. Although I live in Iraq, and I know exactly whats going on, I find myself living each moment with the story lines. I cry when the lead actor gets kidnapped, or killed. I cry when explosions take away the lover of one woman. These Iraqi series portray the real tragedies that are going on in Iraq and outside.

Baghdad Phobia is an amazing story. It looks at each and every single angle of the Iraqi suffering. From the militias that have taken over the country, to the disappearance and killings of College professors. To the Iraqi who works with the Americans in turn affecting his own family life. To the lovers who want to get married but their families refuse because of each other's sects. Everyday, I live these stories in my own shabby room. Everyday I shed a tear or two watching the horridness that has plagued my country.

Another program I watch is "Iftoorkum 3alaina" (Your Iftar is on us) by Al Sharqiya channel. The presenter visits Iraqi refugees who were forced to leave their country and either ended up in Jordan or Syria. She would ask one or two famous personas to accompany her and take them to these Iraqi families. She would also bring 2 chefs who would prepare the Iftar meal for these unfortunate souls. I get so overwhelmed watching this program. Overwhelmed with sadness. Innocent families who were forced to leave everything behind. Everything from their homes, their relatives, their parents, their friends just to survive the violence. You see them on TV living in dire conditions, in basements with no furniture because they cant afford it. A lady, on yesterdays show started crying, begging her friend on TV to send her the salary because she is in dire need of it. She made all the crew cry and ofcourse, I cried too...Imagine how bad her money situation is that she is BEGGING, begging her friend to send her money on national TV.

As alaa commented on my previous post, we dont know whether to feel happy or sad that people are leaving Iraq behind. Why? Why should they? WHY? Why cant they live just like you and me? Why cant they have a normal life? What is it they committed in their lives to have to pay for other people's mistakes??? What??? How did we come to this situation??? How??? When will all this violence end??? WHEN??? Where will destiny take them? WHERE???

He promised her his undying love. I will protect you he promised. Trust me, he said. I will protect you. He gave her freedom, or so he said. Freedom that he thought she deserved. But with this freedom, he also opened up every single wild animal's cage on her. That was his vision of freedom. She can do what she wanted, he told her. Here, go and enjoy this freedom. You are free. You are finally free, he assured her. At first, she loved this so called freedom. It was something new. Something she never lived before, never experienced. She went out, she had fun, she would come back at dawn, alcohol and smoke smothered all over her. She didnt know what she was putting herself into. But she enjoyed it. She enjoyed this so called freedom.

One night, as she stepped outside her door getting ready for another "free and fun" time, a car stopped. A car filled with young lost guys. They too were looking for a free and fun time. They whistled to her, she ignored them. They shouted flirtatious comments, she continued walking in the dark alleyway. She is strong, she thought to herself. She is strong and she is free. She didnt care. He will protect her, trust me he promised. They followed her. You can hear their quick steps echo in the quiet of the night. Finally they caught up with her.

As one turned her around, the other slapped her face and forced her to the floor pulling at her long black hair. She fought back, kicking and screaming. He covered her mouth with his strong filthy hands. And so began the so called freedom. One by one, they raped her. One by one they raped her ferociously. At one time, there were 2 on her. One from each side. She cried, she kicked, she scratched their faces. But they didnt give up. Just before she was succumbing to her fate, just before she shut her eyes to go into that forever unconciousness, she saw a shadow. A shadow on the ragged twall that has filled up the streets. She forced her eyes open, her heart began to thump. She was going to get rescued. Yes. Yes finally, finally he came to her rescue. He finally came, just as he promised. He came to snatch her away from these animals. But the shadow, the shadow didnt move. He didnt move.

He stood there, stood there leaning on the filthy twall, smiling, smirking, his arms folded. He was there, he was there all the time. Watching, watching as she got raped. Watching as her legs were forced open and bled to death. He just stood there, getting excited himself as he watched these animals tear her flesh apart. He stood there, unscathed by the scene afore him. She got raped, Iraq got raped, but they stood there watching. We gave them freedom, they reasoned. Thats what they wanted. We gave it to them and they chose to abuse it.

Before she finally shut her eyes forever, she looked at him with her spearing hazel eyes and mouthed her last words to him. To him and to the world. She forced her beaten bleeding mouth open and whispered, "but I trusted you, I trusted you". And with that, she gave her soul up. Her Dying Soul...The Iraqi Dying Soul...
posted by neurotic_wife at 3:49 PM 40 comments

September 18, 2007

A Joyous Time...

I almost forgot to wish everyone a Happy Ramadhan. I know its a bit late, but to be honest I dont really feel it when Im here. Its a completely different atmosphere to what Im used to back in AD. Since the majority are Westerners, Ramadhan in the GZ is just like any other day. Unfortunately Im not fasting, when I really should be. One, Ive been suffering from a severe tummy bug, and no Im not taking any medication for it, nor am I gonna go to the CSH just to get humiliated because I dont hold a DOD card. Two, I get migraine attacks and I dont have my medicine with me. So instead, Im looking for a way to pay to feed those who fast (In Islam, if for any reason one cant fast, then he should pay to feed atleast 10 people that are, its called paying a kaffara).

I literally dragged myself to work today. Thankfully, there was a slightly cooler morning breeze, unlike the last few days, where the weather seemed to get hotter instead of cooling down. As I was checking my emails, I saw a familiar name in my inbox, and I couldnt believe it. Its from W (hence Im blogging abt it from work). W was one of the last people that got an interview in Amman. HUBBY and I were sooooooo happy for him, yet the day he left was more or less a very sad day for me. W was like our kid brother. The most amazing Iraqi ever. So young and generous. So naive and goodhearted. We had a special relationship with W as he was one of the first people that worked with HUBBY back in 04.

W, was always ready to help. ALWAYS. He was the one that took us on a tour into the red zone last year. He risked his life just to satisfy my own selfish curiousity. When W's time came to leave for Amman, I hugged him so tight, I didnt wanna let go. We will meet again he kept assuring me. Dont worry Neurotica, I will see you and HUBBY in Florida, Inshallah (God willing). And so W finally made it to Florida:

"hello Neurotica, i am now in florida tampa and every think is ok iam fine and my wife is good we are wating the baby now, it was an excelant experince to get here and there is alot of thinks happend in the way to tampa but i cant tell you this by email its along story i will contact you soon and tell you every think please send me your and HUBBY personal email i lost it and say hay to him and told him that I did it"

Yes he did it. He finally did it. It was only last year that W was asking for help to get out of here (a post I wrote in Aug 06) , and now he is. It took a year for his prayers, wishes, hopes and dreams to come true, but nevertheless, they did. They finally did. God answered his Prayers, and about time too. Im beginning to admire Ryan Crocker's pleas to accelerate the process of allowing Iraqis into the US, read this article at the Washington Post. Again its about time for people like him to speak out. This war opened thousands of cans of deadly fatal poisonous worms, and I believe its the duty of the US, Britain and everyone else who took part to save those who have been bitten. Its a small price to pay compared to the millions of Iraqis that got displaced, threatened, murdered and kidnapped. A really small price to pay for the Orphans of Iraq, the Widows of Iraq, the Families of Iraq.

The Iraqi life is just as precious as yours, and probably even more. Just like you, Iraqis believe in freedom. Just like you, Iraqis want to live in peace. And just like you, Iraqis want to be able to provide for their children and show them the world. Unlike W, his soon to be born baby will fortunately enjoy the freedom and the life that his father has always dreamed of. I can only say, may all the Iraqi prayers get answered, especially in this beautiful holy month. And with that I better get back to work in hope, in hope of receiving yet another email, another email from another colleague talking about another Place. Another Place and another Time. A Joyous Time...
posted by neurotic_wife at 9:52 AM 28 comments

September 15, 2007

This Forsaken Country...

Although Im still mourning for Abu Reesha's criminal death, I can see another figure that may still give us some hope. No, not his brother. Although his brother Ahmed succeeded him by the majority's request, I can foresee another leader. Ali Hatem Ali Suleiman. His mannerisms, his words, portrays yet another hero that we can set our hopes on.

Ive read several articles that implied Ali Hatem was a harsh critic of Abu Reesha, but Im not sure of the authenticity of these, since the minute it was known that Abu Reesha was killed, Ali Hatem, appeared on TV talking about revenge against the murderers. Thanx to my brother in law he pointed me to this video clip of Ali Hatem on Memri TV. You will see how eleoquent his words are and how straightforward his opinions are. I can feel the butterflies flicker yet again.

Yesterday, a day after the horrific events, I asked some of the Iraqi guys at work about their opinion to what happened. To my surprise, they were all in shock and very upset. Some pointed the fingers at the Government, others said it definitely has Al Qaeda's marks. Reason I was surprised to their reaction, was the fact that almost all of those guys are Shia's. It just goes to show you that as long as we get a good and honourable leader who has the "balls" to defend his people (unlike the current govt), no one gives a damn what his sect or ethnicity is. This sectarian division exists only in ignorant people, be it educated or not. Ignorant people who have nothing better to do than point the finger at the other group. They are narrow minded individuals who refuse to see the bigger picture.

Al Qaeda vowed for more attacks in this holy month. Goes to show you what kind of Islam they are portraying. They are by no means muslims. Infact, they know nothing of Islam and because of those criminal barbarians, Islam has been tainted. Although I must not wish death upon anyone, but I cant resist, and wish death to all those who are behind the extinction of my people. Especially Al Qaeda. Those bastards should go and clean their own countries before coming to us and killing the innocent civilians. May God's wrath fall upon them very soon. Very very soon.

As for now, Im gonna keep a close eye on Ali Hatem. We never know, maybe just maybe the hope we had in Abu Reesha gets rekindled with this young charismatic guy. I guess we will just have to wait and see. See what the future holds. What the future holds for this country. This Forsaken Country...
posted by neurotic_wife at 5:45 PM 30 comments

September 13, 2007

My Iraqi Leader...

A few months ago, I fell in love. I mean badly in love. Yeah HUBBY knows about it, cuz he too kinda fell in love, but umm not to that extreme. I knew my love wasnt gonna last. I knew that something is gonna happen and end it all. I just knew it. For me, he was the epitome of how an Iraqi leader should be. For me, he was the epitome of that strong Arab Man with his tribal demeanour and looks. OMG, to me, he was the love I wanted my country to have. But now, now he is gone. The criminals killed him. He is gone, and with him went my love...

Im so upset. Im so angry. When I read the breaking news I couldnt help but cry. I called HUBBY a few times, I needed to talk to him, I needed him to know, to know that the only guy we believed in is now gone...What a shame...What a real shame. Abu Reesha fought the criminals, Abu Reesha had Al Anbar back on the world map. Abu Reesha even made Bush's curiousity take him there, take him there to see that leader, that leader that lead the "awakening"...And now I wish he never went...I wish Bush never visited. Abu Reesha, the man who really would have made a difference. Yes he really would have made a difference. But now he is gone, and with him went my love...

Al Qaeda called him a traitor for fighting them, the current Government disliked him for they saw in him competition. Great competition. And had he run for the elections, I would have been the first to have voted for him. I was writing a post about him a few days ago, but didnt really complete it, said to myself will post it at a later date. But now, theres no point. Theres no point at all...For now he is gone, gone and with him went my love...

I remember telling my family members about him, they didnt know who I was talking about. I was shocked, "you never heard of Abu Reesha???" I asked surprisingly...No, we havent. So I started telling them about him, and when he'd appear on TV I would just jump out of excitement. To me, he could have lead this country and save it from the chaos and the blood filled rivers. To me, he truly was a leader, an Arab leader, an Iraqi leader...A leader that this country is so unlucky not to have embraced him. To me he was an amazing example. But now he is gone, gone and with him went my love...The only Love I had, the only love I had for an Iraqi Leader...My Iraqi Leader...
posted by neurotic_wife at 4:27 PM 41 comments

September 04, 2007

The Single Married Wife...

The days are passing so slowwwwww, or is it just me. I can barely keep my eyes open during the day, the 5 to 6 mugs of coffee stopped having an effect on me (apart from ofcourse making me go to the bathroom like every 30 mins). By the time Im ready to go to my room in the evening, I dont even have the energy to take my clothes off and slip into my PJ's. Yup, I have to admit, I did pass out a few times with my jeans and tshirt still on. As for the mornings, god, thats a completely different story, its like dragging a dead body out of bed. Again, is it the air? The water? The food? I dunno...All I know is that I feel weak, and not in the mood at all for anything.

The last batch of the Expats that I have been working with for over 2 yrs now, have left today. WOB, Mr & Mrs Chair (good riddance), mr distooorvance (a story I will tell you in a later post) and a few others. From the almost 100 people I started with 2 years back, the only ones remaining are 3 expats (incl me) and 4 Iraqis. Now thats a huge difference. Everyone else has gone, seeked a different path, especially the Iraqis. A path hopefully filled with whatever dreams and aspirations they hoped for. Their road is long and bumpy, but atleast they can see the light, the light of their lives back. I spoke to Z today who has been waiting for her US visa in Amman. She and a few others have already received it, only two are still waiting. Theyre waiting and are getting extremely restless, restless and worried. A the other day told me that he cant really enjoy Amman or go out that much in fear of anyone stopping him in the street from the Jordanian police and asking him for his passport (his passport was taken by the US embassy inorder to process his visa). He has been there a almost a month now with no news.

Z, D, and S were lucky enough and likeable enough by my exmanagement that they have jobs already lined up for them in DC, which is probably the one good and honourable thing that the company did for them. Some of the others are getting hooked up with excoworkers of mine who promised to offer them places to stay and helping them in finding jobs. Which again is amazing, and although I dont wanna generalise but it seems to me, most of the Americans that worked with me have more empathy towards their Iraqi colleagues than all the Iraqis themselves. I can safely say, about 30 Americans offered their homes to my Iraqi colleagues. Unlike the Iraqi expats who just didnt bother to even say in just a short email that if they need any help, they are willing to give it...Oh well just goes to show you.

As for Bush's surprise visit, I dont really have much to comment on. Forget the protocols of a sovereign country, we dont need that BS Condi, do we now. He probably woke up with a craving for some "eyeraki" food and asked Condi whether she'd fancy "some grilled lamb kababs, and abit of that poor lamb they slaughter and put its head on a bed of rice". And off they went to Anbar. Not really sure if they did get to have that eyeraki lamb, but I sure do hope that their 12 hour long flight from the US to Iraq wasnt in vain. Maliki, Condi and Bush are all from the same dough. I cant stand seeing any of them on TV, their faces to me are just so cruel, harsh and bloodless. Just like mr nutso (aka muqtada) or mr devil (al dhari) or or or...The list is endless...

And to be honest, I can care less if they visit everyday. They will never bring back all those who died in vain because of the misplanning of this ruthless war (now dont go telling me id rather have saddam or what an ungrateful bitch I am, because I dont rather have had Saddam, at the same time, I aint gonna be grateful for the death of my country, if that makes me a bitch, so be it). I saw a small caption on one of the news channels claiming that since the beginning of this war till this day there were 40,000 unindentified bodies buried in Najaf. Thats just the unidentified bodies in Najaf. So imagine, imagine the hundreds of thousands more. No, its too much to ask of you to imagine...

So no, not Bush, nor Maliki mean a thing to me. Even that much awaited report from Crocker and Petraues means nothing. A big fat nothing.Im not holding my breath and I dont think any wise person should. The real stories are here, here with the Iraqis. I dont need a top notch General to lie to me anymore. I dont need to read a report that is so full of spin and prepared by arrogant people to contradict everything I know. Everything I need I hear from the real people who live not in the GZ but out there, out there in the red zone. No I dont need a report that is prepared by people who wear armoured vests and carry guns and have about 30 security guards watching their every step. Nope, I dont need that, because I have the simple Iraqis who risk their lives on a daily basis just by coming to work. THEY ARE THE ONES I LISTEN TO, THEY ARE THE ONES I BELIEVE.

Im gonna leave it at that for now. Im exhausted and its way past my bed time. But hey, guess what, Im finally gonna see HUBBY!!! Yaaaaaaaaay...hopefully he will be coming to visit me in the next few days. Its been over 6 weeks now, and I cant wait!!!I will be just like a new aroosa again ;-) hopefully it wont be that time of month, but knowing my luck and the way my hormones are playing games on me lately, I think that may be a huge possibility...Possibility or not, I still cant wait...I will finally be a normal married wife (just for a few days), instead of being Single, the Single Married Wife...
posted by neurotic_wife at 9:44 PM 81 comments

September 02, 2007

Hammam in Amsterdam...

I have to write this post even if there are other things I wanna write about, but this has a bit of a lighter after taste than the other posts I had in mind. There's an Egyptian movie called "Hammam fee Amsterdam" (Hammam in Amsterdam). It talks about this simple unemployed guy from Egypt, who had a dream. He had a dream of becoming someone, and getting rich. One day, he woke up and decided to take the chance and go to Amsterdam. He had no one there, he didnt know the language, he had no money but he was adamant in going there and making it big. And just like all Egyptian movies, he realizes his dream, he becomes famous, and goes back to Egypt, and everyone lives happily ever after bla bla bla. Well E, an excoworker of mine, reminded me so much of Hammam. But instead of going to Amsterdam, E ended up In no other place but NEWYORK!!! Here is E's story....

Yesterday, E, an excoworker of mine who suddenly disappeared back in April, phoned WOB. I was listening to the conversation as it was too hilarious. E was someone I never cared for, and I guess I never will. Ever since I joined here back in 05 he tried his best to get close, but I always kept my distance. I couldnt stand him, there was something about him that got under my skin. Something evil. Especially his eyes, his eyes creeped me out. His words and tone of voice were even worse. Needless to say my fears were confirmed when I later found out he used to be one of the Secret service informers during Saddam's era (or so people said). How the hell he managed to work here, I have no clue. Infact, one day as he creeped up from behind me and blew in my hair, I freaked out, turned around and screamed my head off at him. He never dared to come close again.

So back in April, E disappeared. Some people said he received threat letters and moved to Syria, others said he is in Turkey. No one knew exactly where E was. Although we all knew that E was one of the first people to apply for the US Special Immigration visa, but he received an email from the NVC telling him that his application was deferred to 2010. Come yesterday, and E apparantely was held up in JFK then later on stayed in his hotel with his family afraid to venture out!!!Loooooooool. He calls WOB asking her for help and if she can provide him with contact info of some people that may help him. I mean there is no one, NO ONE in his right mind, that would travel all the way to the states, and of all places go to NY without having anyone there. When WOB asked him what the hell are you doing in NY, he said "I dunno, I liked the way it looked in the movies" OMG!!!! What an idiot. The movies??? Atleast all the other guys who applied for their visas knew exactly where to go because they had some family or ex-coworkers that are willing to assist them, atleast in the initial stages, just so they can get their bearings together. They researched everything to the smallest detail. But noooooo, not E. E chose the most expensive city in the States because he liked the way it looked in the movies. God!!!

An email a coworker of mine just received was that E has finally gotten intouch with an exwife of an excoworker of mine who apparantely is gonna take him to one of the churches in NY. Why a church I dunno, but I definitely cant wait to see what happens to E. Will he survive??? Oh Im sure he will, he is one of those people that can get his way no matter what. But everytime I think about it, I just crack up laughing (not maliciously, but at the whole saga, I still cant understand how E ended up in NY), because knowing E, he will get by, he will definitely get by in New York...Just like Hammam, Hammam in Amsterdam...
posted by neurotic_wife at 5:32 PM 17 comments