Halleluiah, Now Moslem Women Can Break a Leg!

It’s already seven thirty, and Ream did not prepare herself yet for the big party that should start at nine. She knew that she couldn’t get there earlier as she promised her sister-in-law Samboosa (that was her nickname by the way) to help prepare the final touches of her brother’s birthday settings in his spacious basement. With mind, million miles away, she threw the wet towel on a pinewood ottoman at the foot of her American, wide, King-size bed, where a rectangular, bag shaped, crimson red dress lay. Elated by the fresh scents of body-gels, Patchouli and Bokhoor shampoos and conditioners that followed her since she lay a foot out of the black, oval, king-size bathtub, crossed the dressing room and dashed into the bedroom, she grabbed the strapless dress hastily, and put it on. She didn’t like red much, but Samboosa insisted that it “brought life in her”. Samboosa was more than a sister, she loved Ream, some would even say, more than her seven sisters. She admired her patience with the responsibility of raising four teenagers under a broken roof. But she could not bear to see pain, surrounded with black circles around her eyes, increasing every time she sees her. Not to mention the lifeless hollow cheeks, that changed the shape of her face to resemble those of the Pharaohs. Samboosa, to bring the picture closer to your perception, was a true friend.

Ream glanced at the reflections on her right and left shoulders as she passed through the mirrored dressing room into the 7X5 bathroom she built some years ago, practically speaking, brick-by-brick. Bathrooms are especially important for women like Ream. But something strange grabbed her attention and made her stop, go back to the dressing room and check the reflections to see what was it. No doubt the two years of Thai-boxing had built her nice curves, regardless of the excess weight she lost recently. But that was not exactly what grabbed her attention, it was the eyes that looked back, they were luminous. And the cheeks, a blossomed rose. And the bosoms, two fresh pomegranates. She looked even ten years younger. It was the red that defined all other colors like a tapestry. That dress, as simple and casual knee-high of sheer material was hot, and hot was her forbidden zone.

With mind clock-racing for time, she released the other part of the set from its hanger as she grabbed it out of the facing cupboard, behind the mirrored doors. It was a high-waist, short -sleeve jacket of the same color, but it covered enough. She took a sigh of relief as she laid the jacket over a small stool nearby. Now, she thought, she could go back to the bathroom, dry her hair, apply her makeup and try to make it to the party before the arrival of the guests.
With hair half wet, trickling occasionally down her spine, and through the half dried, highlighted, golden long strands of hair flowing upwards with hot air, she glanced his reflection in the mirror and her heart skipped a beat. Starched Quitra, black Egal and a snow white Dishdasha*, cladding a very clean-shaven, bearded face. And an allure of familiar fragrances, she loved much, overtook all other soap fragrances. The face was attacking a green apple, looking with wrath right through her. She knew she was in for a storm. She knew that look, and she knew that when her husband is possessed by it, although this was not very often, he usually did not think straight, he’d slab and kick everything at his reach, even the furniture, and then, most of the times, apologized later for the damage that he caused. And she did not need any problems, and most importantly, she did not have much time to lose.
“Where are you going, inshalla**, with this…this half dress?” he raised his voice over the noise of the machine.
Ream, who was not a bit in her fighting mood, answered back with calm pretence, “my Brother’s birthday party, and the other half of my dress is laying on the stool in the dressing room, you can go check.”
“And I assume this party is mixed, isn’t it?” he stormed with a voice, coming through a mouthful throat.
Now her patience was waning, but she switched off the dryer, turned back and with clear voice, calmly defying his gaze with hers and uttering, “of course it’s mixed, it’s family, remember?” Then she turned back, switched the machine back on, and continued drying her hair, but he wouldn’t stop.
Ali, her husband, was not a religious person when she first met him, and they both were not raised in a conservative environment. They were like many other Kuwaiti Moslem families that considered themselves moderate. Mixed parties were something familiar to both families. Few years back though, Ali went through an emotional breakdown, and Ream helped him, even with his history of infidelity. But one of the negative consequences of his recovery was that he became more conservative. His understanding of religion through which he took solace while going through bad tines affected the couple’s relationship gradually. They started fighting over trivial things and the forbidden and taboos. Things that were traditional to them, became shameful, and most importantly, Ream felt that Ali did not respect her mind. She felt like he started treating her like one of his kids; dependant, although, in general she was not.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if your brother served drinks”, ” is he?”, ” why not, he is a fagot?”, ” You are a Muslim woman, you should not even go to parties that serve Alcohol.”, “Jalisohooooo*** is sin”, ” do you understand woman? jalisohooo.” Now his voice thundering and she was lost for wards. As he stomped over words, lashing at her brother, her father, her uncle, she ignored him completely, all the way through his blabbering.
She knew that it was not wise to ignore him since she knew that by doing so she’d provoke his rage even more. But, by now, she was too angry to think rationally, she mumbled to herself a prayer, “ya Fattah ya Aleem” to calm herself down, and went back to her business. But somehow, this man who brought the best in her was capable of bringing the worst; the devil. And the prayer sure didn’t help.
“No. No. You can’t go out like this; I can’t allow it, even with a jacket on. How would I know that the jacket would not end up on another stool in your brother’s house, besides, it’s too late, you are not going anywhere.” He ordered.
“Oh…yeh! Says who?” eyes blazing with fire, as she raises her voice a tad, loosing her reserve, dryer still blowing air into her hair.
“I forbid it.” was a sentence that Ali managed to articulate with excess ego and a tinge of mockery. That tone that Ream could not stand in his voice.
“And who are you?” the blow dryer still blowing hot air, but into nowhere.
“Your husband” his voice took a higher tone as the dryer fell to the floor from her shaking hand, as she screamed at the top of her lung, ”only on paper”. Mixed sounds echoed, and warned the kids in the living room watching TV.

Meanwhile a strange look of anger mixed with fear overwhelmed Ali, he checked Ream upside down, and everything went blank.
He raised his hand to slap her, or that what she though, but without a warning, her hands and legs flew into the air, as if practicing all the movements she learned in her Thai-boxing classes, for the past two years, on her husband, instead of on the punching bags of the gym. She could not realize what she was doing; everything was so fast, induced by the spur of the moment. But the site of her husband laying on the bathroom floor, pleading for her to “stop…stop”, and the smell of burned wires brought her back to reality, and it was sarcastically funny, not at all what she expected.
Ali was not going to slap her face as she imagined, he was going to pull the cord off of its plug, after noticing a spark of fire coming from the back of the dryer as it hit the ground. But that was not what made Ream lay on the cold, black ceramic tiles of the stairs that led to the bathtub, cracking with laughter sarcastically. Nor the sight of the patches of blood that covered her legs, the color of her dress, was what triggered her sarcasm, and certainly not the sight of the half-eaten green apple laying on her husband’s lap, messing his clean dishasha as he sat on the dressing room’s carpeted floor, with legs stretched, across the sole step that separated the two rooms, into the bathroom, in front of her was the cause. It was the fact that this was the first time she witnessed her husband “Si Alsayid” so weak, pleading for mercy. It was a sense of the unprecedented euphoric sarcasm that overwhelmed her, even if that was short lived. And seemingly, the sarcasm was contagious; it soon overtook the couple.
Open-mouthed children gathered behind Ali puzzled. When their inaudible questions amidst their parent’s laughter were not answered; they left even more puzzled. The older boy even kissed his forefinger, touched his forehead and uttered, “Elhimdellah wa ashukr.”

* Quitra, black Egal and a snow white Dishdasha; Arabian, men’s gowns.
** inshalla; if God desires, used here for mockery.
*** Jalisoho; its companion. There is an Islamic tradition that forbids accompanying others while they drink, say in a party.

To Be Continued

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Congrats to All

My first encounter with Obama was two years ago in a bookshop, leafing through his book “Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance”. I remember thinking to myself “is this guy serious?”, “An African American with a Muslim name running for the presidency of the biggest power in the world!”. I though “this is America, where every citizen has the right to practice his rights, and prosper in every field. But only the white elite get to govern.” And with the increasing wave of conservativeness around me, compared to the seventies when I resided here, and the fact that conservatives usually support Republicans, where the Evangelical Church’s role in the victory of George W. Bush in the elections of 2004, is not very far a history. I though that Barak’s chances were not only slim, but were almost negligiable. Boy, was I wrong!
As I got to know Barack more through the media, a single thought overwhelmed me: according to the Islamic tradition, and since Barack was born to a Muslim father then he is Muslim by birth (automatically, even if his mother kept a different faith). Which means he has no right to change his religion from that of his father, and punishment of death is decreed if he declares that publicly (remember Qambar?). And the question was, “how would the heads of the biggest Islamic institutions, and the keepers of the Islamic faith react to the apostasy of the president of the biggest power in the world, especially that Obama declared, and the whole globe knows that he is not a Muslim, but a Christian?” it was then when I got seriously interested in the US presidential elections, and I’m still waiting to see the international reaction, especially from the political Islamic institutions around the globe.

Joe Biden was right when he said that Barack will be tested internationally; his challenges are grave; locally, as well as, internationally. The new president has to bring a total change to the old policies that brought local and global misfortuns. And that brought shivers to my spine, especially knowing that what happens in America does not concern Americans alone, it concerns the world. And the global economic chaos today attests to that. But what Biden failed to mention is that Barak’s presidency is also a test of the credibility of the Islamic political institutions around the globe.

And after listening to his marvelous speech last night, where he dedicated his victory to the American citizens and infused in them the sense of responsibility to share in the making of the American dream, of which this victory was a living example, I was spellbound. And the best part of what he said was that he’d be honest with the American citizens in every stage of building America together. Honesty is the key word that changed my perception towards Obama and America, and gave me hope, even on a personal level.
After that speech I decided to go back to work in my field of Engineering as soon as I get the chance to do so, and here, in Silicon Valley.

Obama did not only give hope to American citizens, I’m sure he did the same to others as well, of which I am one.

النسخه العربيه

كانت معرفتي الاولي باوباما منذحوالي السنتين من خلال تصفحي لكتابه “احلام من والدي: قصه التفرقه العنصريه و الورث”. و اتذكر انني فكرت في نفسي “هل هذا الانسان جاد؟”، “امريكي من اصل افريقي و يحمل اسما مسلما و يخوض الانتخابات الرئاسيه لاكبر قوي عظمي في العالم!” و “صحيح ان امريكا هي بلد الفرص، فلكل فرد حريات مكفوله بالقانون يستطيع من خلالها ان يتآلق باي مجال، و لكن النخبه او الصفوه البيضاء هي وحدها لها الحكم” و خصوصا انني لاحظت زياده المد الديني في المجتمع (مقارنه بالسبعينات عندما كنت اعيش هنا)، و المتدينين في العاده يميلون الي الحزب الجمهوري، و كان للكنيسه الانجليكيه دور كبير في نجاح بوش الابن في انتخابات ٢٠٠٤، اي ان فرص اوباما ليست فقط ضئيله بالفوز و لكنها تكاد تكون معدومه. و كم كنت مخطئه٠

و بزياده معرفتي باوباما عن طريق الاعلام، سيطر علي تفكيري تساؤل و هو: حسب الدين الاسلامي من يخلق لاب مسلم هو بالوراثه مسلم حتي لو كانت والدته تدين بغير الاسلام. كما ان تطبيق حد المرتد يحق علي من جاهر بتخليه عن دينه الاسلامي (اتذكرون قمبر؟). و السؤال هو “ما هو رده فعل العالم الاسلامي و خاصه المؤسسات و الاحزاب الدينيه بالنسبه لارتداد رئيس اعظم دوله في العالم، و خصوصا ان اوباما صرح اكثر من مره و كل العالم سمعه يجاهر انه مسيحي و ليس مسلم؟”هذه كانت بدايه اهتمامي الحقيقي بالرئاسه الامريكيه، و لازلت بانتظار رده الفعل العالميه و خصوصا تلك الخاصه بالمؤسسات الاسلاميه السياسيه حول العالم٠

عندما صرح جو بايدن ان العالم سيختبر اوباما فهو كان صادقا؛ فالتحديات التي تواجه الرئيس الجديد كثيره، سواء محليا او عالميا. و الرئيس الجديد عليه مسئوليه التغيير الشامل للسياسات القديمه التي ادت الي المشاكل المحليه و العالميه. و هذا ما يفزعني، و خصوصا انني اعلم ان ما يحدث في امريكا له تداعياته علي العالم اجمع، و ما الازمه الاقتصاديه عنا ببعيد. و لكن ما لم يذكره بايدن ان رئاسه براك اوباما هو اختبار لمصداقيه هذه المؤسسات الاسلاميه٠

و بعد سماعي لخطبته الاخيره الليله الماضيه، و التي كانت اكثر من رائعه، حيث اهدي فوزه للشعب الامريكي و غرس فيهم الاحساس بالمسئوليه في تحقيق الحلم الامريكي، حيث كان فوزه دليل علي امكان تحقيق هذا الحلم، اصبحت مسحوره (من هول المفاجأه). و افضل ما جاء في خطابه كان ما صرح به انه سيكون دائما صادقا مع الشعب في كل خطوه يخطيها لبناء امريكا بمشاركه الجميع. و كانت كلمه “الصدق (في التعامل)” هي المفتاح الذي غير تفكيري تجاه اوباما و امريكا و اعطاني الامل، حتي علي المستوي الشخصي٠

بعد مشاهدتي للخطاب قررت ان ارجع الي العمل في مجال عملي الهندسي باسرع فرصه ممكنه و هنا؛ في وادي السيليكون٠

اوباما لم يزرع الامل في قلوب الامريكان و حسب، بل انا متآكده انه زرع الامل في قلوب الكثيرين غيرهم، و انا منهم٠

Obama or McCain?

And why?

Latest joke: Mac is back