After communism and capitalism, there is asterism.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Again about Iraqis……Abroad - by Hala s.

Quite a depressing week, started with the long awaited decision of the four musketeers on one of them, and ended with another stressful session in Saddam’s trial.

Poor Iraqis, I look at their drained faces on TV and feel my heart throbbing with fear, what else is in store? What future awaits us? The descendants of 6000 years of civilisation are yet again going downhill.
They say “one day for you and another against you”, It seems that for us it is always the latter.

What is it with power? I wish I could sit on this miserable chair and rule for one week, just to check if I can stand up and leave or not!

What struck me first when I arrived to the UK, is seeing John Major losing the elections, and after few days, I saw him on TV sitting on the back bench in the Parliament representing his constituency!

It looks like the people who moved back to Iraq from abroad had only brought confusion to an already confused society.

I am not trying to be judgmental, although it is an Iraqi trait, but honestly my experience with my own people in here taught me a lot about them and about myself.

The Iraqi Community in the UK:

It is by majority Islamic. Tends to be closed, and acts as if they live in a different planet. Families switched from being moderate, educated groups to extremely religious for fear for their children to become westernised!

In the park near where I live, I see very young girls with their roller-blades or bicycles completely wrapped in black, struggling to keep their balance. The young generation weekend is usually spent in Saturday Arabic/Islamic schools and later to Islamic centres or Mosques to have lunch.
The funny part is that people should stay in the Mosque after lunch to listen to the speech! But they usually sneak out before it starts. So the clever clergy men started locking the doors to prevent these shameful incidents!

People go to these places to feel secure among fellow citizens nothing wrong with that, the problem is with the speech itself, it usually says nothing.

Ashurra for example is a big big event. I’ve never seen the rituals in Iraq, they were obviously banned, but I’ve seen them in full scale here in the UK, from the slamming of chains to the wailing and cloth tearing of women. And the on going lectures in between to stimulate more and more agony and distress.

Once I volunteered to give aerobic classes in an Iraqi women centre, I went and was met by a group of young and middle aged women. The minute I switched on the music to start the training, one woman shouted from behind “Music is Haram. I had to switch it off and we started jumping silently like idiots. They never saw my face again.

I know of men who spent their time going to funerals, or at the most sitting in café-shops made in an Iraqi or Arabic style, with hookahs and backgammon all day.

The welfare system in here made them lazy and relaxed.

The only positive thing I can say of the above, that Iraqis never went to Abu Hamza’s Mosque. We Iraqis love life and have no intention to die before our time comes!

Most of these families are torn between two cultures and cannot relate to any!

The minority are the professionals, a mixture of secular and religious.
Usually shattered all over the UK, trying hard to make ends meet.
As busy as one could be, the result is they don’t want to know. They are so immersed in their own routine, they believe it will last forever.

Another smaller minority are the wealthy settled Iraqis who have been here for decades mainly property owners, I don’t know much about them, I do have my doubts though, that they are making more money somehow again. Those are our Hawasim as they say back home, but made in the UK!
They make profits regardless of who is in power.

In the midst of this gloomy picture, you still meet with the smallest minority of all, promising, enthusiastic people, who have managed to solve the difficult equation of being an Iraqi in the UK.

Most of our esteemed government members belong to one or another of the above categories!
Guess which?

One of the proofs of their failure so far, is that they did not learn an important lesson. Something they enjoyed in here and it was the reason for their survival through out the years… that is tolerance!

I said it before, secular Iraqis are a minority. I sometimes wonder if we are endangered species!

Hala s.


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