Thursday, 11 December 2008

Of Cats and of Men

I was going to write about eid in baghdad, but I need to finish the diyala thing. Well almost finish it. So i think this may be the last post on Diyala, and if you want more, you can ask. ;)

The day started with me struggling to live from the ground. There's no television here either, but the niceness of the people make up for that. What I mean is here everyone smiles at me. I don't even know them. Even the scary looking people smile. But the soldiers here are not as nice. They scowl and one american soldier raised his gun at my father and told him to stop for no reason. Apparently our family came to close to them. I didn't even realise they were there. The ordeal was quite scary, and as weird as it sounds its because even after spending half my life here, I have never been in such close distance to a foreign soldier. That and its from the fact that during the worst time of Iraq, I was abroad. Anyway, i almost started laughing . The situation was quite funny. One soldier had his gun aimed at my dad. One was running around trying to find the iraqi soldiers, and one just kept repeating a badly rehearsed "asaaallaaam aleeeekim" whilst talking about our family to the wandering soldier. Oh i understood, but I just wanted to see what they would say about us when they thought I didn't understand. But all teenagers are allowed to be a little crazy right?

We were finally allowed to pass, and behind me the tension between the iraqi soldiers and the foreign soldiers was almost tangible. It wasn't like this in baghdad, although I've never been close enough to examine the relationship, but in baghdad everything and the soldiers were a lot more ...separated? The foreign soldiers on one side and the iraqi soldiers on the other side. But here in Diyala, they stood next to one another, and although they looked uncomfortable i realised it was for safety. Gangs are still apparently popular here, and they refuse to become lawful like the ones in baghdad. Diyala's gangs are apparently the teenage farm-boys who steal in order to live. Their lack of education, their lack of money has lead to an inevitable turn to crime. What i got told about them was naturally harsher, but in my mind, it is unfair for me to judge by listening to others. I have experienced no crime here whatsoever. So what if a few guys dressed up in black and agals and stood in corners. They didn't approach anyone, nor did they carry guns. But of course, how can i judge after spending a week there? All I can conclude is Diyala is made up of villages, where sheiks and tradition plays a huge role. Meetings of sheiks were common (and inexplainably booring), and it seemed like an organized life. I still am in awe of the pure culture here. Although much of the culture in the villages was unfavourable to females, it wasn't as bad as you think. And the respect here is also cool. In Baghdad, the youth can get a bit disrespectful, but here, it was wonderful. Each neighbour had such respect for one another.

Now, after visiting Amo X's house or another house, I went home. We had been given large plates of meat from people. hehe. yes you heard right. Meat. So i went to the darkness of our room. It was around afternoon time. So I opened the curtains and bright sunlight streamed in. My brother and father had gone to the bisateen (farms). Although I desperatley wanted to go, its not suitable places for a girl. You know the big bad scary farms. I could get mauled to death by a chicken or goat.... :D

So brother and father came back. Since the house hold was literally split ( one room for men, one room for women), me and my brother and sister had genuinely not talked to each other for ages. So we all talked and talked. Then, food was served. It included a lot of meat again. As a joke, my brother has somehow managed to take a large piece of meat out of his plate, and carry it to our bedrooms. It was funny watching him trying to convince our little sister to eat it. Then, he and my sister suddenly left the room laughing. I sat down and replayed the information my brother had told me about the farms. Suddenly I heard meowing. My brother and sister were leading a cat into the room. They fed it little pieces of meat, while teasing me. I don't like cats. At all.
As i watched the cat jump trying to claw at the meat, my brother led the cat closer and closer. What followed was kind of a blur to me.

I jumped and stood on the bed screaming. The cat came closer and closer, its evil eyes surveying me. So naturally when it approached the bed I was on, I jumped on to the other bed. that is how almost an hour of my time was spent. Jumping from bed to bed. As the cat hissed.

My mother came in after an hour asking what the hosa (mess) was about. After I screamed to get the cat out, she looked at my brother, signed and said " P, why did you use the good meat?".
She didn't say " stop being mean to your sister, its not her fault cats are evil horrible creatures" or " take that dirty clawing cat out of the room". But apparently the waste of good meat was the problem. The cat then went.

I then laughed with my siblings for an hour, before finally going to sleep in the dark where I had nightmares of cats attacking me. I hope you feel guilty now. ;)
And so passed another day in Diyala.

And I might add some Fotos of the bisateen when I am not lazy to transfer them. :D



oh no,the cat is not an evil creature,its a nice pet.the us soldiers are side by side with iraqi ones in baghdad too.the difference as i think is that in baghdad you may walk or drive your car near their vehicles.
Happy Eid.

Touta said...

I am slighlty scared of cats. The horrible thing is, i don't even know why. Once in the fair, I had a large snake on my neck, and i wasn't even scared, but cats... :)

Dave said...

i'm sure the cat was actually more scared of you :P haha. I'm more of a dog person myself, they look up to you whereas cats look down on you. Why are you not more scared of spiders/snakes, if I go on holiday anywhere remotely warm I worry about being bit by something poisonous as the most deadly thing here is a wasp.

Touta said...

hhhh, spiders snakes and scorpions i can easily handle, but everytime i see a cat..i have visions of it scratching me. This is the point where someone tells me to see a psychologist. :D
lol at the most deadly thing is a wasp. :)

Little Penguin said...

your days in Dyala seem like a lot of fun.. I really truly absolutely wish I could visit for a week or two..

you've seen the boring arabic school-type eid celebrations in London? I went to one of them two years ago.. it was hilarious.. there was this play and one of the characters, the old iraqi man's daughter, started hitting the other character, dressed as a tiger, with a flip-flop abol finger and saying "leave my dad, you shit!".. it was absolutely unbelieveably funny..

Touta said...

little penguin,
i've only been to one in london, but in birmingham i had to go every eid...
hhhhhhh at the na3al fight. i wish i was there.hhhh.
i hated the ones i went to. basically iraqi girls competed with each other, the guys shouted at each other about politics, and the mothers started singing islamic songs. i sat in a corner and laughed as the children kept asking where santa was.. hhhhh.

Little Penguin said...

so you're a fomer brummie? wow.. what a revelation.. it's not that often I bump into brummie-baghadis.. :)

Touta said...

well, i only spent fewish years there. The rest was spent in BNP majority villages across the UK. And its not often I bump into iraqi londoners.
I just hope you don't have a cockney accent. hhhhh

Little Penguin said...

lol.. BNP majority villages eh.. well, rest assured, eventhough they have a few seats at the london assembly, me and my socialist friends aren't letting them do anything.. Nick Griffin can stick his ideals where the sun don't shine!

I dont have a cockney accent, though it's always been a far-fetched fancying of mine.. I dont know, I always thought it'd make me sound tougher.. but unfortunately, I speak like a news anchor.. and I get so much crap for it.. and when I speak in Arabic, I sound like a teacher who drives a taata in the evening.. you see, it's this whole identity confusion thing..

Touta said...

hhhh, go socialism! Karl Marx, i will forever be in awe of your beard.
Ewwwww, cockney accent?! Ewwww. :)
I totally understand the newsanchor thing though, but its better than cockney and its better than my "blease but the pall on the taple". hhhh.
My arabic is err very iraqi. As in specks of spit fly everywhere as I add "CHHH" eevrywhere. :D

madtom said...

It has been my pleasure to find and post your excellent blog. Thank you for writing and keeping us informed.

Touta said...

thank you for the compliments, and i will keep you informed- thankfully things seem to be improving. :D