Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Fool's paradise

I'm not the same person i was, this time last year, and i am definatley not the person i want to be. Yet anyway.

The problem with making your own decisions in life, means that you will spend at least 6 months dealing with everyone talking at you - I took a gap year, a big no no it seems to Iraqis.

Maybe its a big no no to lots of people, but i've noticed arabs are particularly against delaying anything...in fact i'm not sure how many times i've been patronised by the same sentence "but why waste a year of your life? You're a woman and you've got a lot of things ahead of you, and women age quicker..." and so begins my eyebrow raising expressions, as i try to understand exactly why what I choose to do is any of their buisness.

I dont understand what the rush is for. But i've come to the conclusion that we (iraqis in general, or maybe just my family?) have a certain outlook in life, which is achieve as much as possible, as quick as possible....perhaps its that atmosphere of death always lurking, or perhaps its the pessimistic 'we could die any second' mentality.

Aside from those pondering thoughts, I witnessed something funny in the middle east charity thing i went to. I'm not sure that it is funny - in fact its not, but for some reason, at the time it happened i was overcome with laughing at what i couldnt believe was happening.
A verbal sparring match occurred. The sides were marked as so: Palestinians and lebanese vs egyptians and jordanians. The topic was about palestine/israel, and somehow the whole class got involved apart from a select few.

Some colourful language got used, and i couldnt help laughing, or trying to imagine how and if the insults they were using were possible...;) It carried on for almost half an hour, with myself wondering if i should try to break up the verbal insults. But i was too busy giggling. Unfortunatly, one of the lebanese guys (in his 30's) saw me giggling, and decided to rant at language like that being used in front of girls, and consequently he walked me out of the room.
In the end, tattoo iraqi guy interfered too, and the politicial 'debate' died down. (but you could still feel the angry atmosphere in the room).
On re entering the room, i had to bite my lower lip so hard, to stop the inevitable bout of giggles that bubbled in my throat. I think i succeeded, apart from a few moments when i couldnt help giggling at everyone's faces.Though i covered them up with coughs.

What my point in telling you this story? Well, it got me thinking of the political situation in the middle eastern countries, and it unfortunatley reminded me of this quote:

"Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country."
Ambrose Bierce

Merry Christmas and Happy Ashura.
I'm still trying to figure out who has better voices- the sufis, or the latmiya during ashura. Hmmm.
oh yeah, and someone called to tell me my phone is (finally) ready, but i forgot which of my friends i gave it to.....hmmmmmm.


JG said...

Happy Christmas and Ashura, Touta. Although I'm told 'Happy Ashura' isn't really appropriate! ;)

Good on you for taking a gap year. There's absolutely no reason to rush, in my opinion. You'll be in college for a few years and then probably working for most of the rest of your life. So why not have a relaxing year now?!

...oh, and Happy New Year too!

programmer craig said...

Gap year? I took 6 gap years! I didn't start college until I was 25! I felt so OLD lol. I didn't get my first decent job until I was almost 30. You know, I didn't end up at all behind though. In fact, I was younger than most of my peers for my first 10 years or so on the job. So, don't worry about it. What seems like a big deal when you are young turns out to not be a very big deal at all in the long run :)

Dr.Violet said...

OMG, It's really a gap year ! oh dear ...
I have the same feeling ...
Happy New Year XxX

Touta said...

happy ashura isnt really appropriate, mainly because its a nation lamenting its betrayal, but i find it is also a celebration of our nationality in a way...
Happy new year! :)

Programmer craig,
most important thing is to enjoy each day, and thats always going to be my aim. :)
unfortunately, not all people get that idea ;)
happy new year! :)

dr violet,
hehehehe, see i know iraqis opinions :P
yalla never mind :))
Happy new year! xxx

AnonymousSperm said...

happy new blue moon..
So what exactly the colorful language did they use?

Touta said...

thanks, happy not blue moon.. ;)

well the language included feet, everyone's mother, sister and father etc and at one point they got quite creative too...

Ihsiin said...

The Iraqi attitude is generally that youngsters should study, get qualifications, get a nice job, a nice marriage and procreate, and there's no room for much else. When Iraqis (parents in particular, but this applies to various members of one's extended family) are confronted with some new idea, the general question is "why should you?" as opposed to "why shouldn't you?".
It's depressing, I know, but all we can do is fly in the face of society and chase our dreams, no matter how long it takes.

attawie said...

A new post! I feel I just came out of my cave!

Hi touta, glad to hear (or read) from you :P

I have mixed feeling about the gap issue but I'm with wasting a year figuring out what do you want to study and do rather than spending 4 or 6 years studying something you were "supposed to study". A lot of my friends and relative studied: engineering, pharmacy, dentistry .. just because they got hight marks or out of "prestige" (or due to what i call bureaucracy of education) and they end up taking jobs or even master degrees in something that's 180 degrees away from their field of study. Just because later they found what they really want to do in their lives.

But if someone knows where to go and which road to take, I'm with taking 21 hours per semester or doing whatever it takes to graduate earlier.

All the best with whatever suits you and inshalla everything will be great. oh and the lectures you're hearing, will fade away soon :)

Touta said...


i dont think i've heard it ever summed up so well before, to tell you the truth, thats what i always thought, but i never had the bravery to admit that "there's no room for much else", it is depressing, but i suppose we have to make sure we enjoy our lives, rather than live it according to standards.
happy new year :)


hehehe 'wasting a year'? i hope not everyone sees it that way :P
but you're right, and thanks for the advice :)
problem is i like too many things...:)
and you're right, a lot of things revolve around prestige and 'kashkha', which is unfortunate, but thats realism.
happy new year

Iraqi Mojo said...

"the language included feet, everyone's mother, sister and father etc"


What were they arguing about, exactly? Aren't all Arabs united about Palestine? Must be Egypt's closure of the gates to Gaza. Why would Jordanians be allied with Egypt on this?