When I thought it would be so much, and it turned out to be so little is quite the slap back into reality, which to be honest, I have needed for a long time now.
The problem is the parents. And the way in which they talk. The repetitiveness affects you; even if you try to deny it, the dark hidden truth is that it does.
And so the schism remains jarring open. Hidden by polite words, and our educated minds. But when it really comes down to it, we are so very biased. It slips out during conversations I’ve noticed, and can you see the slow, but sure way in which it’s dividing Iraq a thousand fold?
Surely the divide between religions and classes and everything else exists in every nation, in every people. So why does it seem so much more pronounced in our nation? I was under the impression there would be no divide here. There would be no gaping wound. But i was wrong. At times, it seems the old prejudices are more alive on the outside, than it is on the inside. And I had to ask myself why.
In order to reach the right answer, you have to ask the right questions, or so I’ve heard. And I’ve always been one to ask the absolute worst worded questions. I occasionally doubt my social skills in that sense, but oh well; it’s all part of my (often unsettling) charm. :D
Anyway, living in such a varied, and rich society should mean that you become more understanding, that you feel the spices of a thousand traditions flowing through your veins. Not that it would somehow result in an almost bitter and biased soul, hidden by a westernized exterior, and fashion labels.
If inside Iraq there are the biased, and those wishing to cause a schism, they do it from bitter and brutal experiences. Whereas here, in Lenden, (that we all dream of seeing and experiencing), there is nothing but khibeeta (mixed mess) and kheer (riches) - a population so mixed, that they’ve all but given up trying to trace back their roots.
So where does this us and them come from? The occasional open minded person appears who claim they have no bias. I smile happily, hoping my hope is not misplaced. But it seems it usually is. For within the same week of being introduced to them, they would often let slip ‘look at them, what they have become’ or some similar phrase, which reminds me the gap between our nations is a seeping, infected wound.
It has to be the parents. Over time, their exile might have perpetuated bitter thoughts, which have not been wiped out over the suffering and deaths that has already been wreaked in Iraq. Instead, this has remained, fixated in the hearts and souls of many. Even across generations who have never seen, or will never remember Iraq. Is that fair? To transmit prejudices across generations? Rather than sending traditions?
What frustrates me even more, is the preconceived ideas of Iraqi culture and tradition- that it is the very reason why we are not progressing. That our culture and tradition is the root of the problem. And so I look onto the young generation who all but spit on our civilization, because it is what is seen as ‘backward’, they blindly dismiss it, in favour of the western ‘empowerment’.
Again, it must be the upbringing (any other theories?). There is unfortunately no happy medium. The Iraqi parents have either enforced an iron fist on their children to remain ‘Iraqi’, through religion and extreme prejudices, or the parents have enthusiastically let their children become ‘modern’ through losing their heritage, and denouncing Iraqi traditions.
For those who have endured the religious upbringing, become too biased towards the other sect. And they have the audacity to hide it, and hide it well, but when amongst their own, it comes out in all of its blazing glory.
And those who have endured the modern upbringing have little respect for cultural rituals, not understanding that our culture is not just about ‘disrespecting’ women, men wearing white dresses and smoking shisha.
I cannot vouch for all our traditions and say it is all good and great, for that is a lie. But it is also a lie, that our culture is what is holding us back. Because isn’t. It is, however, our mentality that is leaving us stranded in a country that is neither improving nor changing.
I, too have become stranded. It seems stubbornness is one sure thing that every Iraqi will never lose, no matter where or how they were brought up.