Friday, February 29, 2008

Car Parks: A Convention for the Blind and Impatient?

Lets see....water?...check. Good mix of CD's?....check. Latest best seller book?...check. Oodles of infinite patience?...may need to stop at the store and get another supply in...Ive been running on reserves lately.

You might think Im going on a road trip or something but actually it was a destination a little closer to home...the local cinema. Parking has become a nightmare in Bahrain....finding a parking spot anywhere near your intended destination is like finding the Fountain of Youth....a fabled spot but worth looking for for the rewards promised. As I set out with high hopes and feverent prayers sent off to the Saint of Please Let Me Find a Parking friend and I made our way to a place that, at best, is only a 20 minute drive from my house....but throw in parking time and you got the length of the movie right there...darn.

I will be the first to acknowledge that I am not the best of drivers...I imagine I have turned a few hairs instantly white with some of my spur of the moment lane changes or for breaking in the middle of nowhere...but I try to keep such insane driving to a minimum...I can proudly say that I have only ever been in one accident...and it was not my fault....yes, I know, your sitting there reading this and saying..."thats what they all say"...well, be that as it my case its true...but let just leave it at name names would be so uncouth...(you know who you are...dont deny it)...nuff said. I say this because my 20 minute journey for an innocent night of entertainment has never been without heartstopping...underpants soiling..turning the air blue cursing..and generally white knuckle driving...there is no such thing as an "uneventful drive' in Bahrain.

Anyhow, the issue here is parking. Ive always wondered if the majority of folk in Bahrain have been given general road information...such as, those white lines in parking lots are generally there to line up everyone in nice little rows to maximize the number of cars able to park...and to make getting in and out easy peasy. What I find in most carparks is a free for all that resembles a Convention for the Blind and Impatient...We generally find a few basic kind of carparkers.

There is :

Mr. My Car is Expensive so I need two or three spots to keep a buffer zone established....sheesh...I can probably hit your car if I tried real hard...its not like you have a force field around

Mrs. I Know its a Sedan....but I prefer to think of it as a Sherman Tank...makes parking so much easier....dont have to worry about fiddly side mirrors and rearview headaches....sigh

lets not forget....Mr Squeeze My Car...into a spot meant for a Mini Cooper...but Im sure I can manage a Hummer given the right amount of backing and forthing...holding up 40 cars and causing the occupants to have to squeeze out of their cars cause the doors wont open adequately...this is where rubber edges on doors come in handy.....put that on your shopping list.

then there are the general parkers...those that apparently believe that if their car or jeep can fit into the spot...then its good enough for them matter that the tail end is probably sticking out cutting off two way traffic...or that shrubbery or garbage cans may have fallen victim to this reckless disregard for innocent bystanders.

I might also point out one more parker....Mr(and its usually a man)I Can Park My Car Right in Front of the Damn Doorway Just Because I am Me...he must be right since I rarely see a parking ticket on his window....Ive always wondered if I dared try, if my little red jeep would pass the "I Have a Right to Park Here"....code...Im thinking not! I think the right to park there comes with a secret handsignal to the security on duty...or maybe a knowing nod of the head...I know its something, I just havent caught onto it yet.

Something I truly find interesting is the fact that people would rather drive around in circles for an hour looking for that elusive 'near the door" parking spot then park several aisles over and walk...u know walking..when one leg moves opposite of the other to propel u in a forward motion....I know its a dying sport but lets hope it doesnt go the way of the Dodo ...that was a sad loss for all. These same people will drive in circles for an hour...spend a small fortune in the shops...but seem scandalized if you suggest parking in a parking garage and paying for it...yeah I can see where 500 fils on parking might just be the straw on the camel that breaks the back...or is that the bank....hmmm.

Just to make parking easier for all are few rules that should be posted and strict adherence should be maintained by the local MP's who apparently have oodles(my word of the day) of time to spend coming up with yet more inane proposals...I say let them earn their Bd2000 plus a month with a little car parking work....who knows...they might even get a tip for a job well done....supplement their meager income.

Rules For Parking in Bahrain

1. White lines are for guidance...ur car goes between them...not on top of them. Any car that crosses over the white line will have white lines painted on his or her car as a reminder for future parking.

2. If your car has dents and scratches all around the lower edge and must pay for and apply a large rubber band type object so that others in the carpark are not subject to your blind ambitious parking skills.

3. If you are a lone must pay a fee for taking up a valuable parking spot in which two or more persons might either bring the wife/husband and kids...or keep your lonely butt at home.

4. If you even think of tapping your horn with impatience...or worse yet...laying heavy hands on it thinking this will in some way encourage those in front of you to part ways and let your superior ass through...then be prepred to solve the riddle of whether a horn tastes as good as it sounds...yummy...when someone that doesnt quite agree with your personal opinion comes along and shows his or her which case...being stuck in a parking lot might be the least of your worries.

5. Any failure to comply with those rules will result in Mrs Sherman Tank being directed to park right next to you once you do find a parking spot. Good luck with that btw.

My youngest son has solved the lack of parking problem with one easy rule....if you want to to find a park at the mall or in the diplomat area...arrive at 6 in the morning...take the bus or taxi back home and then come again least your car is all ready there waiting for you....and you can avoid all parking worries...sounds like a plan son.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Protesters...thy name is hypocrite!

Yesterday in the GDN yet one more reason to scream my frustration at the Muslim thought process...or lack there of.

HUNDREDS of people took to the streets yesterday in protest against the reprinting of blasphemous cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in the Danish media.

Once again the "evil" Danes have blasphemied our religion and must be sent to hell through the dedicated works of the "hundreds' that seemingly had nothing better to do that afternoon. Now dont get me wrong...its not the fact that they protested that has me heated up...people who feel a wrong has been done should protest to get the point across that some actions will not be tolerated..... so no, Im not mad cause they protested....Im totally pissed off because these protesters...and I use that term to cover any and all protesters that raise a banner...scream Allhu Akhbar....or in anyway show disapproval for some "anti-Islamic' action taken by a non-Muslim anywhere in the world...are so damn selective about what they protest.

1. A non-Muslim draws a cartoon of our Prophet Mohammed....protest and destroy property...hurt people if at all possible....completely forgetting that our prophet...who they are supposedly defending, had more patience and endured more harmful actions taken against him then some silly drawings...and forgave his enemies when all was said and done.

2. A non-Muslim destroys or in anyway disrespects the Quran....protest and destroy property....hurt people if at all possible...and issue a fatwa condemning that person to death....completely forgetting that the Quran itself is just a book...the words of which mean absolutely nothing if its followers dont follow the message contained there in...the message of peace...duh!

3. A non-Muslim makes some kind of film, documentary or commercial even that depicts Islam in less than a favourable light...protest and destroy property....hurt people it at all possible...issue a fatwa condemning that person to death...and then sit silently by while a lone Muslim murders that individual.....muttering that he "isnt really a Muslim".

4. A non-Muslim country bans hijab or some such thing....protest and destroy property...hurt people if at all possible and demand freedom to practice your religion as you choose....all the while forbidding Muslim women...heck even Muslim men...from practicing their religion the way they choose in so called Islamic protesting by these Muslims allowed.

5. A non-Muslim country detains Muslims and tortures them...protest and riot...destroy property if possible...and declare that country evil doers that are not following Human Rights Laws etc...and yet sit quietly by while your own "Islamic" country detains your Muslim brother or sister, torures them and sometimes they are never seen again....hmmmm?

Ok ok...not all protests lead to violence...but a fair share of them do...but here's the thing...we are Muslims are we not? Shouldnt we hold ourselves to a higher standard then" kafirs and mushikroons"...shouldnt we rise above it and show them through peaceful demonstrations and protests that we disapprove of their actions and uphold the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion....shouldnt we?

It was organised by the Islamic Scholars Council and spearheaded by organising committee head Sayed Mohammed.
"The citizens of Bahrain expressed their anger and disapproval of the westerner's uncivilised behaviour towards the continuous insult of Prophet Mohammed," he said.

The "uncivilized" remark just made me laugh...what exactly do you call it when "defenders of Islam"....riot and burn...destroy property...and sometimes even kill over some perceived blasphemy? Islam is a peaceful religion dammit...and we'll kill you if you say otherwise...what a laugh...and those laughing the hardest are non-Muslims no doubt...they see Islam as a joke...and I would have to guess some Muslims do too if their actions are anything to judge them by.

"We are also expressing our disapproval to the careless Islamic governments, who allow such atrocities and do not defend their prophet."

So let me see if I get this right....drawing a cartoon of our prophet by a non-Muslim is considered an "atrocity'...destroying the Quran...a book of pen and ink is an "atrocity"....but honor killings, beheadings, suicide bombers and stoning assumed adulterers to death etc are not? Why are there no protests and riots over those actions above....cartoons of the prophet need severe action and reprisals are forthcoming...but murder keeps us all quiet and in our seats watching the Friday afternoon movie?

"We are shocked to see that these Islamic countries are ignoring these continuous oppressions and that is why today we are calling upon all Islamic countries to stand up and defend their religion."

I think what he meant to say was...."we as Muslims should be shocked at the oppression that these Islamic countries are submitting their own Muslim populations too and we are calling for all Muslims to stand up and defend their religion against these oppressors"....yeah, that sound better?

In the end they did both, pledging to do all they could to fight those who mock Islam.

You got to be kidding me right? Like I said....Protesters...thy name is hypocrite!

Might I remind these protesters of an ayat in the Quran taught to us by our prophet...both of which they defend so staunchily....

"Oh you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah and be just witnesses and let not the enmity of others make you avoid justice. Be just, that is nearer to piety, and fear Allah. Verily Allah is well aquanited with what you do. 5:8

I would rather befriend a "kafir" that destroys my Quran or draws a cartoon of my prophet then a Muslim that raises his or her hand or voice in violence against the one that did those two deeds....deeds of which have no bearing on my belief nor harm it or change it in anyway. All I have to say to end this with is....what would our prophet think of all this "holy righteous defense of Islam" crap...he would probably utter something similar to what Jesus cried out to God at a particularly wretched moment in his life...."Oh Muslims....why have thou forsaken me?"

Monday, February 18, 2008

How come he's like that now?

By chance I met a young 24 year old Bahraini girl last nite. She has been engaged for a short 3 months...and is seriously considering calling it all off such is her disgust at this "new" man she has known for 5 years... who suddenly has found his "religion" again...but only to enforce it on her. She had the same list of complaints that so many Bahraini girls/women complain of about Bahraini would think someone would start to see a pattern here...hmmmm?

A short but by no means comprehensive lists of "How Come He's Like That Now?"

From Boyfriend to Fiance'

1. Will chat you up on the phone...ask about your day...whisper sweet words AND listen as well.
2. Will take you out...have fun in a variety of spots...and will smile as you party on.
3. Will introduce you to his friends...include you in the chat...and listen while you talk about that person later on in a casual fashion.
4. Will be pleased that you like to dress to impress him...or just please yourself...will even give some advise about some of your clothes...or maybe buy you some too.
5. Will buy you exotic perfumes and flashy jewelery...and be happy when you wear them out and about.
6. Will ask you if you had fun with your friends on your "ladies night out"..will laugh at your stories of misadventure.
7. Will talk about the future and how the both of you will discuss all decisions before they are made.
8. Will sit politely by while you finish up a quick phonecall or email.
9. Will sit politely with your family and make pleasant conversation.
10. Will let you choose the movie at the cinema.

From Fiance's to Husbands

1. Will not call you all day...or demand to know why you did not call him or answer his call.
2. Will now conclude that all former places of entertainment are haram.
3. Will pretend you are not with him when any of his friends approach...and will be instantly suspicious if you mention that friend at any point in future conversations.
4. Will find all your former fashionable clothing revealing and scandalous...will insist you throw out most of what he "liked" before. Will suggest the both of you go shopping for an abaya and hijab.
5. Will insist its haram to draw attention to yourself by wearing perfume and jewelery...will get irritated if he can smell you outside.
6. Will follow you on your ladies night out and will interrogate you back home.
7. Will inform you of a life altering decision he made for the "both" of you at some point down the line...will not discuss why he did not tell you about it first.
8. Will snatch your phone to see the caller ID...will read your emails over your shoulder and demand to know who each number or email addy belongs to. Will be irritated if you have a password that you do not wish to share with him.
9. Will refuse to visit you family deems them worthless or beneath him and his family.
10. Will not take you to the cinema..its only for slutty girls that dont care about their reputations.

So here is the big question my young Bahraini men who do the old Jekyl and Hyde routine 9 times out of 10 when they go from relationship to marriage...WTF!!!

This is by no means a rare case of one unhappy girl...I have rarely talked to a Bahraini girl here in Bahrain that did not have the same stories of "why is he like that now?" They talk about how sweet you were and how happy you two were together...all the fun you had and that the future looked bright. She constantly told her friends..."he's not like those close minded Bahraini guys that change over way...he is going to be just like this even after we marry."

So let me ask you this my dear brothers....

1. Why suddenly are all the places you took her before now off limits? Have those places changed in some way?
2. Why was her style of dress pleasing to you before and now haram and scandalous? Have you suddenly become a prude over night?
3. Why are the times she spends with her friends occasions for suspicion and questioning? Dont you want her to have fun without you Im sure you do without her too.
5. Why is it now haram to allow her to speak to your friends? Which of them do you no longer trust...her or your friends?
6. Why is her family suddenly not worth your time...they are still the same family...still her family.
7. Why is it suddenly forbidden for her to smell good outside...who wants to smell of sweat all day.
8. Why suddenly so suspicious of who she talks with....or who she corresponds trusted her before...right?
9. Why not include her in the decision making thought she was intelligent and capable before...has her mental capacity dropped in some way by being married to you?
10. Why was the cinema so much fun back in the day and now its only for slutty girls...did you marry a slutty girl then? which case why get offended if she talks to your friends or complete knew what you were marrying before your married her....

unfortunately...she didnt.....sigh.

Now guys....heres an interesting theory...what if once you were married...

1. Your wife thought your jeans were just a little to snug in the lunch box area and forbid you to wear them outside...hey...nobody else should be able to oogle her property.
2. What if she threw away your expensive colognes cause she dont want no slutty girl sniffing after you.
3. What if she slammed your mom and sisters saying they act all better than her...and forbid you to go visit them on grounds that...she is the only woman you need in your life.
4. What if she searched your mobile and email addies...and deleted all the suspicious ones...or called unfamiliar numbers just to see who answered...sounds like fun to me....sort of like Russian Roulette.
5. What if she forbid you to smile at her girlfriends or to acknowledge them in any way...she knows what a sly fox you can be...
6. What if she made life altering decisions and you happen to find out about them....never!
7. What if she just went to the cinema with her friends...and left you home watching the kids....paybacks a bitch aint it?
8. What if she followed you all over the damn place acting all jealous and bitchy...making your friends laugh and tease you...or shake their heads in sympathy?
9. What if she demanded you wear a thobe and guthra all the time...your an arab dammit dress like one.
10. What if she thought she got tired of you and went out and secretly married a second one pain in the ass aint enough for us women.

I know I know..your sitting there shouting...she cant do that to me...Im the man! Ask yourself this my friend...are you really the Man? Would a man work so hard to make his wife so miserable. Would he spend large amounts of time being suspicious and jealous of her when he could spend it laughing and just feeling good in each others company? Why does marriage to a Bahraini boy got to be so damn tough on a girl these days....who the hell wants to be married to a guy that is going to do his level best to get you to cry at least once every day...who the hell needs that....and yet by stygmatizing Bahraini girls that marry non are forcing them to fish in only one pond...and when they pull out a carp...they cant just throw it back in and start fishing again.....

While this in no way indicates that all Bahraini men are like this...those that arent seem to be the exception an not the norm. The only thing that I cant figure out is...Bahraini girls are well aware of the Jeykl and Hyde syndrome that is prevalent among the male why do they still have deep seated convictions that their guy....just isnt like that? Chances are girl...he is. I just hope you find out before the ring is on your finger...if you thought marriage was bad...just try and get a divorce...thats a whole other story girl.

disclaimer....this article was written after one of many conversations I had with longtime suffering women(Bahraini and non Bahraini) married to Bahraini men. I currently do not know of one woman that is happy in her marriage....Im not talking about the everyday things that upset us in marriage....Im talking about...she wishes she never married the guy....thats pretty guys need to step up and actually Be The Man...if you are happily married to a Bahraini man and refuse to accept any of the above mentioned items as true...all I can say is ....good for you...congratulations...and does your husband have a

btw...I do not blame any of the above actions on religion...any religion...the blame lies squarely on society that accepts such Jeykl and Hyde flip flops among its male citizens without a murmur.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Million Little Pieces

When I first came to Bahrain 20 plus years ago I do believe the GDN was still fairly new then. It was basic and not really deep on whatever items it dealt with. Just one week in Bahrain and the conclusions I came to just reading the GDN were that crime didnt happen here....not even a little bit of crime. The worst thing that I read about were speeders....well, that is a crime actually so pardon me...and btw nothing has changed crime I mean when one or more persons harm another in some mugging, beating, assaulting, or even raping or killing. I just didnt read anything like that....and to tell the truth it was quite sometime before I did ever see such a thing in the GDN.

So here I was feeling like I had stepped onto a little island in the gulf that reeked of harmony and goodwill...everyone got along to the extent that the goods from shops were left outside on the sidewalk over night. I couldnt help thinking those shop owners were crazy...if this were New York all that stuff would be driven away 5 minutes after lights out....or even stolen while the lights were still on. How many times did I see cars left outside stores with the keys still in them...the owner not wanting to turn it off and let all the cool air from the ac seep away...and nobody seemed interested in taking a little joy ride. (I must admit the temptation hit me a few times when said car was a Merc or BMW....we dont have those parked in front of every other house where I grew up). To tell you that I was amazed by the serene atmosphere...the casual eye on goods left unattended.....the lack of violence as daily fodder in the was unreal...I could not believe that things were as rosy as it seemed to be. Im sure Bahrainis eventually got tired of me asking the same amazed question..,."doesnt crime happen here?"

20 plus years later I have come to the conclustion that...yes, crime happens in Bahrain....and it probably always did...but the papers just didnt print it when it did most likely....and things have gotten a whole lot worse. Now the paper if full of violence...and its all right here in Bahrain...its like reading about a whole other country...a country you cant believe you have witnessed undergo this metamorphisis in such a short time. From serene and "lock up your stuff and dont walk alone at night"...kind of atmostphere. Having said that I just want to focus on one type of crime that seems to be on the rise in Bahrain....or most likely it was always here...just didnt get talked about....domestic abuse rarely does.

Women and children are the most likely victims of domestic abuse but it does happen to men as well....(now thats really not talked about)....but its a crime that doesnt seem to get the attention it deserves here. I am constantly amazed when a woman walks into a room with obvious bruises on her face, arms whatever...and there is just a brief pause in the conversation...and then chatter starts up again. Nothing is goes on.

I want to ask these women who see their "sister" in obvious you pause and ask yourself..."if I were her would I accept my husband beating me? Would I allow myself to be abused like an animal and not say anything...not do anything...just take it? Im sure your thinking..."whats wrong with her...why doesnt she get out...why doesnt she DOOOO something to change her situation?" For every woman out there that has never had a hand raised to her in anger...let me tell you something...its not as easy as it seems...walking away....speaking out...defending the victim of both parental abuse and spousal abuse I will let you take a peek into the mind of an abuse victim......all I can say is...buckle your seatbelt.

Let us first distinguish the three forms of abuse...physical, mental, and verbal. As a victim of all three I can tell you hands down which one is the most damaging...the most lasting...the one that cant be forgotten so easily with time...without exception its mental abuse. You get inside a persons mind you have the key to their can control them the same way you can control a car or a tv with a remote control. Now there are different ways to control someone but the most obvious way is through fear...fear of future beatings...fear of exposure...fear of being an outcast...fear of losing something dear...fear for all comes down to fear. Fear is a powerful takes affect and can last beyond anything you can imagine...its like a seed that gets planted in your brain that sprouts and stretches out with questing fingers to seek out the little crevises in your mind...looking for your weaknesses...looking for your soul. Once it takes root...fear is there to gets makes itself at aint going nowhere...unless something cataclysmic happens to uproot it...but thats for later...

My first introduction to domestic violence was at a very young mother married a man that would later be the boogey man that creeped behind me in my worst nightmares...he reeked of hate the way week old dead fish reeked of rot. His eyes were the eyes of emotion lingered there...flat and lifeless....they would absolutely freeze my blood whenever I had the misfortune of being his center of attention...which was often. His beatings were daily occurrences...without warning...striking like lightening on a quiet blue filled sky...we lived in sleep was the sleep of the wanderer that finds herself lost in the jungle and spends that first night alone with the sounds of the wild all around while darkness crept in to claim the night....his violence was without reason...without purpose...except to terrorize us...and he was good at his job. Hardly a week went by without one or the other of us being beaten for some assumed infraction...he was a man possessed about cleanliness....our house had 3 young children in it but you wouldnt know that by looking...not a toy out of place..not a crumb on the table or floor...not a wet towel in the bathroom or laundry in the basket. I lost count of the times he dragged us from our beds at 2 am to scrub the bathroom as he felt it was disgusting...we were little kids but we were on our knees with brushes and chapped hands when we should have been safe in our beds dreaming the dreams of the innocent.

My father isolated us in all friends over...we couldnt go play with them. We sat forlornly on our steps watching other children play...the only time we could join them is when he was away for whatever reason and our mother would send us to play with cautions to keep an eye out for Him so we could scurry back to the safety of the yard. We went to school and came clubs to dances or parties to dating when we were older. Just home and nowhere else.

I remember through all of this that I would go to school with bruises on my face...clearly in pain of some sort...and my teachers would give me a worrisome look...maybe a hug...but they wouldnt ask me if I had fallen down...wrestled with my sisters...nothing. I found it odd even at a young age that nobody seemed curious about my constant occasional black eye...but they remained silent..and so did I. You just didnt talk about what goes on in peoples homes.

If I had to describe my childhood in just a few words I would say that it was 16 years of my life "walking on the tips of my toes"....of "holding my breath until I felt my heart would burst" so my father wouldnt hear me...hear my heart thoughts turning...of "hearing the devil who looked like my father constantly whispering in my head of my failures as a daughter...a female...a human being"...of all the beatings my father inflicted on my young body...despite the countless pain he made me suffer...the pain of those words still linger in my mind long after the bruises have faded and were forgotten. My father is long dead...but he hisses and whispers of abuse constantly snake their way through my mind...I have to fight to keep them locked up tight behind doors in my mind...its a constant daily struggle.

So my father laid the foundation for my future life...he set the scene for anyone who might come along and take advantage of a young girl with no self ability to speak feelings of self worth or the right to be treated fairly. Later when I realized a year into my marriage that I had in fact married my father(psychologist tell us that its a trait of abuse victims to marry men like their fathers...its what we know...what we expect)...I realized as well that I must have been walking around with a sign on my back that said..."abused as a with me what you will"....and he did. 20 years of abuse by a controlling...jealous...hypocritical...suspicious "man" who couldnt allow me to enjoy one moment of my life without having some genetically born desire to wipe the smile from my wreak havoc on my life for no other reason then that he could. But I couldnt speak out...I couldnt say no...I couldnt defend myself...because my father had done a good job of erasing all ability to see myself as someone that deserved better than this. It was my life...I didnt know anything different...I stayed silent but I cried when I was alone...I cried alot.

The one thing that set me apart from some of the Bahraini women here who might be abuse that they usually have family around them that they can turn to(quite often we will find that our families help to perpetuate the abuse by ignoring the signs...ignoring our pleas for help) but most times, whether they advise you or least they are there to comfort you...lend a shoulder...tell you trust in God...things will get better(even if neither of you believe that)....but I had no one. His family never accepted me and so turned a blind eye to his abuse. I had no one to talk one to cry one to tell me to trust in God and have patience. Hindsight tells me that advising someone to "have patience" in the face of abuse is another kind of abuse in and of are essentially telling someone to "stick your chin out the next time he wants to hit you"...otherwise, what sense does that phrase have...have patience? Patience until he breaks a bone..patience until he sends you to the hospital...patience until he sends you to your grave? Just how much patience should a wife have when dealing with an abusive husband...and why is it that she is always the one who should do something to "fix" the situation. He beats you because of something you did have to work harder to make him happy...if you screw up an make him mad then you only have yourself to blame...right?

So...there I was...38 years old...a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the very men who should have cared the most about I told you before...abuse quite often runs its unending course until one of two things happens...the victim is killed...or the victim reaches her breaking which case one of two things can happen...the abuser gets killed...or the victim finds her voice.

I must point out something here, dear readers, the laws in this country concerning divorce etc really suck if you are a woman. If your a woman and you've tried to get a fair divorce in this country then you know what Im talking about. As a wife I NEEDED his permission to get a many abusive husbands out there do you think are willing to give up their nightly entertainment of physical or emotional abuse without a fight? Not many I assure you. So....right there with one quick uncaring stroke of a pen...judges in Bahrain courts are denying abused wives the rights to escape the clutches of their tormentors...are sending them back into the lions den...without even a shield(some form of protective order) for protection. If the husband says he wants to keep her as a wife...she has no say so in her own pathetic life. At this moment of writing I happen know personally 5 women(non Bahrainis) that are married to Bahrainis....each of them are victims of domestic violence...some have police and hospital records to back this up...and yet numerous trips to the courts have not given them what they want more than anything else...their freedom from fear. Also...fear of losing your children to this abuser is very real and keeps most women in a marriage despite the level of abuse she has to endure...fear of a judge handing her "babies' over the very one that deserves them least is enough to shut her mouth and edure another beating. Would it surprise you to know that if a man can raise a fist to his wife...most likely he can do the same to his children...and yet the law here says they should go to him...unless the parents work something abusive husband never wants to "work things out"...he wants her...if he cant have her...she cant have the kids...simple right? Right....sigh.

I wonder at the judge who gazes superiorly down at this woman before him...this female that cringes at his gaze...that constantly looks at the floor and speaks in a whisper no doubt...does she look like a happy wife who is just there to waste the courts you think she is upset cause her husband maybe didnt buy her some gadget she wanted...or maybe he shouted at her once and her feelings are hurt you imagine dear judge that she is there cause she wants to throw away years of marriage...destroy her family life "just because"? Do you believe that all women are just possessions that are owned...and have no right to be free of that ownership? And will deny her a will reprimand her for not having will order her to remember she is a Muslim and therefore should have faith in God...and not destroy her marriage...divorce is the most hated of all things halal where does abuse fit into all this...dear judge...are the ties of marriage more important to you then the destruction of a soul? Cant you see the pleading in her eyes...the shaking of her hands...the quivering of her lips...cant you see the haughtiness in his eyes...the clenching of his fists...the fire in his talk....? Does none of this move you dear not justice a word in your vocabulary...does not the words from God in the Quran to do justice even if its against your ownself not impress upon your heart when denying these victims the right to shake free from a life of fear and pain? Who do you serve, dear judge, in your capacity as or God?

At any moment arrived one night when I least expected it to...surprises do usually do that dont they...he had pushed and pushed...beaten with hands and words for so long...had stomped on my soul for so only took that one last thing...and then all hell broke loose...and it very nearly killed him.

One year later and my children and I are enjoying our lives without a "monster in our midst"...we are breathing easier...moving more freely....smiling and laughing at the oddest of moments. We are looking around us and discovering life is not all pain and fear...its hopeful and delightful. Meanwhile...he is alone...without his children...without his respect from those around him...but he chose that path...and eventually...finally...I chose mine.

So, dear readers, if your sister, mother, daughter is a victim of domestic abuse...dont advise her to "be patient"...dont advise her to "fix" herself so that she doesnt make him angry....dont advise her that divorce is the most hated of all things allowed and a divorced women is a shameful position to be endured...better an abused wife then a divorced women...right?....sigh.

Ask yourself dear reader....what does it feel like to spend a life in which a million little pieces of you are broken off with each new shouted word of abuse...each new strike of a clenched fist...each new turned back from an uncaring family or judge. Just how many pieces is a human made up many pieces of yourself can you lose before your lost often can you gather yourself up again...collecting all those pieces in an attempt to hold yourself together for one more more hour? How many?

Unless we stand up and speak out against it....millions of women around the world will be beaten yet again...sent to the hospital again...sent to their graves...just once..while an uncaring community looks on and shakes their head...then closes the newspaper and goes shopping at Seef for the second time that week. Ive had enough....have you?

btw...for those curious as to what my "breaking point" the top of this blog there is a link to another blog...the first has the answer to this question....go there and see what darkness lies in the hearts of men...husbands...fathers. Think twice before advising an abused wife of "having patience" never know what may be going on in her home....try and imagine yourself in her shoes for a moment...and have the courage and strength to tell her..."get out now...while you still can...I will help you". You just might be saving a could end up being his life that you save...even if he doesnt deserve it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Beyond Hysterical

I make it a habit to not jump to conclusions about a person before I have met them....and I generally can make up my mind within a relatively short amount of time in their presence whether this is a person I want to continue knowing or not. Most people are at their best behavoir when you first if their "best" behavoir comes off as racist....ignorant....rude....or just plain unintelligent...then I graciously give my salams and go on my way...without doing the usual make plans for future meet ups etc. My friends find this irritating...but I figure life is too short to spend it in the company of people you really just dont like or cant tolerate....better for them and definitely better for me.

However, people in the spot lite....people in govt jobs etc are there for the whole world to see...and judge...based pretty much on the comments they make in an "official capacity"....I figure they cant say much of anything without some ok from the "higher ups"...whoever they may be...otherwise they make what is commonly referred to as occupational or political suicide...this is when you will see your once former comrads and fellow backslappers jump ship and pretend they never really liked you anyways. Your on your own baby.

Now the MP's of Bahrain are generally a laugh a minute...the shit they come up with is just to hilarious for words sometimes...I can just picture all the wives of these MP's(poor them) sitting at home trying not to cringe everytime a friend calls up and says...."your husband really came up with that idea"...giggles galore. I guess you could excuse them just a bit for their ignorance as they are still fairly new at the whole 'serve the people" process and so we can give them just enough rope to catch them when they fall...or should I say hang themselves

When your a Minister of some office or another...I cant imagine you attained that spot because you are stupid or empty headed...there must be something taking up the space between your ears....right?...hmmm Im starting to wonder.

Todays GDN has the article about ...

A NATIONWIDE crackdown on homosexuals could be launched in Bahrain, including tougher immigration checks to stop foreign gays entering the country. It would include a study to determine how widespread homosexuality is in Bahrain.

Ok...sounds somewhat paranoid but what they hey...its not my country...I dont make the rules or laws(God help us though against the ones that do)...however this particular comment by committee secretary Jalal Fairooz MP's of the Menbar bloc tickled my funny bone in referring to catching the gays at the airport....

However, he said many homosexuals were slipping through the net because the ministry was having problems determining if they were gay or not.

What immediately came to mind was a group of potential gays being lined up against the wall at the airport....and a naked guy paraded around in front of them....whoever "reacted" was automatically deported....hysterical....Im chuckling just thinking about it....its a cheap and effective alternative to anything Im sure Mr Jalal can come up with...which would proabably involve lots of money and maybe even some body cavity probing....hee hee.

However...lets not leave out the Ministry of Education who are mentioned in this article as well....the comment seems to be irrelevant to the actual subject of gays coming into the country for illicit activities...but its printed in the paper so I am free to comment on it....

He said the study was being carried out despite the fact that the Education Ministry claims there are no homosexuals in schools.

By Education Ministry I assume he means Dr. Majid Al Nuaimi the current Minister? Now, I find that fact that Dr Nuaimi at some point in the past made the claim that there are no homosexuals in schools was referring to the govt schools of course....I would seriously like to know how our esteemed Dr came to that conclusion...did he personally ask all members of the student bodies of all govt schools....several thousand I believe? Did he assume that just because most of these students are considered Muslims so would naturally never engage in the homosexual lifestyle ...or did he assume that homosexuality is not an issue that Bahrainis themselves have a problem with...either with the young or the older group? In other words...there are no gay Bahrainis period...sounds like Ive heard that statement before somewhere...does Iran ring a bell to anyone?

Now heres my problem with that.... other than the obvious generalization....its just a rediculous statement to make by a man in his official position...just makes him look stupid. If this were America and he made that type of statement...boy would he be leaving work with his head beneath his coat to avoid all the paparazzi camera flashes...more giggles.

Lets do the math shall we....several thousand students divided into girls only and boys only schools.....times the number of times one of these said students hits puberty and realizes the capacity to be attracted to and "fall in love" extends beyond regular family know that feeling you get when you realize you are capable of loving(liking) someone not directly related to you....its heady and powerful feeling and usually knocks you off your socks....but here's the kicker...once you come to this realization you take a look around you and what do you see....lots of other girls just like you...or other what are the chances that the first person you "fall in love with" is another girl or another boy? Does that make you a homosexual...who knows...hitting puberty and discovering you have a sexual identity are not always easy times for teens(dont we all know it)....who are still figuring themselves out as individuals...much less as one of a possible pair....but we cannot claim they are gay just because they are attracted to the same sex...they really have no choice in the matter....if your only choice of potential mates(and our inate nature to procreate means we are always on the lookout for potential partners) are members of the same gender...then we really cant blame them for engaging in homosexual behavoir when given the chance....neither can we claim that it does not exist...that is just beyond hysterical.

Many teens will experiment with gay and straight behavoir....until they figure themselves out...just because you are Arab/Muslims doesnt mean it cant happen to you...or your youth. It happens...ask any staff member of any govt school(of which my best friend is a guidance councellor at the infamous Estakalal Girls School in Muharraq...boy does she have some stories to tell)...engaging in gay behavoir at some point does not mean you are gay...unless you realize that you in fact just means your want to know...experiment....find your identity in the great scheme of it halal or haram behavoir? I will let others decide that....does it happen...yes it does...of course it does....hands down it for the good Dr to make such a rediculous statement such as that...just makes him look like a homophobe...which I gather most Muslims are....very sad for you....some of the nicest people I know are gay.

ive nevr understood this desire to know what people are doing in the privacy of their bedrooms...yes of course adultery is forbidden and against the law...but unless you actually catch them at it red handed so to speak...what can you do? Same goes for homosexual behavoir...forbidden...against the law...but you cant prevent it from can only prosecute if you catch them red handed...thats the Sharia Law anyhow...4 eye witnesses to the deed and to just assume people are engaging in this type of behavoir is not good deport undesirables because they are if being gay is a contagious disease and needs to be quarantined before eveyones affected by it...this is just disgusting....and inhumane. As far as I know gay people generally just have sex with other gay if your dont have much to worry about. They wont hit on you...they wont infect you with their cooties...they wont TURN you for heavens sake!!! I know thats what your really afraid of oh esteemed MP's and isnt catching....sooner you realize that the sooner you might just let people be....if these homosexuals are coming to Bahrain to engage in illicit activity....I dare say that means there is a market for it here...and we all know that market includes Bahrainis themselves....just a thought.

Enough is enough....!

I had a run in with my youngest son's school today...he attends a govt school here in have all my children before him. He was injured while playing and ended up with a large goose egg on his forehead...I was called at work and a very angry lady demanded I come pick up my son...and then he was given the phone and all I could hear was a tear filled voice unable to get the words first I thought he couldnt speak because he was hurt and choked up...later I discovered he was terrified of his principle...who was on a rampage about how he hurt himself.

Here is my problem...first of all he is a boy of 9. Boys will be boys and children will be children...they will play...sometimes roughly and end up getting hurt. Show me one child in the world that does not end up with a goose egg on his or her head at least once in childhood....some seem to live with a perpetual swollen bump somewhere on their body. Its the way of life...we learn that to engage in some kind of action(usually an action we know we shouldnt be doing) ends up in us getting hurt to some degree...we understand that as adults...children sometimes need a few lessons...and they need to learn the hard way(I might add that some adults need a few hard lessons as well...sigh)

Generally when one of my children get hurt I will quickly check to make sure nothing too serious has happened...if it has I get them to the doctor and have it all taken care of. I bring them home...give them some TLC...put them to bed if they need it...prop them up in front of the tv if they dont. In other words, I baby them until the fright and shock wears off..once that phase has passed...I then come down like a hammer to show my displeasure at that action...and then hand down some grounding as well if its called for. Usually the injury itself is enough of a punishment. I have always held to the belief that to shout and carry on at the stupidity of my child in putting him or herself in danger or in just not thinking before the action was carried out is counter productive...and most likely wont be remembered later once all the blood and shock wears off.

So here I arrive at school, Im nervous wondering just how bad he is to be greeted with angry accusations about the stupidity of my son for playing alone without supervision( he is in what point would he be unsupervised) unnerving...and frankly pissed me off. He was sitting on the bed with a bleeding forehead...tears in his eyes...and obvious fear as well...and yet all these women who run this school seemed unable to give him some degree of comfort...lay a hand on his shoulder...some soft words to make the pain and fright seem less until mommy arrives. Nothing...just shouting and what distinctly sounded like serious "covering my ass from future accusations I wasnt doing my job" going on. The principle herself was the worst offender...she shouted that he was playing in a forbidden area...she even showed me where it didnt seem to be a forbidden area as it was a walkway between two classrooms...and he told me later that everyone plays there in full view of the teachers etc....she told me he was climbing a tree and fell down...she showed me the tree....I dare say if my son could climb that tree he has the agility and power of a monkey as it wasnt really what you would consider a climable tree...he later told me he never touched the tree and there was a teacher that saw how he was hurt so could vouch for him. She also carried on about how he was told many times in the past not to behave in such a manner but ignored everyone and continued doing as he pleased. Ok, I will admit my son is not perfect...I do have to repeat myself to him on more than once occassion...but if he was such a disruptive student...always causing apparent mayhem at school...why hadnt I heard anything about it. His report cards always show good letters home.

Anyhow, I took him home and doctored him up and stewed with resentment for awhile. ...

I have had run ins with these govt schools in the past...5 kids have attended them for 14 years now...this is not the first time I felt that these ladies(almost always ladies I deal with) have no maternal not a fig for the children that are in their care for 7 hours a day...9 months of the year. I entrust my children to these people...I allow my most precious possessions to be in the care of strangers...hoping that they will treat my children the same way they treat their own...with and concern, but time and again I see that the opposite holds true...even knowing my children for years...seeing them day in and day out...watching them grow and mature seems to affect them not at all...these women are cold and in some ways abusive...and I have had enough.

A short list of offenses my children have endured(the ones I know of) at the hands of govt school teachers and staff;

1. actual physical abuse....a smack on one occasion..a twisting of the arm on another.
2. shouting for a myriad of reasons...sometimes my kids deserve to be reprimanded but shouting is not the way...not to mention the language they use and the names they call my children...what sort of example is that to children that are taught they are supposed to treat each other and especially staff with respect and civility?
3. several instances my children have been accused of cheating and have had tests snatched and tossed and given a zero...despite protests and denials from my children...not to mention they all have maintained A averages their whole why would they need to cheat? And yet no phone call to me telling me my child was caught cheating.

Besides this the teachers and staff themselves seem very unconcerned with the actual education of the children....of course there are always exceptions and thank God for them...but generally my experience has been that the teaching standard is substandard...the teachers uncaring...the staff just doing a job to get a salary. I have always assumed people go into the education field because they have real concern about children learning...a desire to teach the next generation and thus enhance the future of that community etc....then again I might be wrong.

Some things I find substandard about Bahrain govt least the ones in Hidd.

1. the classes are bare...they look like prison decoration...usually not even curtains on the windows. To inspire creativity you need to catch the imagination...the students are expected to sit in these bare classes all day and summon the energy to pay attention and do well(thankfully my children have done that despite that)
2. Hardly a day goes by that one or more of my children will complain that the ac's are not working...and this goes on for a week or more...then its fixed and then breaks down again a week later. Basically they spend the hottest parts of the day in sheer misery. And yet every year I see that the Ministry of Education allocates a fairly large budget to maintain the schools....apparently that doesnt extend to new or improved ac's.
3. Sport is not least not in the girls schools. I have lost count of the number of times my daughters have answered the question..."what did you do in sports class today?" with the reply..."nothing, we had to sit on the floor the whole class because the sport teacher did not come." I always wondered if this fabled sport teacher actually got paid for a job she rarely seemed to do?
4.Libraries....I assume the schools have them...I assume that since most schools do have them....but, once again I have yet to hear my children tell me that the class was taken to the library for a reading session...or to check out books...or to do research on a project...or to just acquaint themselves with the libraries workings. My one son is convinced his school does not have a library as he has never seen it...he has been in that school for 2 years now. Reading is not reports are never asked for...nobody seems to care whether these children are even reading at all much less for entertainment. I remember the Minister of Education some years back states that more money would be spent in encouraging reading among govt school students...not sure how that money was spent but he didnt need to spend any money in my opinion...he just needed to hire some staff that gave a damn about the education of children. A society that does not read by choice is worse off then one that cannot read in my opinion.
5. Learning is not taught in my opinion...only memorizing facts to regurgitate later for a test or paper....learning something means its stays with you for the rest of your life....memorizing something usually means its gone from your head once the need for it is gone...once the test is over. Why the need for the teachers at all if all that is required of the student is to play back what they memorized for the test? they could memorize at home and just come in for the test in that case.

These are just some of the drawbacks I see with the state of govt schools least the onces in Hidd. I wish I could send my children to privates school....I wish I could surround them with people who cared about their futures...even if they are non Bahrainis...because I sincerely believe the average Bahraini doesnt really care what the future holds for their they are allowing these substandard teachers and school staff to care for their children day after day and year after year. You might say "we dont have a choice...thats the govts doing"...the govt works for you doesnt it....silence means acceptance...if you accept your children being taught...or not this fashion...then good for you...keep quiet and dont complain later when your child cant graduate or get a good job cause they are suffering from basic education. Even those that due graduate from highschool find college a whole other world...a world where people have to read in order to achieve good results...where they need to know not only where the library is but how to utilize it...a world where memorizing just doesnt cut daughter just started college this year...and has had to learn the hard fact...she has had to relearn how to educate herself in order to figure out college life and the standards she must maintain...even though she has been an A student all her life.

At any rate....I told them I will be making a formal complaint to the Ministry of Education...and through the GDN....this got their attention as several years ago I wrote a letter of complaint only to the GDN about the schools in Hidd and it was shown to the Minister of Education who apparently came down hard on the staff of that school...cause quite a little storm over they know Im serious....I just wish more parents were serious and concerned enough to complain in order to affect some change.

Silence means acceptance....right?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Immorality of a Red Rose

For centuries the rose has been a symbol of beauty and love...especially the red rose. In every love story out there it seems at some point a red rose...or a whole room full...will be given as a declaration of devoted love....and they turn the hardest heart to mush....unless of course you hail from Saudi which case your heart...if you have apparently incased in stone.

On the front page of the GDN today there is short little blurb about the Saudi authorities banning the red rose on the lead up to Valentines Day....apparently they dont want to encourage the spread of...OMG!! on that most evil of all do you come to the conclusion that giving someone a rose is an immoral act or could lead to immorality...why give the beautiful red rose such a bad rap? If we were to ban eveything that "could" lead to immorality...well hell....we would all end up in caves living in total darkness...cause when the lights on you can see all sorts of immoral this case...electricity is evil and should be banned from Saudi from this very moment....lets bow our heads(oops sorry...lets do sujud) and pray that Saudi will see the path to immorality is being encouraged by the wanton spread of electricity through out the must be stopped now since Saudi is home to the Two Holy Mosques and has an Islamic image to uphold(lots of giggles from me on that one)...are you with me...lets all pray to save Saudi.

I remember a few years back a fatwa was released from Saudi clerics that forbid giving flowers to sick patients in the was a western idea and had nothin to do with Islam or Muslims...geez...hoping someone will forget their health troubles for a moment and enjoy looking at some beautiful flowers is such a haram thing to do...Im surprised they even let flowers grow in Saudi...anybody could just....pick them for Gods sake and take them home to their sick mother....whats the world coming to when you deem it a good deed to present flowers(oh those evil little buggers) to a hear and dear one....I think more prayers are in order....away with flowers i say...they lead to all sorts of "good feelings"...and Muslims are forbidden to feel good...

if your feeling good...your probably doing something sicko!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Failure to Communicate

While sitting at my table in Seef Mall last nite I spent time watching other people sitting at tables around me. Somethings I couldnt help but notice:

1. on every table regardless of who sat there or the average age...sat a some cases several mobiles...each mobile laid on the table directly in front of whomever it belonged to and each owner would glance at the mobile several times a minute. I was wondering if everyone having dinner at Seef Mall was expecting an important call...and didnt want to miss it....hmmmm?

2. at just about every table in which a Bahraini couple sat...whether or not they had children...the two were not speaking to each other...most of them didnt even look at each other. They looked extremely bored and only got animated when one or more kids came screaming up to the table. I have to most of the tables that had non bahraini couples...very animated discussions were going on...lots of talk and hand gestures...lots of eye contact and smiles.

I found it very sad actually that so little communication was going on...these were husbands and wives that apparently only found joy as mommy's and daddy's talk unless kids were around. Its hard to understand since most Bahraini homes I have been in are always alive with chatter and communication to the point of I usually cant hear what point in a marriage do husbands and wives stop talking...when do they decide theres nothing left to talk about that doesnt involve the kids?

It seems like the technology age might have something to do with it...we are tuned into the net...out phones...the tv...we cant even be in the car without the radio turned on...which means we dont have time left over to tune into each other. Divorce is on the rise in Bahrain...more and more families are calling it quits...some of them not even lasting more than 3 years.

Isnt it about time we put down the mobiles...turn off the computers and tv...lower the volume on the radio...before our failure to communicate destroys the family unit all together?

btw..this applies to all nationalities..not just Bahrainis

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Night at the Cinema

Went to the cinema with friends last nite....we watched Cloverfield. I knew nothing about this show except the picture on the wall...which showed lots of destruction of, where else, New York City(how come nothing ever happens in the midwest america other than the occasional UFO sighting or crop circles). For anyone that hasnt seen it...some friends are enjoying a party when suddenly the earth shakes similar to an earthquake...from that point its pretty much "the end of the world"...or at least New York City(I wonder if this is supposed to have happened before or after Will Smiths infection leveled the city...hmm). Anyhow, the different aspect of the movie is that its filmed from the perspective of a hand held camera one of the friends was using to film the party with....similar to the Blair Witch Project. Interesting thing is that the movie starts least 20 minutes of just watching the party goers do their thing,(some emotional drama with two lovers and all that baggage) nothing too exciting(all though hindsight tells you that we are all caught up in the small stuff that comes with human interaction and then when "the world comes to an end' we realize quick that none of that 'drama" means a damn thing)...the audience sat through this with mild complaints of "when is the movie starting all ready?"...but once the shit starts and we all realize that the hand held camera view is there to least a dozen movie goers got up and left(all men I might add).

Now the premise of the movie is out there....some gigantic monster apparently from the sea, decides it has a beef with New York and to settle the beef New York City must be destroyed. Now if you can leave that far out premise to the side...I found the movie itself very emotional and insightful. The camera angle gives you the impression that you are right there in the mix...experiencing the terror with them...if you can get past the shaky view....the sometimes inability to actually see whats going on...the chaotic nature of the whole set up...then what comes out of it is the very real sensation of what it must have been like for the victims of the 9/11 tragedy which I actually heard people whispering through out the movie. To be at ground zero in complete terror and not understanding what was happening...watching buildings coming down that shouldnt be...watching people die right in front of you....and the whole time running for your lives....very dramatic and emotionally charged.

I was glued to the chair....but for some reason others in the audience were laughing and being very noisy...commenting how ridiculous it all was and what a waste of money etc. Considering some of the "hits" that people thought was money well spent...I dont understand why they were so go to the cinema you take your dont like it...leave and let those that stay to without distractions. Other than the disturbance they were creating I was irritated that they weren't paying attention to the big picture within this monster from the sea didnt take much psychology to figure it out....

The movie starts out with petty arguments and a lovers tiff...someone who wanted to declare his feelings but couldnt swallow his pride long enough to go through with it. How many times have we felt like we should say something but just couldnt bring ourselves to swallow our pride and do it or say it? Then later we discover its too late...shit happens...the world continues and the moment has past us by... we shouldnt let the moment pass us by...never know whats going to happen in the middle of a send off party...lovers from the sea...its all the same...a lost opportunity to express our true feelings to the one we love.

We are here only temporarily...only a blip on the history radar...once chance is all we get to live the life we've been given...why does it take something like a large unrecognizable creature from the sea to make us realize life is short....we dont have time to stand on our pride and ego and be the 'right' one...when it comes to love...everyones right...everyones wrong...and the moment can pass if we dont decide to bite the bullet and take the first step....

So what would you do if a large sea creature came ashore on the beaches of Bahrain and started knocking buildings down and destroying life as we know it....what or who would be the one thing going through your mind...the one you wanted to get to above all else...the one you wanted to see before life was past....the one that called to you when all others grew silent and faded into the background? So rather than wait for that mythical creature...take the chance to express yourself...whats the worse that can happen...get eaten by the monster(happened in the or shot down with unrequited love...lifes a chance...a play it or you watch it be played...choice is up to you....more on that later.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Since When Does Progress Equal Regression?

In todays GDN there is an article from an expert at the UN, Rola Dashti, in which its stated that Arabs are slipping backwards in major areas...even while they continue to progress in other areas.

"THE sick are getting sicker, the literate are becoming illiterate and the middle class is getting poorer, as much of the Arab world slips backwards, says a UN expert."
Massive progress in improving health and education and combating poverty and gender discrimination is being undone, says UN Development Programme advisory panel member Rola Dashti.

I find this truly alarming as its generally believed that countries continue to advance once they "become enlightened" about certain necessitiies regarding what a country and its citizens need to progress. The illiteracy comment is truly illiterate nation are just sheep without any input either politically or, in most cases, economically...other than as menial labour.....which, of course, can then be traced to unemployment....and the circle continues.

What I dont understand is how can you start going backward once you have gained that forward momentum? Something truly cataclysmic must occur to stop the wheels of progress from we must ask ourselves, what has occurred in the Arab world that might be the cause of regression in literacy rates, equality, employment....I mean, the skylines of Arab countries are continually being changed by the addition of new skyscrapers over night almost....private schools are popping up all over the landscape...more women are joining the work force then ever what the hell is causing this regression....and more importanly, why are the Arabs letting it happen? Maybe "letting" is to g eneric a word....why are they not doing more to stop it from happening?

I can only surmise that those skyscapers are being filled with nonarabs who have all the cushy jobs...thus "taking" money and jobs away from the Arabs...which would indicate that the private schools are full of the children of those nonarabs...and maybe not so many Arabs....these children are being forced to learn in govt schools that seriously need to update the education system if they want their children to be able to compete in the scholastic arena...right now its a shame what passes for govt school learning in many Arab countries. Are Arab children growing up with a less than adequate education...are they "learning" all the wrong stuff that wont give them the tools they need to advance themselves and their nations....are they even aware that they are missing out on what should be theirs by right...the best education the govt can afford...and Im pretty damn sure most of these govts could afford a hell of a lot more towards education then currently offered. They are only cheating themselves and their children...and the future of their countries by holding back on the one thing that separates a prosperous people and country from a "regressed" or "backward" one.

I might also point out that the surge in influence of the extreme type Muslims into the landscape may have something to do with it...if they had their way all forms of entertainment...all forms of mixing of sexes...all forms of enjoyment would cease to exist in the Arab/Muslim world...everything becomes haram or forbidden....or even bida/innovated....which leaves a once vibrant and advancing country....listless and unable to garner the energy it takes to give a damn about what happens tomorrow. They are unhappy and feeling powerless with their govts...their economy...their future for their children...and now even the few sources of entertainment open to them are deemed why fight it....just sit tv and let someone else worry about it....while all the progress you once made...slips slowly away...

I hope this report from the UN was rather inflated and things are not as bad as those statistics would imply...the Arabs have enough work to do without having to redo work that was hard enough the first time around.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

You just never know whose reading...

I received an email from a gentleman in Germany no response to my letters in the GDN this past year. He works 2 months out of the year in Al Fateh Mosque and so will be arriving in Bahrain in 2 weeks and would like to have a meeting with me. I sometimes forget that the GDN is online and so can reach the eyes of many many more than just those that reside in Bahrain. I look forward to meeting this man and his wife...its always nice to bring new potential friends into your circle of aquaintences...lets hope its the start of an interesting friendship.

On another note, a second letter in the GDN by one SJM determined I was a "moaning expat" with a "blinkered" view of Bahrain and that maybe I should try and accept other cultures and not complain about them etc...all I can say is, while other cultures can be interesting and life altering...some can be down right oppressing and binding...I am not critisizing Bahrains way of life, arabs are arabs and can be nothing else...I just want to make it plain that I am not an therefore are not bound by the same restrictions that Muslim female arabs seemed to be confined too...if that makes me a "moany expat" then its not my eyes that are blinkered.