Thursday, May 29, 2008

When Daddy's Home

The girl waited anxiously as she listened for the sound of foosteps from down the hall. Every night while Daddy prepared for work the girl sent silent prayers to God in hopes that this night Daddy would get out the door without finding a reason to delay himself. She tried to stop herself from glancing furitively at the clock every few seconds...if Daddy thought there was something up...there would be heck! to catch. She was such a paranoid she couldnt even bring herself to say "Hell" in her head...for sure Daddy could read her mind with just a glance in her direction...she believed that with all her might. So heck it was...until she was away from Daddy and free to think what she wanted.

As the hour of his departure neared the girl scurried around trying to avoid his wrath by making sure everything was prepared exactly as he liked it...his dinner was hot and laid properly on the table...his lunch was packed neatly in his lunch box...his work boots were cleaned and waiting for his feet to step neatly into them as a last act before heading out the door. The girl quickly scanned the room making sure everything was as it should be...darn! she forgot to put the Bible next to the lunchbox...Lord help her if she ever forgot that particular item. She grabbed it from the top shelf and placed it neatly next to the box...she tried not to look disdainfully down at its scarred black surface...much of her misery was brought upon her by the words written on those pages...Daddy often read them to her just so she would understand why she was being punished. She was almost sure her God and Daddy's god were two different beings...but thats not something she was likely to bring up in conversation with anyone...least of all Daddy.

Suddenly she heard his footsteps coming down the hall...the thump thump of his stockinged feet matched the thumping of her heart beat for beat. She quickly busied herself arranging some pillows on the couch. Daddy did not believe in idle hands...there was always something that needed cleaning...Lord help her if Daddy found that something before she did.

If anyone were to tell her that Daddy really couldnt read her mind...she would just look at them sceptically with a sad shaking of her head and go right on believing that he could. What else would explain what happened that time he had beat her so badly she thought her arm might be he walked away swinging the belt and breathing heavily she angrily thought of how unjust her punishment had been and in the deepest darkest corner of her mind she had wished him dead(just for a second) sooner had the horrible thought skittered through her mind...did Daddy suddenly stop...turn around...and stare at her intently for at least a century or so. She was positive the blood rushing through her veins had turned ice cold...if she had cut herself and felt the blood...for sure it would have been chilled like iced tea. While he stared at her with almost no expression on his face and absolutely no emotion in his eyes ...seemingly trying to probe the corners of her mind ...seeking out that errant thought and bringing it up to the surface like a gas bubble in a pond...she concentrated on keeping her heart going...apparently it was intent on just calling it quits and giving up all pretense on doing what the hearts of 12 year olds are supposed to do...beat strong and steady for at least another 70 years. After an eternity...he turned around and went back to his room. After that she never allowed herself to think anything at all about him if he were in the room...better to be safe than sorry.

Most times she didnt dare think of him even when he was far away at work and she was free to do as she pleased without his piercing dead eyes focused intently on her. She sometimes felt his eyes could most likely see her in the dark...the way some animals could see in the dark. She had read in a book once that some animals could see just as well in the dark as in the light...some even better. She remembered waking suddenly many nights for no apparent reason...but feeling that something wasnt right...she would hold her breath and stare intently into the dark corners of her room...but could never see anything...that didnt mean there wasnt something...or someone...staring back at her. She often dived under the covers just to get that creepy feeling to go away. Quite a few times she had woken up in the night...but for a very good reason...Daddy would be standing by her bed just staring down at her. She always hoped for a fleeting second that she was still asleep...this was all bad dream...but it was never a dream. Deams are for people who have hope for something...what did she have hope for...her 13th bday was about as much as she could look forward too. 13 was the magic number. A teenager...practically a grown longer a little longer able to kid herself that her situation was normal...ordinary...that Daddy's 'special" love was exactly the same kind of love other little girls got from their Daddy's. Time she grew up and stopped telling herself lies just to make it all easier to bear.

She had made herself a promise on her 12th bday...alone in her room with just a cupcake and a single candle to mark the event...before blowing out the small pitiful flame...she vowed with every fiber of her being that she would run away on her 13th bday...if things hadnt changed. Promises were meant to be thing she knew and believed in...promises were meant to be kept...especially those you made to yourself. If your couldnt keep a promise to yourself...something nobody else even knew about ...then how could you expect to keep promises made to other people? It was the evening of her 13th bday...the whole day had passed by with her heart nearly in her throat. She tried to keep her mind absolutely blank lest Daddy catch on to her traitorous thoughts...she wasnt taking any chances...she couldnt back down now. She just knew in her heart that if she didnt leave this night...her 13th bday as she had promised herself...she might not make it to her 14th bday....and a promise was a promise.(to be continued)

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Secret Lives of Children

Im standing nervously outside the door...twitching at my fancy jelobya...running my fingers nervously through my perfectly fluffed hair. I dare not touch my painted lips and smear the glossy red color...thats definitely something I dont want to do. I can hear voices on the other side of the door and footsteps coming closer...I take a deep breath and whisper a prayer to God..."let this be the last time, please God, I promise I'll be good"...and then the door is flung open...and my real job begins...again.

She takes me by the hand while I earnestly search for even a glimmer of love or kindness in her face. She has a smile on her lips but they never reach her hard empty own tremulous smile falters...and then fades away...I know in my heart that God did not hear my prayer...this wont be the last time. I take another deep breath and resign myself to what lies ahead...I clear my mind and empty it of all other matters...there is no life outside this hotel room. School doesnt exist right now...friends are forgotten...the future doesnt stretch past the next few hours...I try to blank my mind completely...but its impossible...if I could escape by losing my mind into the deepest darkest hole I could find...I would gladly throw myself into the black...without even a whimper of protest escaping my painted lips on the way down....I would go into the black with a peaceful quiet smile....I would....

Angrily(but only I know she is angry as all the while she has that fake smile on her lips) she grasps my arm harder...digging her nails into my skin...and pulls me toward my latest "John". Add him to the long list that extends back to my earliest memories....memories of grasping hands and wet probing tongues...whispers filled with desire(even if I didnt know what "desire" meant I knew what it felt like). My memories are not filled with the sweet childhood dreams of playing with my girlfriends with dolls...or going to the beach with my memories are the stuff porn magazines would be proud of...if I knew what a porn magazine was.

As she leads me to the bed I get the first look at my next eyes widen briefly as I recognize him from the tv. Everyone knows who he is and so many giggling infatuated girls would no doubt be jealous of me and wish they were in my place instead...I wouldnt wish anyone to be in my place...not even stupid empty headed gigglying girls that worshipped men such as this and called them Pop Stars. If only they knew what this Pops Stars secret desires were...maybe they wouldnt be so willing to buy his music and lust over his pictures...maybe?

While I stand before him not saying a word...the woman presents me as a gift...she exclaims over my innocence(all though we both know that innocence was paid for long ago)...she sells me the same way people sell cars...animals...their souls. Hoping for a good price...but accepting whats offered in the end. When they finally agree on a price she quickly removes my clothes and tells me to lay on the bed....and the night begins....and seemingly never ends. Im like a doll or a robot...she tells me to open my legs and I do it without protest(there is no use in protesting...her heart is hard...her ears are long since blocked to my begging for mercy). For the rest of the night she is like the director of a two person play...ordering movement...changing positions ...occassionally recording it all on my mobile phone. All the while Im desperately searching for that deep dark hole...if only I could find it.

Finally the night is done...the man is spent...the money paid and we silently don our hijabs and abayas and return to our house without speaking a word to each other. She talks to herself though about the money made and the plans she has for buy me me things....I dont want things...I dont want land...I dont want that stinking soul burning money...if only she knew what I really wanted from her(I scream these thoughts in my head and pray she hears them...she never looks my way).

We arrive home and I rush to my bedroom and quickly undress and throw myself into the shower....I make the water as hot as I can stand it...burning my skin red....washing the feel of sex away...if only I could open my head and wash my brain as well. I stay in the shower until the water runs cold...then reluctantly step out and stand before the mirror. I look at this body from the neck down(I cant look at that girl in the mirror in the eye...she is so disgusting and not worth even a glance)...the body is fat on bruises or scars. The body any 16 year old would envy...all the damage is on the inside...if only people could see it...they wouldnt accept me even to walk beside them in the street...sit beside them in the classroom. If they knew the people I had been with...people who had paid to use my body...Pop Stars and Princes...Bollywood Stars and Princesses....I had been with more famous or well known people then most A List parties...and all those clients walked through the crowds with their heads held high..never once thinking of the night spent with me....but I never forget...I wish I could as easily as they seemed to do. I sometimes wonder how people dont see the real me...the slutty disgusting whore that I am...I sometimes feel like there is a sign on my forehead proclaiming my status to the world...sometimes I feel like I should write it there myself.

Once Im in bed I try to forget the day...I have a test tomorrow...I didnt have time to study...but I think I'll do ok. My bedroom door opens and she comes and sits on my bed. Not saying anything for awhile. I silently plead with her to give me a reason...a reason for the punishment she has been giving me ever since I can remember...I wish I knew what I had done wrong...I would fix myself and make it all right again. Eventually she sighs and gets up to leave...before she closes the door I call out to her...."goodnight Mom".....she pauses but then closes the door...she doesnt reply.


Since I heard the story yesterday from a friend of mine about a girl same as the one above...a 16 year old Bahraini girl that was sold by her mother to many many famous and well known personalities here in Bahrain and around the gulf...selling her young body(since she was very small) to anyone that would pay the high price...I couldnt get her off my mind. I dreamt of her last night...she has not left my thoughts...I want to cry for her the way her mother never did. This story is absolutely true as my friend saw many of the videos generated during these encounters...she was shocked and disgusted at all the familiar faces here in Bahrain she seen doing dispicable things to this girl...all with her own mother choreographing each encounter. Then these animals go and present themselves to the public as moral human beings...and nobody suspecting what black hearts they really have. She wishes she could spread the videos and let everyone know the truth...but the Bahrain prosecution has them now...and most likely they will never see the light of I said...many of those faces are too well known for this scandal to get out.

I cry for this girl...and for my own two daughters...and for every child that is used and abused to fullfill the disgusting sexual fantasies of the adults they are meant to trust...and I cry for her that her own mother is the one that held her hand and led her to these monsters. May God bless her and ease her pain and keep her from finding that black hole while she heals...and may God keep the hottest part of hell for animals such as these...and turn a deaf ear to their pleading for the animals that turn a deaf ear to the cries of little children...again and again and again. Ameen

Friday, May 23, 2008

Arent they both Muslim though?

A friend of mine has just had a "scandal" hit her family. This scandal has caused much anger...tears....and division between members of the same family. What is this scandal that has got everyone up in arms ready to abandon someone they are supposed to love? Well, simple really, one of the female members of the family has fallen in love...bad I is such a horrible emotion...makes us do some unusual things...things we might never think twice about doing during our more rational moments. Actually, this young lady falling in love is not what has everyone so heated up and ready to riot....she is a from a Sunni family....the one her heart has been captured by is from a Shiite family...a modern day Romeo and Juliet...but with an Arab twist.

Anyone that knows anything about Sunnis and Shiites will appreciate the ramifications this revelation has caused to both families concerned...a death in the family couldnt have affected them more I dont believe. Long story short...Sunni girl and Shiite boy have loved each other for 5 years...secretly. Both were terrified to tell family members knowing exactly what the reaction would be...but love is what it is...and rarely do we abandon it just because it isnt with the "right" person. Eventually tho...fear gave way to a determination to either get married with everyones blessing...or get married and go it alone...which is basically what it boiled down to. His family are refusing to talk to him...many of her family have abandoned her. All of this hate and anger for what...cause he is Shiite and she is Sunni...arent they both Muslim tho?

I have lived here for over 20 years and I have heard Sunnis and Shiites refer to each other as if beings from opposing planets...hateful and angry words spit out between clenched teeth....wishes of death and destruction to each sect a constant lament. How dare these two young lovers try and change what apparently is encoded in the genes of Sunni and Shiites alike...equal hate towards the other and definitely no mingling. Arent they both Muslim tho?

I am constantly amazed at this life long animosity felt between these two sects of much anger and resentment and claims that the other is not living Islam the proper way...far as I can see...the moment each became a "sect" each was not living Islam properly. Islam was meant to unite unite the community into a common understanding and belief. To make Muslims feel safe among each other at least if not among non Muslims. God gave us the Quran as a source of guidance to bring us together and live peacefully with each other...justice always in our thoughts and actions...and yet most Muslims spend all their lives tearing Muslims apart....but they do it with culture. It is culturally not acceptable for Sunnis to marry Shiites and vice versa...God does not forbid Muslims from marrying each other...hell if we can marry Ahal al Kitab(people of the Book) then we can damn sure marry fellow Muslims...and yet Muslims themselves have made "laws" that forbid Muslims from marrying Muslims...the ego of man knows no limits. Arent they both Muslims tho?

Now the ironic twist to this whole fucked up that the one man who the girls family assumed would go ballistic and do something apparently violent to her(or maybe the boy) turned out to be the most level headed and genuine Muslim of the whole lot....both families included. When her mother approached him(as her husband is dead so the uncle is the guardian) with this "devastating" news...shaking with assurity that this tragic news would cause fire to explode from his eyes and some sort of mini Jihad of death to automatically take over his thinking skills...he said something quite astounding to everyone who heard it. He quietly commented that if his neice loved this boy...who was he to deny her her choice of a husband? The proverbial pin dropping couldnt have echoed louder among family members near and far. His assumption being that, while he would prefer she marry a Sunni...he has no right to forbid her from marrying this human right...and no Islamic right. Arent they both Muslim then?

I am in awe of this Muslim man that, while professing his identity as a Muslim with his tongue...also professed it with his actions. Something few Muslims are prepared or willing to do. I find this equally inspiring because he lives in a country in which culture is king and true Islamic practice is quite often just a theory.

The end result being that he blessed this marriage while many of her family did not...nor did the boys family. I can only pray that many many more such marriages take place whether the girls family or the boys accept it...because in the end nobody should choose who you marry....or prevent you from marrying who you want....and one way to get "enemies" to reconcile and to marry among each other...just ask our Prophet...he made alliances with other warring tribes by marrying into them. People often ask why the prophet was allowed more wives then other Muslim men...its because most of his marriages were political...his one desire was to bring the tribes unite them...united tribes become united Muslims eventually. Maybe instead of spending all thier lives trying to tear Muslims apart...Sunnis and Shiites can try bringing Muslims together. A strong ummah will never be realized as long as Muslims are intent to divide themselves with petty hatred and culturally held beliefs that do nothing but bring us down and hold us back...while all God wanted was to raise us up.

I wish these two newly weds much success in life and may they have a happy and long love filled marriage that many Sunni/Sunni or Shiite/Shiite marriages do not...may God bless their marriage...even if their fellow Muslims do not.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Cotter is dead.

John Cotter was a guy that worked in my office. We passed each other in the hall many times...I never spoke a word to him or him to me. We were virtual strangers...all though the odd smile did pass between us now and then. We worked on the same project but for different purposes...and so had nothing to do with each other...thus there was no real need to communicate...beyond the odd smile.

He went on vacation recently and drowned 2 days before he should have come back. Now there is a picture of John Cotter on the bulletin board of our office showing a young smiling man oozing with health and vitality. Hard to believe he is no longer among us....and it makes you take a moment and think about life...and how fleeting it is.

I never spoke to John Cotter....I never knew his last name was Cotter. I felt that because we didnt have work directly related to the other there was no need to "get to know" each other. Not to mention...Im not that good with striking up conversations for no reason with "strangers". Im sad now because I didnt take that step and get to know him at least a little. He was a living breathing human being sharing the same building with me...sharing the same hall way with me...sharing the same ultimate goal with me...get this project we had lots in common and yet we were strangers.

I feel sad for the loss of John Cotter...but I feel like I dont really have the right to be sad. I didnt know him...he didnt know me...why am I sad? I was thinking about it last night and it came to me that we let an awful lot of opportunities pass us by just because it seems like too much trouble or "work" to take that step...take a chance...take a moment and decide that trying something new or different for you might be kind of interesting for a change. I should have said hello to him now and then...this would have opened the door for more conversation no doubt...conversation which leads to getting to know someone so that he's more than just another employee doing the daily grind with you. I want to be sad for John Cotter and remember the times when he did this...or said that...but I dont have any memories like Im sad...for what?

I guess what it boils down to is that one day I will have my final moment on day I might be just a photo on the bulletin board for all to give a moments look at then move on with the day to day act of living...after does go on for the rest of us. I want to be more then just a photo on the wall for others to wonder about me...what was I like...did they ever talk to me or if they didnt...did they wish they had? I want my time spent here...the office...and more importantly here...on mean something to those that I come into contact with. I realize that not everyone whose path you cross during your life will mean something to you...or to them...but when we see the same people everyday...pass the hall with them everyday...spend a good amount of our life(working from 7:30 to 4:30 5 or 6 days a week) with them...even indirectly...what a shame it is when we dont take the time to get to know those we see and spend so much of our lives with. How could me knowing John Cotter better have affected my life....I dont know...I wish I had taken the opportunity to find out.

John Cotter is gone now...I send his family my sincere condolences and pray they make it through this obviously devasting time...and I wish I had gotten to know their I dont even know if he was a brother or husband) a little better. If his death has taught me one thing its this... we should take the chance to get to know someone before its too late...who knows what friendships/relationships we are missing out on.

Well....I guess "not knowing" John Cotter affected my life more than I thought.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What does it take to get that all important "stamp of approval" around here?

My Bahraini friend and I have been running an events business for over a year now...alot of this business is seeking sponsors...or approval...for your idea or event. Every etc needs sponsors...a patron...and lots of extras signing up and taking part. So alot of our job is phone calls...emails...and personal visits to potential sponsors and patrons. In this business you expect to have quite a few no's before you get some yes's...its all part of the game...but after being in the game for over a is what I have learned about the business of Events Management...and finding sponsors and patrons.

1. Bahrainis(as those are who we deal with mostly on a day to day basis) are very reluctant to put their ok on something that someone else hasnt okayed first. One of the first questions we will invaribly get is...."who else has agreed to sign up?"

2. Bahrainis will more likely do business with you and give their ok if your someone well known...if your new to the game or someone they dont know...they pretty much wont give you the time of day. If your unknown but come in with someones name as a recommendation(wasta) they will perk up and listen to you....even if they dont accept your proposal in the end...without wasta in most cant even get an appointment with them.

3. Bahrainis will most likely listen up if I...the business with them rather then my friend...a fellow Bahraini. We both know this so many times when its to our benefit I will be the one that steps forward and deals with the issue...even though she speaks the Arabic and her family are well known. This doesnt mean they will accept the idea in the end....but the chances are better. Im not sure why this would seem the Bahrainis would be more interested in helping each other out then helping foreigners...I mean the constant lament I hear everywhere is that foreigners get all the breaks and Bahrainis get nothing...or leftovers...yet when the opportunity to help another Bahraini in their business is before them....they will refuse without even giving a moment of their time to hear the proposal or business idea.

4. The days of keeping your word...something I noticed way back when I first came here...the proverbial business on a handshake long gone. How many times have we had verbal agreements from someone...only to have them back out later when we needed written confirmation. Its happened far too often so seems to be some sort of trend. If you cant get it down on paper quickly...its likely you havent really got a deal with them so dont be surprised when they pull out later with some lame excuse. This is a terrible way to do business and I cant see the image of Bahrain improving or benefiting from this in anyway. It makes it all that more interesting when these same people will come back to you later wanting some sort of favour from you...seemingly forgetting they left you in the lurch previously....go figure!

What I find most frustrating is that the ministries on this island are the hardest to pin would seem they are the first establishments that would be willing to help Bahrainis get a foothold and lend a helping hand when they can. Ministers have the power of their very names to give an event a boost up...thats all they have to give basically...their name...and yet so many times they decline...for what reason? What are they loosing by agreeing to having their name at the top of the letterhead or on the banner promoting the event? I have seen some ministers being patrons or sponsors for some very...shall I say yet for something that deals directly with their ministerial position...they can be quite reluctant. I dont understand the reasoning behind this.

Right now we are on the hunt for sponsors and a patron for our Health & Beauty event. We are looking for sponsors that deal with dentistry...cosmetic surgery...spas etc...anything really that pertains to enhancing health and beauty....we have had many doors closed on us because we havent found a patron many are reluctant to sign up without a patron stated...what exactly has this got to do with that...the event will go ahead whether or not there is a stated patron...but it seems to be such a stumbling block for the local population. There needs to be a stamp of approval from a "bigwig" before all the "littlewigs" will get in line. Its extremely frustrating and hard to take people seriously...are you doing business or earning brownie points with your "betters"? I just dont understand it. I applaud the sponsors we have found and those willing to sign up even without a patron least they realize that business is business.

How can Bahrainis expect to decrease the foreign population to any degree when they are so very reluctant to help each other out in even the smallest of ways? It would seem you are more agreeable to doing business with foreigners then with each other...can someone explain it to me cause its not making sense from my side.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A long walk home from Juffair...!

Have you ever wondered how long it would take to walk from inner Juffair to Hidd? Well wonder no more...yours truly embarked on an epic trek last nite that started at 6 pm and ended just after 9. I suppose someone with a little less weight to carry and a lot more fitness under their belt might have done it a bit think?...but it took me just over 3 hours. Why might you ask did I take on such a foot aching walk? Well for two reasons really...first off I was seriously ticked off by the person I was with and rather then sit in the car with her and further our argument(which could lead to more disaster) I got out and stomped off claiming I was walking home. The little stubbon goat in me insisted I do what I angrily claimed I was going to do....whats a few blisters when your trying to prove a point? Secondly, I use to go for walks nearly every day for many years...but for the past two years I havent gone and I miss those walks I took it as a chance to prove a point(I forgot what the point was 4 kms into the walk) and to reaquaint myself with the joys of walking.

Walking is really under rated as a form of meditation and soul searching. Just cruising along...maybe counting your footsteps or breaths...or the many black beetles that line the path like tiny tanks(ewww!)...sends you into a sort of trance like state that really lets you think clearly...or not so clearly(random thoughts tend to come and go during trance like states)...and you can get a lot of that back log of problem solving and critical thinking done that you just havent found time for in this chaotic and constantly busy life we live now. If you have headphones on(which I did) everything around you is practically cut your in effect in a world of your own. I might add this can be dangerous if your alone somewhere as anyone could sneak up behind you and you wouldnt hear them coming...but as the footpath over the bridge is quite busy I felt safe to use them.

I started out on my journey quite angry and upset so was stomping along grumbling about "seeking justice" the next time my best friend had the nerve to come near me(I imagine her ears were buring something awful) but somewhere along the line I slowed down and settled into an easy stroll...I had a long way to go and I wasnt in a hurry. With each step taken some of the anger was left behind with it until at some point I realized I wasnt angry any more and seeking justice was left somewhere back in the dust. There were a few times I wanted to call her to come get me...but then stubborn goat bleated that that would be the worst thing I could do...she was probably waiting just for that call so she could gloat and drown out the I didnt call. Step after step after step...getting farther from my starting point...and closer to my goal.

During this 3 hour marathon trek...I came to the conclusion about a few might all ready know these things and dont need a blister inducing safari to teach them to you...but bear with me.

1. First and foremost...never stomp off on a cross country(lol) trek if your not physically ready or dressed for it...makes it a whole lot tougher on you to wear snug jeans and a heavy backpack for such a walk and no such marathon walk should be undertaken if you havent been doing some sort of exercise before hand. Believe me, your feet, and everything between that and your hairline, will remind you of the fact every step of the way. (if you manage to complete the aint over yet...try getting out of bed the next morning)

2. Stomping off for a walk is actually a good way to prevent an argument from spiraling out of control which can lead to things being said that woud cause pain and regret later. I recommend going for a walk when things start to get heated between you and someone you care sense in staying and feeding the fire with hurtful words that you cant take back and are never forgotten(even if they are forgiven). Also, its safer for you and those around you not to storm off in your car and drive while angry....nuff said on that.

3. Walking gives you the opportunity to look at things you pass by in a blur in your car everyday a little more closer. Reminds us that we should slow down and enjoy the scenery...such as it is. The most scenery you get from a car is the tail end of other cars...or the angry faces of irate drivers...walking is positively serene and no lane changers(all though that guy on the bike needs a few lessons on sidewalk ettiquette...grrr)...tailgaters....or people breaking in front of you for absolutely no reason. There are never traffic jams on footpaths.

4. Last but not least...dont consider the whole trip from start to might find it too monumental and chicken out or give up....see it as a series of mini walks. Set a point in the distance and vow that you will walk that to the next km sign..or traffic lights etc. Once you pass your next goal and head for it. Its much easier to break down a long walk into little walks...then to consider the journey in one big bite. If someone had told me yesterday morning that I could walk from Juffair to my house in Hidd...I would have laughed at them...but Im not laughing now. I might have blisters but I now know that I can walk around 9 kms and not need medical attention and heart bypass surgery...its a great sense of acheivement for now Im looking forward to my next walk...but maybe not quite so

lets just hope it doesnt take an argument to get me started...sigh!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Why?...Because its the law!

My youngest daughter does not have a passport at the ripe old age of 14. Previously she was on her fathers passport as a baby but when he had his renewed...she was old enough to have her own. Up until now I never had need to make her one but now the need has arrived and what I thought was going to be a fairly straight forward transaction has instead tuned into headache of brain squeezing proportions.

It would seem that her father is the only one allowed by law to make one for her...why? you might I did several times...well, apprently nobody knows exactly why...they just know its the law. Now why would there be a law...or even a need for a which the father of a child is the only one that can make a passport for that child? What if there is no father...he died or walked off the face of the earth? Or maybe even abducted by aliens...then what? The child doesnt get a passport? Does the legal authority to make a passport for that child now fall on the shoulders of any uncles or brothers that child may have? How exactly does this work I want to know?

But really, my main concern...the one that is buzzing around my head like an angry bee trying to find its way, why isnt the mother of a child legally allowed to make a passport for her child? What exactly is the point of being the mother of a child if you have no legal rights to do anything on behalf of your child? I find this absurd and extremely gender biased law a slap in the face of mothers of Bahraini children everywhere...Im surprised they dont protest and get pissed off about it like I am. What are they if not a legal guardian of their child until he or she reaches maturity...and as a legal guardian you have the right to do anything that is needed or required for your child. Does the presence of a father automatically negate the parental rights and legal authority of a mother over her children? Must she sit meekly by while all legal authority of her child is taken from her and given to someone else...possibly someone that doesnt deserve nor should have legal authority over that child?

My personal stake in this is that my childs father(such as he is) is no longer in the picture of our family. He has given up parental rights by force...not choice....when he decided his daughters were sexual playthings to use in whatever fashion excited him most. So, believe me when I clearly state that I want nothing to do with him nor do I want anything from him....and yet according to the law in Bahrain I must pick up the phone and call that animal and ask him to make a passport for his daughter...because even though he is scum and has no right to even be free walking the streets...he has more authority in the eyes of the law than I do over my child when it comes to making legal documents. Could someone explain this conundrum to me cause it just aint fitting into my head all proper and sensible like?

Now what should I do...or any mother for that matter...that had a less then happy separation and divorce from her husband...the result being much animosity and whispered prayers of a fire inspired punishment on the Day of Judgement for that "father" that treated his child/children in such a heinous manner...when I approach him and am forced to ask him for "a favour" such as making a passport for "our" daughter...what should I do if he just laughs in my face and tells me to forget it? What recourse do I have in this situation...will the Ministry of Passports see past the redtape and let me apply on her behalf anyway...or will they insist I make nice with dear daddy and get him to agree to do it for her? Do they even consider for a moment the hardships they inflict on women/mothers in this country by making such gender biased laws that officially give all rights to men/fathers...and almost no rights to women/mothers?

And what I really want to know is...why the hell arent Bahraini mothers or mothers of Bahraini children up in arms about this? Protesting outside some Ministry or another...taking time out on Fridays to go hold up a sign and chant slogans about reducing the role of mothers to housemaids and sexual slaves to husbands with no rights over their own children? It would seem Bahrain is not that much different to Saudi in a lot of respects...and with the antics of these Court of MP's....I fear we will be even more like Saudi before too long...and I wonder if Bahrainis themselves will sit quietly by while that happens...silence means acceptance. If you accept your rights being taken away...then you have no "right" to complain about it later...right? solution is easy really....bypass the idiotic laws of this patriarchal govt that views women as mere child bearers with no authority over those children...and skip on down to the US Embassy and make her an American passport...a passport that will have more value for her in the future...than the Bahraini passport that is currently being handed out to every foreigner that steps foot on these sands...but not to Bahraini children themselves...if they dont have a father to sign on the dotted line...sigh!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

One of those Days....arggghhhh!

Ever have one of those days where you wonder if some sort of conspiracy has been plotted against you by man and nature alike? A day when, from the moment you open your eyes and the cat jumps on your chest causing all necessary oxygen to leave your realize its probably gonna be a bad day and to dive back under the covers is your only means of escape?

A day when you bang your toe on the way to the bathroom(mother...f**ck!) drop your toothbrush on the floor(gross!)...notice a few more wrinkles(arrgghh!!) and suddenly remember your clothes meant for work were not ironed last nite in favor of watching a re run of Americas Funniest Animals?(still makes me laugh second time around...but*t!)

A day when every kid in the house decides nothing short of a water cannon will budge them from their beds(WAKE UP!)....and one reminds you that today is sports day and you didnt wash his sport clothes yet(think anyone will notice they came out of the laundry...a few sprays of perfume and wallah!) and that you didnt remember to buy some lunch items for them and are forced to give them money which you know will be spent on junk(bad mom!)?

A day when you realize that no matter where in the hell you park your Jeep that little magnet imbedded somewhere in it that attracts all other objects of a sizable nature is just too strong to outwit and a scratch a day is something you just gotta suck up(Holy F**K!)?

A day when the usual number of Formula 1 Kamakazee drivers has multiplied significantly and are all seemingly unable to resist the pull of the magnet in you Jeep...evasive action while driving should be an Olympic Sport(I've got the gold baby!)

A day when you arrive to find you desk...or not find it...under a pile of paperwork that probably saw the destruction of an entire forest somewhere(whens my vacation...sigh!) and you drop every single thing that comes into contact with your hand(even gravity has it out for me...yikes!) and when your finally ready to have a break and enjoy remember you gave all your money to the you have nothing(damn...but good for the never ending diet...any one got some gum?)?

A day when the clock defies all concept of time and fails to advance sufficiently to give you hope that this day does have an ending(a few taps just to make sure its still is) and last but not least...that much hoped for bonus that was due this month is suddenly the hot topic making the would seem the Big Boss might be cancelling it this year(OMG!! somebody shoot me now!!!)...

So there I am sitting at my desk contemplating the necessary death of the next person that requires anything in the least bit irritating to me...head in my hands trying to search my soul for one redeeming thing to make this day worth the herculian effort it has taken to get through it(very deep search) when my mobile rings(Oh Lord what now?)...whats this?...(head lifted)...Ive won something?(eyes open)...yes, I did put my name in for that( heart beating rapidly)! are you for real!!(smiling from ear to ear)...I won a trip for two to Duabi....all expenses paid...5 star treats ....the works?!...yes yes yes...I will be coming over to claim my prize tomorrow...yes thank you and thanks for the call.

I knew there was a reason I got out of bed this morning...just another one of those days! See you all in!

*can someone find me a copy of this months Bahrain Confidential...I cant find one any damn place and I want to see my name in 5 minutes of fame and all!

Monday, May 5, 2008

A Not So Comedy of Errors!

Its enough that we are subjected to the daily mindboggling antics of Mindless Blind Idiots zigging and zagging with care free abandon across congested lanes of traffic, through red lights and, quite often, merging into traffic as smoothly as an elephant merging into a rhino at a jungle intersection...but when their careless abandon intrudes into My Personal Space...why is it that things always go from bad to worse...almost as if in accordance with some divinely written script aptly named.."A Not So Comedy of Errors"?

Interesting enough for such a hilarious play...there arent that many actors. In my little fiasco we have just 4...including myself. First there are the 2 Mindless Blind Idiot Giggly Girls mentioned recently in a previous post...I thought I was finished with them way back in Aug but it seems they have returned for an encore. Then there is one Mentally Deficient Computer Operator that can put figures into a computer at the speed of drying paint...but needs directions on how to turn a piece of paper over. And one very laid back Traffic Dept Employee who not only needs a course on customer service but should seriously seek therapy to remove the large chip on his shoulder he has for those that ask him to move his sizable butt and actually do his job. Heaven forbid he earn his peso and help someone else get justice in the process. Then, of course, there is me...Im the innocent bystander that always gets sucked into other peoples nightmares in the know the one that usually gets seriously abused throughout the movie and is still wondering at the end what the hell happened? That would be me.

Its been proven that stand up comedy is best received when you dont use a whole lot of props etc to make your point. Facial expressions are good...the pinched nose as if something smells(a hint to the customer that its probably you)...staring at the computer screen earnestly as if the winning lotto numbers are there and your pretty darn sure their yours in order to avoid eye contact and thus action must be taken...and the always popular vacant stare...that lets you know someone has taken a mental break and all further talk is useless. Im surprised more employees are not physically harmed by irate customers when these facial expressions are used without thought for personal safety.

Then there is body language...such as a shrugging of the shoulders that says "its out of my hands, what do you want me to do?" And the always popular...heartfelt sigh. When the point has been reached that the employee is no longer listening and the customer is just whistling in the wind...the heartfelt sigh comes out to let you know that you are such a burden on their otherwise sedentary day. There must be some secret night class given for the employees of the Traffic Dept for I swear they were all diploma holders in the Facial Expression/Body Language dept.

At any rate....lets set the scene for this three act play. The first act was way back in Aug when Idiot Giggly Girls tried to play Lets Wipe Out a Whole Family while attempting to flirt and show off their considerable ass(ets) while behind the wheel of a car. End result was my much maligned Jeep having considerable contact with the two Studly Boys who were attempting to get closer to the action. Giggly Girls zoomed off unscathed but not before their license plate number was taken.(although I missed the looks on their faces when the cops showed up at their door later that night...Im sure it was similar to the look any would be criminal would have who thinks she's gotten away clean from the crime...very satisfying for me either way)

Scene two...a full 3 hours at the police station in which much shouting and accusations against myself were slung through the would seem that the two Giggly Girls were seriously pissed off that I had the nerve to take their plate number and drag them into this mess that they had absolutely nothing to do with...they were so innocent that even dear daddy was willing to swear he was there and saw the whole thing...I might add that this accident took place at the top of the bridge going through Muharraq at 11 where dear daddy was standing exactly and how he came to be there at just the right moment still leaves much for debate about the mysteries of coincidence. 5 full hours in the Traffic Dept the next day resulted in Giggly Girls being rightly blamed for the whole shebang and their insurance having to pay for the lot. Justice was served...lets all go to Burger King and celebrate.

But hold on a minute...dont get up...scene three is the best part. 7 months later when poor maligned Jeep was once again assualted by a Mindless Blind Idiot...a trip to the insurance company left me speechless. It would seem that my name was written as the offending party in the previous accident. What? How the hell did that happen...and how come nobody told me? A quick march over to the Traffic Dept to sort out this little mess is real the true comedy begins.

First it seems that to be involved in a traffic accident in Bahrain is pretty much as common as putting on two shoes in the morning other words...just about everyone has their taste of Traffic Dept follies sooner or later. That place was so crowded and noisy...a riot would have gone unnoticed. I wont bore you with my 3 hours of constant shuffling from one employee to another...each utilizing the facial expressions and body language to full effect...until it was finally determined how my name came to be written as the offender in that accident.

1. first traffic cop writes up his little report...with little squiggly lines and arrows showing the action.
2. desk cop writes up his report putting names in little boxes on front of report but indicating that a full version of events is written out on back of report.
3. computer operator inserts data into computer without bothering to turn sheet over and read full report...only sees some names and quickly types them in.

So my name is written in the offenders box because some lazy employee couldnt be bothered to read and understand before typing. Now here is the truly interesting part...when I suggested to desk cop that they look at old report they will quickly see that the insurance claim was wrong and my name should be removed. He shrugged and said that old reports were kept in the Archives Room...I suggested he move his..ahem...kind self and go retrieve it so we could all finish up and go home. He let me know that while old reports were saved in the Archices care was taken into organizing said room and so to find my one single report would probably be other words...he wasnt even going to try.

So, lets get all the details lined up here in my little Comedy of Errors. Giggly Girls nearly shorten my life and the lives of my children playing their deadly games...Computer Operator has other things on his or her mind while typing my report and fails to insert correct data where appropriate...and desk cop cant be bothered to do his job because lazy employees wont do theirs by keeping Archives Room(which is there for just such cases as mine) in a ordered fashion to make life easier for all concerned. So now my name is in the offenders insurance is made to pay...which means I pay eventually...and there is little I can do to rectify this....other than pass out flyers advertising the opening night of my Not So Comedy of Errors and hope its a sellout...Id be crying if I wasnt laughing...gotta love the sheer ineptitude and deeply ingrained "Its Not My Job" attitude that so many here in Bahrain live by. What is it...some kind of Motto?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Anyone Know Exactly What the Minister of Healths Job Is?

I was under the impression that ministers are there to aid people...and that certain people are appointed the position because they are qualified for the job. Add to that the King himself going on about everyone working together to encourage small businesses in Bahrain to get a foothold and a hand out when they need it to prosper etc. So imagine when my partner approached the Minister of Health this past week to ask him for his patronage of a Health and Beauty exhibition we are planning for June. The whole point of the exhibition is to encourage citizens of Bahrain and specifically Bahrainis, to get moving and become interested more in their over all health through exercise and other forms of health issues. We were assuming we wouldnt have to ask very hard...he is he Minister of Health after all...and we see him patroning this and that that had less to do with health before...and yet imagine our surprise when he turned us down. Well, not him personally....his people. The ones that decide whether you get an audience with him or not...they usually make this decision based on who you are or who you know....and not on what idea or purpose brings you there.

So suddenly the one area we thought we didnt need to worry about...getting a patron for our suddenly the most important thing to stress about. Anyone in this business can tell you that without a good patron for your event....sponsors are reluctant to jump on if they need someone "importants" permission or acceptance of your idea before they are willing to accept and help you out. So these little people who wield the "power" at the Ministers office have shot us in the foot basically...without the Minister of Health being our patron for a health related event...what are the chances any would be sponsor would be willing to give their name and financial support to it? Im wondering if the Minister of Health and the King had any heart to hearts lately about just what his job is...and what he can and should be doing for the people of Bahrain to encourage business and help improve the economy in some small way and whether or not he has related all that to his "ass kissers"...oops I mean office staff? Anyone? Its not like we asked him to demonstrate how to do crunches at the exhibition or anything...all we asked for was his name on the advertising banners....was that asking too much?

How can the average Bahraini make a living here through her own sweat and hard work...when all her fellow Bahrainis...the ones with the power....or who think they have power...just want to know who sent her...who her family is...or what she can do for them in return? What happened to just doing something cause its your job?