Thursday, January 31, 2008

A real rib splitter...chucklelicious

Today in the GDN, Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Tariq Al Shaikh, got fairly pissed that the Danish football team were allowed to come play the Bahrain national team. It seems this esteemed MP figures the football team are indirectly at fault for being Danish and therefore in cahoots(love that word) with the Danish newspaper that printed the "offensive" cartoons of our Prophet Mohammed a few years back. He says, "We can't accept anyone who makes a mockery of our Prophet."...I find this particular phrase absolutely hilarious considering the very mockery the Arabs themselves have done to the Prophet by ignoring his teachings in favour of their own culture based "religious" law. If that aint the epitome of hypocrisy I dont know what is.

We must ask ourselves as Muslims, would our Prophet be more ashamed at what some nonMuslims who dont believe in him or his message from God do to show their intolerance and idiocy...or would he be more ashamed to see the state of Islam today as perpetrated by his very own followers? Im thinking the second choice. I just find it so damned hilarious when Mr Muslim Anyone stands on his or her soapbox and manufactures outrage at what nonMuslims get up to...and then sit back down and suddenly become unable to garner the same amount of outrage when faced with honor killings, corruption, forced marriages, forced divorces, oppression of women...rapes etc...all in the name of "Islam"...hypocrisy thy name is Arab. You just sound like a horses ass Mr climb down off your soap box before you get a nose bleed.

I might also point out that one Mr Mohammed responded to my Bike Beef letter in todays GDN as well....he made the astounding statement that while Hidd people were kind and generous(no argument here) that they pretty much minded their own business and left people alone. Now if my ribs werent all ready split from the fall down on the floor laugh fest I had over Mr Tariq's comment...I would definitely give Mr Mohammed a few gigles as thats just plain rediculous. I have lived in Hidd for over 10 years...Hidd people do not leave people alone...they do not mind their own business...and they do let you know it when your own business puts a bee in their bonnet about what they consider the "real" Islamic practice...and what you might have the nerve to do in front of them...therefore tread on their sensitive "Muslim" sensibilities. These are the same Muslims who, while minding their business and not mine, deemed it proper Islamic behavoir to destroy the name and self esteem of my 13 year old daughter because she was taken by force by some grown men into their car...and yet everyone assumed she was a slut out for some fun. Those men are in jail now...where they belong...yet the Hidd people have not "forgiven" my daughter...and she was a victim...once by the men...and then by her own community...that loves to mind their own business. Mr Mohammed, I say to you...unless you walked in my Nike's keep you two cents(fils) in your hasala...riding my bike down the main street of Hidd is looking more and more enticing...I will keep you posted.

Friday, January 25, 2008

So Much For Freedom of the Press

If anyone cares to they can check out todays Gulf Daily has the very same letter I posted below...I sent it to them...however they have cut much of it out...the really angry parts. Sort of leaves my letter just sounding whiny and mediocre...not really what I was going for. When I called my contact at the GDN she said they have to edit to keep the govt happy...and I thought there was freedom of the press...just the other day Les Horton was talking about his daughter hearing him "fart" and seeing him "pee" ...sort of a shocker for the GDN I thought but was actually happy thinking they would have no problem putting my full letter such luck...apparently reading about farting and peeing is not as shocking as reading about a culture that keeps girls from being physical in public for fear of giving the male population whose in charge of what gets printed anyway....George you need to grow a bit of a back bone if you want the GDN to be something to be proud of...right now its hardly more than a rag for what the Indian population are up to...with a few token pieces on helping the poor labour force or who salamed who among Bahrains "elite"...pardon me while I yawn. How about you guys go to those elite while they are busying salaming each other and congratulating each other for a another new car purchase....some land bought(stolen) from some unlucky fool that happened to own land that was soon to be very valuable because of the land shortage in Bahrain...or attended some conference or another that affected nothing but the amount of bullshit that gets spouted on a daily basis by those same elite....and let them hand out some salams and backslaps to the poor labour force that never gets either....just a thought.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Do the "rules" of the culture apply to everyone?

Here's my beef...such as it is. I cannot have a single conversation with a Bahraini without hearing the phrase..."its our culture so we can/cant do that". Ok, Im down with that...take your shoes off when you get in the house is a good I dont mind doing that. Offer food, drink...the shirt off your back if someone admires it(happened to me) as a sincere form of problems with that food, my shirt is yours...anything else you want or need? However, where is the line drawn against what I, an American, living in this country can or cant do...because its culturally allowed/not allowed to do it?

Ok, I dont particularly want to walk around half naked so dressing modestly is not a problem. And while I do like socializing with men...I can sit for an hour or two with just women for company without too much discomfort. However, I dont like dates and hot red dont get so damn offended when I politely refuse them...dont take it personal...I know they are good for me but if I ate only things that are good for me...I wouldnt be trudging to the gym at 6 am every morning trying to work off the excess.

Anyhow, all this leads me to my point...this is Bahrain....its citizens are arabs/bahrainis...with a large nonarab/non bahraini population...and while as visitors we are subject to the laws etc of the land...why are we also subject to the traditions and cultural aspects if those particular events dont fall under any legal authority? Like I said before....Im attending the gym on a regular basis trying to regain my youthful military body...long shot I know but as long as I breath there is a chance...anyhow....I need to do something that works for me....something that keeps me interested and that I enjoy in order to keep up the enthusiasm for the exercise and weight among other things I decided it was time to hop back on a bike after these many long years because I have always enjoyed bike riding but really havent been able to participate as much as I'd like to since coming to Bahrain.....hold on a minute though...the decision to ride a bike isnt mine alone apparently....its the whole community where I live...and the community has decided against me on this one.....I have been told in no uncertain terms that if I have the nerve to actually ride a bike...who knows what will happen to me(do I detect a threat of physical violence in there). Now here is what I dont understand. I am told that in arab/bahrain culture girls do not ride bikes...something I did notice and always wondered why they arent allowed to. Back to my beef...I am not an arab/bahraini why am I subject to that cultural "law". When you guys come to America Im sure you engage in all sorts of things that I would consider a no no in the American culture playground...such as marry more than one wife...while as Islam allows such a thing(with conditions) American laws do not...and yet many of you Muslim men find your ways around the law and do it anyway...making mistresses out of your "second" wives....but nobody will point a finger at you or arrest you unless you try and claim second wife is actually your which case you are committing bigamy..then your ass is in trouble....anyhow, I digress. What I want to know is....why the hell cant I ride my damn bike...just cause all of you say I cant? It might shock some men to see a female backside up on a bike seat...well dont look if your so easily shocked...just like I dont look when you wear a thobe without anything underneath...and then the sun shines through exposing come those oh so easily shocked Muslims dont point out this cultural no no? Or is exposing your nether regions to the public socially acceptable if your in a thobe because the thobe is Islamic? Just wondering.

So some people are telling me if I insist to ride my bike I must go to the trouble of hooking it up to my jeep and driving off to Juffair or some such thing where the minds of men have joined the 21st century and women are indeed allowed to ride bikes....but I live in Hidd...why should I go out of my way when the whole purpose of a bike is the fact that its right there ready to hop on a go....nobody hooks the bike up unless they are travelling or going to the mountains me a mountain in Bahrain and i might just do that actually.

I just dont get it....girls here are prohibited from doing any sort of physical activity because men might get a hard on while looking at them....kind of makes the verse in the Quran about 'lowering your gaze" lose all meaning. And while I do accept that certain cultural traditions should not be trampled on...why does this one have the potential to be so shocking if I choose to ignore it? You all survived my removal of the view my flaming red hair everyday and do not either burn up in a burst of flame...or get overcome with sexual desire that I might wish I had my bike on hand to evade your uncontrollable lust...but for once the hijab takes second place next to the ultimate no no....girls cant ride bikes in Bahrain....I might point out that my girly days are far behind me...anyhow....Im seriously debating whether I want to push this issue because Im just so sick and tired of my whole community deciding for me what I can and cannot do based on their archaic thinking about what the females of the population are allowed to do...based on what men are willing to tolerate from other words...not much.

I want to ride my damn bike people!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Things are not going well personally...not a good start to the year

Sometimes it only takes a few comments made by someone to dash your dreams or kick your ass into submission once again. The only thing I really hate about this country is that my life and how i live it is not my personal business. Everything I do is open for public consumption and it matters little if what I do is my sin or my crime...whatever...its up to the community apparently to judge me and render a decision as to whether what i have done is halal or not...acceptable or not...muslim or not and therefore permissable by the community. So even though i am no longer married i still have to live live in a way that pleases someone other than myself...but now its the whole community and not just one person. Apparently because i am now single they view my life as their responsibility to direct and handle regardless of my wishes.

The concept of live and let live unless someone is breaking the law has no merit here...ur life is not your own in the arab/muslim world as I have mentioned belongs to the whole community...and therefore open to judgment and ridicule...not to mention your very life can be made miserable by the constant comments and accusations of these oh so pious muslims as to your status as a genuine muslimah. ...something I thought only God had the right to do.
...but then comment on their behavoirs and u are now a backbiter or slanderer for talking about other muslims...looking in the mirror apparently in an unknown concept over here...I think Im ready to go home now. I have had enough of other people running my life for me...when will it be my turn?