Thursday, February 26, 2009

Dont Look Down When the Sun Comes Up

My youngest daughter and middle son just celebrated bdays. Her 15th and his 17th. I was just sitting here wondering how it came to be that they are that old? Wasnt it just yesterday they were running through the house half naked with coloring markers all over themselves and nice artwork left on the walls for Mommy to admire...and clean off? God how I miss their childhoods.

Anyhow, it got me to thinking about the past and suddenly a memory came up that I hadnt thought of in quite awhile. I realize looking back that its rather a miracle that the 3 of us are here.

See, one night, around 13 years ago, with a full bright moon and crispy snow on the ground...we nearly went into the black. Picture this...

Has anyone driven through Wyoming up into Montana during the winter? Its got to be some of the more treacherous driving there is...especially considering Montana doesnt have a speed limit on the open highways(at least they didnt 13 years ago...not sure about now). Put the lead down to your hearts content...just remember once your into Wyoming...better slow down. The highway patrol in the big square state dont take kindly to scraping speeders off the highway just over the border from Montana....anyhow....

I had been staying with my older sister for a few weeks down in Wyo (grew up there you know) and had to return to Montana on the spur of the moment (was living there at the time). I didnt really have time to prepare for the trip adequately being in a hurry (thats another story...the reason for the haste) and couldnt make arrangements for the two younger ones to be looked after so was forced to take them with me. I threw two laundry baskets of clean clothes in the car...some snacks and necessities for the kids and off I went. It was to be one of the most heart stopping nights of my lie.

I can no longer remember the highway numbers and road names etc (40 year old brain full of sand) so dont ask me exactly where I was when I took the wrong turn. Considering I had driven that route before a few times Im not even sure how I managed to make the wrong turn...but there it is...fate, destiny, the Hand of God...or maybe just two noisy kids in the back seat distracting me....whatever.

By this time it was around 11 pm and the night was cold and crispy with a beautiful full moon lighting up the road...which was becoming increasingly more narrow and headed upwards. It was about here that I realized things didnt look right so suspected I needed to turn around and retrace my steps...see where things went wrong. Well things were about to get much worse.

Im well aware that driving on snow is a dangerous activity at the best of times...but throw in unfamiliar territory, shaken nerves (reason for the trip), and the late hour...and its all you need to make a mistake. My mistake was to hit the brakes just a little too hard in order to slow down and turn around....I immediately went into a slide. I actually wasnt going that fast to begin with because I knew I was headed the wrong way so probably wasnt doing more then 30 at the time...but it was fast enough to put the car into a slide...and we were headed straight for the side of the road....that was pitch black.

The car did a complete turn and I had just enough time to think, Oh God!!! before slamming up against a snowbank...and came to a stop with the car tilted just awkwardly downward...with snow piled up against my drivers door. I nearly screamed at the prospect of the snow giving way and the car continuing its slide over the side...which, as I mentioned was pitch black. I couldnt see anything out my window except blackness. I couldnt see where the snow bank ended...if there were trees...if there was a ditch running along the road...nothing. The not knowing what was out there is a terrifying feeling ...believe me. Imagination going full throttle and all.

My heart was literally pounding out of my chest...I didnt dare to breath believing any sort of movement would start the car sliding again. I actually held my breath (without realizing it of course) until I nearly passed out...and had to let it go in an explosive release...which literally scared the shit out of me (dont believe me...just wait)...and I waited with breath held again to see if the car would stay put or not.

I dont really know how long I sat there without moving a single muscle...I was breathing in shallow breaths...trying not to even let my diaphragm be the deciding factor that tipped the scales in favour of gravity. I couldnt even reach out to put the car in park...the fact that it was still in drive terrified me and I slowly....ever so slowly, slid my foot away from the pedal believing I would accidentally hit the accelerator and that would be that. And I just sat mind utterly blank as to what to to save myself and my two small children...who were incidentally asleep in the back seat. To say that I was thankful for that small miracle is no lie...can you imagine if those two toddlers had been awake...there is no way I could have kept them from bouncing around in the car...the result of that too horrifying to contemplate....I prayed they would stay asleep...and for the ingenuity of Mcgyver to get us out of this danger. I was blank...and on the verge of a mental melt down.

Im thinking at least an hour passed before I got up the nerve to reach across and put the car in park. I did it so a expert bomb diffuser...sweat dripping and breath shallow. For some reason I felt safer with the car in park...dont ask my why..probably just because I felt like I had DID something. Action is always better than inaction you know. So then I sat there for another hour or so (I think...who knows).

It was then I noticed the gas gauge was nearly on empty. My God if the gas ran out it was going to be horribly cold in the car in no time...and I hadnt brought blankets etc thinking I wouldnt need them. Now I vacillated between plunging to our deaths (depending on the incline) or freezing to death in the car and nobody finding us till Spring. I hadnt seen a single car come by up to this point obviously.

Now, this is the somewhat funny part (its been a riot so far right)....I had to go to the bathroom...seriously. Remember earlier when I said I got the shit scared out of me...that was no lie folks...I very nearly shit my pants when faced with the prospect of going over the side of the road into the black...up till then I had ignored the fact that I seriously needed to defecate if I didnt want to add one more misery to my night by shitting in my pants. I know it sounds crazy now...but was a crazy night.

So I sat there for another good half hour wondering if there was anyway I could maneuver myself out of the car in order to relieve myself...and of course that could entail risking moving the car enough to jostle it loose from the snow bank. Not to mention Im not the most athletic person in the getting my ass across the seat to the passengers side and getting the door open seemed akin to climbing Mount Everest. Making that first move was torture...

Dont know how long it took me but I eventually got myself over there...with much pausing and holding of breath to see what the car was going to do about my recent clumsy held. Once I got myself situated by the passenger door...I contemplated the act of opening it...and disturbing the balance of the car...and then thought about hefting myself out of the car...and disturbing the balance some more. I know this all sounds bizarre now...but I was burning up some braincells thinking about all the "what ifs" (theres that damn game again). Heres a truly strange thought....what the hell would I do even if the car started going over? Both the kids were in the back seat asleep...the sheer speed and dexterity I would need to throw myself their door and drag them both out was something Im sure only Tom Cruise or Van Disel could manage with any hope of succeeding. In a bizarre way I felt as if I was protecting them by being in the car with them...but as soon as I got out of it they would be vulnerable didnt bear thinking about....but I seriously needed to GO. I eased myself out....

The car stayed put....I stood there for a few moments looking at them sleeping in the back seat...seriously considering taking them out to remove them from the danger of going over with the car....but it was freezing outside. Already my teeth were chattering and the cold was seeping into my feet through my shoes. At least in the car they were long as the gas held out. I left them and went to the back of the do my business and to try and determine just how deep in the shit we pun intended. Pulling your pants down in the middle of the night on a moon shined snowy road thats so quiet all you hear is the crunch of your shoes in the snow is truly lie. You still have the feeling someone is going to come along and catch you with your pants down...even though you feel like your completely alone in the world...and likely to stay that way. Eerily enough...I felt like hundreds of eyes were watching me...well it was the "wild" so who knows.

I checked the side of the car but it was completely black on that side...all I could see was the wonky angle of the car...and snow up to the door...nothing at all down the side of the road. I walked back to the passenger door and thought about getting back into a car that might likely plummet me to my death...but the fact that my two children were in there cast my hesitation away...I had no was too cold...and if they woke up I needed to keep them as still as possible. I eased back in...and sat there...for around 2 hours I believe...dont ask me what was going through my mind...I have no idea. Then the car turned off...the gas had run out.

In barely half an hour I was shaking with chattering teeth...shock no doubt contributing to my rapid decline...but amazingly the kids were still asleep and seemed to be warm enough...all cuddled up to each other.

I was seriously starting to wonder if anyone used this road other than ignorant white woman who headed out on the road with two toddlers without adequately preparing for the trip or paying attention to where she was going? By 6 am the sun was just starting to distinguish the day from the night. We had made it through the night...but how long until someone came down this road...and my God I was cold!!

It was about this time that I heard a truck coming and before long I could see its lights. We were saved!!! Yay us!!! Thank God. I carefully eased out of the car again and waited for my would be saviors to crest the hill...turns out that two early morning hunters had decided to take this road to a good hunting location...yes folks...somehow or another I had managed to get myself onto a little used hunting road...dont ask me how cause I dont know either. The men were peering at me out the window of their truck as if they had came across some new species of deer...I was momentarily warmed by the flush of embarrassment that shot through me....but was willing to look the fool just to get the children and myself the hell off that mountain. It was then the sun came up enough to get a good look at where we had spent the night...Turns out the snowbank was the only thing keeping my car from plunging off into a gorge that went straight down a good few hundred feet. Now I was really feeling warm...I guess thats what impending heart attacks do...warm ya up all nice and toasty...ya think?

I quickly got over my embarrassment and got the kids out with as much grace and composure as I could...they were just waking up...and were excited to find themselves in such a pretty place...and boy it was beautiful...any other day and I might actually enjoy taking in the view...not today!!!

The hunters actually asked very few questions all though Im sure they were a hell of a lot more curious then they let on...maybe they were use to finding lost mothers on the side of mountains precariously balanced over the edges of cliffs...I dont know...sounds like a regular hunting trip to me. They bundled us up in the truck...took us back down the mountain (yes I had manged to drive up a mountain...still...dont ask me how)...and located a tow truck to sort my car out.

So looking back...I realize what a lucky night that many things could have gone wrong (other than the obvious of getting lost) but it worked out...Im thinking that if I had been aware of just what was waiting for us in that dark abyss...I might not have stayed in the car...I would have freaked out and dragged the kids out no doubt...and who knows what would have happened then....but the dark hid the danger....and I stayed put in the warmth of the car...and Im still here...and the kids are still here...they dont even remember it of course...they were too young...but I certainly do.

So happy bday (belatedly) my daughter...Im so glad and thankful your both still here with me...and that Im still here for you. Love you.

Side note....thats one good reason to be happy there is no snow in Bahrain...could you imagine the driving here then?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Playing the What If game

There are many events that occur in our childhoods that can change who we are...or who we were meant to be. A good kid with a promising future can suddenly be thrown down a new road just by hanging out one night with a new chum that takes him to a drug buy. Promises of "you cant get hooked the first time" are famous last Or how about that valedictorian that believes her boyfriend when he maps out their whole future and promises of "happy ever after" ring in her ear...she will go to college and he will support her and life will be wonderful...until she turns up pregnant...and boyfriend runs for the hills. Its those "little things" that trip us up...set us on a new course that was never figured into the Big Plan that is our life. Quite often its meeting a certain someone...a new face in your life that appears to be a good thing but in reality should be accompanied with sinister back ground music and red flags all over the damn place...but most of the time we dont see the danger coming...we ignore the flags...and forever after that we are destined to spend a good portion of our severely altered lives wondering ....what if?

I was just watching a movie called The Butterfly Effect in which a man has figured out a way to go back in time and change events that happened in his childhood in order to change the tragic way things eventually turned out in his and his friends lives. However, he discovers that changing one thing in order to prevent some tragedy from happening etc only sets off a new set of circumstances that allow another sort of tragedy to happen. He tries again and again with varying results...none of them good...each time he or his friends are effected by the new outcome in a psychological or physical way. Eventually his only solution to prevent any sort of tragedy to all concerned was to never meet his friends in the first never be friends with them and thus no event could ever occur that would result in tragedy. So he goes back one last time...and prevents that friendship from blooming....desperate act by a desperate man that loved his friends enough to sacrifice his future friendship with them.

Problem with altering his childhood so that he never met his friends thus preventing tragedy...he also prevented himself from meeting the future love of his life. One of his friends would eventually be his girlfriend whom he would love more than anything and she and the other friend would change his life for the better in many profound well as eventually leading to tragedy. And so...because he loved her so much...he gave up the opportunity of ever meeting her...of having her in his life...of loving her ...just to protect her and prevent tragedy coming to her. Love is such a kick ass emotion!!!

Of course once the credits started did my mind....what if?

I spent the better part of the night playing the What If game...all I can tell you matter how hard you try...when tragedy is written it seems that you cant escape it....except by one never meet the person that causes the tragedy to occur. Well that would be fine and dandy...not ever meeting up with that disgusting monster would have been icing on my cake...I had a life, I had plans that didnt include a future abusive controlling incestuous husband/father...

Only one problem with that scenario...if I didnt meet him...then I wouldnt have the love of 5 beautiful children in my life.

Damn!!! you just cant win this game can you?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Banning pork and alcohol...whats the world coming too?

The esteemed MP's of Bahrain have been working over time lately in coming up with more and more reasons for the general public to rue the day they elected them in the first place. They being other Bahrainis of course. While we expats or non Bahrain residents must suffer the same as Bahrainis (in our suffering we are side by side) we are apparently not allowed to complain and are given the freedom to "go home if we dont like it". (just check any local papers letters page for this debate raging on)

Besides trying to ban mannequins from store front windows, bachelors from living among civilized folk, said bachelors from hanging their laundry in plain sight and disturbing the delicate sensibilities of the viewing public and forbidding all homosexuals from even attempting to get past customs at the airport...recent trends have suggested our MP's have taken an even more sinister religious bent on their attempts to bring Bahrain back into the fold of an Islamic community...alcohol and pork are next on the list to be is the time to do some serious deep thinking.

Bahrainis are rather split on this proposed ban...some believe its a right step and good for the moral being of Bahrain...others think its taking us back into bygone centuries in which camels were the preferred mode of transportation and tent life was the expats and non Bahrain residents have opinions too...but as stated before...ours doesnt count.

Now heres a thought to any Bahraini that believes banning alcohol and pork are good things...what happens after that? Banning western attire as about tearing down churches etc as no other religion can be practiced openly in an Islamic country? Or how about really getting down and dirty and ban women from driving and girls from receiving an education and enforcing strict veiling etc as that can lead to immoral behavior...which is unIslamic?(we shall pretend for a moment that all that is culture masquerading as Islam...but we are talking reality here right)

It may all sound ridiculous but it? It sounds like a slippery slope to me...allow MP's, who btw are not hired as religious police for Bahrain but merely to lead us into a prosperous and productive future, to make one law or ban one thing because its deemed unIslamic...then where is the line drawn...who gets to decide what gets banned next...well the MP's of course...and what happens when they start pulling things out of their ass trying to emulate other Middle Eastern countries in an attempt to get back to the basics of Islam? Then will Bahrainis be so comfortable with these recent actions?

Yes alcohol is generally bad for us and we humans can very well live without it...and pork is just another meat product and chicken or beef will do in a pinch for any meal plan a non Muslim might wish to prepare...but really...banning those products does not an Islamic country make. If Islam is supposedly built on peace and tolerance...and the whole "there is no compulsion in religion" thing...and we all know that when something is banned it just gets shoved under ground and a whole new set of immoral behaviors takes root...then really...where is the benefit to the public?

Muslims consider it haram or forbidden to drink great...dont drink alcohol (maybe MP's should enforce alcohol serving establishments to put up those little signs similar to the ones in grocery stores that have a pork section-no Muslims past this point...or something like that just so a misguided Muslim doesnt wander in my accident...hmmm?) and Muslims consider pork a dietary no no...and so dont consume that great...dont eat it (btw Im curious as to why some Muslims will drink alcohol even knowing they shouldnt but I have yet to come across a Muslim that admits to eating pork...considering it the ULTIMATE sin next to shirk/unbelief...another hmmm?).

What I mean is what is the point of having choice...Islam is all about choice...the choice to follow its ideology or not. To behave according to Islamic standards or dont...but the rest of the community are under no such obligations to follow your dietary habits etc...and shouldnt be forced to. I mean, seriously, it all just sounds so hypocritical from a layman/womans point of view. Let me put it this way...

MP's want to bring Bahrain back in to the so called Islamic they start with ridiculous things like mannequins and laundry...jump on over to gays and bachelors...and currently are taking aim at alcohol and is my question to any and all MP's...why did you choose to start in those places...with those topics and issues? Why not start with the unfair treatment of women in the Sharia courts...justice for Muslim women (all women really) is a deeply entrenched practice Prophet Mohammed taught his men and sanctioned by God...treating women with respect, giving them their God sanctioned rights and ensuring them a safe and accommodating environment in which to obtain a divorce and or keep their children in their lives seems a hell of alot more important then worrying about nonMuslims (ahem) drinking and eating forbidden items...just thinking out loud here.

Or how about ban the whole "sponsorship" system...oh I forgot...that doesnt exist. Cant ban something that doesnt actually exist...on paper...but does in practice...openly and barbarically and without any due respect towards Islam and moral principles. Foreign labour in Bahrain are treated like slaves...are paid slave wages (if at all) and are considered "runaways" and "escapees" if they, oh I dont know, get fed up with this barbaric treatment and decide to take their labour elsewhere. Why dont our esteemed MP's take a stab at banning inhumane treatment towards housemaids and labourers...seems like a truly worthwhile Islamic ideal to go after...still thinking out loud here.

And while they are at it...why not ban the security forces and govt from throwing those in jail that have the balls to speak up about all these issues and get the sheep (I mean public) all antagonized and worked up? Freedom of speech is a very Islamic ideal..yes? Why not spend some time earning your extravagant salaries on a subject like that? If you dont protect the right to freedom of speech from might be your own right to freedom of speech you will sorely miss some day...Im just saying.

Now its very true...if us nonBahrainis dont like these "new and improved" living conditions being offered up to the public...we can pack our bags and hightail it out of here on a British Airways flight that does serve alcohol etc and shake the dust from our immoral western boot heels...but heres the really thought provoking thing about your request that "if we dont like it we can just leave"...we can leave...but what about you?

One day when and if Bahrain becomes another little Iran (a little tussle going on with Iran claiming ownership and all) or even just a poor step daughter to Saudi (never really belongs to the original family and all) just what will Bahrainis do then...pack their bags and get the hell out of dodge on a non alcohol serving Gulf Air flight and come live in the immoral decadent west where alcohol, pork, freedom of speech and free will...have not been banned...and people still manage to live a good and honest life.

If you dont stop it from only have yourselves to blame.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I wish I didnt know now...what I didnt know then

2 years 4 months and 13 days ago I thought my husband (now ex) of 20 years was just a miserable controlling jerk that lived off of my constant sorrow and depression. I knew his level of hypocrisy was seemingly immeasurable and unknown...he constantly surprised me on a daily basis as to what new low he could sink too....but I preferred to desperately believe there was a point into which he couldnt go any lower. In other words...I gave him the benefit of the doubt...even when my heart was crushed...even when my mind was in turmoil...even when my soul was bereft and on the verge of hopelessness ...I continued to have hope that eventually he would bottom out and the only way to go was up. All the fool me for assuming that every human being on the planet has some redeeming qualities...its just a little harder to see in some people than others.

Now heres the strange thing...the part that doesnt add up, at least in my mind. The two personalities that lived within one body. There was the controlling abusive hypocritical Muslim wannabe on one hand and the often funny hard working (when he chose to work) get us whatever we wanted, take care of us when we were sick good with the kids father/husband on the other.

Oh yeah, then there was the pedophile I guess that makes 3 personalities in one body. The first 2 I lived with on a daily basis...never knew from moment to moment which one was going to make a showing and either let me relax for 5 minutes...or get me all worked up frustrated and angry again. The third personality...well...I never knew it existed. Didnt have a clue. I have retraced 20 years of marriage. I have gone over memories with a fine tooth comb...looked for hints, clues, flashing neon signs...anything that would make this soul crushing guilt Ive been feeling since my daughter whispered those two little words 2 years 4 months and 13 days ago....alleviate it in some small way....but...nothing.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. We look back and smack our foreheads and berate ourselves for what we didnt see then but is so goddamn obvious now...our ability to remain blind while surrounded by facts...but as they say...sometimes you have to step back to see the big picture. So I step back...again and again...every time I close my eyes I step back...and I search, I probe, I rehash and re account every little detail of this marriage from the time my first first first daughter was brought into this world. I search desperately looking for the exact moment in time when that man, my husband, her father, made the horrific and disgusting decision to take from his daughter what he had no right to take. I tear apart every moment of interaction between them looking for that sign...that little clue that all was not right between them. I listen to my daughters voices (I have two daughters and yes...both were victims) and try and hear cries for help...I try and pick out phrases and clues that were calling me...trying to get me to open my eyes and open my ears and HEAR...but apparently I was so self involved with my own miseries that I couldnt hear my childrens silent pleas for rescue...and for that the guilt rages on. I was firmly convinced that he was a jerk as a husband...but a fairly decent father..the thought that he could possibly sink so low as to do what most animals in the animal kingdom dont even engage in was something that never even snuck in the backdoor of my mind...I guess you had to be there...sigh.

People who hear of such things (barely able to utter the word incest much less acknowledge it in this part of the world) always ask two things...what was I doing when this was happening....and why didnt the girls say something sooner. So in one fell swoop blame is placed on us...I wasnt being a good mother and they were accomplices rather than victims in this heinous crime. Its enough that I blame myself...I dont need all and sundry to chime in too...but the fact that my daughters are meant to share the blame for and seen as co conspirators in this crime against them has to be viewed as raping them all over again. They are being violated over and over again...their bodies gone over with a probing tongues...every minute part of their behavior scrutinized and picked apart...from what they wore to how they spoke when in the company of their father. It matters little that they were toddlers when he started his "special relationship" (his words, not mine) with them and that by the time they were old enough to "know better" his behavior had become "normal"...the sort of thing that daddies that "really love their daughters in a special way" do to show it. In other words, it was as "natural" a daddy behavior as say...taking them to the doctor when their sick...or buying them new shoes etc when they need was his way of "loving" them and being a "good" daddy.

Only a victim of incest, of pedophilia can know the depths of the psychological reconstruction that goes on from day one...the total mind altering choreography that turns a normal daddy/daughter relationship into something dark and secretive...nobody knows the constant guilt and tennis game that goes on in a childs mind...he is my daddy...I love him....he is my daddy...I wish he would die. I know....Ive been there.

Sometimes I lay there and try and blank my mind...try and erase these disgusting heinous "videos" that replay over and over again from my memories...I try and "go back" to a time when I didnt know how truly low he could go....just an asshole...but believing there were hidden redeeming qualities in there somewhere....but I cant...once we know or learn something...we cant unlearn it.

I learned my husband of 20 years was a incestuous pedophile...and that you can never go back and wish that "you didnt know now what you didnt know then."

Of course...if I didnt know...if I had never found children would no doubt still be suffering from should I focus on the silver lining or what?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Does telling the truth require an apology?

I would like to draw attention to my best friend, Maryam Al Sherooqi. She writes for a local newspaper, Al Wasat, and has gotten quite a following since she started there early last year or so....and she might be going to jail next month.

Last September she was with a co-worker (she is employed as a guidance counsellor at a govt school here as a govt employee) at Bahrains Civil Dept applying for another job within the Ministry of Educations system...while there she and her friend had a conversation with one of the employees...just a casual chat really to pass the time...but that conversation was the premise for an article she wrote soon there article about discriminatory practices at the Civil Dept between Shiias and Sunnies...when it comes to employment potential.

Her article garnered a lot of attention an opened up a lawsuit against her by the Civil Dept...claiming that she flat out lied about the conversation...and that she had humiliated the Civil Dept by making such slanderous claims against it...that they discriminate against potential employees based on religious affiliation...etc.

Now heres the thing...she didnt lie obviously as her co-worker was there as well and was witness and participant to the conversation(she has been ordered to divulge the identity of the Civil Dept employee she chatted with...but has refused) she hasnt slandered anyone...and as far as I know...humiliating someone (if she in fact did that) isnt grounds for imprisonment it? A fine maybe...but jail time?

She went to the Prosecutions Court the other day and faced a judge (and was fingerprinted) who stressed to her that if she "just apologized" everything would be over and she could get back to her life. He asked her if all this drama was "worth it". She replied that her integrity and self respect were worth it...and she would rather go to jail then apologize for telling the truth (incidentally EVERYONE in Bahrain KNOWS there is blatant discrimination between Shiias and Sunnis in the employment exactly what "lie" did she tell)...her court case is scheduled for March 3rd...and a 7 year jail sentence is hanging over her head. She is being called a traitor to her country(charges stated on her court documents)...for telling the truth.

Yesterdays Al Wasat had quite an article about her and a few others that are facing the heat for daring to believe the "Freedom of the Press" malarkey that has been trotted out now and again by the Powers That Be.

So Maryam Al Sherooqi may be facing a lengthy jail sentence merely for stating an obvious fact that we all know to be true. She is basically being charged with "humiliating" the Civil Dept...which has turned into a charge of treason.

Now heres the thing that is REALLY upsetting...if that wasnt enough. Many "friends and family" that complain right along with her about the "unfairness of it all"...that "we need to do something to change this"...that sit in their coffee shops and living rooms declaring loudly what "they would do" if given a chance...have been given a support their family member...their support Maryam Al Sherooqi in her hour of need...and yet they have, for the most part, gone quiet...only speaking up to demand that she apologize so THEIR lives can continue much in the same vein it was until she came along and "stirred the waters"..."embarrassed the Sherooqi name...called attention to herself other words...humiliate herself and apologize...for their benefit.

Ive known her for 3 years....she is my best friend. Ive never met a more straight forward outspoken defiant and honest person as her. She tells the truth...she tells the truth in the face of daunting consequences...she tells the truth and constantly makes enemies because of it...she tells the truth and makes people angry and agitated and wanting to blame her for doing nothing more then "opening their eyes" to a fact they already knew...but refuse to acknowledge. She tells the truth and gets punished for her truth telling...and still she tells it.

She has been threatened ( her family as well..some of whom are in high positions in this country...and who have been subtly warned about a potential loss of position unless she backs down)...she has been made miserable in too many ways to count for that article...and some follow ups she has done...yet she has never wavered..never hesitated...never for a moment considered it would be easier just to drop her head and get back in line with all the other sheep....and for that she deserves an award in my opinion...not incarceration.

She has two little girls and a husband...and elderly mother...she has a job and responsibilities. She has so much to lose and not a whole lot to gain if she perseveres...and yet she only see herself stepping forward and doing the one thing she feels she has no choice but to do...tell the truth and hope justice is served.

I have only one thing to say about her...Im proud of her...and I wish I could do more to show her the support she deserves...and I wish I could tell all those men that are determined to shame this woman and send her back down "where she belongs" by imprisoning her...that they would do well to stand back and look at her...really look at her...maybe they will learn what it means to have integrity...self respect...and a back bone....and I wish I was half as brave as she is.

Im there for you girl...all the way. Truth shouldnt require an apology.

*to see articles she has written.... her "inflammatory" article was written last Sept. 08.

*update...Journalists Without Borders has called her and have offered her support on her trial day. Good news for sure.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Its getting crowded "under the carpet"!!

This article was written on my behalf by a friend of mine who writes for one of the local will hopefully be printed tomorrow. For those that cant read Arabic...its a condensed version of my life these past 23 years...more or less.

We shall see if its accepted as we all know that this subject generally gets brushed under the carpet. One can only hope the Powers That Be at her newspaper arent just such people. Wish me luck!!!

في يــد الشيطان
كثُرت هذه الأيام شياطين الانس، التي تنقض على لحمها بدل أن تحميه وتصونه، ومناسبة الحديث هذه القصة التي سألقيها عليكم، لإحدى النساء الأجنبيات التي قدمت الى البحرين بأحلام وردية انقلبت الى كوابيس ليلية.
اذ ان زوج هذه المرأة البحريني جلبها من بلدتها، لتواجه مصيرها المرير في مملكتنا البحرين، حيث انه لم يستطع أن يخفي شخصيته المتناقضة، ففي النهار هو ذلك الرجل المتدين والملتحي، والذي ينتقد كل شيء سواء حلال أم حرام، وفي الليل هو ذلك المنافق الأفّاق الذي لا يصون حرمة بيته.
وفوق هذا كله اكتشفت زوجته بعد زواج دام عشرون عاما، بأنه يعتدي على عرض بناته، وينتهك حرمته، ولم يَخف من الله العالم بالسرائر، وان بناتها في يد الشيطان –والدهم -.
أي قلب هذا يستطيع ايذاء أطفال أبرياء، فما بالكم بوالد يلمس أطفاله كل ليله ويعتدي عليهم، أي والد هذا الذي يربي القيم في النهار، ويقفز الى أسرّة بناته في الليل.
ان هذا الشيطان مارس الجنس مع بناته لمدة عشرون عاما، وعندما كشفته زوجته أخذ يطلق الشائعات تلو الشائعات عليها، ولم يكتفِ عند هذا الحد بل قام باطلاق الشائعات عن أبنائه وبناته، حتى يهرب من المصيبة التي قام بها داخل بيته.
لم تقم باقامة الشكوى عليه، بل سوّت الموضوع مع محامٍ دلّتها عليه احدى صديقاتها. فهي لم تقدّمه للمحاكمة ظنا منها بأن الحكم سيكون 3 سنوات أو أقل كما تقرأ في الجرائد، ولاعتمادها على ما يقدّمه هذا المعتدي من مبلغ بسيط تعيّش به هي وأطفالها!
خرجت هذه الأجنبية "بملاليم "، لتعول أطفالها وتساعدهم في هذه المحنة التي أوقعهم فيها والدهم، فأطفال سِفاح المحارم والتحرش الجنسي، يكونون طبيعيون من الخارج، الا ان الضرر الداخلي لا ينتهي الا بموتهم، لصعوبة نسيان الاساءة التي تعرضوا لها خاصة اذا كان المعتدي هو الوالد المصون.
أخرجت الأم بناتها من الديار لعدم تحمّلهم كلام الناس، ورجعت الى أولادها في البحرين، وعندها قام هذا الشيطان بقطع المعونة عنها وعن أبنائها، مع العلم بأنها كانت معتمدة عليها!
ان هؤلاء الأطفال المساكين على رغم الظروف الصعبة، لم يتجهوا الى الخراب، بل اتّجهوا الى النجاح في الدراسة وتحقيق ما تمنّته الأم، حتى ان أكبر أبنائها كان إماما وحافظا للقرآن، وبسبب المصيبة توقّف عن امامة الناس ومواجهتهم.
وبعض الناس بالطبع لا ترحم، فهذا يتكلم وذاك يحقد ولا يدرون بأن من يُعطي يُعطيه الله، كما قال الله في حديثه القدسي: " يا ابن آدم أنفق أُنفق عليك"، حتى ان احدى الجمعيات المتأسلمة أوقفت "الكوبون " الخاص بشراء أغراض البيت، فالأم الآن لا تعمل وليس عندها من يعولها.
فمن يستطيع أن يرحم هذه المسكينة وأطفالها بعد الله سبحانه وتعالى، ويبادر في مد يد العون لها ولأسرتها المُحطّمة، خاصة واننا في يوم الجمعة الذي يُقبل فيها الدعاء.
ضحّت هذه الأجنبية بحياتها كلها لتربية أبنائها البحرينيون، فهل تقف البحرين معها اليوم؟

Friday, February 6, 2009

Story so far...

Hey everyone that happens to stop by and read this...I have a book of sorts...a story so to tell that's been bouncing around in my head for quite a few years now. I decided I needed to start writing it down before it sent me round the bend in more ways then one. This is my first chapter of my first attempt...just want a little feed back. Its not autobiographical...but some things in it are very real to maybe its considered semi autobiographical.

Anyhow, for those who care, this is not a book to teach anyone about Islam or Muslims etc...its just a story that needs releasing from my head...plain and simple.

Also I apologize for the language...but its a story about real life...and real life has colorful language...whether we like it or not. Waiting to hear from you....

*edited and new content written


It seems she had been alone most of her life. She couldn't remember a time when she had anything other than her own mind to occupy her with. Don’t get me wrong here…she spent time with other people…called them friends and all, but she didn’t feel comfortable in their presence as much as she did within the confines of her own mind. The one place she was free from all of life’s restrictions. In her mind she could be anything, go anywhere, say whatever she wanted too, and best of all BELIEVE whatever belief felt right within her. She was 37 years old when much of what she believed about herself to be true…was proven to be wrong. It was the worst and best year of her life.

The morning of the day that she met the one person that was to become the “love of her life” started out much like the hundreds or thousands that had gone before it. She woke for fajr prayer with anticipation of facing her Lord. Her first thoughts upon waking were the same as every day...wishing she had miraculously lost some weight while sleeping...and wondering if THIS day held any promise of something different then yesterday. She tried to rouse her husband but he was far too interested in whatever dreams passed within his mind to care much for prayer. He turned over while muttering he would be up in a minute…and was snoring again within seconds. She resigned herself to the fact that he would never care as much for prayer as she did. To each his own. If she had cared, at this point in her marriage, for the soul of her husband she might have been more persistent. As it was she could only quietly revel in the thought that he would burn some day for all these prayers missed. She wondered if it was a sin to take quiet delight in the thought of her husband burning in the Hell Fire. She asked God to forgive her for such thoughts…just in case.

She performed her ablutions and waited patiently for the adhan to sound, passing the time reading the Quran. She had always loved the early morning hours while she waited for prayer…the quiet and solitude sat easy with her. She felt nearest to God at this time and the Quran seemed more welcoming and easy to grasp without distractions and life getting in the way. She generally read a few pages and reflected on what they meant to her. It always surprised her how whatever ayat she was currently reading corresponded with some thought she may have had recently…or some problem she needed advice for. It was like The Book spoke to her on some level…anticipating her spiritual needs…and responding to them. Thank You God for listening to me, she thought.

Once the prayers were finished she might consider going back to bed, but the possibility that her husband might awaken and demand sex from her generally kept her from crawling back into the warmth of the covers; the days had long since passed when she felt even a glimmer of attraction to the once charming handsome man she had met years ago. So rather then risk his waking she settled on the couch and turned on the TV. Most of the time she didn’t really focus on the images on the TV. but instead dwelt on scenes that rewound themselves constantly within her own mind. Playing the “What If” game kept her constantly busy no matter what else she might be doing. It agonized her to play this game as the result was never satisfying. No amount of playing and “re-ordering” her life actually changed anything. It just caused more frustration and agony to know she could’a, would’a, should’a done things differently to avoid the life she was now in. She had no one to blame but herself…

With a quick look at the clock and a sighful resignation of her lot in life, she heaved herself up from the couch (as usual promising herself to start that diet tomorrow) and set about starting breakfast and getting the children up for school. Her children were the bright moments in her life. All her “failures” could not even come close to measuring up to her accomplishments…her children. They were her pride and the one thing that made this life she was living possible. Without them to love and care for she believes she would have given up and given in long ago. Each new step she took in her daily struggles she took for them. Each verbal abuse hurled from the bitter lips of her husband was heard and swallowed and dropped down into the pit of never ending sorrow. The depression that threatened to swallow her whole…was only kept at bay by one thought…"my children need me"....followed quickly by another..."I need them". And so, each new step was taken, each new abuse swallowed, and each tear that fell was quickly wiped away…what was the use of tears anyhow, they didn’t change a thing. She sent up a solemn prayer to God to grant her more patience…and to help with the self pity…who needed it anyway?

When the children were nearly ready to go she would go and wake her husband. Sometimes he drove them to school, other times he just wanted to make sure they were what he considered “properly equipped” for the day. Boys with their backs straight with pride, the girls with heads covered with the hijab. Pride for boys and hijab for girls were apparently the only two things to measure a Muslim with by his standards. It always quietly amused her and made her proud when her younger daughter rebelled against the hijab (she herself had often thought of just flinging it into the wind and defiantly walking in the street without it...but fear of judgment kept it firmly on her head)…and many times got out the door without it, conveniently forgetting it at the last moment. Other times she would remove it out in the street as soon as she was around the corner. She had many fashion statements to make when it came to her clothes…but the hijab was not one of them. Go girl! She wished she was as strong minded and independent as her teenage daughter. What can you do?…life was for the young. (37 was not old but in her was all but over regardless of how "young" she was)

She hated closing the door as her last child left for school. It meant that she was now alone with her husband and her dread at what this most assuredly meant was like a rock in her stomach. She could no longer stomach the idea of lying on her back and spreading her legs for his idea of sex. His touch alone sent shivers of repulsion up and down her spine. When she seen that glimmer of lust in his eyes…it was all she could do not to scream and lock herself in the bathroom…or better yet…run into the streets like a crazy woman. Instead she would once again quietly resign herself to life and come when he called. Removing her clothes and positioning her body in whatever sexual manner he demanded of her. She was like a mindless object for his dark desires. He never asked her what she wanted, what she liked or didn’t like, whether what he was doing hurt or not. Usually it did hurt, if not her body then definitely her pride, her soul. She could only lay there and pray that he finished quickly and was thankful when he did. Other times he seemed intent on a marathon of sex...and the never ceasing pounding and grunting nearly sent her off the deep end. She wondered what he hoped to achieve with the hour long sex...its not like someone was standing by keeping score or giving marks for enthusiasm and creativity. If credit was to be given for whatever reason...for sure she deserved the accolades just for her ability to endure such bodily assault again and again....and not even a tender kiss or caress to make the enduring bearable. Only bruises on her body and on her soul as a testament to the "love making" that had transpired.

Eventually he would roll off and strut to the bathroom to shower as if his ability and agility at sex was a thing to boast of. His concerns for his wife only extending to whether his breakfast was on the way or not and to maybe throw a comment back at her that she needed to lose some weight. Oh God! Where is that patience she was asking for earlier? It occurred to her many times that she could happily poison his morning coffee…if poison were at hand. The fact that she contemplated murder on an almost daily basis, if not hourly, no longer shocked her as it once did. God was forgiving for her errant thoughts. It’s not like she would ever actually kill him. (a thought best left unexplored)

As soon as he was out the door she shrugged off her resentment, her anger, her anxieties, like she might shrug off her clothing…leaving them all piled messily by the door…to be picked up and hastily donned once again as the hour drew near for his return all though at times he would sneak back home without warning, as if to catch her up to something. Catch her doing what she never knew…as he knew better than her that she had no life. Cleaning, watching TV. reading and dreaming of murder were about all that kept her busy. (that and her prayers...she could do without the rest and would give them up in a heartbeat if needed but not her prayers) If he expected to find her wrapped up in the lusty arms of a sweaty lover in their marriage bed…then he would surely have to wait a very long time. She had one male in her life that was causing her enough misery…only a fool would go looking for double the trouble. The most he might catch her doing was scrubbing the bathroom floors or hanging laundry. No whoreish behavior here…just move along.

Often times these surprise visits meant only one thing…more sex. Surely there could be no other man on the planet that spent as much time thinking about, anticipating, and participating in the act of sex as her husband. It scarcely allowed him time for other things…such as a job or getting things done that needed doing…in her opinion. (she had long since lost count of the number of jobs he had "quit" or "lost" because management didnt see eye to eye with him...or some such excuse. He hated being told what to do ...plain and simple). How could someone so consumed about sex, so engrossed with the perfection of his own dick, so demanding of her body…wanting to stick his manhood into any hole that would accommodate him regardless of the pain it caused…how could he lead a normal life…when a normal life seemed so far outside his thought process. Sex sex sex…and then food, shelter, paying bills etc. She loathed him each time he grabbed his bulge and indicated with a quick nod of his head that she was to assume the position once again. God! God! God! she realized the humans were made in Gods image…did this mean God had a penis as well since generally God was referred to as “Him”, “He” in all religious discourse? Did God walk around grabbing His bulge while contemplating in what new position He would fuck humanity? She quietly asked God to forgive her for assuming God had human qualities.

Of course these midday visits meant that she could never really relax when he was gone…since the likelihood of his showing up at anytime was possible. It seemed his only desire in life, other than to fuck her as often as the thought crossed his mind, was to catch her doing something he considered “haram”. His ideas of what was and wasn’t haram didn’t even come close to what many Muslims followed, but her life revolved around avoiding his haram as much as possible. The arguments and punishments that followed when she was caught “transgressing” just wasn’t worth it. He made her feel like such a criminal with his accusations and abuse. A quick trip to the corner store for sugar was, according to him, an opportunity to flirt and make future appointments with potential lovers. If only he knew how ridiculous he sounded. She didn’t even like the act of sex, hated to even submit herself to it, would be quite happy to go the remainder of her life without ever once again spreading her legs…or the cheeks of her ass (no amount of arguing and pointing out that anal sex was haram to him had any affect...he always claimed later that he "didnt mean to")…or opening her reluctant mouth, for another man…she laughed quietly inside when he ranted on about such things. Men are so stupid when it comes to women. God! Please make him shut up!

Often times when she realized she needed to make a trip outside for something she would first call him on the phone just to see where he was, what he was doing, to gauge how long she had before he could realistically reach home. If he indicated he was far enough away, she would quickly don her much hated hijab and duffa and quickly dash to the store and back again…looking over her shoulder the whole way. Her heart beating fast and silent prayers to God to not let him come home and catch her in the street somewhere. Of course, he sometimes played the game too…indicating he was far away but really just down the road. This little two step they did, her trying to “commit her crime” of leaving the house and his trying to catch her at it, was a daily tango they did. Sometimes she won, sometimes he did…usually he did.

For the most part she stayed inside the house. It just wasn’t worth the hour long lecture and tuition on Islam and how to be a good wife and mother when she was caught out. She had better things to do with her time then listen to his sanctimonious drivel about what entailed a “good” Muslim. She would sit there patiently waiting him out, waiting for him to tire of hearing his own voice, quietly thinking her own thoughts. (in the past she would cry, apologize and "try harder" to please days she couldnt muster up the emotion necessary to cry and to try harder hadnt crossed her mind in a very long time) She often wondered if he actually believed any of the things he “taught” her…since he hardly practiced any of them himself. God…why did You create hypocrisy in humans?…why did you give us the ability to sound so pompous in the face of facts? Fact one…her husband was a horrible Muslim and a not much better man. Fact two…he apparently was completely unaware of this fact and felt it was within his rights to “teach” her in areas that he himself could use some tuition in. Yadda yadda yadda…blah blah blah…if he was going to fuck her she wished he would just do it and go…without the never ending lecture thrown in just to add insult to injury. She would sit there nodding her head…looking contrite…”learning” her lessons…all the while sending sneaky peeks at the clock wishing the time for the kids to arrive would hurry up and get here. God? Why does the time move so slow when we are caught in other peoples headlights?

On the days that he actually stayed away at work, or wherever it was he spent his time, she enjoyed the peace and quiet and spent time reading. Her passion was reading anything and everything and every opportunity to read was never passed up. It was with a quiet inner pride that she remembered her school days...graduating on the honor roll...teachers writing wonderful things in her year book...lauding her potential as a writer...praising her abilities and looking forward to her "first book".

She sighed while thinking of the promise of her youth. Where did all that fire and passion for writing disappear too? Her thirst for the written word had not diminished...but her desire to write things down had over the years. She thought about the journal she use to keep...had kept it for over 10 years. Just day to day thoughts...anecdotes about the children...and the occasional rant and lament about HIM and his tirades and unjust treatment of her. She never told anyone of his abuse of her...but it helped immensely to express her anger and anguish on to the page...the cathartic release was probably the only thing that kept her from killing herself (or him)during all those years of insufferable abuse. God forgive her for thinking thoughts of suicide (and murder). Its not like she would actually do it.

She remembered exactly why she suddenly stopped an instant the choice was made and 10 years worth of journals was angrily and hastily dumped into the dustbins outside. Years later of course she regretted that rash decision...missing her written memories almost more then friends and family she rarely saw anymore. Of course HE was the reason for her decision to stop writing. She never hid her journals...they were right there in the open for anyone to read...the only one who read them was her husband. She might wake in the night in need of the bathroom and notice her latest journal was not beside the bed on the table. When she returned it would be there. She often wondered what he did in his "office" all night...well she knew at least one thing he her journals. What he hoped to find in them (for she knew without question he was hoping to "catch" her in her writing just as he caught her in the street sometimes) puzzled her as what little life she had held no mystery. She wondered if he actually thought she was stupid enough to write down the fact that she had a lover...had a hot and steamy liaison with him that day...might describe all the incredible sex they had...and then have the nerve to keep the journal beside the bed and not under lock and key (if she actually had a lock and key...nothing was locked against him in this house...all though he sure kept his office locked up tight) He pretended he didnt read it but she might sometimes play a little trick on him and insert some dubious sentence here and there...something that might sound as if she had did something but what that something was was unclear. For instance she had been out to the shops once and while returning she had noticed the neighborhood mentally retarded man sitting on the bench in front of the mosque. A second look confirmed what the first look had indicated...he was masturbating...and in full view of all the people passing by. Apparently nobody noticed...or cared enough to stop him as he continued on without disturbance. She blushed and quickly passed by...but that night she wrote in her journal..."I saw "carrot" while outside today." That was it...that was all she wrote on that subject...but a few days later her husband asked her (quite out of the blue) who Carrot was. She feigned ignorance but inside she was giggling...knowing full well why he had asked. God forgive her for making such a fool of him...but he certainly made it easy.

Eventually his determination to find fault with her writing...demanding to know what each sentence meant...what were the "hidden meanings" to this and that...did she actually plan on writing a book someday and making him look bad to his friends and family...was that her intention? Didnt she realize as a Muslim she shouldnt be wasting her time on such useless things? He never let up...and so she just quit. Without much thought or fanfare. All the journals into the garbage...and the only writing she did was now all in her head. At least he couldnt snoop in there.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

In a heart beat....! 2

Last night my very best friend was involved in a serious accident. Her car and Mr I Can Drive How I Want To's cars were destroyed. My heart stopped when I heard her shocked voice calling me and telling me to come RIGHT NOW!!! At least she was able to call me...I knew it wasnt as bad as my imaginative mind was trying to lead me to believe.

Imagine my shock when I arrived at the scene at the number of people who had risked life and limb it would seem, crossing the busy road etc just to get a good look see. What exactly were they there for? To offer aid, to give CPR if needed, to direct traffic to prevent further accidents...? No!! All these gawkers merely wanted was a little taste of blood...they wanted to see broken bones and broken lives strewn out across the tarmac. They wanted to see the aftermath of horrible and careless driving...but of course not learn anything from it..and go on to cause the same...or maybe worse.

The worst action of all is that the ambulance was actually stuck in traffic just down the would seem not one car could bother itself enough to get out of the way and let the ambulance through. We could see it and hear it...but not receive help from it. So close and yet so far. Every car that passed by had to slow down so that all of the occupants could also get their taste of blood...before speeding off and forgetting the whole scene of carnage they had just witnessed. Nobody learns a thing here in Bahrain when it comes to driving with care. If broken bodies and broken cars doesnt wake you up...what will?

I have to give a special shout out to the Bahraini man that actually had the nerve to horn at the Firemen to get out of his way that were sweeping the street free of glass...he must have seriously felt put out that he had to wait all of 2 minutes in order for the road to be made safe for his passage.

The one thing I am very greatful for is that my friend, typical Bahraini that she is, generally does not wear her seatbelt, despite my many many lectures on its safety...for some reason last night she actually had it on...which no doubt saved her life considering the condition of her car. Thank God for small miracles. I hope she has learned the value of that seatbelt and no more lectures will be needed from me...on this subject anyhow.

Thank you to the traffic police, fire department, and the few people who stopped and gave genuine help where needed. For the rest of you gawkers and impatient drivers...I can only hope that one day you are not laying in the road needing the ambulance and inconsiderate people such as youself are not too selfish to move and let it pass...after all...its only a life needing aid...not something important like a meeting at the coffeeshop..a favorite tv show coming on...or just the desire to not be put out by other peoples misfortunes...sigh!!