Saturday, 26 May 2007

Tuck in, eat up.

I bought an address! I now own a domain, I am so proud. When we were first here Q was having a conversation with one of the Americans. They were discussing the social implications of class distinctions. When she asked how Q would categorize me, Q said, “Mom is landed gentry, but without the land.” Now I have a domain so can I consider than cyber land?

The following is from an article I read this morning about the increasing roles women are playing in Algeria. I was cruising along being very pleased with the statistics (women 70% of lawyers, 60% of judges, dominate medicine, 60% of university students, and driving buses and taxis) when I hit this next paragraph. It brought me up short I tell you. It’s fear isn’t it? This reinforces my theory that the root of all evil is fear. Now I know I have a few male readers out there, what is your take on this? It is not Islam, this is not what the Koran teaches, and so to say it is the religion is too easy.

NYTimes 26 May 2007
Not everyone is happy with those dynamics. Some political and social analysts say the recent resurgence in radical Islamist activity, including bombings, is driven partly by a desire to slow the social change the country is experiencing, especially regarding women’s role in society.

Others complain that the growing participation of women in society is a direct violation of the faith.

“I am against this,” said Esmail Ben Ibrahim, an imam at a neighborhood mosque near the center of the city. “It is all wrong from a religious point of view. Society has embarked on the wrong path.”
I see this in Morocco as well, and I have seen it in Pakistan so it is not confined to North Africa or the Middle East. It frustrates me no end, really makes me want to hit something. Not very enlightened eh? This is when I put on my boxing gloves…

Q and her fiancĂ©’ A had a wonderful time at Mama’ Fatima’s house in the Fez Medina when he visited Morocco. There were discussions of “That’s right the Jews left Germany because they had some difficulty with Hitler.” It was meant however in the best sense when one considers how conservative the older son, who is the male of the house (even though there is no doubt it is Mama’ who rules the roost) is in his beliefs. His wife does not come downstairs when there are male visitors, and wears a hijab in the house even if those visitors are male relatives. He had several discussions with our friend Sandy while she was there as a student-guest and his view is that the Holocaust never happened; this resulted in the almost embarrassing display of welcome lavished on A who is Jewish, when he arrived. I am telling you, the women of Morocco are not wussy. Fatima Zora and her friend Marilyn have started a business together, an English school. Fatima Zora does not wear the hijab and there is no disapproval from Mama who does.

There was a house full of relatives. Two sheep were killed in preparation for all the family and visitors expected; one of which was hanging upstairs and being carved as-you-go. The downstairs large mahogany table was covered with a display of home baked cookies to make the best baker weep.

The older sister Fatima, who is an Economics Professor in Marrakech but wants to quit and open a beauty salon, was there discussing in detail (to the horror of Fatima-Zora the younger sister) the varied and specific oils that should be used for massage. Once again proving that Fez, in spite of its size, is a ‘small town’, Fatima Zora said to Q, “My friend Fed-wa tells me you were in to the Spa and had the hamman and the waxing.”

Q is thinking, “Fabulous the entire family now knows I was waxed!” She said, “How do you know Fed-wa?”

“Her salon is across the street from my old school. I used to go there, and she said there was a Western girl in named Q so I knew it was you.”

At the end of the evening Mama Fatima said to Q, “You are behaving like an American! You have to be invited to visit! I do not expect this from you.”

Mama Fatima is constantly trying to feed me up. She says I will never get a Moroccan husband if I don’t put on some weight. Along this same cultural line, Fatima Zora has decided she is ready to marry so she GAINED twenty pounds in preparation! Stick that to the skinny ladies of Hollywood and the catwalk.

Q returned from class. She walked in the door with that look of someone who has just had the cream from the cat's dish (if you are not British that is "smug").

"Whatever have you been up to," I ask. Being her mother, I know that look when I see it.

"W-e-el-l, I felt a bit bitchy during class so I wrote dirty sentences. I made myself write them in grammatically correct Arabic, so it came out: "Fatima would you like to penetrate my dog?” and "Dear Karim would you like to surrender to me?"

"The funny part," she said, "was that my Moroccan teacher just assumed no one would be proficient enough to make up the sentences on purpose; so he thought I had made a mistake. It was great."

Parental advice from Fez: rear your children so that when they are grown they will amuse you.

18 comments:

Omega Mum said...

You mean in addition to having rug envy, I now have to have domain envy? Did you read about the Pakhistan woman minister (of tourism, ironically) forced to resign because she hugged her (male) instructor after completing a parachute jump.....

nutmeg said...

What a refreshing blog! Can I be you? I was in Walmart yesterday!

Women are still manacled to inertia in so many cultures. I'm not sure we aren't sporting manacles here in the states, albeit more subtle ones.

lady macleod said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lady macleod said...

omega mum,

I wish I could say, "You're kidding me!" But I know all too well it could be true. Look at the brannigan that poor Richard Gere stirred up in India. India for mercy sake. At least they (the mysterious and ominous they) did not kill her like the female minister in Afghanistan. I just don't know. I don't get it.

When I get really nuts (like I am now) I go to Heifer International and buy a goat. They do such tremendous work, and they target women much in the same way that Indian economist who won the Nobel prize. You make small business loans to the WOMEN. It has been so successful. It makes me feel like I am doing SOMETHING.

We-e-e-l I don't know about envy - but you can visit my domain and have tea sitting on the rug! How's that?

lady macleod said...

nutmeg,

No, that job is taken (he he). I am pleased you enjoyed the blog. I LIKE Walmart, except it is too big - those huge stores frighten me. I fear getting lost, much more so than when I was in the Amazon. Go figure.

What you say about the manacles is too true I fear. Women in the west still make seven cents to the dollar as compared to men. I love men, I do but I don't like the inequality. All in all I still like being the woman, she said smiling.

Thank you for coming by.

sally in norfolk said...

congratulations on getting your domain...I remember when I got sallyinnorfolk, a present I never expected.
Geoff says would you like him to set you up a wordpress blog on your domain...like mine x

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

What are you planning to do with your domain? I think the oppression of women is worldwide and is caused by fundamentalist beliefs, be they Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or whatever. Each of the above have sects that seek to further the oppression of women in scarily similar ways (through dress, etc.) I do like the idea of gaining weight to get a man, however.

debio said...

Very often, here, it is the mothers who are holding back the daughters; it is they who insist on their children wearing the abayas - husbands, brothers etc are being educated away from the cover-up culture. And the Ruling Sheikh is doing his bit for women in business in a number of ways.

lady macleod said...

Sally,

What a generous offer. thank you and thanks to Geoff as well.

Now how is that different exactly?

What I have done for now, is to install forwarding. So if someone types in www.braveheart-does-the-maghreb.com/ they actually get .blogspot.com/

My intention is to use the blog/site to post articles I get published, and when (everyone say a kind word here) I get an agent and sell a manuscript I can post a chapter to help sales. That sort of thing.

I don't want to make it difficult for anyone to find me. You have no idea how truly hilarious that is after years of flying under
the radar as it were.

I do like the layout and look of your site. If it is not too much trouble, once Geoff gets out of the pool, you could perhaps email me the specifics.

Again, so generous. Thank you.

lady macleod said...

WUASTC,

I purchased the domain after reading on someone's else's blog (so sorry I can't remember which one) that there is a great deal of plagiarism in the blog kingdom. As my intent is to be a published (and wildly successful, just think of the parties we can have) writer I wanted to get copyright and ownership tapped down. Until I get something published and can post an enticement it will continue as it is now.

I know! Can you imagine going about and complaining that you HAVE TO gain twenty pounds to be more attractive. I love this country.

lady macleod said...

debio,

Thank you for that data. Three cheers for everyone that is working toward eliminating the suppression of anyone no matter the gender. I believe it is also the intent of the King here, who has a very intelligent and well educated wife - and just the one!

Thanks for coming by.

Geoff said...

Congratulations on acquiring your own little plot :-)
I will happily set you up with a wordpress blog, assuming, apologies for the technicality, that your site allows php databases. If you want to have a chat give me a call on skype I'm geofones or just email/IM me. I'm always geofones on any of the instant messenger channels

james higham said...

...I see this in Morocco as well, and I have seen it in Pakistan so it is not confined to North Africa or the Middle East...

Wouldn't have anything to do with the ...er...culture which governs those countries, would it?

lady macleod said...

geoff,

Will do, and thank you.


James,

Yes I think it very much does have to do with the culture. I take your point but my point is there must be some way to change it. I mean it was not all that long ago that women could not vote or own land in the west.

I think if we tried measures other than shooting we might make more advances. I am not sure what would, that's why I turned down that goddess job. I do know in any culture it is the weakest, women and children, that take the brunt of any injustice. When I read about events such as omega mum mentioned or I see the outright cruelty in Afghanistan I feel frustrated and helpless.

I really think it goes back to "Evil exist when good men or women do nothing."

Snuffleupagus said...

I am not sure what you describe is simply evil. It is more, as you say, a way of life that is accepted by many, both male and female, and promoted by some.

As much as we may have the right and the moral obligation to criticise Bush and Blair, they do head countries where women can walk about with a certain amount of freedom. They can, for instance, wear skirts, and interestingly, the men around manage to control themselves.

It is silly, I think, to suggest that life for women in the West is the same as women in the East.

Having said that, I often wonder whether what we seek (true equality, I mean) is perhaps a fantasy, that it isn't really possible... that men and women could never be truly equal and still be potential partners, have families and procreate.

I am undecided on that one.

Snuffy

aminah said...

i wonder how many of us commenting have talked to a women in a hijab, have Muslim friends? I wonder how many of us are sucked into what is deplicted on the media? How many of us sadly generalise?

lady macleod said...

Snuffleupagus

thank you for your comments. I'm sure you will find agreement and disagreement.
Thank you for coming by.


aminah

Unfortunately I fear all of us at some time fall into the generalization trap. I try to guard against it, be aware of it, yet I know that I sometimes fail.

What you say has merit, but I think those that have not had direct contact with a situation can have sympathy for it. If we make ourselves as informed as possible and remain open to change I think it will work don't you?
Thanks for coming by.

Andres Carl Sena said...

holy moly, a lot packed in this one- tight, yet meandering. i suspect somewaht like the women in morrocco- they live somewhat meadering lives within a tight rubric of societal norms and rules. if that makes sense.