Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Arabian Chronicles

Be warned: Long post
Be warned again: Vague and complex post, not easy to understand

Arabian Chronicles

The mood of writing about myself never struck me as something I would do even though the thought did cross my mind. I always found biographies too real to be interesting. That is until I figured that most fiction stories which left a mark in me were issues extracted from reality. How interesting it turned out depended on the writer and in what light people were willing to look at it. I am a daughter of many former dynasties and generations and yet more of a commoner than people believe. What I say or write are thoughts that are either too difficult to put into words or beyond my level to explain. I merely write at my own whim and I remain silent at my own whim all the same. I do not write to please nor upset those who read my words. I write to write. I write to state what is and what has become. I write to live and leave my mark on this world even after I am long gone. Something I believe many before me have done and are still doing now. I will not deny that I feel myself insignificant compared to many great lives that’ve caused so many changes in this world and I do not expect myself to reach their level. I’ve too much humility for that. However, the more I observe life the more I realize how we all go through the same stages. Those great figures now were just like me and you once upon a time. They thought like us, they lived and went through the same experiences we did. So what makes you or me any different? What makes you think that anyone no matter where they come from are any different?

The person I am today is very much like she was when she was born 22 years ago, only time and experience have changed the way I started viewing life. And in many cases I do not like what I see. Yet in many other cases I also do. What my experiences made me was an extreme feminist, revolutionist, humanist, and pacifist. It’s a constant battle that’s been going on for centuries. My mind’s gone numb from trying to find solutions to life’s problems. Understanding such disputes is not one of my strengths. But understanding humanity is. I know I’m not the only one with questions of why life is what it is. I know that what I write has most probably been thought of before by someone else. And I know for a fact now that no matter how many times I thought I was the only secluded weird girl, I was too blind to see that many others grew to share my views one way or another. So perhaps I’m not alone. Perhaps life’s outer appearance could be deceiving.

If I were to note down the reasons I chose to write this, I could not give a specific answer, because what I’m trying to pass on is a message that’s even puzzling to myself. This message can only be concluded by the reader. Every person sees things in a different light and may see something in what I write that I myself might not realize. There’s also a chance that this might never be read, but I’d like to have it exist nevertheless for myself. Because these thoughts merely stored in the back of my head are a torment. I’m on campus and things my side have been going well. However, certain sights over here sadden me. They’re issues in my country that may be worse in other countries. However as long as where I belong has these issues, it’s what concerns me the most. My ignorance of the past may give me no right to judge, but I know enough to see that something is not right. Histories spoke of kings and rulers throughout generations. I’ve barely heard of the other gender though, my gender. What were they like in my world? What must’ve happened to make them the way they are today?
I walk around here seeing nothing but black figures and I hate the fact that I am forced to walk around in the same manner. In these figures I see shame and lack of self confidence in every one of them; because they were made to believe that they were inferior. However what I also see in these figures are trapped birds trying to peck their cages open. I see birds that are prevented from flying and I ask myself why. Why did things turn out this way? What happened in the past to have caused women to be segregated from society and degraded to covered figures who’re in a constant battle of trying to prove their existence? As much as they try to deny it, I know that deep within no sane human would be happy to be in their shoes. I know this because I am one of them. The only difference between me and them is the fact that I refuse to accept it. Because I know something is wrong and this is not the way things are supposed to be. Why do they have to hide themselves behind black veils? What is wrong with who they are and why should they be ashamed to show themselves to the world? Are they not a part of this world? Did they not give birth to humanity? So in what way are they inferior?

My country has given them more rights than most other Arabian countries, but certain boundaries still exist and in rural areas conservative families exist more than I ever expected. Yet from what I observed, they’re not the only ones suffering from this. I’ve seen through the fact that men are suffering as well. Because believe it or not these limitations affect their lives too. That is not a sight I like watching. The images in my dreamy mind show a different picture. They show those black figures spring out of their cages into colourful phoenixes. They show the rebirth of females revealed exactly the way they are. And they show men by their side, interacting…. Not miles away from them until betrothed. It’s a harmonious image. It’s relaxing. It’s happy. It’s the real joy of being alive. It’s humane. It’s the world I’d like to be a part of. Somewhere where you are acknowledged is somewhere you belong. Because how could you belong to a place that doesn’t recognize your existence? Where do your allegiances lie? Could you really call that your home? Or do you call it that because you have no other choice? Do not pretend. I see through you. I am you. And you are me.
There are boundary issues related to this. Veils are but one barrier. Power is another. You live in the rule similar to the rule of the jungle. The rule that the stronger rules. But what is strength really? Is it strength of the body or strength of the heart? I see strength in those who endure injustice for so long and still find the will to live on. I see strength in those who never give up. And perhaps this attitude is the key to change. Perhaps the change that will make the images in my mind come true.

It is true that people do not do harm so proudly more than when they do it out of religious conviction. But you see, even the religious amateur in me can tell that religion is in no way the cause of this, it was merely used to carry out human motives. Used by most of those so called religious fakes who brainwash simpletons for their own objectives. And the result was this gloomy sight I see in front of me now as well as the false media of blaming it on religion. While on the other hand others completely ignore religious teachings according to their own fancy of following culture. On what level do they then call themselves Muslims? Refusing different stereotypes into families was a rule I did not see in our Islamic teachings. Those degraded females however don’t exactly have the choice to refuse to follow such blasphemies.
I was told by a friend once. That these rules are the only things Arabs have to be proud of. Culture… backgrounds. Because they lost their advanced selves from the past when technology in other countries overpowered them. But is clinging onto the past really the solution? We are a proud race. But I believe that as long as we live in this dark hole our pride is meaningless. We’ve lost our credibility which can only be retrieved by taking the challenge and focusing on the future. Not dwelling on the past. Do people really understand that? Or are they too busy refusing to copy others out of their own ego? Haven’t we been copied and overruled ourselves? Were we not the best in science ages ago? But these ideas were taken and improved by others? Because they know how to make use of their resources. So perhaps this shows that copying and learning from others is not a bad thing after all? You hold an unnecessary grudge against your rivals. You do not hold a high opinion of the west and yet secretly you admire them. Because they surpassed you. They’re advanced.. That’s why you Arabs do not want to acknowledge them. You’ve lost your confidence in believing in yourselves and chose the easy way out. This may be understandable. But it’s not your key to improvement. There will be no harm in copying them the same way they copied you. Learn from them the same way they learned from you. Surpass them the same way they surpassed you. But most importantly respect them the same way they respect you. I know some don’t. But those are not the ones you should be concerned with. They’re merely the uncivilized ignorants of the flock. Same as we have uncivilized ignorants in our flocks. Those are the ones that try to invite people into our religion as if their own religions are not good. And mind you we have many of those disrespectful people around. Remember that they are similar to you. They’ve grown up believing in their teachings just as much as you have grown up believing in yours. Do not be so ignorant as to enforce your beliefs on others. That’s the sort of disrespect no one appreciates. If you do not wish for people to make fun of your religion especially the reaction Denmark got from that comic. Then do not make fun of other religions. Those are my observations.

…. And that concludes my post for today.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, most outstanding works of fiction are derived from personal life circumstances. Although they are more exaggerated, the root elements are extracted normally from the author's personal life. Not only the plot & its advancements but also the characters (be it or be it not intentionally) are influenced from persons from the author's life. Foes, friends, betrayal, loyalty. All can be retraced to actual natures of people whom the writer has personally interacted with. I’m sure you’re familiar with Charles Lutwidge Dodgson’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. I believe all the characters are based on people from his real life. The Queen of Hearts is someone whom he hated and considered an enemy, for example.

It is true Arabs descend from a rich ancestry of different empires, each with it's own unique elements. I believe you implied women did not have much of a role as rulers in the Arab history. This is not the best perspective to use for contrasting, because in history, generally, men played a much larger rule. This is also the case in old European and Asian civilization. That being said, there are of course some female figures who stood out. They are not much spoken of, but there were also female rulers in the region you come from, who had exceeded many men. Balqis, The Queen of Sheba, for example, is one of the best examples of leadership to ever exist. She was, as you may know, the ruler of the region south of the Arabian Peninsula. That's were you come from, right?

I can understand why women in the Middle East might feel oppressed. However, they are the ones allowing this oppression to take place. If a women, today, refuse to wear Abbaya for example, what's the worst that can happen? Granted, she might be viewed as an outcast or a source of shame, but how would that be worse than her present supposedly oppressed life. Both lives sound unpleasant, but in the end, it all boils down to personal psychology handling. Precisely how women you speak of, who convince themselves that, for example, being covered is the correct way to go (probable religious reasons), other women will simply convince themselves the opposite and believe it. Don't get me wrong, I, like you, am also of the opinion everyone should be up to their own opinions and choices. However, I only mean that generally, because authority is always needed to control the herd. That's another topic for another day, though.

Going back to those women's psychology, I'd like to note that feminists convince themselves that something is wrong in the same way supposedly oppressed women convince themselves that they are so. The answer to which side is right is philosophical. I'm personally of the opinion of Nietzsche. Look more on his Beyond Good & Evil to understand if you're interested. Now, going back to religion, Islamic rules are really solid and concrete. I have no problem with those who refuse to wear the veil, but saying it's not breaking religious rules is just hypocrisy and baseless self-convincing. All should be inclined to their actions, but to screw around the bush is down right hypocrisy. I say that regardless of my personal beliefs.

Anonymous said...

You've painted a lovely picture and spoke poetically of you'd love to see a phase of metamorphosis taking place. I mean the one that resembles caterpillars shedding their cocoons to soar as butterflies. That was beautiful and such a delight to read, but no one can voluntarily speak of a whole group of people. This might be due to my nature as a physicist and a mathematician, but one can only speak of people when they had personally conducted a survey that includes most of the group desired to understand. The word "most" means a sample of 51% or more, which as you can tell is not something very practical to conduct.

Seeing strength in those who endure is something foreign to me. Those who endure and keep silent are the plain opposite of those with strength. They are however patient, which is also a form of strength. Before you call on to my oxymoron, let me make this clear. From what I understood, the strength-meaning you implied is the one related to bravery, courage and confidence. The one you literally explained is the one related to patience. I believe the strength of patience is extremely important, but only when there are no humanly possible alternatives. As long as there other ways to go, then sitting around and convincing one's self to endure is not really power... nor strength.

Your last few paragraphs are somewhat special. That's because after all the opposite views I outlined just now, those last few lines are almost, not entirely, the same things I would respond with in regards to the topic. Maybe we can discuss the different ways people interpret Islam some time later, if (emphasize on "if" you're interested). I say it that way because I'm not sure whether you'd read this far. Now is when I should apologize for the long reply... but I won't! I've read your long post, too. So in your face. Besides, this was also an unorganized draft of thoughts similar to your original entry. so all good I believe. Ohhh I don't go by that much anymore, but you might know me as Snooky.

Anyway, it was lovely reading your thoughts, so thanks for the opportunity. It was very well expressed and beautifully written (very poetic, too). It would great to read even more, if that's ok.


Anonymous said...

Sorry had to split the previous two posts in order to publish them due to word limits.

TripleTee said...

rofl... I read all replies in my blog... if I can write a lot I can read a lot. *wipes her face*
I like many of your points snooky and I very much agree with the fact that women are allowing this for themselves by hardly doing anything. However, doing something is not as easy as you describe it. What's the worst that could happen to a woman if she doesn't cover? She'll be beaten and physically abused by the men in her family. Don't you think?

when I speak for women, I do not speak for all... I only speak for those trying to break free and believe that such rules are wrong just as much as I do. I see very few of those. What can a few people do?

as for my religious beliefs. I only speak of the Quran, not the Hadeeths. because the authentication of certain hadeeths could be up for discussions. I could only be sure of the holy book and therefore when I refer to Islam I refer to the Quran. Of course these opinions differ with different people. What I wrote here was my personal views regardless of whether one would think them right or wrong. That is of course up to the readers to draw their own conclusions.

I appreciate your input on this however and I do believe your points valid. Thanks

Anonymous said...


Sorry for the late reply...

Unless the woman is absolutely dependent on her folks, she can stand up & not allow herself be beaten up to a pulp. There are many things for her to do to get even. I'm sure your imagination is big enough to think up a few options.

When speaking about Islamic rules, one must take into consideration both the Quran & the Hadeeth. One cannot simply choose a portion & neglect the other. While it is true "the authentication of certain hadeeths" is questionable, those remain as you said, some "certain hadeeths," with their power level being always indicated along with them. The Quran itself orders Muslims to follow what the prophet teaches, so going by your logic, following the Hadeeth is in direct following of the Quran.

Now, I have no problem with people drinking for example, but to try & justify it as islamically ok is what I'm against. Do whatever you want only without lying & convincing yourself first, and then others.

Personal views in the way you describe are very limited in Islam.

TripleTee said...

It's not that. It's my doubt on which of these hadeeths are authentic.

the fact that i dont believe a few things are true in islam is because I dont believe the hadeeths about it are true. yes quran told us to follow what the prophet said. but how do we know exactly what the prophet said? There are many who would try and twist his words and i believe that's what happened.
so it's very hard to follow hadeeths in this sense.

Anonymous said...

Does that mean abandoning them altogether?

Going by that logic, The Quran might have been edited. Heck, WWII might be fiction. All things history are known to us via تواتر. I hope you know what that means. It is the only reliable source for history. Which is ironic, because تواتر is not that reliable.

TripleTee said...

not abandon it... but by using my head i could guess perhaps which of these hadeeths are true and which are not. which match the quran teachings the most and which dont. doesn't that make sense?

Politics said...

Discrimination is fact that we have to deal with bravely; to be in confrontation with our dark side seems to be opposing drive beyond some red lines , set up by the power of illusion and extreme absolutism. Our mind is the truth , it’s the pivotal point.

TripleTee said...

That depends on what you mean by deal with?
Rather, I believe discrimination is a fact we have to change.
Because discrimination IS the dark side and therefore it should be confronted.
Snooky's right... enduring this only means patience. Strength and bravery means going against the wave... not waiting for a miracle to happen.

I just don't know how it's gonna work.