Married to the family

Life sucks when you're an Arab.
apart from all the crap we got in the last 20 years for being too stupid to speak out/act out against idiots who marred our collective name,
apart from that, life sucks in a whole other brilliant way.

you see: when you're an Arab, you're never ever really Yourself.
rather, you are You as interpreted by those around you.
Your life is a continuous struggle for power, an ant up against a colony.
You can't decide what to do, who to meet, when to dine without someone having something to say about that, and guess what, you'd better hurry up and listen. no other choice given.

Also, in Arab society, there's always someone higher up the foodchain than you, on the single merit that he/she is OLDER.
and again, your life does not belong to YOU. not entirely.
now, what choices does an Arab have?

well, apart from:
A) obey of your own free will, you can also:
B) Be stonewalled/shunned for being a "black sheep", and
C) Be damned in hell for all eternity for disobeying your elders. GASP!

its really funny: i thank God a million times over i have parents who raised me as a friend-son rather than an Arab-son, the rules above kinda mellowed. i was "prodded" in the "right" direction, rather than ordered.
my life, or at least big chunks of it, was really MINE.

i only started to notice "The Family" again when i started planning to get married.
suddenly i found myself wearing diapers again.
I did not know a lot of things, like how obviously important it is to invite one's grandmother's sister's cousin to your wedding party
or how important it is to HAVE a wedding party
("to keep face" yeah, right. As if i can ever lose mine. its been glued to my mug for 25 years now.)
or how your marriage will be deemed unacceptable in Heaven if you don't have overweight sweaty relatives gyrating around you trying to kiss you with garlic-breath while some 3rd rate singer is blaring out "Hallah, Hallah" for two hours straight.
(not that you can't afford a better singer, its just that in Arab weddings, there's always the obligatory 3rd rate singer)
Now, i don't want it. i don't even remotely like it. add to that a recent death in my wife's family, so it would be really uncomfortable for her, and that made the reasoning all the much better.
problem is, My Family No Go.

hmm. conflict of interests.
solution? simple:

Forceful Negotiations.
(Negotiating with a lead pipe. something along the lines of: "I earned enough money to do it all on my own, so stuff you and what you think. its MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY. Get Bent")

i did not have a party.
i did not invite great aunty whatsherface
and i did NOT have a musical reenactment of the Battle of the Bulge, thankyouverymuch.

anyway, that was Negotiating with MY Family. where i have already silently established leverage for years now.
Just as life was getting better, and i was starting to have pink visions of rainbows and kittens:

Enter the In-Laws.
its freaking hard enough trying to run ONE life by The Will of The Hive,
imagine how difficult it must be when you have a whole other Overmind sneak up on you in the shower when you were looking for that soap.
in addition to marrying the woman i've loved for four years straight, i found myself married to her family. core and extended.
for the past week they've had me singing the blues in C, for CRAP.

and the FUNNIER part is? since i used all my aces with My family, kicking some of them in the teeth along the line, i can no longer maneuver them to help me.
i'm not getting any help from my darling either. she's too busy trying to negotiate for herself.
i'm ALL ALONE. in the cold. and the coyotes are howling.
and its ripping me in two.

now i dont ever want to give the impression my In-Laws or my own family are bad people. no really. they are the best people one would wish for.
they're just Arabs.

Bloody Arabs.

for those of you who are Arabs and yet to marry:
just remember:
edit: Most Probably, i have had MORE freedom, MORE resources and MORE time than you.
Learn fast, you're up next.

Who? What? How? When?

Iraqi Resistance (Subtitled)

Thanks Red ;)

musing silently among the wicked + tribute

9 am. i find myself in the UNHCR-Amman "lobby", staring at nothing in particular, waiting for salvation.
The lobby is a shed connected to a hall, at the end of which is a corridor containing the interview rooms. i stare into nothing in particular.
a hundred other faces stare back at me. they all carry the same blank expression.
we all have stories to tell.
they all have the same ingredient, with optional additives:

someone was killed. something got taken. a raid here. an militia there.
add to taste and stir for 4 years.

the untouchables.
that's what we are. and not in a good sense either.

i'm there to apply for the refugee program.

my main reason?
being identified officially as a refugee protects me from deportation.

you see, no residency for this old boy, so no guarantees that my ass won't be hauled back "home" at the first random checkpoint. its unlikely mind you, but NOT impossible.
now, i can stop worrying about that, and start thinking about other things, like what color socks will i wear when i go to my uncle's house for his daughter's birthday.

well, not yet anyway, the interview went normally, i am given a "get out of jail free" paper, temporary, until i am called to be interviewed again, and maybe probably be given a permanent one.

its 12 pm. for the first time in many months, i can walk freely, mind unfettered.

i decide against going to my uncle's house.
i don't like going out much.


etc etc.
or something like it, anyway ;)

(see Indy man? i told u i'll make a proper dedication and everything, not that you can call that proper, honestly, but hey, its better than nothing!)

and Lynnette:
SEE? here's a post!
not a "real" one i know.