Saturday, March 03, 2007

Love conquers all. ( yeah right!)

Arab version of Romeo & Juliet ..... I just hope it doesn't end like the play.
I found this to be a really touching story.

Side note: can you imagine having a Gay Mardi Gras like the one in sydney in the arab world? LOOL it just cracks me up every time I try to imagine the reaction people on the street would have


SevenSummits said...

Honestly a really touching story, but you do not even have to go as far as the West Bank to find it.
A similar drama can easily happen between a UAE national (or GCC national in general) and a foreigner. For simplicity let me exclude the even more problematic situation Arab women would be facing (especially when the constellation would include a non Muslim) from this discussion. Which just leaves me to focus on the controversial and for some folks out there "worst case scenario" of Gulf Arab male falling in love with Western female. God forbid, but as we all know since Forrest Gump "sh… happens" and so it does.

As a result, "she" in her own environment will be confronted with a generally ignorant crowd, that full of stereotyped ideas plus an extra portion of that CNN (substitute with almost any available Western news channel) picture brainwashed attitude, will react just traumatized. Superfluous comments such as: "Please be careful …", "You must read that book 'Not without my daughter …', "How do you know that he is not a …", "He is a Muslim (as if it a general threat) …", "he will have other women" (that one could at least be somewhat true, but may also be a point to consider with the average Western male)
While "he" in his environment has to listen to an equal amount of nonsense and therefore will most likely in self defence be wise and "keep it a secret".

Now how can these two proceed with their relationship? If they are just a couple, they will face an endless amount of difficulties. If they meet in the West, they get strange looks and he needs to travel all the time; however if they meet in e.g. the UAE it is a crime and becomes illegal. (This comment is only meant for people that have realized that two mature adults – let us say at least those over 25 – will eventually have an intimate relationship. Devine earthly creatures are of course highly respected, but since our life expectancy has reached beyond 35 are certainly threatened by extinction – as the many recent scandals with priests have revealed)

Assuming the fact that they agree to get married (to satisfy all "the saints" out there - which is still highly improbable because few Western women are ready to take this step – depending on their native countries) the scenario becomes even more difficult. The UAE strongly discourages such relationships, while most (if not all – I am not exactly sure) Western countries find an Islamic marriage simply not legally binding. So they can both actually agree and sign as many contracts as they wish to, but neither society will really accept their marriage. Now some will argue that they can have a legally binding civil marriage in the e.g. UK, Germany or Sweden, however this option will not be tolerated in the Gulf. (don't go to Saudi and think you are married – they might just see it differently) It gets even worse, if the guy already has one or more responsibilities.
Although what does "real love" care about legal nuances, if the socio-cultural impediments of their corresponding surroundings will be even more difficult to face? This version of Romeo and Juliet may not have to have a heartbreaking ending, since it will most likely be torn by the tragic circumstances along the way.

"Make love not war" says a famous slogan and historical analysis reveals that conflicts were often solved by tactical matchmaking – maybe a less racist attitude towards mixed couples from both sides could be a new solution to the current problem.

dxb chica said...

I wish them best of luck. :)
About the Mardi Gras festival, well, I cannot imagine this happenign anytime soon :p
Not actually not just anytime soon but simply I cannot EVEN imagine!

Genuine said...

hey Local Expat & all those displaced souls (empathetically intended) who left their comments in Local_Expats first post.

I'm so glad I have found this blog, finally I can read (& hopefully) communicate with like minded people.

I haven't had the time to read all your blogs, however, what I have read is very GOOOOOOOOOOOD!!!

I have been to this country approx. 8-9 times (can't be bothered to look in my passport now) and have been living here since beginning of November 2006 (coincidentally the same time as the birth of this blog - I think).

I was over overwhelmed with the things I saw in this country and was even more overwhelmed when I read some of the comments left in your first post by the readers.

Itis difficult to have an identity, let alone a sense of belonging somewhere, when you are rejected from all sides! As long as I am accepted by Allah(SWT).

Oh well!

I very briefly read 'Arab Lady's' blog and was disappointed to be reminded how some of the Arab men present and conduct themselves, even more unfortunate is how their actions are percieved by others as things permitted and endorsed by Islam.

I reverted to Islam 3 years ago and can't emphasize the rights and respect Islam gives to women, however these aspects of the religion are rarely, if ever, acknowledged, practiced and therefore seen.

I hope I get time to read all your blog entries!!! (+ Comments)

Keep blogging.



SevenSummits said...

Cheers Genuine and welcome to UAE Blogosphere :-)

Just like you, I just recently noticed the occasionally interesting content of several posts and especially found LocalExpats challenging topics (+ comments) not only as entertaining reading material, but more importantly as a way to further enhance my knowledge to comprehend this society, struggling with the challenges of "superimposed" development and all its negative consequences.

Certainly I have also not managed to glance through every part of these entries and have not yet seen the content of Arab Lady's blog either, but will take a look when there is a chance. Initially I was considering hosting my own Blog, but subsequently I thought that it was much better to have the discussion within an Emirati's "quest for debate".
In spite of this, if I would have gone for my own personal feature, the first entry would have been about exactly that topic you touched here. Religion and the overwhelming negative impression one gets in the UAE! In a way that relates to the observation of "pretence" that I made, when LocalExpat ask for "What defines a Local".

Personally I absolutely believe in the existence of God, but have a serious problem with the institutionalization of religion in general. For me, there has been way too much evidence in the past that this has little to do with faith in itself. Just to mention the Inquisition of the Roman Catholic Church as just one example.

Certainly I met numerous "truly religious" people in my life and can only look at them with admiration and respect. However when it comes to my own behavior – oh well, I am trying, but ….
A good example would be just lately; I rushed into an electronics chain in DC to get another gadget for my PC. Outside the store there was one of these homeless fellows and I choose to ignore him in anticipation of obtaining a little more RAM. Now in all honesty, if I would be a religious person (totally irrelevant which religion), I would have stopped to reconsider that I did not really need more MBs, that my desktop was by all standards fast enough as it is and that this man with his amputated legs would have needed my help instead. Of course "God will forgive me" for being a selfish a…, but did I not do this intentionally? No doubt about it – I did …. so better not to walk into the next mosque or church, without changing my attitude first.

What I noticed in the entire GCC and especially in the UAE was this emphasis on religion. We "Muslims" ….. ??????? But on the other hand a display of totally non Islamic behavior! I totally agree with you that Islam gives sufficient rights and respect to women and I constantly defend this and other arguments against Islam in my work, but have serious problems with what I see on an everyday basis in the UAE. Of course there are always exceptions, but again we are talking generally!

For example "modesty and kindness" are among the codified beliefs and rituals of all monotheistic religions, both will be hard to identify when you look at the current behavior of UAE nationals. The exploitation of poverty, the disrespect in which human beings are treated and the obvious accumulation and display of wealth will not correlate with any religious ideology.

I once observed a "religious" student in UAEU, who was looking at exclusive dresses in a magazine. (something you would see on TV during Oscar Night) Curious and somewhat rude as I am, I asked her what that was meant to be for and she told me that it was for attending a wedding. After I gathered a few more facts, I confronted her with the question that in a way buying something so expensive for only one evening and just to show of your wealth (to other women only) was not exactly "modest" Islamic behavior. The only response I got was "this is our culture"! So culture and religion are evidently two pairs of shoes and should not be intermixed all the time. Now a "religious attitude" would be to pay the maid a proper salary instead of wasting it in shoes, cosmetics and clothes, to have some compassion and allow foreign laborers to bring their families along, to volunteer cooking dinner and bringing it to those that are poor, etc. Can anyone picture these actions in the UAE? Leave alone the amount of pornography that is being distributed via Bluetooth, prostitution (openly also used by nationals), plastic surgery with honestly some strange components, the corrupt justice system that has nothing to do with Sharia and even worse those guys that are openly preaching in interviews about the terrible Western influence, while jumping on the next flight to see their girlfriends overseas. Pretence – all the way!
Certainly there is nothing wrong with religion, but religion and especially Islam is also flexible and leaves enough room for a modern interpretation. However the components of "compassion" and "honesty" will never change!

localexpat said...

Hey genuine,
Thanks! i am glad that you find this blog an interesting read. As you might have noticed from the comments not everyone is as enthusiastic about it as you are;-)

hey SevenSimmits,
I could not agree with you more! its like we both thinking from the same brain.loool..

I noticed that you have a lot of interesting things to say. DO you want to be a contributor to my blog and post entries? if so send me an email( my email address is on my profile)

nuh ibn zbigniew gondek said...

As salaam alaikum.

Don't forget jumah prayer today.

If your too busy I've got my two pence and a khutbah up come on by:

Wa salaama,

nuh ibn

adamflinter said...

It's bad enough if a Western male falls for a GGC female.

It's even worse in the UAE if an Asian male falls for an Arab muslim woman.

Genuine said...

hey all,

Sevensummits, I couldn't agree with you more! However, from first-hand experience - especially in the last few days - I have met some really REALLY friendly locals. I always see them at the masjid for every prayer (and in the front row) and they have always conducted themselves very well. I've been invited a couple of times to their homes and everytime I went, they were VERY hospitable and decent to say the least.

Nearly every tribe/society/country has its fair share of bad people, no one can argue this (I think, I hope), however I had to mention some of the good experiences I encountered.

SevenSummits, an analogy for you (one you may have heard before):

Imagine you gave someone (who has never driven a car and has no knowledge of driving) a brand spanking new Ferrari. Imagine they crash the car after attempting to drive it, who would you blame? The car or the driver?

Similarly Islam and people who claim to practice Islam should be judged individually, and then consequentally each should be analysed together to find any similarities, thereby verifying the truths and inconsistancies, if any.

Please forgive me if I sound condesending/patronising, that truly wasn't the intention, I just thought that maybe shedding some more light on the topic and hence conveying some thought provoking words may benefit us all.

LocalExpat, I actually haven't read all the comments left on your blog, therefore haven't come across any negative posts yet, though I'm very intrigued to read them now ;)

Take care

Earthbound Misfit said...

Nice blog dude.

check mine out sometime: