Are you really that racist?

November 6, 2009 at 8:24 pm (arranged marriage, Ethics, Just a thought ..., Opinion, Qatari culture, Society)

A question crossed my mind few weeks ago, while I was chatting with my sister. She was telling my a story about one of her friends. I don’t know why I decided to write about this now, but I just want to get your opinion.  The issue might be sensitive, and might bother some, but it is real and exists in our society. It is actually two main issues. Here is the story, and after reading it, you can understand which issue I am referring to. I won’t make any comments, I will just tell you the story.

Sarah is a beautiful young Qatari woman; she is an engineer and is very successful at work. She comes from a very good family, moderately rich, educated and open minded. She lives her life to the full, but she has a secret that was tormenting her for the past few months. A new guy came to work at her department and she fell in love with him. She was observing how he behaved with his colleagues, how he spoke, how he took good care of his image and health. How rare, she thought, he is so different.  Sarah is very confident, yet shy. She never dared to approach him, or show her feelings. However, with time, she noticed that he was noticing her too. Her heart would flutter like a bird whenever he spoke to her. The thing is, Sarah did not know that Ahmed, the one who she is in love with, is also in love with her. He had butterflies in his stomach every time he sees her or smells her perfume. Sarah wants to marry and settle and so does Ahmed. And finally, the day came when Ahmed told her that he would like to come and propose to her. Of course, Sarah did not show that she was about to faint as she heard him utter these words. She just said that she will think about it, and that he should speak to her family if he was serious.

Sarah flew home, everything was light, everyone seemed nice, even the heat of Doha seemed so easy to handle. How would she tell her father though? She can’t tell him that the guy spoke to her directly, so she decided to say that a friend of hers tld her about him. So, she sat both her parents in the living room and told them the good news. “My friend called me today and said that there is a man , works in our company, is interested and wants to propose to me. He saw me several times and asked about me”. Her parents couldn’t be happier; they asked her “really? That is good news, what is his name?”. “Ahmed al-****” answered Sarah. Her parents suddenly were dead silent. Sarah did not like this reaction. She looked at them as they were looking at each other looking surprised,  and asked “What is wrong?”. Her dad said “he is not suitable for us”. Sarah was confused, us? “Why isn’t he suitable, you did not even know what his job is, whether he was educated or not, rich or not”. Her dad said firmly, “his name is enough, he is not from a family that we would consider for affinity”.  Sarah then realized the reality she lived in, how discriminatory her society is, even against each other. Her mother said “They have Persian blood mixed in them, they are not pure Arab”. Sarah felt furious, she said irritated “That was hundreds of years ago, aren’t they Arab who went to Persia and came back? Didn’t they live here for a long time, didn’t they grow up here, worked and ate on this land, what makes them so different or not suitable for marriage, and what are we, created from a different material? Aren’t we all Muslims? What does this matter? I thought that you would ask about his morals, his reputation, his education, not how many races he has in his blood?” . Her dad said “well my dear, society doesn’t work this way, what would we tell people?”. Sarah got up at this point and said firmly “society are not going to live my life, it’s me who is going to live it”. As she was leaving the room, her dad said “ok, let’s ask about him, he might be a good man”. Sarah said “what is the point, you rejected him before you even know anything about him, how prejudice”, she then said “it’s funny how everyone interfere in this decision, how everyone must give his blessings and approval for my marriage, while it’s me, only me and the person I will marry who will be in this marriage, who will live this life together”.

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The Invisible Army

September 10, 2009 at 11:02 am (cheap labour, Ethics, Human Rights, poetryreading, Prose Poems, Qatari culture, Society, work)


The Invisible Army

They wrap their dry faces with dirty cloth

And if they are lucky, a plastic helmet


The sun is squashing them, like we squash a moth

And we leave them lying dead, burning, till we collect them at sunset.


They are canned in the bus

Then canned in their rooms


They have no expressions

They were wiped out

By the sun, by the dust, by the law, and by us


They try to run away from the burning sun

They try to remove the never ending dust

But there is nowhere to run, from the dust nor the sun


All you can see behind that never ending yellow dust

Is their broken souls, through their eyes, looking at the shiny cars


 They are not as human as we are

For they are nothing but workers

We don’t want them in our shopping malls

For they are polluters


We choose not to see them

We choose to forget about them


This invisible army that builds our country

Remains invisible behind the never ending yellow dust and bright burning sun


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