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Saturday, October 1, 2011

I, Myself, and Facebook!

Thanks to all the social networks, today I am contacting and communication with people from all over the world. Gradually those people become close friends, and I learned to share with them even some private moments in my life. Yes, the internet has made our world seem smaller, and it sounds as if we all live next doors!!

Couple of years ago, before this revolution in communication technology, I read an article about the technology we live today, which stated that once this revolution happened, people would be lazy, and lose interest in moving; people would be just fat and dump since everything is available within hand reach. 

Now, as we enjoy this technology, I can say that it saves time and effort for me for instead of searching books lying on shelves covered with dust, books which no one reads, but a bookworm like me, now i can just press a finger, one slight press and all the information that I need is there, one step away, just ready for my mind to consume! So, i find internet is of great use to me, and I can say today it is indispensable to me.

Moreover, the social networks changed my character from introvert person, keeping feelings of anger, pain, and sometimes frustration to herself, because she is too shy to share these with immediate family or friends, as they can be the cause of these feelings or won't be able to understand, to someone who is ready to share, someone more expressive of what goes inside. I started to use language as a means of expression, something I rarely use in my daily real-life contacts.            

Social networks didn't give me more friends only, no what they have given me is more than that. I have discovered new territories about myself, as if I found what has been long lost in my life: communication. It becomes a habit for me to wake up and check what my FB friends have done and what they are up to, their posts enlighten me, and break the monotonous life that I used to be leading before. Yes, internet changed me, not by providing me with more knowledge only, but by giving me a life that always wanted to live, a life of interaction with people from different places of the world. Chatting with them, sharing a post, or join a debate, all feel like traveling around the globe, which has been always a dream to me.    

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Culture and Identity

Couple of months ago, the department of English where I teach held a poetry reading session; actually it was wholly arranged by a senior student who claims to be a poet. He invited to it some poets whom, he said, are considered "schools" in today's poetry in Iraq! I attended it thinking that finally I may encounter something that trigger my interest and guide me out of my ignorance in Arabic poetry of nowadays! The reading session was horrible experience for me; what I listened to then was nothing like poetry, but cheap erotic verse meant for flirtations with audience who was mostly females!!! I rushed out after half an hour because I felt insulted and lost hope in finding something of interest in this aspect of my culture.                       

The whole identity issue requires a sense of the identification with one's culture: to relate to the language spoken by people, music, lyrics and other cultural aspects. When my foreign friends ask me about these aspects in my Iraqi cultural I feel embarrassed for the fact that I'm ignorant in most of these. I did listened to couple of Iraq songs of the late 1970s and 80s, but it was accidental experience rather than being heartily interested in.

One of the things that make me feel detached from the culture of my country is the use of language. In Iraq people speak Iraqi dialect, one of many versions of Arabic language. No need to talk here about the history of this dialect, but all I can say it is one of the many variations that Arab countries use. Now my relationship to this dialect is limited to the everyday use of it as means of communicating with others, rather than as a means of expression. Before I join the department of English, and take English as a major study, I used to write my diaries and thoughts in standard Arabic, rather than dialect Iraqi. Of course most of the Arabs, Iraqis included do that, as the use of dialects is mostly oral rather than written. However, once I gained confidence in using English, it became my means of expression, and using it as such felt like finding a lost ring in the chain of my being.

For almost 15 years now, English is the language I use in my personal and private writings (standard Arabic is used occasionally when I do some translation tasks, but not for personal writings). This creates a breach between me and Arabic (of course thanks to Quran that I still know how to read it correctly, and how to write it without spelling mistakes!!).

It becomes also embarrassing when people ask me about the poetry written by Iraqi people when they come to know that I'm university instructor of English poetry. They think I would have developed an interest in comparative studies between Arabic and English poetry, which, to be honest here, I should have done, since I speak both languages and this gives better access for both fields as well as being majored in literature!! Unfortunately, my information about Arabic poetry doesn't exceed what I have already learned in school, and if it wouldn't for my good memory, all would have been lost by now!

I can talk for hours about the prosody of English poetry, I can actually edit poems in English to fix their rhythm and rhyme, but all I can do with Arabic poetry is to read it and enjoy it if there is something I can relate to.
After being asked several times about the poetry written by my people, the Iraqis, I thought of searching for more information, thinking that maybe there will be something of interest which take me closer to this aspect of my culture. I couldn't! and didn't even find anything that gives the urge to search more.

However, not to sound too grim, sometimes I still manage to find courage and check few websites here and there; I try to create hope in the possibility of finding something good and worth reading that can take me back to the culture I belong to. 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Who Am I?

Who am I? a question that most of us try to answer yet after playing with several possibilities, no definite answer is given to a question sounds so simple, but quite complicated. Maybe, a look at the national id card can give part of the answer: here it says that am Iraqi female, born in 1978, brunette with no distinct marks. So what does that mean? 

According to the information given there, I'm a female living in a country that is well-known for all the wars it has lived during the last decades. Being born in 1978, means that my childhood was spent with the 8 years' war with Iran, and adolescent years during the 1990s when my country has to face the calamities of the embargo, and my twenties spent with the consequences of 2003 war. Now what does that make me? Yes, I belong to very unlucky generation in the Iraqi society, whose best years have been always clouded with political and social problems. These years left us confused and lost over our own identity and our own sense of belonging to a country that has been always represented by blood-thirsty vampires. Today, being "Iraqi" doesn't give so much pride, nor excite much of patriotic feelings, if they really exist!

Being a female is beyond analysis. It makes me vulnerable in a world that asks me to be at my ultimate strength. The harsh world we live, the hard times I have witnessed ask me to be strong, and face the world with masculine boldness, and never let my feminine weakness take control of my reactions. 

I have degrees (PhD) in a major that I really love and totally enjoy, which makes me somehow lucky. I work with my major, a university instructor of English literature, so I'm paid to do something i really like, or such it sounds, so am really lucky with that.

Then what is the problem here, one may ask? Why one feels dissatisfied, not complete, and lost! Is it middle-age crisis, considering the fact that in Iraq women in their thirties equal the forties for women in Europe of USA? Maybe!! But if that is the case, then the problem is easy, and it will pass away in a while, once I get used to it!!! 

However, even this explanation doesn't not satisfy my inquiring mind!!!! 

So, I will keep asking, and I keep inquiring about my restlessness, and my confusion. Probably, one day, while I'm scratching this screen with nonsense, the right answer hits the mind!

Seeing Things

Seeing Things is an attempt to figure out my place in this world, to understand the small,

but wide world around me; it is my call for more friendships, more contact, and better

co-existence. It is a peep to my confused mind, and my restless heart, a window to the

outside of my cocoon, which I always surrounded myself with.

Today, I ask the world to listen to me, and guide me through this life, to have the best of it.