Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My daughter sent me this today; I had already seen the news story, but didn't know the reactions among the American Muslim population. Interesting to say the least, and really, how else could it be characterized from their point of view?

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful


MAS Freedom Calls on Administration to Distance Itself from Television Evangelist Calling for the Assassination of Venezuelan President

(Washington, D.C.) - The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation calls upon President George W. Bush's Administration to distance itself from television evangelist Pat Robertson who was quoted supporting the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on "The 700 Club".

When Chavez expressed distrust of American officials plot to overthrow and possibly assassinate him, Robertson stated the following:

"You know, I don't know the doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

"It's a whole lot cheaper than starting war.and I don't think any oil shipment will stop," he added. Venezuela is the U.S.'s fourth largest supplier of foreign oil.

"This is outrageous, especially when you factor in that Robertson is a close ally of this Administration," said MAS Freedom Executive Director Mahdi Bray. "His groups have received federal funding from the president's faith-based initiatives and have carte blanche within the administration and the Republican Party."

Bray added, "Maybe someone should remind the darling of the Christian Right about the Ten Commandments. About the one that says 'thou shall not kill'?"

"If that had been a Muslim cleric talking about killing a head of state, you would have never heard the end of it," says Bray. "The White House would have denounced it as terroristic, extremist, and incendiary or provocative violent hate speech.

"The fact is that Reverend Robertson is an extremist and this administration embraces him."

The Freedom Foundation is the public affairs arm of the Muslim American Society (MAS), a national grassroots religious, social, and educational organization. MAS is America's largest grassroots Muslim organization with over 50 chapters nationwide.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Chatted with Eva last night. Job hunting for Meran is going slow, but that's mainly because he's not actively pursuing it right now either. I can only assume it's because he feels he needs some time to unwind after 2 plus years in Iraq. She's been busy with her friends helping run a day camp for the Muslim youth, which they've enjoyed a lot. Some great news, too - her friend Zainab, who is such a neat person and I really like her - has had great success from her back surgery some weeks back, and has managed to wean herself off of pain meds and even her antidepressants. She really hopes she can manage a pregnancy and have a child. She still has some pain, but it's much less than before. I hope it all works out for her.

Christopher Allbritton posted a fascinating report this morning from Iraq, about..."the Plot"...

Friday, June 10, 2005

As readers to this blog may know, my daughter Eva - aka Nirgaz - has been busy raising three sons, working a part-time job, and performing volunteer work at a local mosque. Her husband - my son-in-law Meran - recently returned from over 2 years in Iraq is not only busy catching up with home life, but actively seeking the next chapter of his life. While I was visiting, he went on interviews with private corporations that want his expertise as they take advantage of economic opportunities in the rebuilding of Iraq. One day while we were having lunch, a phone call came in from a recruiter calling from North Carolina.

They were interested in both Meran and Eva, since Eva is also a competent linguist in Kurdish, Arabic, and a bit of Farsi (we won't mention Spanish...!) as well as her journalism background. Eva told me yesterday that the recruiters are taking about flying them to North Carolina for further in-person interviews.

Personally, I hope they go for it. Eva is concerned (and rightly so) about the education of the boys over there since the schools are not, in general, as good as here. I told her that if you want to make this work, you will have to get creative - search for American or International schools, or boarding schools, or even consider home schooling. She also has put a condition on her going to Meran, that they would have to build their own home there - no more staying with relatives! Hey, I am all for that one - been there, done that.

To slightly change the subject, I just found out my son-in-law was a movie extra. This past year, Kurdish filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi made a film entitled "Turtles Can Fly", filming on location in Iraqi Kurdistan. When the time came to film scenes with American soldiers, local American troops were approached, and decided to cooperate with the project. The unit Meran was attached to were among those chosen. Meran played a driver in some scenes...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Hey, Sorry I have not been on so much lately...seems like I have had time to check mail and log off again...

Trishymouse says:
Jesus, don't DO that!

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
I got laid off for the summer though...along with many others...so maybe I will have more time until the fall when I get hired again...

umsalih@hotmail.com says:

Trishymouse says:
I just sat down at my computer at home on my lunch break and BAM you message me. It's freakin' spooky!

What can I say...I must be a little clairvoyant

Trishymouse says:
Sorry to hear that (about the lay off)

How's Meran coming with job hunting?

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Me and Meran saw a good movie on friday...Turtles can fly...a kurdish film...very good, but very sad...

Trishymouse says:
I'll make a note of it and check it out...

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
I will im you the site later...if you don't google it first...

Trishymouse says:
Kurdish cinema (middle east cinema in general) really is growing!

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Yea, the guy who did this one has made several films...and Meran was an extra in this one...he usually isn't that in to foreign films...

Trishymouse says:
How did Meran get to be an extra in this??

Trishymouse says:
I just found a good review by Roger Ebert on the film

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
They asked his unit to be involved as the US soldiers in the film....so he was one of the drivers...

Trishymouse says:
cool! You should post all of this on your blog 5 hours north!! I might do so if you don't beat me to it, on the waitingplace one...

Trishymouse says:
The review by Roger Ebert is very good, Eva - you should read it...

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
About Meran being in it, or my thoughts...?

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
I did right now...

Trishymouse says:
Ebert is the best critic in my opinion - very thoughtful...

Trishymouse says:

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Yes, very good articulation of the beauty of the film...

Trishymouse says:
Meran should be very proud to be in such a good film. Tell him I think it was great!

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
I cried at the end...it has a very sad ending...that is forshadowed at the beginning...but very good...

Trishymouse says:
I wonder if Meran and his family ran into creative people like that in the camps, who did what they had to, to get along?

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Probably...I should ask...

Trishymouse says:
Did the story ring true to Meran

Trishymouse says:
I will bug the Fargo Theatre to bring this one to town and show it...

Trishymouse says:
Now, back to Meran - what's the latest in job prospects, and staying here versus moving to Iraq, etc.?

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Yea, you should...ours came to a little local theatre that does low budget or foreign films...

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Well that guy from North Carolina called both Meran and I back and is interested in us both...they are thinking to have us fly up there for the next inteview session...so that is possiblity...

Trishymouse says:

Trishymouse says:
I SO hope you guys get the jobs. I'm thrilled they want BOTH of you!

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
They were especially taken with me, because lack of kurdish/english linguist in field of Journalism...

Trishymouse says:
I'm so proud of you

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Well I told them it had to be that way...I mean they were still intrested in him, but I told them I would not travel there without him (overseas that is)

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
I will let you go...later I love you

umsalih@hotmail.com says:
Meran also says thank you and hello...

Trishymouse says:
hello there Meran - and goodbye to both of you!
It's been awhile since either Eva or I posted, but for a really great reason - Meran is home!

He came home in mid-May. A week later my companion Christopher and I flew down to Nashville to see Meran, Eva, and the boys. We spent a hectic, busy, wonderful week with everyone. I got to do some Kurdish-style dancing at a womens-only graduation party. Another day we went on a tour of a large plantation with a private Civil War cemetery by the home, in Franklin, Tennessee. We went to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival again. Later in the week, we went to downtown Nashville, then to see the Parthenon. I even talked Eva into antiquing with me one day! The final weekend, the family had a big picnic at an area park by a lake, and we went on a two mile hike around the lake; we saw deer on the trail, and some Canadian geese flew over our heads (smart geese, waiting until it warmed up more before heading towards Fargo!)

While we were there, Meran spoke about opportunities for jobs with corporations going into Iraq for reconstruction that he will be checking out now that his Titan contract has run its course. He went on one interview but it didn't pan out. However, the next day a recruiting scout called from North Carolina. interested in Meran and Eva both, especially Eva due to her linguistic skills and background in journalism.

During this visit Salih, Bilal, and Mu'min were a bit more grown up, and we were able to get to know one another better. We even went to see a movie - "Madagascar" - during which Mu'min got sleepy and cranky, and he and I got to spend some quality one-on-one time in the hallway, me holding him and rocking him as he fell asleep waiting for his big brothers and Christopher to come out and get us after the movie finished!

All too soon, the week came to an end. But it VERY nice getting home and into my own bed, too! ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Meran informed me that he may not come back for good this time...

Honestly what am I suppose to say to that?

I am burnt out...with living apart from my husband, from the lack of support (not financial, but otherwise) with raising our three children. And not to mention how the boys, although they have grown use to him being gone, still think of him a lot and its getting harder and harder for them to be patient until he returns. In fact, each time he leaves, I find it harder to keep it together and be there for them. And they have a hard time in understanding why the father they love so much can't be with them and find a job here instead.

I want my husband home. If I had control, I would have him home this week. And I would tell him to stay home, that he had provided enough, and now what we really needed from him, was HIM.

I am lonely, but in the end it doesn't really matter what I want...I am not optimisitic in any chance of him staying...God Help me...cause I don't know what to do in this situation.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Eva and I had an online chat a couple of days ago about what's been happening recently on Boileryard. Eva had this to say about how her recent efforts to talk through things with her neighbor and friend has went...
Anyways about Suad...well, I asked Kasar to talk with her, try to explain my side of things,cause if anyone could do it, it would be her, but I underestimated how Suad won't budge...So that didn't work...Next, I wrote her a poem to express my feelings, cause I had yet to talk face to face...she wrote and email back basically saying "you can't play on my emotions" although I had probably done so...So today I went to talk to her face to face at her work...luckily Kasar was there, so I didn't feel as intimidated...Suad is rather intimidating to me at times...and so I talked with Suad and told her the bottomline to me was that we were family, I could forgive her, but I wanted her to understand me, my intentions in my writing etc...and to not make her own assumptions...Eventually I got to the bottom of things and that it was more Zainab that was bothering her...She has several times made derrogatory remarks towards Kurds, made insane generalizations, etc...there are times where I may agree with her but not the way she expresses it, she tends to not care if its being offensive, but then there are times where even I have to say Zainab, you are out of line...Basically Suad felt betrayed by me because I didn't help defend her and Kasar against BC who she saw as attacking her and Islam, although I explained that I had emailed him, I just didn't think publically telling him off was something called for...Also she felt betrayed because she feels I give off two faces, loving Kurds, and then bashing them...Zainab has had some bad experiences with some, lack of true understanding of their cultural ways, language barriers...etc...Truth be told, there are some things, unless Zainab is willing to give Kurds a true chance, she will never understand them to the depth I do...Like I told Suad, I loved Kurds before I knew them and my heart was open to truly knowing them...but with Zainab...she had some bad experiences prior to marriage, and even after, her husband has some of his own issues with his people, they put him in jail for being too relgious, so that makes her even more apt to not be as open minded to why Kurds act the way they do...It's a stuggle...but I am learning that not to be offensive I may have to think carefully in how I say or write things...
I responded by saying I was confused, amazed that Kurds would put other Kurds in jail for being 'too religious' since I have always seen and experienced them as very tolerant people. Eva responded by saying...
All the time....sad but true...even Suad's husband left for that reason from Iraq. You have to be loyal to the parties over there...if your religion is your priority, watch out. A lot of the middle easteran countries are like that; if you do anything above and beyond the 5 pillars, that you love God more than your country, that you don't participate socially as much even though their social functions may compromise your religious beliefs...Nazar, Suad's husband, told me of stories of guys being tortured over there in jail...That's why I am hestitant about even living over there for any extended amount of time in the future, except for visits...I am libel to piss someone off, be considered far too liberal. I don't think you would have found this sort of behavior before "nationalism fever" struck in the hearts of the Kurds. Many of them feel a lot of resentment for Arabs because for the most part, with the exception of the Turks, it has been Arabs oppressing them...so because Islam came from the Arabs, they resent it in a way...they would never give it up...it's been with their people for so long...but to follow it wholeheartedly in some of their minds is a betrayal of their people for a faith brought to them by their oppressors. As a writer, I have learned that sometimes I may not be intending to come off offensive and I do, and to try to put myself in the shoes of who my subject is so that I dont run into misunderstandings like this again...but like someone recently told me - "When you are a writer/reporter you are going to have people that love you and hate you, get use to it!" (Meran)

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Election Day in Gayara: Meran's Perspective

Since i read the story by Nirgaz it expired me to write my story during the election day in Q-West,Iraq. we had the same kind of the day it was cold but not rainy. i went THT office to talk to someone about all these Iraqi to vote for thier country that work for us fanilly we had a word late in the after noon about 7:00 that all iraqi's that work with qualition forces could vote in side the FOB(base) they brought the plactice boxes and paper i came and see the area that they put was not a good place because it was the internet cafe and there was a lot of soldiers were there on internet i told them i think it will be better if we go to the next room and do it becuase it is empty and it has trowers so it represent everyone is free and the democracy is taking place no matter how much the poll is big or small, to give it to who ever want without some one looking over his head.

the election went very well praise to allah everyone got to vote and they were very happy and they were thanking American for that effert.

there is no comment on my side exept an exellent job

i did got to vote for my country (kurdistan)

Meran Abdullah Email Homepage 01.31.05 - 2:22 pm #

Mossa Mossa, former Peshmerga, and wife, Jemila Hadi outside election site in Nashville on their way to vote. Posted by Hello

(Mossa Mossa is the uncle of Meran)

Despite the drizzling rain and overcast sky, nothing yesterday could dampen the spirit of Mossa Mossa. Mossa, a former Peshmerga (Kurdish Freedom Fighter),has had this day coming for a long time, something he only dreamed of before. He, along with his brothers fought against Saddam's regime in the 1980's. It was during this time that his brother, his sister-in-law, and nephew were all killed by a gas attack on their village in 1988, one of many such attacks during Saddam's Anfal campaigns. This day is bittersweet for him because of all the loved ones lost to get here, yet a source of hope that such atrocities will never have to happen to his people again.

Early yesterday morning his wife, Jemila Hadi, called to wake me up. "Are you coming, hurry up!" She said. I threw on a scarf, woke up my three boys, and hurried them out the door with some juice and snacks. When we arrived a half-hour later, they had already showered, eaten breakfast, and were warming the car up. So I dropped my three off with their six, and we were off to the Tennessee State Fairgrounds.

On the way we chatted, and I asked them their feelings about this day. They were beyond excited, the opportunity to actually take part in their government, something most of them had never seen in their lifetime, was not something they took for granted. Jemila told me "I didn't vote in the US elections, but this one I have to, it is important to the Kurdish people, every vote counts." Mossa, a loyal member of the Kurdish Democratic Party, on the other hand did vote this past fall. As we neared the entrance to the fairgrounds Mossa reminded us to mark 130, the Kurdish ticket. Just to make sure we understood, he wrote it in Arabic,and looked at us and said "Don't make a mistake!"

At the entrance to the fairgrounds, it was more reminiscent of Duhok, Iraq then Nashville, Tennessee. There were concrete barriers,police on horseback, many security people, and a checkpoint at the entrance. There, everyone in the car had to show an ID, and the truck was opened and searched. As we were ok'd to proceed, we had to make our way through a maze of concrete barriers put in place as a precaution to any violence that might occur. After this we entered a big field of parked cars, half of which was flooded with the rain that kept drizzling down all that day. Mossa moved his way to a spot closest to the entrance tent to the elections so that we could try and not get to muddy, although that day it was rather unavoidable.

At the first of a series of heated tents we went through to get to the polling site, we were asked to show ID's again and were questioned if we possessed cameras, purses, or Cellphones, all of which were not allowed on the premises. Then we had to move through a metal detector. Those the alarm went off on were patted down and had the hand-held metal detectors swiped up and down their bodies. We went through no problem and proceeded through four tents, all of which we were made to show ID's. At the last tent there was a man arguing with the election official. Apparrently, him and another man had traveled all the way from Texas to vote and were denied because they hadn't pre-registered. The man was livid and finally some security had to escort him away.

At this last tent we waited, as they only allowed a certain number to go to the polling site at a time. After about five minutes we were given the ok, and we headed accross an empty field to a fenced in area where two large tents were set up for the voting. There again we showed ID's, but also we had to show registration cards this time. On the registration cards, each person was assigned to one or the other of the tents. Jemila had been assigned to the one on the left. At the entrance to the tent, once more you had to show ID and voter registration card. As I had not registered, I did not have one, but I was allowed in to help Jemila. Inside the tent there were two voting areas set up, each with tables, a ballot box, and booths to cast your vote in. We proceeded to the first area, and as you entered you gave your ID to one of the Election workers, there they checked to see if your name was on the registered voter list and the number on your card matched. Then a check was placed next to their name. Then you had to dip your pointer finger in purple ink, signifying you had voted. At the next table, a ballot, really a rather large sheet of paper listing all 111 parties, was given to the voter and instructions on how to vote were given. The lady working there said "We can help her, you can just leave", but I insisted, I am rather stubborn, I had come to witness the entire process and there weren't nobody who could stand in my way. Another man also told me "This is her husband, he can help her." From his tone, I got what he was inferring, I said "Why?" And he said "Well...Can you even read Arabic." I grabbed a paper from the table and wrote in Arabic the number 130, the Kurdish party number on the ballot, and he just stood their flabergasted.

We went into the booth and opened the ballot, quickly found 130, but were slightly confused because the party's flag was not there. Instead, beside it was a map of Kurdistan in white and black with tiny print that wasn't legible on it. Luckily, the name of the party was listed next to the number, and it clearly said Kurdistan. I told her this is the one, and she asked "Are you sure? We don't want to make mistake". I said I was sure. Then she made an x in the box beside 130 and folded up her ballot. The ballot box was on your way out and she stuffed it through the top, her face beaming.

Mossa had been assigned to the tent nextdoor,but he had chosen to wait on Jemila to make sure everything went ok. He got up as we passed and we all went to the other tent so he could vote. The official inside told us to sit down in some empty seats since we weren't voting as we waited for Mossa. As we sat there, Iraqi's streamed in there, many had chosen to wear their ethnic clothing, the kind saved for special occassions. Finally, Mossa had also "gave his voice" as they call voting literally in Kurdish.

As we headed out, a group of Kurds, traveling all the way from Dallas Texas arrived, full with spirit and joy. Their spirit and joy at a chance for democracy for a country that had known only terror and sorrow for way too long, was enough to bring a smile to anyone's face.

Friday, January 28, 2005

This is my son-in-law, Meran Abdullah. Meran is an honorable young man who has been through more than most of us, and thankfully has become better for it. I am so proud of both him and my daughter, and what they are doing to make their lives and family. Here, Meran is shown getting ready to fly to another location where he is needed as a translator/interpreter. He has mainly worked in the north of Iraq, in and near the areas where he grew up in Iraqi Kurdistan, but also sometimes to the South... Posted by Hello