Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Edging (this post was edited)

Blimey, I'm so bored and I'm tired. I'm feeling really tired. My brain is wasted. My back is tense. I feel burnt out. I'm tired of bitching oabout the electricity. I could say that the sum of all the inconveniences in my life is wearing me out, but that wouldn't be right. I've been wearing myself out for a long time. 17 cavities, I must take better care of myself.

I think I'm more aware of how lonely I am here. All my family being in the UK now. I yelled at my mum for half an hour over the phone the day before last, because she was giving me a patronizing rant about how I should be taking charge of myself and to know what I want.

I really want a break from my life, but I can't find a reason for why would deserve a break. I still haven't figured how much profit the farm off last year's rice harvest. I'm thinking if I could at least get that out of the way and the accounts up to date then I'd deserve a decent vacation.

I've been calling my dad everyday for the past few days. I'm trying to keep some channel of communication open with him. In the hope that maybe if I wait on the line long enough I might hear something from him.

Yesterday he told me how he had one-year marriage contract (in Arabic called a Zawaj Mumta'a) for a year with that Iranian woman in Canada. He justified it by saying he's lonely and that it was okay because she wasn't a virgin because she was a divorcee like him.

I think this sort of marriage is looked down upon within Iraq, I've never heard of anyone doing it here in Iraq. Maybe Saddam banned it. Or maybe society doesn't approve of it here. But I gather some Iranian's are okay with it and do it. When I first heard about of it being done in Iran, it literally sounded like clerics pimping women granting marriage contracts for a time period of a week or less. I would like to add that I'm not a knowledgable person on the matter so as to be able to debate the virtues or lack of virtues of such an arrangement. I personally don't think there's anything wrong with what my dad did especially since he's so old and can't get an erection, but I can imagine how such a thing can be abused, and that if I myself were to do a Zawag Mumta'a it would be no different from getting a prostitute.

I told him I was lonely too, and that I wanted a one-year marriage contract too. He replied saying I can't do that and told me that when he comes later in the year to Baghdad, he'll introduce me to girls from good families and hopefully find one with whom I'm compatible but that I should have a proper marriage. It was 6 months ago that he came to the conclusion that it would be very difficult for me to find a wife suitable for me in Iraq, but his opinion has obviously changed now. His inconsistencies drive me nuts.

Now I'm waiting for the electricity to come back. When that happens I'll swallow a couple more sleeping pills and knock myself out. And tomorrow I'll start my day, I'll go get fuel for the car, drive Fozzy to the bank to deposite that cheque we got from the state silo today. The cheque is a refund on a deposit that we gave so that they give us rice to mill, but which they didn't because the rice in their silos got mixed with bad rice let in by bribed officials.

Oh! the electricity is back :)


Brian H said...

Let me tell you, this custom of temporary marriage contracts comes across like primitive tribal patriarchy in the West. Quite hypocritical and disgusting, actually.

If you ever graduate into the current millennium, you'll have to abandon most of these perks of being a macho Arab male, I'm afraid. If you don't like that, go out and join the "insurgency" to protect your "rights" and get yourself killed.

Shaggy said...

Oh Brian H, you got me on so many fronts. For the first time I've felt compelled to add some context to the post and reply to a comment.

The temporary marriage thing is a funky deal I'll admit that. It could be used to prosititute women, but it could also be regarded as a normal marriage with a pre-nuptial agreement and a fixed date for the divorce with the consensus of both the man and the woman.

I won't deny that it's a contreversial issue. Prostitution is legal in Amsterdam isn't it.

And by the way Brian H, the insurgents are supposed to be Sunnis and Sunnis don't permit such marriages.

Anonymous said...

I think the temporary marriage thing (especially between the divorced or the widowed) is a really compassionate idea. There are quite a few older Americans who live together, but don't get married (mostly because of wanting to preserve their Social Security, home-mortgages, etc.) and it's become accepted.

Of younger people (who haven't been married before) in a conservative culture, I'm not sure because where will it leave the young woman when the marriage is over?

Of course, I'm a Western slut who lived with three different boyfriends (not at the same time!) in my youth...

I'm been married for 14 years now (Blimey!!!) and it can be a good thing. My sweet mother-in-law once said to my husband something that has helped us a lot in our marriage: "Honey, you knew she was unusual when you married her!"

Anonymous said...

That was Tilli up there.

Anonymous said...

Doh! what I meant to add to the end of my comment:

One day you'll also find a nice, pretty and "unusual" girl to marry. And, she'll be very lucky to have got a good guy like you.

In the meantime, in Iraq's difficult days, I imagine it must be difficult to just hang out with nice girls and you'll have to make-do with the good friends you do have around you.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

"the insurgents are supposed to be Sunnis and Sunnis don't permit such marriages."

You ignoramus!

What do you think Misyar marriage is in Saudi Arabia?

Shaggy said...

The Misyar marriage is different from the kind of marriage I was referring to which is the Mumta'a marriage.

And I quote the following from Wikipedia: "In addition to the preceding cases, one can note that wealthy Arab men sometimes enter into a Misyar marriage while on vacation, in order to have sexual relations with another woman without committing the sin of zina. They usually divorce the women once their holiday is over. One should note, however, that if this is understood by both parties at the time of conclusion of the marriage contract (and this is usually the case) this would constitute a fixed time period, effectively making such a marriage invalid in Sunni law, and more akin to the Shia Mut'ah marriage."