Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Djinns and Jewish Grandmothers

Two small nuggets from today’s Kuwait Times.

Black ‘Jinn’ Terrorizes Bayan Neighborhood
Kuwait: Terrified Bayan residents were unable to sleep last night from fears of being victims of an unknown creature, which attacked many of them.

Police said that they received several reports from residents of the creature, which they dubbed as ‘jinn.’ One complaintant said that the ‘jinn’ attacked his wife while she was praying; another said that his daughter had been attacked and strangled, while a third said that someone kept consistently knocking on his bedroom window but none claimed to have actually seen the ‘jinn.’

(Police captured a “ferocious black ape”.)

I love this second article:

Jewish Grandmothers Patrol Checkpoints in West Bank
Jerusalem: Hanna Barag remembers the day an Israeli soldier called her a Palestinian whore. She was 67 and she had just joined Machsomwatch, an all-women group set up to curb human rights abuses at military checkpoints in the West Bank. “It was at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah,” Barag said, “and the remark at first struck me speechless. But then I asked him two questions: ‘Do you really think a woman my age has a chance at that profession? And would you say what you said to me to YOUR grandmother?'”

The soldier said nothing, but was embarrassed, and when Barag, who was born in Israel and describes herself as a Zionist, returned for another “shift” of watchdog duty a week later, the soldier was there – and apologized.

That was in the early days of Machsomwatch, set up in 2001 by three Israeli women who were alarmed by a spate of reports of beatings and abuse of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli soldiers manning checkpoints. . .

You can read the rest of the story here.

Little old ladies in tennis shoes, volunteering to guard the guards one night a week. . . changing their world.

March 20, 2007 Posted by | Crime, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Political Issues, Social Issues, Uncategorized, Women's Issues | 7 Comments

Peeking Inside

You are a blessing in my life.

You think you are just blogging, but for me, you allow me to get a little bit beneath the surface of what your lives are like here in Kuwait.

I have to assume that most of you, like me, protect a lot of realities in your life, and that I am just getting the surface, just getting what you feel comfortable sharing with me.

And yet . . .no matter how superficial the “peek,” it is better than nothing.

Over time, we build a body of work. No matter how discreet we are ( Little Diamond I almost wrote “discrete,” and thinking of your pet peeve, checked it, thank God!) we reveal how we think, and what is important to us.

I love having some Kuwaiti friends. You teach me things I could never learn in a million years, just looking from the outside.

True story: I am having breakfast with my Kuwait friend at the Al-Kout Mall and she shivers. This friend is very special to me; it’s as if a flame burns inside her, keeping her pure and true from the inside out.

“I feel so out of place here!” she says.

I am truly bewildered.

“You are Kuwaiti! This is a Kuwaiti Mall!” I cry. “What is it that makes you so uncomfortable?”

“It’s like another world,” she says. “I’m not dressed conservatively enough.”

She is dressed in jeans – not tight. A t-shirt – not tight. And has a long sleeved shirt to go over it tied around her shoulders. She is entirely modest.

“I don’t see it,” I say. “Please, let me see through your eyes. What are you seeing, how is it different, why are you uncomfortable?”

“You’ve been to Marina Mall,” she responded. “You can see the difference?”

Of course. But Marina Mall . . . it is kind of a la la land to me, sort of bizarre. It almost looks Western, but there are things that are just not quite right . . .

“Yes,” she said. “You’ve got it.”

I still don’t know what I’ve got. So she starts explaining . . .”Look, you can see how the thobes are cut differently down here, tighter around the chest.”

(Uh . . . no, I can’t see!)

“. . . and the cuffs, the way they button. And the shoes are different, less . . . . ”

all of a sudden, I am thinking of my friend who taught Arabic, and the hours she labored, trying to get me to hear the difference between the light “t” and the hard “t”, I am trying and trying, but I don’t get it and then one day – I do!

I thank God for you, my friends, letting me see through your eyes, helping me understand, giving me new ways of seeing the world.

March 20, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Blogging, Communication, Cross Cultural, Eating Out, ExPat Life, Friends & Friendship, Kuwait, Language, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Relationships, Women's Issues | 7 Comments