Saturday, December 21, 2002

Dear Raed…
I never answered that angry e-mail you sent when I told you I am deleting the site (which was very unsuccessful, blogspot does not erase the archives). You said I was a coward and never finish what I start. You know me too well.
Yes I was scared. I thought that the Reuters and Yahoo France articles were enough to create too much attention. I deleted everything too fast to be able to tell whether that was true or not. But that was not the only reason. I was a bit unhappy about how things were going on the weblog.
Just after deleting the weblog I told Diane that I wish there was another Iraqi blogger. I have done a sort of a mental exercise on how that weblog would be:
To start with it would be in a Arabic, and discuss as little politics as possible, if cornered would be very pro-Palestinian pro-Saddam. Just to stay on the safe side. It would also be filled with quotation from the Quran and Hadith, or maybe Um-Kalthum songs. What I am trying to say is that most “western” readers wouldn’t get it because it would be so out of their cultural sphere.
This mess I’m in really bothers me; with all my talk of anti-Americanism (is that a word?) I still reference their culture, their music, and their movies. I got whacked for saying “fuck you”. I should have said “inachat khawatkum” no one would have understood. Just as most Iraqis don’t understand most of what is being said by Americans. We would have smiled politely at each other and moved on.
I feel like the embodiment of cultural betrayal. The total sell-out, and this is making me contradict myself all the time.
You remember the evening we spent at the Books@cafe when you laughed at me when I told you that I believe I am the product of a Muslim/Arabic culture. You reminded me that just two moments ago I was telling you how happy I was watching MTV Germany and shopping for English books at the Virgin Megastore in Beirut.
I am all the arguments we used to have about us being attachments to western culture rolled into one. This is not the dialogue of equals we used to talk about, I keep referencing their everything because I am so swallowed up by it. Look I have been sending you e-mails in English for the whole of last year, how sad is that.
Shame on me.
You used to anchor me down. All the magazines we used to read: Arabic horizons, Aqlam and the rest. Now I just browse thru them. I am back to Q, The Face and Wired: western trash. And don’t ask when was the last time I read a book in Arabic, I would be too ashamed to answer. Moreover I was getting all those scary questions from the people who read the blog. What do I think about the Kurdish situation? Open letters from Diane, which I was really at loss how to answer.
OK that’s enough. This is as confessional as it gets. Stopping the blog was not about just being scared, I had lost my bearings a bit and needed to re-orient. Don’t get mad at me, the things I said in that e-mail are not as mean as they sound. I least I got you to start blogging here, Maybe a certain blogger will believe that I am not a creation of your wild imagination.

And in answer to Eve Tushnet’s email to me

“…… and to ask whether you would prefer that people here not link to you, or whether you don't care”.
I do care about who links to me. I am very honored by their interest in my weblog and I am very grateful for all the emails I got asking if everything was OK. So as I always answer that question: “link me up baby…I am a total linkwhore”


some more stuff for Raed:
Remember Zaid? The one who emailed us a huge photo of his graduation. He wears traditional Arabic dress now (Dishdasha, does not touch his ankles because he turned wahabi or something). He doesn’t look the female students he tutors in the face and, get this, wears eye-liner. Black kuhla. Apparently the prophet used to do that. He now has bat-shit for brains, officially. I also saw Fatin the other day, she was so pregnant I didn’t recognize her. Sweet as ever. G. was a fool for letting her slip out of his life like he did. My Mom says hi and asks when is she going to meet Hiba? I ask when are you finally moving to the KSA so that I can go to Amman and date that bald shorty who works at the Books@Cafe without you mocking my lusting after him.