Another day and I'm sitting here without anything to do. I'm searching for a good channel to watch but as usual, nothing really captures my interest. Sadly, television is the only entertainment women really have and nothing good is on. It's 120 degrees outside and I'm thankful for the few hours of power a day we get so I feel cool (Baghdad only averaged 5 hours of power per household for the entire month of July.) But our lives are so drab and boring, even monotonous.
All the luxuries of the west are missing in our democracy. The movie theaters, parks, swimming pools, malls, amusement parks, theaters-even sports stadium for matches or local competitions. Those with money now leave Iraq for vacation, for shopping, for rest and recuperation. But for those of us who are just middle-class, and especially the women, we are stuck here, bored out of our minds. We are not living, we are merely existing.
Of course we can't have such diversions until we fix the infrastructure. Fix the electricity, the water, the roads, the schools, even the government if such a thing is even possible. I couldn't agree more.
But even if by a miracle those things were fixed, and by another miracle theaters and malls were built, as a woman I still couldn't go there. In the Muslim/Arab world, women should not go unescorted anywhere, not even with her sister or with a group of friends. Her reputation will be questioned, people will whisper this or that, neighbors will watch and shake their heads and the rumors will spread, and all for what? For a woman wanting to go catch a movie with her friends? Really?
Some call this tradition, call it our culture, handed down by generation to generation. I call it cultural poison; it's about control, nothing more, and it limits women. It has nothing to do with morals or honor. It is the weakness of men and their need to control women because of that weakness. It is jealousy and fear. Men want to keep us in the house, to clean, cook, wash their clothes, to baby them and be their servants. Their property. It's 2010 and this is still the life for a vast portion of women in the world. Good God, I can't even walk down to the corner market for an ice cream.
so I flip the channels once again, wondering when this will change, and how. I flip the channels and see these Western shows and marvel at these women going shopping, going to lunch together, disagreeing with their men and not being afraid of being hit or killed. I watch these women enjoying their lives. And I ask; when will it be our turn, us enslaved women in the Middle East? And how do we make it so?