Friday, 31 March 2006

Flesh Remembrances

The most thing happened. I was curled in bed. Reading a book - Geaorge by Alexandre Dumas - when it happened. I have this necklace I like playing with. I do it when am distracted or annoyed or nervous. Here I was just engrossed in the novel. At one point I turned in ed and pulled the necklace and it scrapped my neck. It burned a little and I had the most vivid flash back. I was puzzled and went to ask mum about it. She looked at me in disbelief and said "you can't possibly remember this! You weren't even three year old!" But I did.

When I was not een three years old, my bigger cousins took me for a wedding dance not far from our place. I had this necklace my mum made me word. The pendant was engraved with some verses of the Quran. When we came back home, the necklace had disappeared. My mum said I told her someone had pulled it. How I came to remember this I have no idea. I guess the flesh just remembers.

In this case I had no scare or anything to remind me of the event. I remember other events for for the presence of scares.

The third finger of my left hand has a slight bump at the tip when seen palm ap. When I was five, I almost took my finger off playing with a strip. My mum did wnat it to be stiched and she just bandaged it, thus the memento.

When I was 61/2 - this I'll never forget - given enough time, my cousin would have cut off my right foot toe. With a knife. I just stood there paralised while he was sawing my toe away. His mother saw us and screamed. The aunties and my mother came running and pulled him away from me. I started crying. His mother's screams had scared me.

At 8 I was bitten by a dog.

At 12 I hurt myself riding a motorcyle - A P50. This one was real bad. My ankle was grazed by I couldn't even remember what when I was asked and this little wound I thought was no big deal got infected. God, it hurt. Took more than a month to heal. It still itches when it gets cold or there's too much humidity.

At 15 I broke my ankle playing foot ball with the boys at school. I had to go to scholl with cructhes. It was fun.

Now, am an adult.

Monday, 27 March 2006

Come again!

I had Kenyans friend living not far from my place. They've now moved to the UK. We keep in touch. The mother told me once that all their acquaintances had trouble with her daughter's name. Whenever she was asked about her name she'd answer:

- Tawa!
- Tawa? Hum... what a lovely name..
- Not Tawa, Tawaa!
- Tawa?
- Noooo, Ta-waaaaaaaa!

The acquaintances would turn to the mother

- C. do tell us please, what your girl's name?
- Tara.

To the girl:

- Oh, your name is Tara!?
- Yes. Tawa.

I went to CMLH's and read about MIM. I read the post CMLH referred to and somehow was reminded of The Problem of Tara's Name. About how we hear what we want to hear. How prone we are to making up meanings of what we hear.

Communication is not just expressing oneself. Its a to and fro with to be followed steps:

  • Saying it
  • the confirmation that we've been heard
  • listening to the other party
  • confirming that we've heard him right

These seemingly simple sequences have a number of traps. The other party, in fact, does not react to what we've said but rather to what he hears in what has been said and more importantly to the way what we've said touches him. “not being on the same page” issues are thus inevitable between what one actually meant to say and what the other heard and vice versa.

This is one of the major problems, if not the number one problem of communication. Its not a communication any more. Its a monologue dialogue. Where you're the only one to get what you're saying.

MIM ended up switching off her comments. Why? Because, apparently, some people do not expect and resent you for THEY not seeing eye to eye with you on certain issues. Seems like we're blogging communication problem to me.

Thursday, 23 March 2006

Don't worry, be crazy

When I was still is primary school, I read about this saint. I don't remember his name or the title of the book. All I remember is me thinking that the guy was too much a fool and couldn't possibly the saint and great person the author of the book was making him to be. What did I know? I was but a child. I thought I was so smart.
It said that, in Baghdad (I think) lived this pious man whose every action and every word was for Him only. One day - I remember not in what circumstances - he asked God to free him. The next minute he lost his mind.
I remember thinking that I'd better never ask to be set free from anything. I remember wondering how, for all his knowledge, the saint didn't realize he was making a mistake. I remember this tale worrying me a lot.
Now, I wonder.

Lately I've been thinking about GrisGris a lot. He's mad, GrisGris. We used to make fun of him. He'd chase us around laughing hard. He was very dirty and had the dirtiest looking dreadlocks. He walked as if he was getting electrocuted at each step. That made us laugh so hard our tummies ached. Kids can be so very cruel, no?
We'd talk about GrisGris and decide that if we were in his shoes, we'd never laugh. We'd be miserable. We'd cry the whole tie till someone took pity on us and cured us. We thought so because we were sane. GrisGris, now I realize, had no such worries. Man, he must be (if he's still alive) the happiest man on earth.

Wars. Money. Diseases. Betrayal. Blood. Bombs. Hiroshima. Poison. Stabbing. Petrol. Globalisation. Capitalism. Hate. Dictatorship. Discrimination. Terror. Crimes against humanity. Run away children. Racism. Prostitution. Holocaust. Nuclear Bombs. What do they mean to him? What does he care about all of them, GrisGris.
He's cool, he's "zen", he's merry, he's happy. How I envy him.
Read Suley. Free Abdul Rahman.
An Afghan is held and risks execution. Why? Because he converted from Islam to Christianism.
Religion and Faith are between one and his God. Who are we to play God, judge and decide which religion and what path our fellow human beings should follow. Is this Islam?! This is TOTALLY Absurd!

Wednesday, 22 March 2006


Had a glimpse of what life would be like without blogging; not a pretty sight! I thought I'd go crazy! I've been having the greatest ideas for posts. Many of them Loads of them. And nowhere to post them from, cause my PC broke down!

They brought it back a while ago! Am now searching for the ideas I've been having when it was gone, the PC.

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

Akuna Matata

TV Monde featured a special reportage on Women in Africa on the occasion of the International Women Day. Malian women to be more precise. They talked about their problems, their militant ism, their perception of the whole women's right issue. They talked about their dead daughters who were shot while marching to denounce the dictatorial regime of their country. They kept laughing and smiling the whole time. Is there any such thing as sad laughter? There's no other way I can explain this. The Laughter, I mean.

“Je rit, je cache, le vrai derrière un masque”
“I laugh, I hide, the real behind a mask”

sings Natasha St Pierre.

One lady finally explains it.

You see African women, in Africa, they're always smiling. They look and sound happy, content with life. This is because, in Africa you're never alone. “That's your problem! Deal with it!” is an advice which is almost never given. Grief is shared. Wherever you turn, you're lent an ear. You're fed. You're housed.

My family was among the first Muslim families to settle in Boundiali. A village in the North of Ivory Coast. My paternal grand father was the Imam of the mosque. Like his father before him. We never really lived in Ivory Coast. We went there for holidays only. It fascinated me.

We have this huge huge “Land”. My grandfather, his brothers, the wives, the children and the children of some of the children all built houses and live here. I still don't know the names of half of them all. There are so many of them. We, my siblings and I were really spoiled. Maybe because we didn't live there. Only, whenever we'd go back to where we came from we were all overweight. Not our fault. The food was good and everybody wanted you to taste theirs.

The “Land” was also inhabited by other people. Foreigners. Passing-by-Boundiali people. I forgot to mention threre's only one Hotel in Boundiali and I heard it wasn't doing well then. It's called le Dala (picture). So the Passing-by-Boundiali people are directed to the Imam's house, whoever he is. My grandfather, then. Of course, now I know that they were Passing-by-Boundiali people. When we asked then, we were told “he's a brother”, “she's a sister”, “they're relatives”. “Another one!” we'd think. The last time we went to Boundiali, 13 years ago, there was a Passing-by-Boundiali lady with her kid living with the people of the land. Her mother came to visit her from far. She got a Permanent Residence Permit. Her mother came to visit and was very happy with her daughters new home.

At nightfall, we'd gather at my granduncle's place and his son would entertain us with stories. Some kids came to memorize Quran which my granduncle taught during the day. It was such a life! It rubbed off on us, for which am grateful.

I spoke to my cousin who lives in France. She calls often. To talk. Calls are expensive. Still. We got to talk about sharing your problems and not letting them bottled in. she says to me “Fatma, you are going to turn into one unhappy girl if you ever come to Europe. You talk to people the way you are doing with me and they'll think you're bananas. You don't talk about your problems here, you deal with them. Better, you pay a shrink to listen to you.” I told her “I have this very very big failing, I was born with a happy disposition.” And we laughed. I do that a lot. Laughing. Therapeutic.

I read in Psychologies Magazine: The people who laugh the most are those who are the most sad. Maybe, but its a positive sadness.

I think about all this, think about what the lady on TV Monde said. I think about how some friends tell me, mockingly, that African's are technologically retarded and have never heard about Internet and chat. I think about it all and smilingly tell myself that whatever changes Africa has undergone, the humanity and the importance given to relationships is something we're holding on to.

Monday, 13 March 2006


If the prefix "con" is the opposite of the prefix "pro", then is "Congress" the opposite of "progress"?

Friday, 10 March 2006


On our way back from work, day before yesterday, we noticed the unusual number of cars parked around the new museum of Port Louis. Many suit men and sari women. My sister noticed the official cars, the VIPs'. They, the VIPs, were smiling and shaking hands around. Whats going on? We wondered. I told my sister there must be a banner somewhere showing the reason for the gathering. We soon spotted one:

8th March
Women International Day

huh? Oh yeah! Our Day!
We started dancing around the museum. We ran through the gate. The guards didn't dare stop us. We shook the ministers hands. We posed for pictures with the VIPs. They were bewildered and some went looking for copies of the program. Soon the VIPs bored us and we went on to dance again. Soon, the women – invited – joined us. We held hands and sang making up the lyrics progressively:

“we have a day, we have a Day
You don't have a day, you don't have a day
Ow Baby, ow baby...”

We were great! I remembered Ludacris. I took two women with me and we went to have a chat with the guards while the others were still singing and dancing. We calmly explained to the guards what we wanted them to do. There were four of them. Not good. We grabbed a VIP too and they distributed the roles among themselves. We got back to our sisters, interrupted the singing and dancing and told them what we'd decided to do.

Ten minutes later my sister and I were auto proclaimed head singers – It was our idea in the first place. The other women stood behind us. In from of us stood the dancers: the four guards and the VIP. Just like in a Ludacris or confrère video. We made it clear we wanted them to bump and grind. Of course, we made sure they'd stripped to their underwear. They bumped and bounced while we sang non-Ludacris lyrics:

“Inside my head there lives a dream that I want to see in the sun
Behind my eyes there lives a me that I’ve been hiding for much too long
cause I’ve been, too afraid to let it show
cause I’m scared of the judgment that may follow
Always putting off my living for tomorrow
It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my faith
It’s been illusive for so long, but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith, it’s time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me
Behind my pride there lives a me, that knows humility
Inside my voice there is a soul, and in my soul there is a voice
But I’ve been, too afraid to make a choice
cause I’m scared of the things that I might be missing
Running too fast to stop and listen
It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my faith
It’s been illusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith it’s time to show my faith
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found, I found
Strength, courage, and wisdom
And it’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me
I close my eyes and I think of all the things that I want to see
cause I know, now that I’ve opened up my heart I know that
Anything I want can be, so let it be, so let it be
Strength, courage, and wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along,
Strength, courage, wisdom
It’s been inside of me all along, everyday I’m praying for
Strength, courage, and wisdom
To find me, yeah,
Strength, courage, and wisdom
Inside of me
I found it in me, I found it finally
I’m sure to keep it’ cause I like it, I say thank you”.

Cameramen were all over us. They thanked God for sparing them the boredom of listening and filming boring speeches about women and read by men.

Of course none of this happened. We saw the banner and went our way. We don't need a special day. Everyday is our day. The day we'd quit claiming a day would be the day we'd have really won.

Here's a list of Days for the month of March 2006 I found on the net, laugh and celebrate:
6 Chocolate Cheesecake Day
6 Dentists' Day
7 Cereal Day
9 Go Commando Day
10 Telephone Day
10 Money Day
11 Dream Day
12 Plant A Flower Day
12 Alfred Hitchcock Day
12 Department Store Day
13 Uranus Day
14 Pi Day
14 Potato Chip Day
14 Genius Day
14 Full Moon Day
14 White Day
15 Ides Of March
15 Buzzard Day
16 Everything You Do Is Right Day
16 St. Urho's Day
16 Curlew Day
16 Hiccup Day
17 Submarine Day
18 Paper Dress Day
18 Grandparents And Grandchildren Day
18 Quilting Day
19 Let's Laugh Day
19 Chocolate Caramel Day
19 Swallows Day
20 Spring Equinox
20 Smile Rejuvenation Day
20 Astrology Day
21 Flower Day
21 Single Parents Day
22 Sing Out Day
22 International Goof Off Day
22 Roller Coaster Day
22 World Water Day
23 Cuddly Kitten Day
23 Liberty Day
24 Chocolate Covered Raisins Day
24 Houdini Day
27 Photography Day
27 Fly A Kite Day
27 World Theater Day
28 Hot Tub Day
28 Respect Your Cat Day
25 Pecan Day

They forgot the Balds Day! How rude!

Friday, 3 March 2006


I've been tagged. For a Meme. By dearest Gr8 Sephanous It's been a long time. I think the last one I did was that super long - some called it monstruous - Meme. What's a Meme? Ask Suley, he told me once, but I forgot the info somewhere in here when I moved.

The Meme is asking for only "Four" of everything. Any significance in that?

Four Jobs I've Had In My Life:
Transit Agent at Freight Net Cargo
Typist and proof reader at Super Printing
Arabic to English translator for my High School library at Aleemiah College
Freelance reporter at Action Magazine

Four Movies I'd Watch Over And Over:
La Liste de Schindler
La Vie est belle
Comme une bête
Mirch Masala

Four Places I've Lived:
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire
Say, Niger
Quatre Bornes, Mauritius Island

Four TV Shows I Like To Watch:
ça se discute
Envoyé Spécial
Le Grand Journal, Canal +
Cartoons (The Ragzats especially)

Four Favorite Places I've Been On Vacation: (Can name three only which are the places I have some remembrance of)

Singa and Umdurman, Sudan
Boundiali, Côte d’Ivoire
Nairobi, Kenya

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
Tariq Ramadan
The Herald Tribune
Le Mauricien

Four Of My Favorite Foods:
Sautéed meat with green chili
Lebanese style shawarma
Couscous with lamb
Briani with extra soft meat and potatoes

Four Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
In bed reading
Pursuing my studies instead of working
Travelling around the world
Buying a camera (after I’d saved the money for and eventually snapping around the world)

Four People I Feel Sorry For Because They're Getting Tagged:
J. Star


No, you three have been tagged so here goes:

Dear Suley - :-)
Dear Neil - Just because it pleases you to be tagged
Dear Tanysha and Dear Jack

Off to home.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

F for T

"Cultivate the habit of early rising. It is unwise to keep the head long on a level with the feet."
Henry David Thoreau