Baby Jane Wears a Burqa


So, little brother is back from Egypt. Did my mother have to wear a burqa? No, but apparently our cousin Khalid has grown up to be a total religious nut and made my mom eat in another room with the “females” as he and Ameer ate together and discussed important matters, like Allah, oil and penis length. Now, while I consider my mom a psycho, I actually felt a twinge for her when I heard what happened. Apparently, she was really hurt. This led to some discussion. I heard two comparisons this weekend. Egypt is becoming Medieval England. I was also told that it’s become like (or worse than) Victorian England. Medieval England wasn’t actually that bad for women. I think the Victorian comparison is somewhat better, as the religious fervor of that period was driven by wide-spread nostalgia and a similar paranoia about the secular and scientific modifying religious subjectivity.

Did my brother do the right thing in humoring Khalid’s stupid little “cultural tradition,” one which wasn’t practiced when my mom was growing up in the family nor when we used to visit as kids (I remember when that brat, Khalid, was only two feet tall)? Or would the appropriate behavior been to have laughed in Khalid’s face, as I would, naturally, have done? It’s sort of a tradition in our family for me to get into a fight, verbal or fist, in the first five minutes of encountering any of my Egyptian born cousins, therefore I’m not exactly neutral. What would you have done? Would you have bowed out and said, “we’re going to go eat and then we’ll come back?” Would you have respected the new-fake cultural traditions even though you are “part of the culture?” I invite readers to judge my brother’s complicit actions.

ameer adds:

Actually, the main issue was Khalid’s wife. She was in the apartment the whole time he was there–a couple of hours–and I never saw her once. When I was in the living room, she was hidden away in the kitchen, and she only came out when we were in the other room eating. If I had insisted on eating in the living room, she would have had to stay hidden in the kitchen the whole time, since it was apparently not okay for me to even see her.

Advertisements

6 Responses to “Baby Jane Wears a Burqa”

  1. Ameer Says:

    Actually, the main issue was Khalid’s wife. She was in the apartment the whole time he was there–a couple of hours–and I never saw her once. When I was in the living room, she was hidden away in the kitchen, and she only came out when we were in the other room eating. If I had insisted on eating in the living room, she would have had to stay hidden in the kitchen the whole time, since it was apparently not okay for me to even see her.

  2. Dat Says:

    You should have insisted that the men eat in the closet and the women eat in the kitchen or bath….sometimes segregation isn’t so bad imagine how embarassing it would be at a bathhouse if the women were allowed in (exceptions for Bette Midler but she’s not quite a woman)

  3. Dat Says:

    Sorry how insensitive of me….what i meant to ask was how ugly is Khalid’s wife anyways…did anyone ask?

  4. Ameer Says:

    I don’t know what she looks like, but the mother did make a point of saying that she was “heavily made-up” underneath her burqa.

  5. Dat Says:

    welll….there’s our answer. If she has to be heavily made up UNDER a burka, the dowry must have been a rebate

  6. Victoria J. van Dijk Says:

    In a strange way this is rather like my own family. They are integrated for that moment called eating dinner–but the television is on so no one need feel any obligation to converse and god help us if we did. After dinner, though, the men go out to the garage to talk about trucks, guns, motorcycles, and penis length. (You see, they are actually rather like Egyptian men, only less profound as Allah–or his Christian counterpart, for that matter–is too frightening to talk about and the only thing to say about oil is simply what makes their mechanical toys run. The women, on the other hand, go into the kitchen to talk about babies, food, and household appliances–and to complain bitterly about the men. I stopped visiting my relatives because I couldn’t figure out where I was supposed to go after dinner.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: