Monday, 18 December 2006

Saw Borat the other day

and laughed like a drain. Shyanmei was traumatized by the naked wrestling scene. One of the funniest and most shocking bits is Borat's ludicrously over-the-top anti-semitism. Here's a story of the real life equivalent:

I was like most teenagers whose main source of news was Saddam’s regime’s media outlets and school curricula. They all denounced the “Jews”. None of them clarified what the difference was. Like most of those in my age, I was brain washed. I was taught to hate the “Jews”, all of them, not only the “Zionists”....

The first thing that clarified things to me was when I worked with American journalists. I discovered that some of them were Jews. I didn’t know what to do. I was afraid and confused. I couldn’t even ask for people’s advice. How come I tell them I work with those whom they hated their entire lives? Should I keep working with them or stop? I wondered. I was torn. “These are Zionists,” I thought at the time until I found out the real difference....

It was through the internet that I first recognized that mysterious difference that was hidden and kept away from Iraqis for decades. It was time to ask more about the Iraqi Jews. Who were they? Where did they go? How do they look like? Were they like the Israeli soldiers killing the Palestinians? And more questions were that were held hostage in my mind for a long time. I let them free. I asked everyone knew an Iraqi Jew. I started with my grandmother. I sat on the brown wooden sofa in her kitchen. We talked for hours. Eventually she cried when she remembered her best Jewish friend Clair who was her neighbor as well. She was one of the thousands of Iraqi Jews who were forced to leave Iraq in the 1940s. She told me all about them. They were like us, Iraqis. She told me that they were very famous of the trade of cloths. My grandfather was a wealthy man whose main cloth merchants were Jewish. He owned several factories of sewing clothes. She narrated stories of how my mother, uncles and aunts had so many Jewish friends who used to go together to the same schools.

From Baghdad Treasure.