The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
Tuesday, November 25, 2003 Eid Mubarek... The last few days I've had to give up the keyboard and blog for something less glamorous- the bucket and mop. It started about 3 days ago. I was out on the driveway, struggling with the garden hose and trying to cunningly arrange it to give a maximum trickle of water. My mother was standing at the door, chatting lightly with Umm Maha, from across the street- a stocky, healthy woman in her late forties. Umm Maha had made us 'kilaycha'- a special Eid desert (and the recipe is a bit too complicated to post). Kilaycha are like… not exactly cookies or bars but something like dry, sweet dumplings. They are, basically, a sort of baked dough filled with either nuts, sesame seeds and sugar, dates or just flat and plain, almost like Christmas cookies- but less brittle and sweet. Every house either makes them or buys them for Eid- they are almost as necessary as lentil soup. I was vaguely listening to the conversation. They were discussing the blackouts and how they were affecting the water flow in some areas (like ours). My mother was mentioning how she was thawing out the freezer because the intermittent electricity was turning everything to mush and Umm Maha suddenly looked awed, "But isn't your freezer clean? Haven't you began with the Eid cleaning?!" I froze as I heard the words and peered around at my mother. She was looking uncomfortable- no we hadn't started with the 'Eid cleaning', but how do you say that to the Martha Stewart of Baghdad? Yes, Umm Maha is the Martha Stewart of Baghdad- I defy anyone who can show me a neighbor with a cleaner driveway. Her whole house is spotless… rain, shine or cluster bombs. Her kids are always groomed and ironed. Their car, while old and dented, is spotless. She's always the first one to make the Eid kilaycha. She's the first one who is out of the door and washing down the house, the car, the driveway and the TREES after an infamous Iraqi dust storm. She's the neighbor who will know the latest cleaning fads (like using talcum powder to get out oil stains), and the one who'll be chasing the stray cats away from the garbage bins with (what else?) a broom. My mother smiled wanly- we all knew Eid was coming up, but no one had the energy or initiative to begin the huge job of making the house spotless before Eid. Eid Il Futtir, as it is called, is the 3 day holiday that comes directly after Ramadhan. In Iraq, we celebrate it by visiting family and friends, and, generally, eating. It's a celebration of the end of fasting (especially if you were able to fast all month). Preparations for Eid often begin a week ahead of the holiday. Kids have to have new clothes, pajamas and haircuts. The kitchen has to be stocked with good things to eat for visiting family, friends and neighbors. The family has to be prepared to have guests every minute of the 3 days of Eid. The house has to be spotlessly clean. It's traditional for households to begin 'tandheef il eid' a few days before Ramadhan ends. On Arafat, or the eve of Eid, many people stay at home to get things organized. It is believed that Eid isn't complete and the holiday 'spirit' won't enter the home if the house is unclean or messy. So Martha Stewart, aka Umm Maha, reminded my mother of the coming event a few days ago. That moment, I tried to subtly drop the hose and disappear behind a shrub, knowing my involvement in the cleaning process was going to be extensive. It didn't help. As soon as Umm Maha left the house, clucking disapprovingly, my mother got into 'cleaning mode' and began "Operation Spotless Eid". Major General "Riverbend's Mother" instantly gathered her army of cleaners together and began giving orders. Riverbend would get to do the closets, father would have to attack that pile of 'valuable' junk in the driveway, and E. would move around heavy furniture to wipe beneath- dust bunnies must be abolished and dirt must be demolished. That's what I've been doing the last few days- scrubbing, folding, polishing and flushing. It has been difficult because of the constant blackouts. Vacuuming is next to impossible and most of the clothes have to be washed by hand because the water tank on top of the roof is never full enough. For some Sunnis, Eid began yesterday (as it did in Jordan and Egypt). For the rest, Eid is tomorrow. For families like mine, with a combination of Sunnis and Shi'a, we follow Saudi Arabia and they have declared Eid to be today- the 25th of November. It bothers me that we didn't begin Eid 'together' this year because that's what Eid is really about- togetherness. Mosques are being watched carefully and most people are safely in their homes by 8 pm. We're not quite sure how our families are going to meet- who will go where? Not everyone has telephone access and many people, in certain areas, are somewhat hesitant to gather together in large groups for fear of being mistaken for 'terrorists'. It's a strange sort of Eid this year- with helicopters and tanks… and possibly raids. To those who began Eid yesterday, and to those who begin it today- Happy Eid, or Eid Mubarek… - posted by river @ 3:12 PM __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Protect your identity with Yahoo! Mail AddressGuard http://antispam.yahoo.com/whatsnewfree _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk