For Sunday – April 21st 2013.
Between Us Only!
The Blood In All Of Us!
Frankly and honestly, I do not know about you – but I have yet to see green, blue or yellow blood! It is all red blood! If I show you a jar of blood and I ask you to guess whom it belonged to – your guess is as good as mine!
The other week there was a good article by one famed Omani Columnist in the other newspaper about problems and repercussions in Mixed Marriages – between locals and foreigners – and how they are not able to survive the onslaughts and pressures that they usually get from within the family and from outside the family! It depends from one situation to the other – but in many cases than one – it is the family ones that finally cracks open the marriage – even if there are children involved in the marriages!
This same week my sister-in-law – my younger brother ex wife – a British girl from Yorkshire – passed away in UK. The sad part is that the children with their children too splitting in loyalties and affiliations – with half taking on the S family surname – whilst the other taking the mother family side! Sadly my brother was not such an observing religious type – so those who followed his steps were equally not religious and observing – though the Muslim names had remained!
From The Archives
It reminded me of a film of ex Yugoslavia – based on real facts – where some ‘Muslim’ women were rounded up by the Serbs in Srebrenica during the bloody civil wars there decades back. The ‘comfort women’ were ‘shocked’ for such round ups – because they even ‘did not know they were Muslims’ – apart from the similar names – because they ate pork, did not fast – and alcohol was just a glass of tinted water! They enjoyed life to the core – like their ‘other fellow citizens’ then! Even in physique and resemblances too! And what if the differences are not even national – but more in ethnicity – like in the preceeding case?
There was a documentary in Al Jazeera Television I had seen a few days back about the bloody massacres in Rwanda – titled (A) Letter From My Child! It is about Shyaka – a 13-year-old boy with a disarming smile – is only now a few years younger than his mother was when she was raped in 1994. He is one of the estimated 25,000 children of the 500,000 women who were raped during the Rwandan genocide.
Although it is illegal, many raped women in Rwanda had abortions. Some killed their newborn child. Others abandoned their child. Most of the mothers who bore these babies never told their children the truth. Goretti – Shakya’s mother – is one of them. Shyaka is a smart, inquisitive teenager who has been asking questions about his father for some time now. And there are quite a few people in Goretti’s village who know what happened to her. People who know that Shyaka is the result of rape.
Image Shyaka – A Letter From My Child!
Beatrice Mukangenzi, a family friend explains: “When the children ask what has happened, a lot of mothers feel they have to lie. One says this, the other says that. But all of it is a lie. “The children feel that their mother lies because she’s not at ease. That is why children continue asking until they hear the truth. Talking about sexuality is a taboo here in Rwanda. Rape is not a subject that is talked about …. It’s sad. You are the victim … but when you’re raped, it’s as if it is all your fault. So a lot of women hide what has happened to them because they are afraid to become totally ostracised.”
The boy remembers that his mother used to beat him frequently – sometimes for no apparent reason – except for the love-hate relationships of the mother to the son – the internal conflict of being and remaining maternal – and the son as a result of ethnicity rape case – and it reminding her about it all the time when she sees her son – and especially when the son misbehaves!
The boy writes – Dear Mum – When I became 9 years old … I started to think about my father for the first time. Because all my friends talk about their fathers – except me. I have nothing to talk about who is my father really is! . I asked you then for the first time about my father. I ask you: where is my father? I want to see my father. I hope you will be able to answer me! “– Shyaka, 13 years old writes to the Mother. The mother cannot read English – so the letter is translated by the aunt for him! Is Goretti going to answer the letter from Shyaka and tell her son the truth about his descent? Do not want to surprise you with an answer. Just watch the programme – or Google it!
It is very sad pathetic story of human injustices, paranoia, animosity and hatred of humans to one another – that even makes animals to be far better species than what we really are at our best! We see the same scenarios unfolding now in Syria – and that is the saddest and most tragic part out of it all now!
We used to joke sometimes – in bad taste – to our late father – his real namesake like him and the names – is half foreign! The poor old man smiled – but you could see he did not like the joke! But what else could he do – but just grin and bear it! It is surprising how death can easily bring families in together – from all the corners of the world – even if briefly – until the next time.
Frankly the children can understand – but it is more confusing to the grandchildren! One of them was crying to me – Granny – the children in school tease and joke at me. They tell me – go away you Arab! But I am not Arab – am I Granny? No – I ruefully say to him – you are not! Even if it is a half-truth! What else can I say to him?
Sister in law – H – you will always be my family! Rest in eternal peace – Amin Amen Take Care!
By Majid Al Suleimany