Chicago versus Omaret Yaquobian

Last saturday I went to Virgin mega stores & bought 2 books everyone is talking about: Taxi and Chicago.
I remember reading “omaret yaquobian” few years ago & i remember how shocked i was with all the frankness while unveiling the hidden details of the egyptian society. I remember how my mother was angry with me for reading such a novel untill she watched the movie & discovered what the story was about.

Surprisingly Chicago didn’t shock me as much as omaret yakoubian. Maybe because I was exposed to different lifestyles to the extent that nothing shocked me anymore. Few years ago i thought that my world was pinky and that the bad stuff happened to other people… Then I discovered how stupid I was, how the world was full of “bad” stuff, but this doesn’t mean that the world became less beautiful or anything, it just became more real…. One of the things that truly shocked me was getting to know groups where being a virgin is considered as stupidity and an oppressive tool for men to dominate women. In other societies living together without marriage was not a problem. I even knew about a muslim woman marrying a christian man!!!

I discovered that behind those angel faces there are mere humans, full of morals and also full of sins.
I had two choices, either to step aside and forget about them or just to coope with them as they are. I decided to follow the second path.

This decision was very troubling for me. I grew up in a society where pre marital sex and homosexuality are immoral, sinful,,,, etc. And by the way, my family is not that conservative at all. My decision to deal with these personalities didn’t mean however that i accepted what they were doing. I just acknowledged the fact that they exist in my society, that they are humans and that god is the one who will judge them, not me.
My thoughts are getting more confused… So bear with me. Let’s go back to “Chicago”. It didn’t really shock me, but it presented a different view for a totally different issue.

(warning, plotline spoiler 🙂 ). Chicago talks about a group of Egyptians living in Chicago, some of them left Egypt in the 70s, others have just started their studies there. The personalities are so diverse, mostly with nothing in common except for the feeling of homesickness, while at the same time they can’t go back home. The one personality that struck me the most was a veiled girl who came from a conservative family. She is very ambitious, came to chicago to study, fell in love with a colleague, she was saying that if they were in egypt, he wouldn’t have dared kiss her or touch her. (there was a part where he was telling her that there is a hadith saying that zena is only when flesh enters the flesh!!! does this mean that she is allowed to do oral stuff!!!)

I stopped for a while here but from another perspective.

For so many years, I was telling my parents that i want to travel abroad to study and experience a different life for a while. And they repeatedly refused. Is this the reason? I know that they know that i won’t fall in for irrational relationships, i think they mostly fear what the people would say, because they keep mentioning that this way i won’t get married. Well, i still want to travel and at the same time have my own family, my own home, a loving husband and one or two kids. Is this too much to wish for!

Remembering last year’s trip to Budapest, i know that sometimes people – boys and girls – do stuff abroad they wouldn’t normally do at home, including flirting and one night stands.

Mostafa Mahmoud once wrote a brilliant short story about a couple who fell madly in love abroad, but when they came back to Egypt their feelings evaporated. Each one returned to his normal surroundings, responsabilities, social constraints. Abroad they were free, at home they were trapped.

What if I faced something like that? What if I fell in love with someone abroad? How will he coope with my value system? How will I coope with his? What assures me that i won’t go into foolish adventures? Is it wiser to stay at home where guys know their limits with the signs I send them? Should I abandon my dreams for the sake of security?

More and more confusion.

I want to keep this blog away from controversial issues (the 3 sacred taboos sex, religion and politics). However I tried many times to write about this subject with ambiguous language but failed….. I want to have a peak from the point of other girls, to imagine seeing the world from their perspective…. I hardly ever talk about this with my friends. We just notice that we are kinda aliens among the girls. We are not super conservative, the ones who would refuse shaking hands with guys. And at the same time we are not the ultra casual chicks who wear very little and party till the morning. We are like those who danced on the stairs as the proverb goes.

What if i were not who i am? What if i was shaimaa, the veiled girl in Chicago? How will i deal with the internal and external conflicts?    And what if i was a very very casual girl (the sky is the limit ) ? Will i talk about it freely? Very unlikely in our society. How will “normal” parents deal with this? Will i get grounded or will i be get killed or will i be left to do whatever i like? What if i was the parent for this girl? Will i scream at her? Will i discuss it quietly? Ouff being a girl or raising a girl in our society is very hard!

want more complications? Here u are, a very free girl with a full physical satisfaction will always have a tormented spirit, while in contrast a conservative girl will have a clear conscious and a rebellious body and a need to be among the in crowd. And at the same time the in-between girls are not any better, they have a better social circle and a relaxed conscious but mostly they don’t find a suitable partner (only one girl among my “in-between” friends is in a healthy relationship, all other maybe reach mid thirties still single).
Ain’t I too depressing?

Last thing about Chicago and Omaret Yaquobian. The main resemblance between the two novels is the frankness in tackling the issues, presenting the sexual background of every personality. There is also lots of similarities between the veiled girl in Chicago and the girl who’s role was played by Hind Sabry in the movie, both are innocent young girls, who face situations that makes them withdraw from their conservative beleifs. Also the wife of the students head and the wife of the old businessman, both of the husbands claim to be religious while they use religion as a pretext for their immoral actions, so the women 3asaro 3ala nafsohom lamouna in order to accept any physical contact with the husband and at the end they break up one way or another. Both of these types (the young girl or the married wife) were seen as the victims of the society even if they do stuff that their surroundings would definitely disapprove of.

That’s it for now… I’m SORRY for the long post !!


11 responses to “Chicago versus Omaret Yaquobian

  1. Pingback: Chicago versus Omaret Yaquobian

  2. I was raised in the West, although I’m originally Egyptian. It was hard growing up in a culture that was not really your own, if you know what I mean. But I coped. I too believe in your theory,

    “I just acknowledged the fact that they exist in my society, that they are humans and that god is the one who will judge them, not me.”

    I think that’s the best way to look at things. I hate it when people judge too much, when they criticise people for not following their way. We should be tolerant and leave people to live the way they choose, as long as it does not interfere with our own lives.

    The book sounds very interesting! I’m in Egypt for a vacation, so I think I might buy it if I come across it next time I go to city stars.

  3. Thanks uniquemuslimah for ur comments, I am happy that u were able to coope with a different culture. I know it would have been very hard. But I’m sure that it was an enriching experience!

  4. “getting to know groups where being a virgin is considered as stupidity and an oppressive tool for men to dominate women”

    dah banat fy masr??? that what they say?
    i find that strange.

    Yes, i know they are a lot who go into intemate realtions. Even ones that can do things with a guy that picks them up from the street.

    But, for them to say what you stated above….aaaah! God protect us ya3ny!

  5. yes, girls from Egypt. But to tell u the truth, the ones I knew spent long periods outside Egypt, and I can not say that they are many, they may be 6 or 7, but I was SHOCKED from their perceptions.

  6. I agree with Nerro. This is definitely one of your best posts. Your confusion is shared by a whole society that sees two extremes and is caught up in the middle. You must know that the existance of one extreme leads to the existance of the other. Ya3ni the more the chains the more severe becomes the desire to break free. Ethics change from one culture to another, what is a virtue in one, might be considered as vice in the other, and the opposite is true. So, don’t be confused. Just figure out who you really are and what you want in life. Follow your heart and stick to what you believe is right and is you.

  7. Pingback: Eleven Minutes « Kaleidoscope

  8. I have now been in the West for three years pursuing my PhD. When I first arrived, I stayed with my conservative traditions. However, I met a man (Westerner) who is very smart last year. We have been having sex, and it is so wonderful and is the greatest gift! For me I now feel liberated. I no longer wear the veil. God understands me and yet I believe I am pious. Now I know what autonomy is along with grace.

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