Tag Archives: Russia

Comrade Nadia

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?
Part II – From Russia with Love
Part III – Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Part IV – Comrade Nadia

Many changes had happened in Khalid’s life since He came to Moscow. Couple of years had passed since the last time Khalid’s forehead touched his prayer rug. His mother made sure not to forget to place the most important item in his suitcase. As much as it was important to see her son succeed in life, it was not easy for her sending him off to a country far away. She believes God never forget his slaves especially the good ones. Her only request to Khalid before he left was not to forget his prayer.  When packing his suitcase, she placed the prayer rug on top of his other stuffs. She thought placing her son’s undergarments and shoes on top of the rug would be inappropriate.

In his first year in Moscow, Khalid used to place the rug either on his bed if he is not sleeping or on his study chair if he is not sitting on it. Somewhere he can easily spot when he wants to pray one of his five daily prayers.

After three years in Moscow, it was not just the absent of the prayer rug that you will notice if you enter his tiny one bedroom apartment. His Jordanian friend, Ahmad, was no longer his roommate. There were few pictures of him and Nadia placed on the vanity mirror and on the nightstand near his bed. They both looked so happy in these pictures. You can see different places on these pictures all taken on different occasions. There is one during his 19th birthday. Nadia is kissing him on the cheek and he is having a blast among his other friends. On another one, she is on his lap in front of a lake.

Where is Khalid’s prayer rug?

Khalid like the majority of Jordanians came from a conservative Muslim family. He would never throw away his prayer rug. He thought since two sins were committed regularly in his apartment, drinking alcohol and fornication, it would be better to keep the prayer rug in his suitcase. The one he brought with him from Jordan.

Nadia was Khalid’s age. They meet at a friend’s house. Nadia and Khalid found in each other something missing in them. He treats her like a princess and she gives him romance. It was not just her beauty or their love that lured Khalid away from his culture and religion.

Khalid transformed from a Hamel (astray or tramp), as his father used to call him, to a Comrade. A title that made all the difference in his life and had huge effect on him.

So, how did this transformation happen?

To be continued …

Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Part II – From Russia with Love

Part III – Moscow and Um Khalid’s dream

Like any parents, Abu Khalid and Um Khalid wanted the best for their children. Although, they both did not attend universities but they learned it is very important for their children’s future. Fatmeh, the eldest child, did not attend a university as well because of her low grades in Tawjihi (the General Secondary Examination). Luckily, she was able to attend a college in Irbid, 20 minutes by bus from their village.

The second child, Khalid, received 57% in his Tawjihi, a much lower score than his sister. Yet, Khalid’s low score was not a big issue because he is a boy and so he can go study somewhere else outside Jordan. Back then (circa 1950 to 1990) it was more common to invest in the sons’ education more than the daughters’ education because boys will become the breadwinners. And daughters will marry.

The parents wanted Khalid to become an Engineer, at least that is what Um Khalid wanted more than anyone else in the family did. Her neighbor Um Abdel Baset has an Engineer son so why cannot her son be an Engineer as well. Through Abdel Baset’s father connections he managed to admit his son to Damascus University, one of the oldest and toughest universities in the region. Abu Abdel Baset knows someone who knows someone in the Baath Party in Syria.

Back to Khalid’s family. Khalid’s grades were not enough to let him study Engineering at Damascus University nor Aleppo University. Besides, they do not have the connection Abu Abdel Bast has in Syria.

Khalid’s family heard of boys going to Moscow to study. Backed by his mother, Khalid managed to confess his father that he should go to Moscow. He told his father how when he becomes an Engineer he would get a good job in Irbid with a very good salary. The father agreed although that meant selling couple of lands that were with the family for three generations.

Khalid travels to Moscow.

To be continued …

From Russia with Love?

Part I – Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Part II – From Russia with Love

During the 50s, most or maybe all Arab countries became independent. Arab governments wanted to build their countries so they started sponsoring their best students to study abroad. North African countries sent their talented students, even Muslim scholars, to France and the Levant countries sent theirs to Russia. For this reason, there are plethora of French and Russian literature translated into Arabic.

In Jordan for example, we read a few of Maxim Gorky’s novels while in high school. At that time, I could even name few prominent Russian novelists. If that was not enough, I actually read few of their short stories that were outside of the school curriculum. Unlike English literature, were sisters living in big nice houses in the countryside tricking charming men for marriage, Russian literature felt more realistic to Arabs. Russians lived a harsh life. Russian writers describe a life full of misery and disappointment. Their stories do not end with the protagonists getting married or achieving their goal. You can hardly find an educated Arab who has not read Russian short stories or novels. We got used to the tragedy in their novels.

This type of literature found a new reader based in the Arab land and supported by The Arab Nationalist Movement. Arab nationalists became heroes. Until this time, there are group of Arabs who call themselves Nasseri (i.e., a follower of the ideology of the former Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser.) Nasser was in office between 1950 to 1970. He was for many Arabs a hero who was a socialist and anti-imperialist.

Egypt was not alone in its Nasserisim against imperialism and pro-socialism. Iraq and Syria adapted an Arab nationalist socialist movement called Al-Ba’ath party. This party was in full throttle supporting The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO.)

These movements were very popular among Arabs. It was time for Arabs to stand up for themselves after being silenced by the European colonization and the Turks before that. The mood then was the unity of Arabs against the imperialism. However, why it was the USA only that was and still been hated more than any Western Country?

Enter Israel.

To be continued …

Why Russia was never the enemy but the USA is?

Some young Arab men discovered that they did not have to believe in God to go or see heaven. They found it on earth without any effort from their side. It was right in front of their eyes. They actually lived in it. Maybe, it would be a better description if we said they lived it; they lived the heaven life. No hot dusty desert but cold and beautiful green sceneries. There, they saw breathtaking women they have never seen anything like them. Women who were very similar to how some Imams described during Jumu’ah (Friday) prayer. Gorgeous women with milky and pearls-like skin. However, it would have not been heaven if they could not touch these angelic women. In this place so called heaven, touching these women was not an issue. In the promised heaven, a man can have more than one woman. In this new discovered land, these young Arab men satisfied their fantasies. The more women they wanted the more they got.

The paragraph above is not an introduction to a short story but a period of time some young Arab men experienced. Between some times in 1950 to 1990, this newfound land although felt like being in heaven was actually known as The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). Also known as Russia.

So, beside the breathtaking women what else happened in Russia?

Everything exciting happened.

to be continued…