Thursday, July 21, 2005

Friends & Lovers

An old college friend was in Abu Dhabi for 3 days. Me & him used to take a lot of classes together, always end up as lab partners, working together on most of our projects basically we spent a lot of time together. He's an American. We used to get into the most horrible arguments about Islam & Middle Eastern politics. He really used to upset me. Used to get really obssessive about trying to convince him, giving him books, articles etc...& everytime there was a new event from the Middle East in the headlines it would start the argument again.

As luck would have it his work after college had nothing to do with what we studied. He went on to grad school in a different field altogether & now he works for UNHCR - the UN Refugee Agency. So he's visited some Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan & the West Bank.
This time though we found that we didn't argue as much. Our views on most Middle Eastern issues were more or less the same. We've both come a long way. Back then I think I still had the Arab victim/conspiracy theory mentality. Wasn't willing to consider any criticism of Arab, Palestinians or their leadership, saw Israel as the cause of the problem & the obstacle to peace. Am so over that. Had my eyes opened big-time. And he now has a better understanding of what it means to be a refugee. He was telling me that Palestinians are unique among refugees worldwide. Other refugees were displaced by war or famine or whatever but they do have a homeland to return to. Palestinian still don't.

Didn't tell him this but another reason why I didn't want to argue as intensely & call him a fascist etc... like I used to is that I maybe an Arab but he's the one who is actually doing something to help the Palestinians - occasionally even risking his life to do it. We Arabs like to talk a lot but who is the biggest contributor to UNRWA?The US. Who's the second biggest contributor?The EU. Who are the biggest 2 contributors to the Palestinian Authority?Same 2 answers. Support for Israel notwithstanding, the fact is Palestinians in the diaspora & in the occupied territories today depend on the US & the EU for their survival - not on their so-called Arab brothers. And when I think of the way Palestinian refugees are treated in some Arab countries well so much for patriotism.

He still has negative ideas about Islam but I didn't bother to challenge those. Religion is a private matter. Am not a missionary. Not my thing to try to convert people. Am ok with people not liking Islam as long as it doesn't cause them to become opposed to the human rights of Muslims as individuals. My friends did give him a hard time. Was happy just to watch.
Had a feeling he enjoyed it though. Think he's like me. We both enjoy a good debate/argument.

All in all I enjoyed his visit. K. didn't though. Think that answers my question about whether K. has a jealous/possessive streak without having to resort to Mohamed's suggestion about that top. He does. He thinks that I shouldn't spend so much time alone with another man. And that I talk about my friend too much. Too much time?The guy only had 3 days in town & am the only person he knows here. I mean hello. Was I supposed to offer to see him once a week?Besides I asked K. to come along & he didn't want to. And when my friends could make it I took them along.

And the talking too much comment made me laugh. All my friends are practically screaming & tearing out their hair from hearing me talk about K. so much. Look at my blog. Three quarters of it is about him. And am not allowed to have one or two discussions with him about a male friend - especially when said discussions are infact about the male friend's POLITICAL opinions?

Of course K. denies absolutely that he is in the least bit jealous, insists that he trusts me but says that he just didn't think I behaved appropriately. So we had a debate about this concept of appropriate behavior & I found out that apparently if I spend too much time with guys & talk to them on the phone for a long time they might get the wrong idea etc...Well who cares if they get the wrong idea?That's their problem.

He's chosen to go into a bad mood about this. My friends think that he probably just missed me because we used to spend so much time together & all of a sudden we didn't because I was busy with this friend. Which puzzles me even more because I did ask him to come along every single time & he was the one who said no. When it was HIS female friend who was coming from overseas & he told me he was going all the way to Dubai to pick her up I didn't tell him he was behaving inappropriately. And when he asked me to go along I did & was very friendly to her.

He says I always think in this tit-for-tat, feminist way. Don't really think of myself as a feminist but I do have a problem accepting things that don't seem fair. Just like he feels it's ok for him to kiss other women who are friends but when I asked him he said that it would make him extremely uncomfortable if I started doing the same. I mean I don't feel any overwhelming desire to start kissing all my male friends. Not used to it. But if I can give him the benefit of the doubt & assume he doesn't have bad intentions why can't he do the same for me in a similar hypothetical situation?

I asked him if he would stop doing it if it did make me feel uncomfortable he said yes & immediately asked me if that was what I wanted. I said no. First because am not really uncomfortable with it. And second because I know he only offered to stop because he wants me to promise what exactly?That I'll never go out alone with another man?That I'll never talk for more than (20?25?30?min) with any other man?That I'll never talk about or seem to give another man more attention than him?

Always thought that if you show your partner how much you care & that they're a priority with you they'll be secure enough so you don't have to deal with this kind of situation. And God knows I've done my best to make it clear to him just how important he is to me. Am not into playing games or playing hard to get at all. But am also a lot more social than him. Have a lot of friends. Travel. And can't really make promises I might not be able to keep.

So this is my decision: I didn't promise anything. K. is going to Egypt on Tues for 10 days. From now til Tuesday am going to give him lots of TLC & dala3 & 7inya & see if it's not enough to make him forget this & get out of the bad mood.


Blogger doshar said...

"He says I always think in this tit-for-tat, feminist way. "

the views of men are generally distorted about what is their rights and what are the woman's. and this double standard thing is quite annoying. i have had enough of "you are not the same" or "don't compare yourself to me" or "i am the man" rebuttals when in a discussion. it is so unfair. they think they make the rules. if something is wrong, then it is wrong both ways. there are some, and i say some differences yes, but they make it abolute.

i had this discussion with a guy the other day:

(he is very posessive with his wife. who she talks to, what she does, especially with men)

he had just told me that he was driving by somewhere and saw by chance a friend of his sister's who he had known since she was practically a kid. and he offerred her to take her home bacause she was looking for a cab.

Me: so did you think she was bad or wrong to come with you?
HIm: no
Me: you felt she was unfaithful or disrespectful of her husband?
Him: no.
Me: so, your wife M can do the same? if an old freind sees her on the street he can give her a ride?
Him: no . of course not. it is not ok
Me: don't u think this is a bit of a double standard
Him: ok. double standards double standards, whatever. i know my self, and i know i have no bad intentions. i don't know whoever will pick her up thinks in what way
Me: she has a mind! she is not retarded. Your friend's husband is better off than you, because he is relaxed. he is not worrying too much because he trusts her and trusts her brains.

anyway to cut a long story short.. they think it is ok if they do it. not if you do it. it is a culture thing. wierd; you said he lived in sweden all his life. this is so typical of some egyptian guys.

best strategyi think:
convince me why i am wrong to do this or that? if it is wrong then we both shouldn't do it.

about the bad mood, don't worry, he is just jealous that there is something that you cared about other than him. and some time away will get him into the right mood.

7/21/2005 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Al Sharief said...

"..I always think in this tit-for-tat, feminist way. "
Naturally you are a bright, selfasserting, very challenging, contemprary (& beyond). I swear NO Flirting here ! ... But you are NO feminist. Stubborn May be :), I meant strongminded will.

7/21/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been reading your blog for quite a while..just wanted to say I like your style of writing.. I don't always agree with your "views" but I really like your attitude...
Good luck in whatever you do :-)

7/22/2005 02:07:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...


"the views of men are generally distorted about what is their rights and what are the woman's.and this double standard thing is quite annoying."

Am not really annoyed. At least not anymore. But I don't submit to double standards & he just has to do whatever he needs to do to live with that.

"you said he lived in sweden all his life. this is so typical of some egyptian guys.

Not sure if it's a culture thing or if he's just jealous & chooses to hide his jealousy behind the culture/appropriate behavior rather than admit he's jealous. If it's just jealousy I can handle it. If it is a cultural/lifestyle difference then that's a more serious difference.We'll have to see.

7/22/2005 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Al Sharief,

"Stubborn May be :), I meant strongminded will.

Stubborn?Me?Now where did you get an idea like that?

7/22/2005 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger LouLou said...



7/22/2005 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Gilgamish said...

hey loulou,

i'm new bloger. and i love your blog. i find somethings about you smilair to me, regarding gender issues.

hope you check my enfant like blog :D

7/22/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Al Sharief said...

"Stubborn?Me?Now where did you get an idea like that?"
Apolgies if this "Stubborn" thing offended you. I realy meant it more toward "Persistent". You come across more flexiable than what "Stubborn" imply :-)
I also did not mean this in a direct personal way, but more in the context of: If there is anybody who is as outgoing as you are and kind of act the same as you do under the circumstance in the part of the world you live-in now could be called "Stubborn"

OK "Persistent" is goood.:)

7/22/2005 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...

Al Sharief,

Am not offended.Was just curious why you would think that.

Just like things to be fair & have logical reasoning behind them. When they do am quite willing to be convinced.

"If there is anybody who is as outgoing as you are and kind of act the same as you do under the circumstance in the part of the world you live-in now could be called "Stubborn" "

Unfortunately you're right. And am aware that am lucky to be in a position to reject unreasonable restrictions without suffering for it.Many women in this part of the world simply don't have that choice.

7/22/2005 11:04:00 PM  
Blogger LouLou said...


Welcome & congratulations on your new blog. Enjoy!

7/22/2005 11:08:00 PM  

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