We have a world of contrasts in Bahrain this week. The summer vacation is over, which makes some bloggers happy, and others miserable. Religious scholars – respect or despise them? One blogger compares blogs in the USA and in the Arab world. And our star post this week is a description of how to detox, Bahrain-style…
Here we go again…
Schools and universities opened again this week, and a number of Bahrain's bloggers have posts on educational matters. Ahmed describes an interesting phenomenon he has noticed:
لماذا تهربون من المدرسة في اول يوم .. هذا اليوم هو يوم التعارف على المدرسين و الطلبة .. ليس للهروب و الذاهب إلى الكفتيريا
قال لي احد المدرسين : رأيت اليوم ابناء الأجانب(الهنود) يركبون الباص و ابواتهم ينظرون لهم .. و لكن هناك فرق كبير بين ابنائنا و ابناء الأجانب(الهنود) لأن ابنائنا يذهبون إلى المدرسة للنوم و اللعب .. و لكن ابنائهم يذهبون للجهد و الإجتهاد
Shaima Al Watani is concerned about increasing incidents of violence between school students, and thinks something should be done about it as soon as possible:
One in a Million has a very succinct post:
It’s only nine more months till the next summer vacation!
Coping with life in Bahrain
Students may be lamenting the end of summer, but Seroo (who recently moved back for an extended visit after years of living in London) can't wait for hers to be over:
It's been a good summer because I love Bahrain. I love hanging out with my family and my childhood friends. I love cocktail Kuwaiti from Burair and drive-thru everything. I love the simple life here that can get you as far as you need. It's great, isn't it? My friends abroad leave me jealous facebook messages on how sunny life must be here and how wonderful it all is.
What I don't tell them is that after a whole summer here I've now got an itch that no matter how much I scratch will not go away. Who was I kidding, a whole summer here and I was expected to stay sane? With no special exhibitions in museums, no parks, no outdoors activities, no long walks, no intellectual stimulation, no anything new and no character to anything around me, was I supposed to be just fine and not feel useless?
For some more opinions on why life in Bahrain is frustrating, read a post by another blogger here (please be warned, the post is full of profanities!).
Blogging here, blogging there
Butterfly sometimes tours blogospheres in different parts of the world, and has some comparisons to make with Arab blogs:
اما المدونات الاجنبية والامريكية بشكل خاص فهي بالاضافة الى كل ذلك تتطرق إلى أمور أخرى مثل البحوث والدراسات الاكاديمية، الصحافة والاعلام فضلا عن الامور والهوايات الفنية مثل التصوير الفوتوغرافي والديكور والرسم والزراعة وغيرها.
Faith – and disillusionment
We turn now to religious matters, and Rayyash explains the background to a call for ‘death to secularism’ made by a senior cleric in Bahrain:
Mohammed AlMaskati is not feeling at all charitable towards religious scholars:
نعم رجل دين، تفوح مني رائحة المسك و البخور، لا أحتاج أن أحلق لحيتي اللعينة صباح كل يوم كما أفعل الآن، أطلقها فهي من علامات التقوى، نعم رجل دين أفتي ما أفهم فيه و ما لا أفهم، أتكلم العربية الفصحى , أنقل رواية ضعيفة عن هذا و إسرائيلية عن هذاك، فما أدراني.. فما أنا إلا رجل دين
The urge to purge
Ramadan is about to begin, and Bahraini Rants describes a traditional method of ‘detoxing’ before the month of fasting:
Historically, the last Wednesday before Ramadan has always been a busy time in Bahraini homes… Bahrainis, being the cool holistic cats that they are, cleansed and detoxed their systems to ring in the coming holy month properly. They used to drink a strange combination of leaves, roots and branches called “ishrig”, mixed up by the local Hawaj (apothecary) and brewed into a god awful drink to help cleanse your system. In other words, a diuretic with the devastating outcome reminiscent of raging cyclone steroids, nice enough picture for you?
A couple of years back, right before the start of Ramadan, I jokingly mentioned to my father about wanting to cleanse my system before fasting. He replied with giving ishrig a try, and I said, why not. My why not was met with a very disdainful scoff and grave statement that will forever ring in my ears, “if you do take ishrig, you will not leave the house for a while, and you will feel pain, insurmountable pain”. He then regaled me with stories of his childhood on attempted escapes from the clutches of his house to avoid drinking the stuff. Let me tell you, the ol’man has a pretty high tolerance for weird herbal remedies, and if he’s adding a disclaimer to ishrig, then this stuff was pretty bad.
But of course me and my father have this very XY chromosome chest thumping dare double dare contest perpetually going on, and we agree to drink ishrig together and deal with consequences (a previous contest between us was betting the waiter at an Indian restaurant on how hot they could make their lamb vindaloo and then who was man enough to eat it all – end result, a very painful evening with no real winner). His claims of me not being able to handle it were met with my pointing out his old age and inability to re-hydrate fast enough.. In keeping with traditions and all gentlemanly rules, we set the date for the last Wednesday before Ramadan to cleanse our systems, and see who’s made of mettle and who’s a yellow belly baby…
Perhaps you can guess what happens next… This post just has to be read in full, so I will leave you with bated breath (and perhaps churning intestines). Ramadan Kareem, and more from Bahrain in a week!