Friday, July 25, 2014

It's an important day...


Tonight is laylat-el-qader. In the room I am in lights are dim. The prayer mat is waiting for me to sit before God and pray. It is going to be a long night. Today was/is an important day.

My dearest reader, as we approach the days of Jezhn (Eid) thousands of families in my city will have not purchased their new clothes, neither have they purchased celebratory food, nor have they planned anything special. Do you know why? Because the leader of the country that I supposedly belong to has cut off my people's salaries. He wants us to die of starvation. He wants us to cause war and rebel against our government. He wants us to blow ourselves up. He is committing a genocide against us. My people are still going to work, they are working for no income.  

I open Facebook and the first thing I see is a picture of the Muslim shrine of Prophet Younis blown up in Mosul, next door to the city I live in. It's an important day.

60 people were killed in a bomb and car attack in Baghdad as prisoners were evacuated. I will point out my uncles, cousins and dear ones still live in Baghdad. Yes, this also happened today. After all, it's an important day.

I am living in a time, age and place where not too far away my Christian brothers and sisters get a letter 'N' drawn on their houses: They either convert their religion, pay money or get killed. Did Nazi Germany do this?

Today, my fellow Kurdistani brothers and sisters, Christians, Muslims and all the other religious and cultural colors  held hands, side by side, they demonstrated. My friend organized this walk, asking for peace, coexistence. Are we asking for too much? It's an important day.

Few years back I dealt with girls in high schools who had been through Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) when they were younger. I was close to their stories, their difficult secret lives and muted pains. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) worked hard to put an end to this, the KRG made FGM illegal. Today, the ISIS announced every girl in Mosul must be circumcised. Two million girls' lives will officially be ruined. It's an important day.

This evening the white UN car with a convoy drove right past me, Ban Ki Moon was in my city. It's an important day.

Earlier today in between meetings I couldn't get my eyes off  Twitter, the new President of Iraq was announced. Still not sure what I think of this. But it's an important day. 

My dearest reader, yes the list is incomplete, this is my little part of the world. What happened near you today? This is aside from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, aside from the planes falling, crashing, and getting lost; aside from the silent killings and cruel punishments of my Kurdish family in Iran, and the innocent children sleeping under bombshells in Syria; Aside from the Kurdish women in uniform fighting injustice.

As for me, I belong to a country that no one else wants to recognize. I belong to a stateless nation of pain and suffering. A nation of peace lovers, but like a tree we are trying to grow in an environment where the harsh winds of our surrounding is trying to break us apart, push us down. I have hope.

We have strong roots. Yet we are watering ourselves and carrying with us our own sunshine.

I laugh at myself. I studied politics, international relations, I read more books than my own weight on diplomacy, who was I fooling? 

I am sitting with my laptop, reading news, in tears.
My husband is sitting on the floor listening to du'as watching people pray on TV.

He is silent. I am silent. The world is silent. It's a very silent night. 

I will go now. My prayer mat is calling me. I have a lot to pray for. 

My dear, it's an important day, because "it's a night where Muslims believe that God blesses everyone, and forgive all sins, accept all prayers as you wish, and the angels come down." 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Grumpy Four: B to B Breakfast

So, on the last Friday before Ramadan the Grumpy Four and I decided for a family breakfast out. First option that came to mind was B to B

Now, before you read this review please know that B to B (breakfast to breakfast) is still one of my favorite places to eat in Erbil and it's one of my only to go delivery places in Erbil. Their food is TASTY! But this was just... an unlucky day perhaps?

Near Italian Village on the 100 meter street, Erbil

We went to the family section of B to B- that itself is divided into two different sections: Smokers and non-smokers. Hence, ideal for everyone and I loved that! I don't go to many restaurants in Erbil only because I suffocate from the smoke of cigarettes  and Argila (nargila, or shisha, whatever it's called) 

it was clean, tidy, but as Dani and Sahand pointed out the "lighting is so fa3o" - basically, they did not like the lighting. The tables and chairs however are distributed in such a way where you feel you have privacy and enough to room to have a conversation without the table next to you hearing everything.

B to B restaurant, family section

Here is what we ordered
Acke: No order (he had a tummy ache)
Dani: Breakfast Plate
Mirkhan: English breakfast

Sahand: Club Sandwhich and Cheese Mana'eesh
Saza: Egg plate! (and this was literally just a plate with two plane eggs) 

Here are the grumpy four and their ranking out of 10 for their breakfast

Service: "Zefata" 0
Food: Acke didn't order anything

Service: 1
Food: 1
"Salad was dry, definitely not fresh. The olives were bad, orange juice was good." 

Service: 0 He almost fought with one of the staff
Food: 2 "But I give the Shisha 6/10" Note: No one else has Shisha

Service: 3
Food: 3

The Bill: 80, 000 ID (around 70 USD)  We all agreed it was not worth it at all. I guess for us there is no more breakfast at Breakfast to Breakfast.

Catch up with us next time as the Grumpy Four go Out and About!

*Please note that this is a review of a single breakfast we had there, and does not mean the entire restaurant is poorly rated, as we love the food B to B provides for its main meals.