An Egyptian living in Europe but her heart stayed back home. Having some random thoughts about the before and after pictures. Ghawayesh means bracelets. In my context it symbolizes the cuffs of my culture. I don't know if I like them or hate them. Thanks for passing by.

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I started this blog in 2006 as a joke. Now that I look back, I have decided to take it seriously!

03 March 2007

The Whores!

Times are changing and many "respected" families have come to accept the fact that their daughters can make their own choices of choosing to marry whoever they want, if they EVER CHOOSE to marry, which is also a new trend in Egypt. Yes, believe it or not, some Egyptian women rather stay single than be unhappily married.

Egyptian males made up a lie and believed it that they are superior to males of other nationalities. When an Egyptian male opts for a foreign wife, then he's a winner and a stud and God's gift to her and she should be so thankful for his eternal tantrums and malignant ego. And their children are the most beautiful in the whole wide extended family only because their mommy is Blondie and so they are!

And once an Egyptian woman chooses for a foreign husband, then she's a whore and her family is low class and she has done it only because she failed to win the lottery of marrying a super Egyptian man, so the poor soul opted for a second best who sadly happens to love her and understand her and respect her and not lie to her and actually goes as far as flossing his teeth for her!

If a non-Muslim foreign man decides to marry a Muslim Egyptian woman, he will have to convert first. But converts will always be accused of being untrue or incomplete Muslims. Be it for matrimonial purposes or for otherwise, a convert is never good enough for the "true Arab Muslims". Like Islam is a genetic trait or something. Only God knows that most of those born-Muslims are God's lowest rank hypocrites, and that God is the true judge for what's in our heart.

Non-Muslim men who wish to marry Muslim Egyptian women, I would like to share a couple of thoughts with you:

1- Marrying an Egyptian Muslim woman is not easy. You are aware that you are making a sacrifice and a commitment for life, aren't you? You have to understand what it means to convert before you do. I have sadly seen how several women and men who converted for their summer flings and later on ended up in an identity crisis and several conflicts about their children's affiliation. Let alone those stories/nightmares of kidnapping children and disappearing without a trace.

I don't know how strict your partner is, but you might have fights over your having an alcoholic drink or about the origins of a funny looking sandwich that could say oink if it was alive. You could get offended and take it personally that she doesn't want you to kiss her sometimes for you don't know that she has just washed and on the way to pray and is supposed to stay "unsullied" until she does her prayer. Those small misinterpretations can create lots of tension if you're not ready for them.

2- The financial issues are something typical of our culture. The real reason why families ask for lots of money and a house for the bride, is simply the fact that men can be untrustworthy "if taken only at face value", and when they make financial commitments, they become more serious. It's a bit different in my family, but my family is unique in many things. My sister married a young man who adored her for 7 years before she took notice of him! Got the approval based on his incredibly lovely family and his well-known reputation. Yes his family is well-off, and so is our family, but the mahr and shabka and mo2akhar so on were not that much of an issue when everything was (mashaAllah) going so peacefully and based on mutual respect.
You can sit with her dad and explain to him what you have, and that you will be willing to offer her the best you can afford, and yes, everything in Egypt is negotiable, even this issue! And if they turn you down because you can't afford some bricks in Cairo where saraseer will have a blast while you're gone most of the year, then save yourself the trouble and let them cry over their lost saraseer.

Saraseer are cockroaches BTW. They are the most common domestic creatures in Egypt. But that's not important right now.

3- You have the right to wonder about female circumcision. Statistics say that 97% of the Egyptian women are circumcised. I am an Egyptian woman who studied Medicine and do not know of any woman in my family who was, but did see many circumcised women while I was practicing medicine in Egypt. Circumcision comes with certain social classes and you have every right to know whether your future wife is circumcised or not and in what way this might have affected her psychology.

Unfortunately the same question applies to you! There is a misunderstanding that circumcision of males is an Islamic obligation, which is not. It is mandatory in Judaism and strongly recommended FOR MALES ONLY in Islam, but you won't go to hell if you kept some foreskin and kept it clean.

Once I was talking to a Dutch guy who was mortified by the idea of male circumcision. He called the practice barbaric and backwards. I said to him that it's done all around the world, not only in Islamic countries, either for medical or hygienic purposes, and I wondered what they do in Holland, and he said: "Oh we just shower!". Now his attitude of taking it so lightly might not be very well appreciated back in Egypt. You have to be ready for such a personal question from your partner, or even her dad, and I think they would appreciate a serious answer about your extra skin situation!

4- Be ready for racist behaviour in Egypt. Your wife will be insulted for marrying you. She will be called a prostitute and will be asked on which street corner of which resort you had picked her up. They will say oh she married a foreign because she was too old to marry an Egyptian, the poor thing! Yeah better than being alone for the rest of her life!

Maybe you will not be told this to your face, but you also need to know that some Egyptians would give you the best treatment and call you their "best friend" after having known you for 5 minutes, and once you turn your back they will stab you with the biggest virtual knife there is.

Egyptians have a long way to go before they learn to live and let live. Please beware of that.

5- Having been involved in giving you advice; you have the right to know about my background. I'm married to the most wonderful foreign man who is truly God's gift to this world. We met when I was living in Europe and having a great career and did not need him for any visa or money or otherwise, and I was in my late twenties, thank you very much. I didn't realize/care that he was rich and did sign a prenuptial agreement based on Islamic law, which is very fair to him because he doesn't deserve to be ripped off half his money, like the Western law states, if God forbid a separation happens. I would get a decent alimony and a certain percentage from his income STARTING FROM THE DAY WE WERE MARRIED (since I sacrificed my career for the children), and exclusive anything he will inherit after God willing a very, very long time.

So, you can make it work, but you have to be ready for a lot of sacrifice and lots of homework PRIOR to getting involved. Speaking for myself, I left those who criticized my life choices to drown in their mental dysentery, while I'm having all the fun *wink*, BUT it's all based on a long and educated decision making process.

*Throwing kisses at the booing crowd*


JPierre said...

Really enjoyed your post.
Keep it up.

BoB said...

Hi there. Allow me to link that brillinat article to my place!!! I had been living in Egypt/Cairo (as a foreigner obviously), and that post is the exact feedback I had been having from my Egyptian friends. I just was too lazy to write it up. Well Done !

QueenAlyaa said...

@BOB, I would be honored! Go ahead buddy!

QueenAlyaa said...

@ JPierre, thanks of passing by. Great blog BTW!

The Usual Suspect said...

Truly truly a soul sista! This is EXACTLY what it's like when an Egyptian woman marries a khawaga!
When I was in Egypt last year, I rang my huband back in Oz complaining about the comments from men in the streets and he says "next time I will come with you to protect you" Hah!!! I laughed- "no, no being with you will make it worse- they'll all think I'm a prostitute and we'd have to carry around our marraige certificate just to prove we are legal"- poor khawaga was mortified! His blonde hair, blue eyes and honky features would stand out like a sore thumb in the streets of Cairo.
I think the financial issue is a biggy- when I married khawaga I had my own house and was pretty financially secure. He wasn't- not that I cared. He moved in with me and eventually we built a house together. In short- selling off my house created a lot of problems because he wasn't ready for the news that in Islam the wife's property before marraige remains her property and he has no claim to it.
Circumcision- my Mum cracked the question with me when we were getting married. Hey, even if he wasn't I would have lied to her and said he was- what is she going to do? Make him pull down his pants and prove it?
Eating and drinking the forbidden- i don't care if he does it outside of the house- I'm sure he has a ham sandwich and a beer for lunch every now and then. i just don't like it in the house because it confuses the children. Afterall- he is responsible for himself. Yes he converted but it really is up to him if he wants to practice or not- I won't force him.
There are a whole lot of other things too. I think for my husband the biggest hurdle was going to see my father for permission to marry me- I've never seen the poor sod so scared. For Gippo men it's such a proud moment because they think they're God's gift and they're doing your parents a favour by taking you off their hands. But for poor khawaga- it was like he was going to face the Inquisition and he had absolutely no idea what to expect.
I could go on and on. This is a fantastic post Queen- you've captured the phenomenon of Gippo-Khawaga union perfectly.

QueenAlyaa said...

@ US, thank you my dear. And your comment was just as valuable.

O.S said...

This is definitely a very insightful post, and successfuly hit the chord on many occasions. My problem with this is your tendancy to generalize. Most of the problems mentioned before hand have to deal in reality with Eastern culture as a whole, with the exception of the food/money points. In my family and around me I see women who are happily married to foreign men, be it western or not, and they have not been subjected to the same treatment that you went through personally. As per statistical world, to make such a statement, you need to use random sampling methods and review a good chunk of that population before generalizing your observations. Again, I'm not denying that this must happen. I know our culture and I know how people react to different things, but obviously this is not the norm.

All the best to you and keep up the good work.

Raouf said...

Thanks for shining your accurate light on yet another little discussed aspect of the Egyptian psyche and habits.
There is certainly a lot of material here that is food for thought.

I had not come across any Egyptian women who were married to a non-Arab man so was completely surprised to hear of the existence (and the viciousness) of these attitudes.
Maybe I should not be too surprised but still I wonder, has this always been the case or is that one of those attitudes that has been hardening in recent years in accordance with the xenophobia and religious fervor that is sweeping the public opinion these days?

I am married to a foreign woman and I sometimes get this attitude of "you have left the Egyptian fold and no longer one of us". Do you think the attitude that you describe is a more severe form of this or is it something completely different.

Do you get those vibes from Egyptian men only or do you get it from Egyptian women as well? What do you think they are really protesting or seeing as something objectionable? What is at the bottom of all this?

About the female circumcision statistics, I have heard these high numbers too but I have hard time believing that this is so common in middle classes. Being a man I cannot really inquire about this, but from your more intimate contact with middle and upper class Egyptian women, what is a more realistic statistic?
Again are these attitudes changing because of the latest religious craze.

QueenAlyaa said...

Hi Raouf,

I can't answer your questions about the attitudes towards Egyptian women marrying foreign men and whether they have changed to the worse. All I recall is those incidnets when for exmaple I told my aunt on the phone that I was marrying a foreigner and she gasped `shaha2et` and instead of saying mabrook, she asked me how I could do this to the family!!

About FGM, I have no clue either, but you have to remember the the middle and upper class are a very small portion of the society, and that a huge part of the middle class is originally from the countryside, where women are mostly GMed.

The FALSE religious craze we have nowadays could be reason, but it´s not the only reason.

Breath said...

Hi this is the first time to read your blog and i really enjoyed doing so. I like the topics that you raise although the high tone of anger that i sense in your lines but that's fine it shows how much it means to you and how much it is real.
You write in a free way and you are in a great contact of you thoughts and can express whatever you want, good work and looking forward to your next post.

hebe said...

yet again thumbs up

The Usual Suspect said...

having worked on campaigns against FGM I think I can answer your question. Egypt is supposed to be among the countries with the highest rate -around 95% estimated to have FGM. however it is a different version to the more severe forms performed in the next two highest countries- Somalia and Djbouti where complete infibulation is the norm. In Egypt, pharonic FGM is the most common and involves removal of a small tip of the clitoris. In Somalia and Djbouti, it involves full removal and stitching.
FGM is not common in Urban areas of Egypt but still practiced in many rural towns and among the Saeed. When I first noted that Egypt was among the countries with as high as 95% FGM, I was shocked as i am not aware of anyone who I know who has had it- but then my sis who lives in the Saeed said it was common there so I guess the figures might be accurate afterall.
I have had contact with Somali and Sudanese who have had it and they are the most common cases presenting in the health system here in Australia.

smilingbuddhaphish said...

Thank you so much for this. I am a Canadian Engineer working in Egypt who never in a million years thought they would fall in love with a muslim woman. I am at the stage after many months of secret meetings out of town and sneaking around out of sight of the locals of telling the parents of my intentions to marry this incredible person. We are both fearful that it may not be well received and have not quite figured out what we will do if I am not accepted. There is talk of running away but I know what it means for an Egyptian to be away and alienated from his/her family and I do not think this would be the best choice. I must say that your words have given me hope and I wish everyone in my situation good luck.

Tesla said...

LOL !! bgad el post da gamed, ana l2eet el blog da sodfa bgad 3andek 7a2 f 7agat kteer awy...batalty leeh ?
keep the good ideas egyptian btw so i know EXACTLY what u mean

Drama Queen said...

thumbs up ladies ur very brave to do this and talk about it so opendly actually!!a close cousin of mine was gonna get married to a spanish guy but the poor thing couldnt take the pressure and jst backed off!

Torstein said...

Great post.

Living in the Middle East, I always want to tell people when they do the whole "we men can marry whoever we want, but you Christians must convert to do so" that my girlfriend (in Europe) is a Muslim and a believer, and that she does not want me to convert when we get married. I want to tell them this partly to shock them and partly to open their eyes.
However, since I know I will lose their respect, and not least that they'll talk badly about her (and saying she can't possibly be Muslim, and not a proper one anyway), I refrain from doing so.

There are Muslim girls who will marry men from other religions without conversion. Thankfully :)

samehrocks said...

You're a pathetic woman! sorry but I had to tell the truth... I really can't understand why you like to talk shit about your home country? you sound like you've never lived in Egypt.. but the sad truth is that you lived here!! married a foreign man who dropped you at the End and you turned crazy like that... tell you something about Real Egyptian people?? although they're living a tough life, suffering from ailments and poverty, they're still loving their country, and they don't talk shit about it to the whole world!

Ghawayesh said...

Samehrocks, I don't talk shit about my home counry, I just tell it as it is. If you're in denial then it is your own porblem.

And I didn't ''turn crazy'' because I married a foreign man- I was just born Kookoo. =)

Mohamed said...

(egyptian male coughing here..)
I have to acknowledge that it's all true, though.
You're right-- we're lightyears away from learning to 'live and let live'.
Great blog, keep it up!

Forsoothsayer said...

yep, u have it straight. i don't understand this egyptian attitude of not talking shit about the country - just because other people aren't told, doesn't make it any less true! my god.

i used to have a foreign boyfriend and when i walked around with him i was always assumed to be a woman of ill repute. it was hard explaining that to him. we didn't have any conversion issues tho because i'm christian - which means that members of the christian community generally don't feel the same way about marring out as the muslim community does. bel3aks, if a woman marries a foreigner they assume she is doing well for herself because he could have taken any one of the "more attractive" western ones. but tab3an they still prefer that she doesn't marry out. el mohem we didn't end up getting married - and partly it was because since we were living in egypt and i speak much better arabic than he did, obviously i had better control of every situation which - i couldn't help it - made me feel like he'd been emasculated and couldn't take care of me if something bad happened. do u find that to be a problem?

samehrocks said...
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