Friday, June 15, 2007

A nice Sunday drive

Despite having driven near Fallujah a dozen or so times in the last year, until a road construction project recently sent us on an alternate route, we had never been through the scenic downtown area. Out here in the western deserts, I tend to forget how green Iraq is around the rivers.

As for downtown Fallujah, well I guess even I had bought into the media story that Fallujah was still a sniper filled wild west. As we drove through, I couldn't help but feel a little silly for having gotten all worked up over it. To be sure, Fallujah looks like Berlin at the end of WWII, with bombed out buildings and military checkpoints all over. But I found it interesting to see kids playing in the street, and adults patiently waiting to cross the street once our convoy had passed.

My favorite image though, was of a mother or grandmother holding a young girl's hand. After 15 months over in Iraq and having read dozens of books and articles about Islam, I still don't feel I understand it very well. Especially this.

An old woman dressed in head to toe chador, with a little girl in a bright red shirt and matching bright red hat. An outfit my own daughter would probably like. So it makes me wonder when a girl in Islam has to put aside the natural tendencies of any girl and start acting like a woman in Islam. I've ofton wondered if Islam would catch on more quickly in the West but for the way that many Muslims treat women. Or, ironically, maybe it's the way they treat women that is holding the Arab world back. Maybe we as men need the moderating influence of a woman to keep us from reverting to our cro-magnon instincts.

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