Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Abu Haider!...Abu Jassim!

-Yesterday, I was having a conversation with one of my friends about the situation in Iraq and the elections idea, and after he gave his opinion about the subject, he added” I’m sure that ABU HAYDER” will find a solution for the problem.
I asked” and who’s that Abu Haider”?
He said” do you really don’t know him”?
“It’s the new name for Paul Bremer”.
I was surprised and asked,” where did you hear that”?
He said” I don’t really know, someone started it for sure, then it spread out”
(Haider is one of the favorite names for Iraqis, is it’s a name they use to call the historical Islamic leader Ali Bin Abi-Talib).
I reviewed the history of Iraqis in giving names to certain people or employees, and remembered that Iraqis used to call the British with the name (ABU NAJI) and that name was common after the British came to Iraq after WW1. Also Iraqis have special names for people who have certain jobs, for example, any soldier is called (ABU KHALEEL) and any policeman is called (ABU ISMA’EEL).
It seems that my people are fond of the word (ABU=father of..)!. Every man is named after the name of his older son or daughter (ABU something) or if he doesn’t have children yet, they call him after a famous historical personality having the same first name, so any Mohammed can be called (Abu Qassim or Abu Jassim) after our prophit Mohammed who had a son called (Qassim), and every Ali is called (Abu Hussain) after Ali Bin Abi-Talib(the prophit’s cousin).
Anyway, this sort of nicknames is usually used among friends or relatives (informal), and when a stranger uses this form it indicates that he wants to start a friendly conversation.
This (system) can be used also for calling someone names, by using the word ABU and the suffix will be a dirty word!!
By the way, Iraqis have a freaking huge list of dirty words, and these are continuously modified and updated!!
For me, you can call me (Abu Khattab), as some friends do, after Omar Bin Al-Khattab the historical Islamic leader.
When a man is married and he’s become old and still has no children, he will also be subjected to this rule, and his friends call may him (Abu Ghayeb)=father of the absent.
no one seems to be far from the reach of the Iraqis' tongues. don't you think so?

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