0064 – Anwar’s columns



In the Netherlands is so much respect that even animals are treated like people. The supermarket is a special corner with animal stuff. There is a school for dogs and a political party for animals. I meet people who talk to dogs, cats and rabbits. “Sit, no, sit! Listen to me”, I heard someone say to his dog. I see it and think, you mean this seriously now? You ask your dog now a minute to listen? Dogs can not talk and hence do not listen, I think. I have a friend who lives with her husband and a dog. That dog is as big as a dinosaur, but they talk to it as if it were her son. If she wants the beast goes to her husband, she says, “go and see daddy”. They pay someone to care for their dog when they go to work. I do not understand why this is necessary. Can a dog is not just playing in the park as the owners are at work? I know that only children that you pay people to take care of them. Funny detail is that Dutch always say to me that they are very busy. “No time,” I get settled in reply. But for their dog, they have a lot of time. Hours they walk with their pet, if necessary, in the rain and the wind. So far, I can not imagine that I would ever live in a house with an animal. I keep them so often associate with danger. In Syria, almost no one has a pet. The animals, which are there, are often used as a means of defense. As with the police. During my flight from Aleppo to Netherlands I was often chased by police dogs. Swear words in Arabic too often about animals. “You’re an animal,” is really an insult. Here it might be a compliment.


Women’s rights in Syria, I wrote once before about there. It caused quite a commotion. Not under Dutch but among Syrians. According to them, I have shown it to be negative, because women in Syria have the same rights as in the Netherlands. Is also, according to the code anyway. Women are allowed to work, walking in bikini, become president, divorce, get married children, everything that exists in the Netherlands. So I had better not talk about women, but about women’s culture in Syria. Because there it goes wrong and that concerns me a lot. My mother may work for the government, but my father did not like that idea. He thinks it is not good if she comes into contact with other men. Moreover, he likes his job to care for her. My mother wants to work, but tells me that she is satisfied with her role as a mother and housewife. It’s like they ordered beer, but gets wine. Also tasty, but not what she had ordered. In Syria, the differences between people are much bigger than in the Netherlands. There are very rich people who live in villas like you do not even see in the Netherlands. But there are also people living in a tent. There are women in burqas who do not want to even see their bare hands, but also women in bikinis on the beach in Latakia. Syrians wanted me recently to make clear to me, that for that reason I can not write everything about Syria, all I asked: ‘Where is your mother, your sister and your niece at this time?” In most cases, the answer was not ‘At work’ or ‘In bikini on the beach.” Yes, there are liberated women in Syria that I know. But this group is not commensurate with the number of women sitting at home. If a woman is allowed by her husband to work, it’s usually as a nanny. Maybe I see this also black and white. But, at best, half the women chooses themselves what they are doing, it is equal to zero for me. For the other half, which should not be there.


Syria last week was playing football against Qatar. Ahmed my roommate and I were excited. We had pre-cleaned the house, drawn in red, white and black flags, put tea, we were ready. We lost 1-0. Of course, I would say, for all the star players of the team did not participate. Omar Al Soma, the Cristiano Ronaldo of the Arab world, was the most important missing players. There are pictures surfaced of him with flags that show that he is not a fan of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Play soccer in the national team of Syria is no longer an option, unless he publicly demonstrate remorse. Arab ‘FIFA’ has attempted to persuade him to do so, but it failed. As Soma is currently living the life of a king; he is very rich in Saudi Arabia. Since they do not take refugees from Syria, but footballers. Other good players such as Firas Al-Khatib, Sanharib Malki Sabah and Jehad Al Hussain did not count. They would then have to express their support for Assad on TV; that led them a step too far. The day after the game, I complained at my Dutch lesson that our team had lost. Fellow students from Syria responded irritated. “Why do you say ‘our team’? It is the team of Assad, since you do not want to hear that? ” Not only at the highest level policy has been overtaken everywhere, even just by themselves Syrians. Too bad that is. You have to follow suit, choose sides, even in the Netherlands. As a Kurd, I do not belong to the party of Assad, but I am nevertheless not hard to support our national football team. For me it remains a football team, not a political party.

The book

A Dutchman who cooks, I think it’s a funny phenomenon. The young, old, men and women I saw cook here, sniffing out above the pans and sample excludes prepare the food. No, they see it almost as an administrative act. First, a book is packed, or a web page brought out. Being read, after which attributes appear on the kitchen counter as a scale, a measuring cup, a list of ingredients and of course, the book. Thereafter, steps completed. 100 grams of flour and 100 milliliters of water. Ah, here come the attributes handy. All ingredients are weighed precisely and added to the dish in the correct order. Even if I’m going to eat the same dish for the fifth time in a person, is the book open beaten on the counter. With this method of cooking may occur anyway little surprise because everyone cooks meals according to the demands of the book. I think Dutch people like it because it is something that gives structure. It seems to me that you do not really build name ‘administrative cook’ with. In my family and any old neighborhood each has its own specialty. Aunts and neighbors are known for their dishes, which they prepare in their own way. I always see myself ingredients with a lot of what and how I will make it again. Then you eat every day something different and the same recipe tastes different each time. Currently Ahmed’s food and mine are -in the context of integration- lots of potatoes, meat and vegetables. To keep a little bit of their own, we mix it with a lot of herbs.

Dutch Pot with a Syrian twist.


One of the advantages of living in the Netherlands is that I can live in the future with someone who is not Syrian. Girls from Syria are just like Dutch girls, beautiful, cute and smart. The problem is that you never have the girl alone. You get her entire family. You have to take care of her mother, father, brothers, cousins, uncles, well, basically everyone around her. Moreover, the courtship period is very short and you may only see one another (clean) with the parents there. I tried to see my girlfriend secretly in Syria, but I could not. The time we did that we were actually just nervous that someone would see us. A neighbor, an aunt, a distant acquaintance. They should immediately report it to our parents. In the Netherlands, everything is different. You can even have baptised a child in the church without that you’re married. Probably congratulates the official in you also. In Syria would you would be sent away, if an unmarried father or mother comes to report the birth of your child. It has many advantages, all the freedom in the Netherlands. You can try your relationship for years before you get married. Already one time together on holiday for example. Still, I think all these freedoms are also exciting. It means that a woman with whom I want to divorce is also for me the rest of my life. I can see myself sitting, as I much saw sitting in the Netherlands. For television, little zap, a dog beside me on the ground. My children who only come once a month. That picture makes me sad. Little choice as in Syria is not fine, but you know that you care for each other until the end. In the Netherlands, you can choose anything but certainty is lacking. What is better, I do not know.