In a few days I will be leaving Sana`a and return to Sweden. It feels exactly like when the woman you love more than anything has just left you. Your heart aches, you feel empty, you look at pictures of her, you worry what will the future be like, you miss her profoundly and you ask yourself:
“Will I ever see her again?”
Well, if the longing and ache is big enough, you will see her again, so YES! I will see Sanaa soon again. In shallah!
The war planes are still leaving Sana`a, it seems like there is no end to the war, it just continuous and people have almost stopped talking about it. It has become part of the daily chores. Global media still writes about it, though, but still seems to lack profound insight and it seems just to be second hand reports. (Read this and a local point of view, this.) Ramadan is moving into its last week and soon the Eid festivities will begin, the same day I return to Sweden. I guess it is the right time to return, before the festivities. Why indeed enjoy life to its fullest….
Well, I have had many questions about my studies….how have they fared?
Hmmm, I set out to become a scholar and ended up loving Yemen, but I guess, I have a good base when it will be time to set off on the Big Expedition! Problem is that most of the local Yemenis I have hanged out with have spoken English and that the plans for the big Expedition has taken most of my energy and time, trying to get the right contacts here in this lovely country. Which I believe I have. So, as it is right now, I do know a lot more Arabic than when I came here and the school where I have done my studies have been excellent in every way. Good program, excellent teachers and great staff! One thing is for sure, however, my choice to come to Yemen ahead of Egypt or Syria, was the best of choices!
The reason for this is many. First of all, if one wants to experience the real Arabia, Yemen is the place. If you come here to learn Arabic, the same applies, and this is due to that you learn so much more than just Arabic. Very few Yemenis do speak English. You really dwell into the Moslem world in every way! And you get this really important perspective on Islam and Moslems, which for me has been as important, since my upcoming Expedition has all to do with education and understanding.
So, I will try to give you readers some of this new perspective I have acquired. Let me first just state though exactly the same as my good friend, the worlds foremost female camel traveller, Aritha Baiijens, who´s spent many years travelling the Arab World, told me when I asked her:
“Are you a Moslem?”
“Are you joking? I am a free spirit!”
The same applies to me. I believe, but do not belong. So, let me continue, when you dive into the Quran you realise after awhile, that this religion in reality is a very just, fair, down to earth and that many of those holy words written in the Suras, Hadiths, well, they can after all be easily misinterpreted to suit people with conservative, non-educated and down right evil minds. Take for example the word Jihad, which in the West is interpreted Holy War and for most Westerners means armed fanatics either blowing themselves up in crowds of innocent people or cutting heads of Western hostages, well, in reality it means effort. Which means that it in the beginning of Islam stood for a spiritual meaning, that the believer withstood all evil which surrounded him and instead fought the nasty thoughts of oneself. A war against oneself.
Another discovery when reading the Quran is that is far from as anti-woman is we in the west believe, it is just again, once more, conservative men who has translated the words of the Quran to suit their own means to keep power…but, yes, there are many anti-woman quotations, as in the Bible and I think one has to try to see the Quran, and the Bible, also in its historical perspective and understand that one has to change with time and apply life to what the world looks like right now. To quote the Quran itself, in Sura 13:11 it states that Allah will not change the possibilities of humans, until they change themselves!
So true! Have a changed myself during these ten weeks in San`a?
Indeed, I have regained hope, joy of life, freed myself of a lot of worries and I am set for the Big Expedition!
However, as always, life is just not filled with joy, I am off back to Sweden to sort things out…..in shallah, it will work out will.
From now on, all my blog work will be at www.mikaelstrandberg.com
But, please, do see this little slideshow from my Yemeni visit!