I’ve been living in Arab Muslim countries for a year and a half now and in all honesty I enjoy it. I like Arab culture and there are aspects of it which I think the ‘west’ could learn a lot from. However I am a man and this definitely facilitates my life within the culture.
Yesterday, I realized how different things are for a woman. I was having a shisha with a friend and when I ordered a shisha for her, the waiter immediately said no. I was surprised! I asked why and he said that women are not allowed to smoke shisha there anymore because as he put it ‘the police don’t like it’.
I found this interesting. Policemen according to me (and the movies) are suppose to uphold law and order. Locally, the police force have other duties as well. Duties which is of the utmost importance.
One of the important duties and powers of the local police force is that of controlling traffic. At working traffic lights. They have the all important job of reminding drivers that ‘Green means GO!’ and ‘Red means GO!’ and ‘Amber means… wait who is Amber? Does she like local men??’. Traffic lights in this country (like any other road sign) are purely decorative and were an ingenious way of breaking the monotony of the yellow and light brown of the desert sand.
At traffic light these ultimate purveyors of justice, clad in angelic white uniforms direct traffic with the ultimate precision of an epileptic, schizophrenic with Alzheimer’s. A lane of one car is effortlessly turned into four lanes by taking over curbs, pavements and my personal favourite, the opposite lane for traffic (and this forcing oncoming traffic onto the pavement). This under the watchful eye of one (or more) Angels of Order. How do they manage to create these intricate patterns of chaos. There secret weapon is a whistle. Not an ordinary whistle though. It’s a magical whistle which turns approaching drivers into raving lunatics, to whom traffic rules are merely a challenge! “It says I need to stop at a STOP sign? Well let’s see I can do it without stopping!”
Though I think their most important job is that of regulating and eliminating woman smoking shisha! The Angels of Order must curb this behavior! There is nothing more disconcerting and frightening than a woman with smoke coming out of her mouth and nostrils! Society must be protected against this abhorrent behavior. The image of a woman turning into a raging bull is clearly going to scar men and children for generations!
In all seriousness I was taken aback by this development. The first time I had shisha here I saw women smoking shisha… I don’t know what has changed since. If this really is something the police imposed on the café, it borders the absurd!