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Iraqi Culture

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Eng 1101, T/TR 0800

Descriptive Essay


Iraqi Culture

As Americans, we are used to security, comfort, luxury and freedom. But even with all of that there is a lack of cultural back ground. For some of us the furthest we have travelled is to the next town or city. I have been amazed when I have spoken to people that have never even left their state. So after viewing the streets of Iraq, my personal views on the world have changed. My views on the way we live have changed. We are so privileged to live such a comforting life. With choices and ample chances to make our dreams come true.

I was saddened to see, children starving in the streets, wearing filthy clothing and no shoes. The women performing all the manual labor, while the man sat around drinking chi tea. I learned that women cannot show their faces because it's against their beliefs. The women wear a long black garment called "abayah" that covers her body from the shoulders down to her feet. In addition to the abayah, they wear a face and head cover called a "hijab". They also have no option on who they marry, as their marriages are arranged. They must share their husband with other women. And from a men's perspective, women in Iraq are only on Earth to provide children, work the land, and do all domestic work. The only job they are allowed to have are working for the government or teaching positions at local schools, but that is only if you are not married or widowed.

Boys and girls are not allowed to attend the same school, until they go to a University. Some children don't even attend school, because there might not be one in their village. Some don't attend school because the father doesn't allow it or because they are learning take over the farming business and have to help around the home. They also don't have an option of choosing what they will do in their future; it is already decided for them. I have been told that it is a custom for the child to become what his father is. So if his father is a farmer, than that's what the child will be, a farmer. In Iraq boys are more valuable than girls in the eyes of a father, because they will continue to carry the name of the family.

As for the man, they are the power. They can take up to 7 wives. The wives father, encourage beating if their daughters fail to perform their daily duties. The majority of men wear a long sleeved one-piece dress that covers the whole body, called a "dishdashah" or "thoub".

In their culture there are many rules that even foreigners should follow. It's considered an insult to step or lean away from an Iraqi. Women are the exception. No one should touch, stand close to or stare at an Iraqi woman. I learned to only speak to an Iraqi



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