From :
Sent : Saturday, June 26, 2004 2:34 PM
To :

Dear Dr.Fawzi

First of all, I would like to thank you for most of the articles that you publish in your newspaper. I said most because I donít agree with some of these articles and this is normal I think. Second, I would like to reply to an article published under the title Ďdo Arabs wear shoes?!í would you please publish this reply and sorry for writing it in English, but unfortunately I donít have Arabic letters in my keyboard.

Yours truly,

Suha Al-Dakheel

You said that you are an Arab who lives in France. Thatís fine. I am an Arab who lives in the UK and this is my first year here and maybe it will be the last. Everyday, I face the same question: Ďdo you wear a veil in your home country and you take it off here?í I have to answer each and every Chinese or Japanese one that in my country I wear the same clothes that I wear here. Then, they come to ask another question: Ďhow many wives does your father have?í then I have to say that my father has only one wife who is my mother. I have been in the UK for ten months and each and every day I have to answer the same two questions that make me angry to a large extent. Unfortunately, this is the view of the Arabs especially the Muslims in the eye of the people of the Far East and not the people of the west for it seems that the British people donít care about anything but their parties.

I think you might be familiar with what I have mentioned above. They ask you whether we wear shoes or not and they ask me about the veils and the number of the wives.

In spite of all these I donít think that both you and I have to be ashamed of anything. It is a fact. So many women are veiled in the Arab world. So many men have more than one wife. With traditional Arabic Jallabiah, it is usual to wear al-sandal and not the western shoes.

In some of their views they are not to be blamed and in others they look so stupid and at the same time we prove the hypothesis of so many thinkers that they are superior and that we are inferior.

Let me give you an example about some of the activities that the Arabic society provides here and then you can find an answer to you enquiries. The Arabic society organises many activities to show the originality of the Arabs. These activities represent the belly dancing, al-nargeleh and nothing else.

In an international week where each and every country tries to show the best of its traditions, Arabs showed the following. A girl from the Gulf spent a whole hour dancing with a dancing suit. Then, in the fashion show where each one was trying to show the best of his/her country, a gentleman from the Gulf too came with his traditional jallabiah with two women to his right and two women to his left: he has four wives. He with his very clever behaviour proves that anyone who wears jallabiah should have four wives. And because all Arabs (as they think) wear jallabiahs and sandals, so all Arab men have four wives and Dr. Ousama is not an exception. And all Arab women are nothing but salves and dancers in the tents of the Arab men. Then, it is the role of America to come and give us (the Arab women) our liberty. Someone might come to say that this is true to some extent. I will not discuss with you or anyone else whether I as an Arab girl or woman suffer from the bad treatment of the Arab man or not for such as story became boring and old.

My point is why to be ashamed of our cloths or dance or even of the camel as the only means of transportation as they think. This is not a thing to be ashamed from. Why to be ashamed of our history or traditional fashions. Remember that cloths and especially shoes do not make men. I think the mentality of the Arabic men must be in their heads and not their shoes unless if they have proved the opposite. The sandal is what Mahatma Ghandi wore when he visited the UK many years ago. Moreover, he was covering his thin body with a piece of cloth that might not be warm enough to protect him from the cold weather of the UK. Just remember the way the British people received him. They did not look at his sandals or even that piece of cloth to respect him. They respected Mahatma Ghandi the man who never accepted to sell his country for a pair of shoes made in Italy or for the modern British suit.

It is time now to find a solution for this inferiority complex that makes us happy when they think that we look like Greek, the Italian or even the French who wear shoes and not sandals though in this summer I found nothing but the sandals if there are any in the feet of those superior people while I kept wearing the shoes all the time.

Please, let them think whatever they want and let us work on something more important than the sandals, the shoes and finding answers to their never ending questions.