Saturday, March 3, 2007
By Layla Anwar
".....Well, Nayla and Sami are terribly in Love.
They met in 2004 in Baghdad. She is a sunni, he a shia. That was never an issue for either nor for their respective families.
They are both young adults and knew that this is "It". The search is over.
They got engaged and were eagerly looking forward to their wedding, their final union......
In early 2006, Nayla's family received several death threats and were forced to leave Baghdad. Her father an ex-government employee understood that he was targeted.
He decided he was not willing to turn his wife into a widow. They packed some of their belongings, took the little savings he had put aside for his daughter's wedding and escaped to Amman......
His turn finally came. The passport controller looked at his passport, stared at him, looked at the passport again, shook his head and said in a stern voice "No entry".
"What, why?" exclaimed Sami, "this passport was issued in 2005, it's brand new. I have a clean record. Here is a letter from my employer, this is my I.D, this is where I will be staying in Amman...."
"I said No entry, it is not possible, yalla next!"
"No, wait. What do you mean it is not possible, I have been travelling for 11 hours and waiting in line for over 4 hours...please don't do this to me".
"I said it is forbidden. Orders."
"What orders? What are you talking about?"
" Forbidden, means no entry...yalla next!"
"But please, understand..."
"Don't make me lose my temper, your passport is an M category. Your goverment gave us clear orders that no M category gets in. Only passports issued in 2006 are valid. Government regulations...next"......
The passport controller flips through her passport, looks at her, flips again, looks at her again and says "Sorry no entry."
"What? Why? All my documents are in order. Please..."
"No, sorry, no entry, forbidden. Next!"
"Please, please ...why...tell me why?" Nayla is tears.
"Government regulations" he replies abruptly "Next!"
"What regulations? I have a valid passport"
"Don't make me lose my patience" he snapped back "Your passport was issued in 2004, it is no longer valid"
"But it is valid, look at the date"
His voice grew louder "I said it is no longer valid.Government orders. Next!"
"But please, I beg of you."
"NEXT or else..."......
Love was denied entry, prohibited, forbidden and all it needed was a stamp.
But Love remained stuck at the borders, unable to take root anywhere, unable to flower, unable to reach its ultimate destination.
A Love under occupation, a stolen love...a reflection of the land it emanated from.
Each of the lovers returned to their prisons, away from each other, feeling old and used, with broken dreams and hopes, as broken and as hopeless as the "new" Iraq."