Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Iraq is like a Paella dish

Samuel Shimon told us a nice story in his book "An Iraqi in Paris" occurred to him when he met Romero, a man from a Spanish origin, in Paris. Romero was confused by the name of Samuel Shimon. The following dialogue occurred between them:

"- Are you sure it is your name?
- Yes monsieur
- The strange thing is that Jessica Tandy has told me that an Arabic young man will live at her house
- It is me
- An Arab and having a name like this?
- I am an Iraqi and not an Arab
- What do you mean (I am an Iraqi and not an Arab?) the man asked confusingly. I had to repeat the same old boring story of how iraq is composed of different races like the Arabs, the Turkmen, the Assyrians, the Armenians, the Kurd, the Mandaeans, and the Jews. And I have ended my speech by saying "you see, iraq is like a paella dish".
The man bursted into laughter "ha ha ha iraq is like a paella dish" and kept repeating that several times."

I would like to add another flavor to the dish. A flavor called "Gerjeya". Gerjeya, is a female name used in our country. It is a name of old ladies usually because it is not that commonly used these days. I have met in my life few elderly Gerjeyas, but not a young one yet.

I remember what my colleague has told me before months when I was asking about a lady named Gerjeya. My colleague did not answer my question. Instead he asked me:

- Do you know what her name means?
- Not really
- Mean a lady from Georgia.
- Oh!!!
- During the Othman empire rule of Iraq, some soldiers from Georgia region which was under the rule of Othman empire served in Iraq. Some brought their wives with them. They were very beautiful you know. Iraqi people started to name their daughters as Gerjeya, in hope that they become beautiful like the Georgians.

Isn't iraq a paella dish?

By the way, Samuel shimon mother's name in the novel "An Iraqi in Paris" is Gerjeya.

By another way, today my neighbour brought me this dish of rice and some many other things on it, like a Paella, but a real Iraqi one.

They also brought me a dish of Kuleicha on the first day of the Eid, here is its picture

When I ate today the Iraqi Paella dish I felt so happy and held my Ud and played an Iraqi song from the 1970s of Fadhil Awad. Its lyric says:

"Hey you with that Sumerian beauty

Babylonian are your looks

Your sight is an EID for me

And I light your candle with my hands"

This is my Ud sits below one of my father's paintings of a Sudany person. Isn't it wonderful?


Laura said...

Eid Mubarak, Sami. Another lovely story. Thank you. (And thanks for the info re: book. I'll search for it.)

sami said...

Thank you Laura. I hope all your days are EIDs and happiness. By the way Samuel Shimon runs a web site which seems not very active but you may find it interesting:

His novel has been translated lately to Swedish.

Thank you for your nice words.


3eeraqimedic said...

Dear Sami
I have been really enjoying your recent "series" of old Iraqi / Baghdady posts, from the 700ta, to the mixed neighbourhoods, but this particular post touched me even more.
I had a great aunt called Gurgiya.
I think some of the Georgians who came and settled in Iraq were brought there when very young, and trained for battle, they then became the loyal army of the Sultan and eventually they and their families settled in Iraq, marrying Arabs and Kurds and forming a further layer of the multilayered tapestry that is the people who all rightfully consider themselves Iraqis.
Keep up the wonderful writing it is much loved even if not often commented on.

Sami said...

Thank you 3eeraqimedic for your words & clarification of that lovely name "Gurjiya".

raseel256 said...

Hello sami,nice dishes,i am feeling hungry now lol.Your UD site is great make me miss your home walls ,they r filled with fantasting things .I saw your posts .they r more than wow. Go ahead and surprise us with more stories and beautifull pictures

sami said...

Hi Raseel, I felt very happy to see your comment this morning. you are more than wow my friend. Today i have shown my colleagues how you play "Nassam Alaina Al Hawa" in your Yamaha Keyboard and they all said "WOOW!!". Thank you and take care.

Anonymous said...

hello sami..
its the first time i visit your wonderful blog...
when i searched for my mother name (Gurjiya) i found your blog.
you are right, this name is mean a beautiful girl like georgian girls (unlike my poor

This name is written in different ways ( Gurjiya, Gurjia, Gurjea, Gurgia, Gurgiya, Gurgea, Gorjia, Gorgia, etc).

my regards

saminkie said...

Hi dear,
thanks for the visit. In front of all the Guerjeas that I had met, you can nothing to feel but love and acceptence since it shines from them to you, from their time of old good Iraq. I am sure your mom is one of them. God bless you both you and her.