"- 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.
- 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?