Trafika Europe 6 - Arabesque

zaher omareen

to be more open-minded. His eldest daughter, especially, was really really pleading with him, and crying, but he just said, ‘Let her die before she gets looked at by a bloke!’ Anyway, in the end your granny went in and had a word with Abu Ahmed. She opened the door just a foot or so and talked to him from behind it, to preserve her dignity. She said to him ‘I’ll go with you, to help the doctor, and I’ll get him to become a blood brother to her before he delivers the child, so that it’s all halal and nothing haram happens.’ In those days, you see, blood kinship could be forged between two people: they would each make a little cut in one of their thumbs, and then they’d press them together and sort of rub them a bit,

so the blood mixed together, and then each of them would lick it off their thumb – and after that they would be considered blood kin, and so they wouldn’t be permissible partners for each other anymore and wouldn’t need to be covered up. Basically it’s a silly old-school custom, a superstitious thing people used to do. –Right, so then what happened? – Dr Mukhtar arrived, sleepy- eyed, straight from his bed, wearing his white jellabiya. As soon as he walked in your grandad took him aside and said to him ‘Doctor, just say yes to whatever Abu Ahmed asks you – we don’t want any trouble – that woman’s life’s in danger.’ Well, the doctor had this expression he always used about people, ‘He’s a


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