Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Bahia

Memoirs of a Shia Woman

Tell Mr. Wehbeh: “Bahia has finally landed”

Hameed was seriously considering returning home to Lebanon: He just learned that his mother Zahia had passed away

Actually, the reason Hameed travelled to New York just after WWI was to convince his elder brother Wehbeh to return home because his mother was heart broken: Her favorite eldest son has left her over 10 years ago and never showed sign of coming back for a visit.

News in the early 1920’s reached the toiling people overseas many weeks later.

An employee in Wehbeh restaurant in New York informed Hameed that a lady outside wants to meet with him. The worker said: “She is a lady

On seeing the lady, Hameed felt a confusing impression of having met this woman when he was pretty young.

The lady greeted Hameed in English “Good morning” and resumed in a Lebanese Arabic slang: “Saida, Saida Mr. Hameed. Where is Mr. Wehbeh?

Hameed memory rewinded to over a decade ago, a scene of his father holding a whip, ready for action, and his brother Wehbeh raising a chair. The father spitting and shouting”Adabsis” (A turkish work meaning evil, naughty…)

Hameed recalls crossing the narrow streets in the city of Tyr (in south Lebanon) in the Manara block, and a young girl walking the opposite side of the street. The girl looked briefly at Hameed. And here he is hearing the lady saying: “Tell Mr. Wehbet that Bahia has finally landed”

The story of Wehbeh Ne3meh and Bahia, the daughter of Simon the Copt, took place a few years before WWI. Wehbeh never witnessed the horror of this war or the famine that harvested a quarter of Lebanon’s population, and the onslaught of the locusts…

Wehbeh was a Muslim Shi3a and Bahia was a Christian Orthodox.

They fell in love as Wehbeh was accompanying his Christian fisherman friend Hanna (John) to the church on a Sunday.  Bahia dressed and walked differently from the girls Wehbeh saw in the city.

Since there was no chance for their families to agree on their wedding, this potential couple decided to elope and try to manage later a reconciliation between the families.

Wehbeh was to rent a room in the next city of Saida and wait for Hanna to bring Bahia by sea.

Wehbeh waited for three days and nights by the seashore, at the port, barely sleeping for fear of missing the encounter. He finally gave up and surreptitiously returned to Tyr by night in order Not to meet any person and find out what was the problem.

Bahia was to be engaged to Iskandar, a old 55 year-old Christian man, and Wehbeh was apprehensive that the secret meeting was discovered and Bahia was hurriedly made to marry a man she didn’t care to live with.

Bahia stayed at her aunt. Bahia was to prepare a bag of her belonging, drop it at Hanna’s house, and join Hanna by nightfall to be whisked away on his small fisherman boat.

At the last day, Hanna had a terrible bout of bad conscience, sort of committing an unforgivable sin: He  will be blamed for a mix marriage, considered an enemy to his religious sect, and banned from the city…

Hanna met with the priest and confessed. They both knelt and prayed for hours. The evil Shaitan (demon) was defeated. Only the priest and the aunt knew about the scheme: It was not proper to spread the news…

Wehbeh decided to leave Lebanon and ended up in New York.

These thwarted  love stories based on religious differences were common before, and current even today, and will last for another century.

Note: This story is taken from “Memoirs of a Shia Woman” by Raja2 Ne3meh (Rajaa Nemeh). Hameed will become the father of Rajaa

“The passionate story of my life”: Who is Olaudah Equiano (1745-97). (Feb. 11, 2010)

Olaudah Equiano (1745-97) was a slave; he describes how he was shipped to be sold.  Equiano published his book in 1789 at the age of 44 while a free man and settled in London.  He was kidnapped in Nigeria and sold to the British American colonies; he travelled with his “master” across the American continent, worked as sailor before set free. Equiano became very influential in the abolitionism movement.

“The first sight when I reached the shore was the sea that I was seeing for the first time. A slave ship was shoring up.  A few sailors grabbed me and threw me in the air to check my good health. I quickly felt that I am in the hands of evil spirits.  I had the strong impression that I am to be eaten alive. The sailors had long hair, red faces, and talked in strange languages. Black slaves were in chains and the demeanor expressed anxiety, suffering, and total discouragement.

I lost consciousness and then the black people who brought me in to be sold for salary offered me an alcoholic drink that plunged me in great torpor. I was led beneath the ship deck and the stench made me sick: I could no longer eat or drink and refused what I was offered.  Consequently, sailors tied my legs and they whipped me crazy.  Since I never drank water I could not drink any water extended to me.  My life of slavery in the village was no where as cruel as my current situation.  A few slaves tried to jump overboard and they were punished harshly.”

Negro trades were undertaken in most of Africa. In central Africa, slave trades were done within the African tribes.  In western Africa slaves were first shipped to south USA (the ports of Charleston and New Orleans), to Central America (Havana), Venezuela, and Brazil (Bahia and Rio de Janeiro) and then shipped again to Europe to the ports of Lisbon, Cordoba, Liverpool, La Rochelle, Nantes, Le Havre, and Amsterdam. The main ports of shipments in western Africa were done in Goree (Senegal), Ouidah (Ivory Coast), Sao Tome, Benguela (current Luanda).

Slave trades from eastern Africa were done by Moslem tribes in the ports of Zanzibar, Mogadishu, Cairo, Tripoli (Libya), Alger, and Marrakech on their way to Jedda (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), and then toward the Middle East and Turkey.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

March 2021
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