Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Caspian Sea

Sigheh: Temporary marriage contracts

Mohsen married twice by temporary marriage contracts called sigheh in Iran and “zawaj mut3a” in Arabic.

Virgin girls cannot marry sigheh without prior permission from the father, grandfather, or a brother.  Mohsen married with two divorced women.

The first time, one of the friends of Mohsen asked him to marry sigheh one of his sisters who got just divorced.  Mohsen got angry:  the friendship will be altered once he becomes brother-in-law.  Then, the father of his friend called Mohsen to consider marrying sigheh his divorced beautiful daughter.  The contract was for 6 months that can be renewed for another 6 months if the parties matched.

In Iran, the people who marry sigheh are not in any obligation of revealing the new co-habitation situation:  Mohsen lived in the city of Mashhad since Mohsen’s parents were living in Teheran, and they were not informed.  Since Mohsen had no apartment, he shared a room at his “in-laws” with his wife.

The only obligation was for Mohsen to dine on Friday’s nights with his in-laws.  Mohsen got used to joining his new family around the “sofreh” eating on the floor over a white cover.

Well, a cousin of his wife landed from the Netherlands and she decided to marry her cousin and not renew the sigheh after 18 months of temporary marriage.  Mohsen could not eat for an entire month and was depressed.

One day, a friend bought tickets for a bus trip to the Caspian Sea, north of Iran.  Since they could not join their girl friends on the bus, they decided to marry sigheh. The registration office of the contract was helpful and inscribed the marriage on their ID (giving the illusion that the marriage is permanent) so that they could get joint rooms in hotels.

Mohsen fell in love with his new wife and got very chatty and recounted their troublesome lives.  His wife says with a smile: “I don’t want to have more children.  Mohsen wants children.  Thus, I won’t be able to marry him permanently.  Anyway, Mohsen has better opportunities than me to building a stable family life.”

Note 1:  Permanent marriages in Iran are costly.  First, there are not enough apartments to rent. Second, the dowry fixed by the Koran is currently equivalent to $7,000 in Iran (100 camels, or 200 cows, or 1,000 head of sheep)

Note 2:  The abridged interview and accounts are translated from the French book “Walk on my eyes; welcome” by Serge Michel and Paolo Woods.

Bureaucratic Ethnicities (May 14, 2009)


The western nations are not helping out immigrants to overcome their ethnicities that they want to forget about and start a new life.  For some weird reasons, not necessarily out to complete ignorance of foreign cultures, bureaucracies in the developed “welcoming nations” of immigrants insist on gathering data with options that are incorrect, confusing, and utterly humiliating to cultured immigrants. 

For example, what is the use of forcing immigrants in selecting their ethnicities according to the color of their skins (white, yellow, or black) or combining continents such as Africa, Asia, Europe, Middle East, or others?  For some ridiculous reasons bureaucratic data sheets are shy asking outright for religious affiliations as if this information, which is essentially the most important piece of data that “covert apartheid” are interested in,  is not very important to immigrants.

If you were filling such ridiculous data sheets and do not find the proper slot that is appropriate and convenient to your supposed “identity” then either you leave the slot blank or you insert another slot that does not represent your identity.  In both cases the computer is not happy, data gatherers are not happy, and the whole data sheet is cancelled and the State data center ends up with truncated data or wrong.

My contention is, if the citizens of the “welcoming” nations ,don’t care about their ethnicity or identity then why force redundant issues for immigrants that welcome friendly integration processes?  If the goal is to understand cultural differences then why not focus on the language, religion, and the regions of semi-closed seas and vast lakes  that these immigrants came from?

There are coherence in culture among people living around vast lakes or semi-closed seas such as the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Great Lakes bordering the USA and Canada, the Tanganyika Lake, Victoria Lake and so on.  It is also feasible to adding semi-arid deserts such as part of the Sahara Desert, the Northern and Southern Arabic Peninsula Desert, the Goby Desert, and deserts in India, China, Russia, and so on.  Why not include the equatorial forests in Brazil, Africa, and South Asia?  These kinds of classifications are far more informative than recognized States by the UN with unnatural borders constantly being disputed and fighting for fictitious adjustment.

If the interested party such as local communities and districts want accurate data then why not communicate with the immigrant communities for feedback in designing and evaluating the relevance of the questions and options?  Would it not be of far greater utility if the targeted immigrants are told the practical and real purpose of data collections? Would not community sharing in devising and designing data sheets be a great learning experience for both the community and the immigrants as to the importance of data and how to use them?  Would it not be of great importance if immigrants are shown how the gathered information is statistically analyzed and the many pitfalls in interpreting statistical results? 

We are all in the same boat because the data gathering specialists and interpreters of results are not of much use if they have not interrelated with their target audience before the project is undertaken.  Good end results are consensual acceptance of a project that need not be ideal but functional and cooperative.  Can we experiment with projects on the premise that immigrants are as intelligent, logical, and sane normal people as those initiating one lopsided projects and very much biased and most of the time irrelevant?

May be a few citizens in the “welcoming” nations appreciate the habit of daily filling data coupons and forms for one thing or another; I am pretty sure that the vast majority of citizens abhor these practices.  Then why force upon the immigrants tons of additional forms to fill?  Would not that be a covert tactic to humiliating and cowing immigrants into a state of fictitious owe to the greatness of a nation that adores bureaucracy in any shape and form?

Only the weakest of politicians drum up the race and identity problems to attrack their bored citizens with clean sweep slate of blank brains.  Those weak politicians have no ideas what to offer the citizens or what the citizens want and need.  Thus, they borrow a few cliché verses from the only Book they were forced to read in their childhood at Sunday schools and starts shouting louder than the street corner’s “preacher”; and they expect the audience to clap the hardest they ever enjoyed a rock concert.




May 2023

Blog Stats

  • 1,521,992 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by

Join 769 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: