Painting : Iraqi artist, Ziad Bakury
Not so Discreet…
By Layla Anwar
March 23, 2009
I love Discretion.
I guess I am discreet by nature, maybe because I am reserved by nature…or maybe it is due to upbringing, where there were no TV reality shows and where letting your hair down in public was not allowed — Oprah style. Or maybe because I firmly believe that the realm of the private is sacred, that it is not really necessary to go around flaunting it…
I also think that the frontiers, the borders between what is publicly known and unknown are also made of discretion.
Discretion comes in many forms, just like anything else, really…And funnily enough, discretion and digression sound the same…flip sounds of the same coin.
Let me give you an example, a live example in my memory…
In Iraq, prior to our “liberation” sects and religion were not discussed, they were not an issue. Your sect and or your religious affiliation was at your discretion. We were discreet about such matters. Not because we were afraid, but because I and many others intimately understood that these matters belonged to the domain of the private and in this instance were inconsequential.
It did not really matter who belonged to what, figuratively speaking…what mattered was what you can achieve, what you can produce, what you can accomplish, what you can contribute to the highest good – of all, regardless…
And it worked, it worked for many years…because this is how nations are built.
Nations and nation building, nationhood is not something one acquires from text books…nation building requires an ideology for all. Where each single citizen finds his and her place. In that sense, Baathist ideology was an ideology for all.
I am no Baathist myself. Not because I don’t believe that the above precepts were wrong in themselves, but because I am discreet by nature and discreet people can’t subscribe to mass ideologies…People like me live in their own world, unhampered by masses, but can still distinguish the tree from the forest, so to speak.
Then came the “liberation”…It not only destroyed physical infrastructures, but also “ideological” ones…and pitted one sect and one religion against another.
How so? you may be wondering…