I read Clementine Ford’s article in The Age dated March 25, Is this photo grounds for death? I shared it around the usual social media traps. It is an issue that should be highlighted.
I also read Ruby Hamad’s article in The Age dated March 28, Why protests must be culturally appropriate and noticed Ruby copping a bit of flak from Australian women.
In summary, Amina, a 19 year-old Tunisian woman, adopted a western protest style to seek freedom for the women in Tunisia and she is now in a mental hospital. Clementine wrote of the case and Ruby has provided a culturally sensitive perspective which has generated some discussion.
I am one of what I believe is a fairly unique group of women: I am an atheist feminist married to a Muslim. I have visited a very strict Islamic country, Qatar. If you are reading this and don’t know my stance on religion and feminism, I suggest you read the following articles before you continue reading this one!
- What is it with religion and women?
- The battle of feminist ideologies
- If this is feminism you can keep it – warning discussion of rape and swearing
It is clear from the above articles I am NOT into preserving the status quo!
Besides being married to a Muslim, I have several Muslim co-workers as well. The Muslims I know cover a wide spectrum of strictness. One co-worker’s wife wears traditional Islamic dress, while others are much more relaxed and drink alcohol and smoke.
This is another short excerpt from Love versus Goliath, our memoir in progress. In the timeline of our journey, this brings us to February 2010. We finally get to see each other again after nine months apart. Some of the content here has been published before in a slightly different context, however the latter half is freshly written.
DIAC = Department of Immigration and Citizenship, DFAT = Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
February 18 was the second of two big days!
Naturally, with all the work involved in preparing for the case, I’d not yet packed a suitcase. Not that I ever pack earlier than one hour before I leave for the airport, but I might have liked to be a tad more organised this trip. Just the week before I had been in Adelaide for work, got a call at Adelaide airport asking me to review a legal submission and so had to start that at 9pm when I finally got home that night.
I’d managed to get nearly 4 hours sleep, so that would have to do! I’d had good sleep the two nights prior, so I felt I should be OK. I had wisely kept my work calendar free for this day, just in case we had suffered a setback at the hearing, so I really just had to get a few things finalised – it wouldn’t be a tough day at work.
I looked around our home: my next objective on my return from Qatar had to be to get the house back in order. The last few months had been a blur and I felt I was living in a bomb zone – this had to be rectified as soon as I got back. No time to tackle it before I went!
This was my first trip with my new passport – the one I didn’t need to get yet – in my married name! Very exciting stuff.
Another short excerpt from Love versus Goliath, my memoir in progress. Previously published excerpts can be found under “The Book” menu or category. This part of our journey has not been discussed in detail on this website before. As always when I publish short pieces, readers’ feedback is very welcome!
DIAC = Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Edit July 10, 2012 – If you are thinking of a work visa to Qatar for yourself, please ensure you read “Qatar, here I come” for details of the reality we found.
John had found out he could get a work visa to Qatar. However, it cost a fortune. $4,000 for the visa, then there would be airfares and living expenses. But he would have a job. He would be able to support himself and the children, save for airfares for my trip to Qatar and for them all to come home. I would be responsible for keeping the home fires burning and paying the legal fees. He also wanted to be able to send me money to “show DIAC they are wrong”. He was still hurting from the claims in the decision document, as was I.
I was very worried it could be a scam, as was John. I knew John had good friends and supporters and I had to trust him to negotiate his own world, but I also knew he had been away a long time. Things change, people change. We both researched. I asked a young Nigerian journalist I knew from a human rights page on Facebook. His advice was to be very, very careful. I checked all the details on the Qatar website. As far as we could tell, it was legitimate.
Yes, Raincoaster, I am shouting. Bite me! This has been a year worth damn well shouting about!
We started the year waiting desperately for the hearing date for our MRT appeal, with Mr O in Qatar, the children in Nigeria and I was here in Australia. We were advised the hearing was to be the day before I was flying out to visit Mr O. We won in February and I visted Mr O in Qatar the very next day. On June 3 my family came home. Since then we’ve had a whirlwind seven months getting four children established in a new country, new home and new schools. Mr O completed Certificate II in Horticulture (Landscaping) and got his “L” plates for driving on the “other” side of the road. I started a new job during this time as well. I have made a fair start to our book, Love versus Goliath.
For any visitors new to our history, this has been a MOMENTUS year for Team Oyeniyi. I’m not going to be bashful: I’m damned proud of how much we have achieved this year, with the support of some very valuable people: our families, friends, legal team and health professionals!
Our top commenters of recent times, based on the WordPress stats page, have been:
- Elizabeth of Mirth and Motivation
- Nancy of Spirit Lights The Way
- Pip of Piglet in Portugal
- Erin of Momfog - Erin and I started together, from opposite sides of the world, so as “newbies” we had a special support connection!
- TiTi of One Cool Site Blogging Tips
- Veehcirra of Veehcirra
Many thanks to you and all our wonderful visitors and followers for a terrific year for our website. We have reached a page view count of over 56,000 and have Google Page Rank of 4, while alexa.com has us at (today) a reasonably respectable 862,924. You all helped so much!
Tonight, New Year’s Eve, we will take our children to the City of Melbourne celebrations: a free concert and fireworks. Then it will be home before midnight to watch the midnight fireworks on TV.
Happy New Year everyone. We wish you and yours as great a 2012 as we had a 2011. For us, 2011 has certainly been a year not to be forgotten!
Edit: Since publication, the WordPress “stats monkeys” have sent us our annual report! 19 sold-out performances in the Sydney Opera House? I’ll take that!
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
Regular readers will recall some time ago I submitted a summary of our story in 350 words to the Victorian Immigration Museum. Readers gave valuable feedback on drafts (see related links below)! Thank you! The other day I went looking for it on-line, but couldn’t find anything. Strange, I thought. I wrote to the Museum to check they had received it.
Today I received the following lovely response!
Thank you for your enquiry regarding your family’s story, which you submitted to the Immigration Discovery Centre.
We certainly did receive your story. I have just checked and it is published on our Share a Story database. This database is available on all the public computers in the Immigration Discovery Centre and is very much enjoyed by our visitors. Unfortunately Share a Story is not yet available online.
Your family’s story is a fascinating one. Thank you for contributing it to the Share a Story database.
Operations Coordinator, Discovery Centre
The reason I couldn’t find it was that part of the museum is not on-line, available within the museum only!
There are some things in life I do not understand. Ever since February I have been getting search terms reaching our site involving Qatar sex in some way or another.
http://www.qatarsex.com (As far as I know, there is no such site! WP keeps putting a hyperlink here, as did Twitter when I shared!)
search qatarsexx (The double “x” is very common.)
qatarsax (I guess they play the sax in Qatar?)
The above are just a few of the search terms that arrive on my dashboard!
Last night I took a sleeping tablet. This is finally a very exciting time, hopefully our very last time of waiting! So now it is difficult to sleep because of excitement. The anxiety and worry are still there and will remain until I know my husband is on the plane home with all four children and they are each in one piece! I am choosing to focus on the excitement rather than the anxiety.