Part VI – Call me Socialist not Communist
For Khalid and many Arabs in Russia, who went there to study or to attend a military training course, Socialism made sense. After all Islam is also about social justice and treating all people equally. Regardless of age everybody has to work and everyone is equally a comrade. Unlike in the Muslim and the Arab culture respect to the elderly is not an obligation. All comrades are at the same social level and the best among them is the most hard working.
In Jordan, as a teenager, Khalid is no one of a value. He existed to listen and take orders from the elderly. No adult would ever consider listening to his or his peers opinions. During big social gatherings like weddings, funerals, or Jaha* Khalid and the other teens would be the ones responsible of serving guests coffee, tea, Knafeh or food depending on the occasion.
In Russia, orientation for foreign students is not like anywhere else. New foreign students receive a crash course on the greatness of the Russian culture and ideology. Students orientation is not limited to campus regulations and buildings’ locations. Rather, they are taken to see statues of great Russian leaders and thinkers who formed the communists party. They also are educated about the communist party’s ideology.
Beside the time Khalid went to see the Swan Lake ballet with Nadia, he was taken to see a ballet in his first month in Moscow. His professors called him a comrade. It felt great been called a comrade. A comrade is not just a title it is a badge of honor granted to people who are set out to achieve greatness. He is no longer the boy called to serve coffee to the elderly or harvest their olive trees in his grandfather land.
As much as he liked everything about the ideologies of communism and socialism he refused to be called a communist. He prefer to be described as a socialist. This was especially true and significant when he returned back to Jordan. In Jordan, everybody believes there is a God. To deviate off this common practice it would be unheard of and inadvisable speaking in public about it. Although, there are communist parties in some Arab countries they hardly made it anywhere or achieved any political milestone in their countries. Socialists on the other hand were big, very big.
By his fifth year, Khalid hated Moscow. He hated the cold weather, he hated seeing the box-like one model car, he hated not having a choice when buying stuffs and he definitely had it seeing potatoes on his plate with every single meal. Also, his relationship with Nadia started to fade away. They had a huge fight when during a dispute she shouted at him “I am not one of your harem.”
1989 was Khalid’s fifth year in Moscow, it was not his favorite year although he was soon to graduate. It was the year Jordan’s economy suffered a huge fall down. He was a ware of the financial strain his study puts on his father. In addition, Moscow is not as cheap as it used to be. Things are changing in Moscow rapidly as if something colossal was going to happen.
To be continued…
*A Jordanian tribal tradition were a large group of men (100 to 300) go to the Diwan of a particular tribe to request something significant. This could be to request a man's approval for his daughter's hand or to request a peace covenant between two tribes. The bigger the Jaha the better. It is also not about number but who is in this Jaha. People brag about who is in the Jaha. Ministers, MPs, Professors, MDs, big businessmen have to be included in the Jaha.