Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Syrian Bride(movie), Rockin'Girl Blogger, Cruel Shoes

Two nights ago I saw the movie
"The Syrian Bride", a film by Israeili director Eran Riklis.

The bride, Mona, was being given a send off as she prepared to leave for her bridegroom's house. But this was no ordinary send off because although Mona and her husband-to-be were both Syrians from Druze families (the Druze are a breakaway Islamic sect following al-Hakim, an Ismaili caliph, as the embodiment of God), they live on opposite sides of the Israeil-Syria border, with Mona living in one of the villages of the
Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and Tallel (the bridegroom) living in Damascus,Syria. Once Mona crosses the border into Syria, she relinquishes her residency and any right to return to her home. Infact, from now on, the Israelis will consider her a "foreigner from an enemy state."

THis also means she will never be able to meet with her family again as she will never be allowed back into Israel and nor will her family be allowed into Syria.

Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights and parts of Palestine has separated 100's of families. Not being able to see your family must be the hardest thing for anyone to endure. No doubt it happens in other parts of the world too, I am reminded here of the 100's of Indian families that were separated when India was divided into India and Pakistan and also, families from North andSouth Korea. Still, some of those countries have come around and now special dispensation is given for visits between family members...why isn't this happening on the Israel-Syrian border as well?

(Druze bride Arwad Abu Shaheen married her first cousin on the armistice line between enemy states Israel and Syria, hugging her family for the last time before starting a new life near Damascus. (courtesy AFP)

Further reading: Druze wives hope to reclaim old ties


The wonderful bint battuta sent me the Rockin' Blogger Award a couple of days ago all the way from the Kingdom of Bahrain! Thank you, Ayesha!

Bint Battuta works as a translator, writer and teacher in that wonderful ocean Arab Kingdom and while I always knew she was proficient in Arabic, a number of Indian languages and English (ofcourse) , I learned today that she has also studied Russian, and Bulgarian! Way to go girl!!! Her blog always has the most interesting posts covering a diverse range of subjects, do visit her when you can.

Ok, so now I have the honor of naming five other Rockin' girl Bloggers. It's always hard to pick just five, because every girl on my blogroll rocks, but I'm restricted to five, so here we go:

Beenzzz and ml. I love visiting their blogs, they are both very funny gals and their posts always put a smile on my face.

Melissa of Hello, Melissa fame. Melissa was my first ever reader (we met at bookcrossing) and hence my first bloggy friend too. I love her blog because she's always up to such exciting things. I especially love reading about her two little kids.

Booklogged of A Reader's Journal. Booklogged was my first non-bookcrosser reader. Her blog is the one to go to for great book reviews. It is also a one-stop shop for news on book giveaways, contests, reading challenges etc. A truly exciting blog for book lovers!

Happy Reader
from Book Closet. Another avid reader. I love going to Chitts's blog because she always picks such interesting books to read and writes fabulous and compact reviews. Keep those reviews coming, Chitts!


Finally, are these shoes cruel or what???


Photo: Etienne Tordoir

For more cruel shoes visit the NYTimes here


More cruel shoes!

Alexander McQueen.

Photo: Jean-Luce Huré for The New York Times

Yves Saint Laurent

Photo: Don Ashby and Olivier Claisse/Firstview


bint battuta said...

wow, that's a nice write-up! but let me admit that i can't manage in any indian languages, to my eternal shame. but i can get by in most of europe! i shall check out your nominated bloggers - this is a great way of discovering interesting blogs...

Beenzzz said...

You are so sweet! Thank you so much for naming me and ML Rockin' Girl Bloggers! Congratulations on being named as well!!!

By the way, those shoes reminded me of the (once practiced) bounding of feet in China. OUCH!

Olivia said...

Those shoes are real? They could at least have acrylic heels, or else she will develop some serious calf muscles.
Trust the Italians though! (Or the Japanese, who like falling off their platforms. I wish I could remember the latest shoe invention they came up with, which I saw on TV last month.)

Anonymous said...

I don't think I even understand how those shoes work. Wow! Definitely cruel. I'm glad that I decided comfort is better than looks at this stage of my life. I love looking at cute shoes but for wearing, give me my favorite tennis shoes. Ha!

Sanjay said...

Lotus, I truly enjoyed reading this post, you watch the most interesting of movies (just like the books you read).

Congratulations on receiving the rockin' girl blogger award, it is an honor well deserved!! You have nominated five very fine gals too I am sure, I must try and visit the ones that I am not familiar with.

As for the cruel shoes.. *ouch* they look far worse than cruel, considering the long term damage that can result over wearing things like these long term.

re: Syrian brides. You highlight what at first appears to be a problem with a no-brainer solution. Just let the brides visit their families back home. But then again this is the middle east that we are talking about and nothing is what it seems.

The Druze are considered a distinct religion (they incorporate some gnostic elements) and even have their own religious court systems. And before one thinks that Israelis are picking on the Druze? Think again. The Druze have and continue to serve in the Israeli army (including in the recent conflict in Lebanon in 2006)and have achieved high positions there.

Having said that does Israel not trust these women since they have married to Syrian men and are hence post matrimony and security threat? Does the movie explore this aspect of it or is it mostly talked about from a family and individual perspective? This would seem such a simple and a human thing to do to let the women visit their families. Oy! But hen again this is the ME. :-/

If I recall you had highlighted this issue on your other blog a while back right? I am so glad you brought this up again, these things are so often forgotten the human cost of conflict manifests themselves in myriad ways! Thank you for telling us about this and for a wonderful post!

Les said...

You couldn't pay me enough to wear those shoes! I live in Birkenstocks and tennies. Can't remember the last time I wore heels! :)

tanabata said...

Those shoes are crazy! Like Les, I almost never wear heels.
Did you mention this before, about the families separated by the Israeli-Syrian border? I know I've heard it mentioned somewhere. I wonder if I'll be able to find the film anywhere.

Susan in Italy said...

I saw the Syrian Bride a couple years ago and really loved it. The depressing social criticism is mixed with really humanizing comedy. (Thankfully, I'm too tall for heels like that!)

Lotus Reads said...

@Bint Battuta ~ Please don't tell me you speak French and Spanish as well? I am starting to get green with envy!

@Beenzzz ~ I have to agree, there is something about the way that shoe (pic 1) is designed (the deep arches, no heel etc) that makes the foot look as if it may have been bound. Good observation! I wonder if the designer had that in mind when he created this shoe?

@Olivia ~ Hi! I'd like to believe they are not real shoes, but they are! However, like many outfits we see on the ramp at haute couture fashion shows, they are probably created more for art than utilitarian value, no?

@Kay ~ So happy to see you here! It makes me uncomfortable just to look at these shoes, leave alone wear any of them! Ballet flats are my footwear of choice at the easy to slip on, so comfortable to wear!

Lotus Reads said...


Hi! Yes, I did speak about this very same issue on my Anthropology blog and then I discovered the movie, so I thought it would be nice to highlight this situation on my book blog as well.

The movie is mostly apolitical, it doesn't go into the politics of the issue or ask the questions why or how, instead it shows you the mental and emotional impact of such laws on families and how they are so helpless to do anything about these laws.

The Druze are a fascinating lot, I would like to read more about them. It seems, more than any other group, they are the most affected by Israel's occupation of the Golan Heights. From having watched the movie I thought most of them were anti-Israel but I suppose that just goes for the ones that live in the occupied Golan Heights.

Thanks for the comment Sanjay!

Lotus Reads said...

@Les ~ Hi! I wouldn't wear heels if I could help it either, but I'm only 5ft 3 inches tall so some occasions do call for heels sadly! :)

@Nat ~ Hello! Yes, you're right, I did post on this subject before (on my Anthropology blog). I rented this movie from (it works pretty much like netflix) do you have something like that in Japan? They have an amazing range of foreign films, tons better than Blockbuster.

@Susan ~ So wonderful to see you here! Yes, from your pictures you do seem tall. No heels required for you, lucky you!

Breeni Books said...

Congrats on the award!

Lotus Reads said...

Thanks Breeni, I love the pink button! :)

Booklogged said...

You are definitely a Rockin' Blogger, Lotus. I learn from you new ideas and perspective. Thanks for nominating me. The button is very cute and I like cute buttons, but I can sure do without those shoes!

The movie sounds good. Was it heartbreakingly sad? I makes me angry that such things go on in the world. And also very sad for the multitudes who suffer so much because of the greedy, misguided, powerful and evil people of the world.

Id it is said...

Congratulations on the award!

I quite enjoyed this movie which was recommended to me by a friend. You're right to point out that the situation depicted in the movie may be prevalent in other parts of the world as well; wherever there is disputed land between two nations. Unfortunately it is the common man who ends up paying the price.

Radha said...

Lol @ the cruel shoes!!! We women go to extraordinary lenghts of self-torture to look sexy :))

Very thoughtful post about the Syrian bride!

Anali said...

I loved that movie! It really is a very cruel situation that families are placed in.

And those first shoes!! I cannot even believe they are real. How could anyone even stand up??? And congratulations on your award!

Melody said...

Congrats on the award, Lotus!

Oh my, those shoes do look cruel! I cannot imagine anyone walking them around!!!

Lotus Reads said...

@booklogged ~ So glad you like the button, it's really very colorful isn't it? :) I did cry a couple of times during the movie because it reminded me of how I had to leave my parents and sister and the rest of my family when i moved here to Canada. Ofcourse, unlike the Syrian bride, I had the comfort of knowing that I would see my parents again every few years or so. I would have been devastated if moving meant that I would never see them again.

@Id ~ Hello! Yes, take the border crossing between India and Pakistan for instance, after all these years the two countries have recently agreed that two transport trucks will now be allowed to go across the border to assist's a small allowance, but it's a start.

@Radha ~ Hi! That's what it is, self-torture! Reflexology tells us that the foot is the seat of some of our most important nerves and if the feet are uncomfortable or unhealthy, the whole body suffers. I like wearing heels sometimes but I always make sure they are only moderately high and comfortable.

Lotus Reads said...

@Anali ~ I'm trying to figure out that do they walk in these shoes? Why were they designed? Who were they designed for? All I know is that they are absolutely ridiculous and look like instruments of torture!

@Melody ~ Hi! Thank you! I am enjoying my cute button! :)

Hollydolly said...

I have been meaning to see this movie, have heard such glowing reports, thank you for the background information.

Living in Canada, but originally from Cambridge, UK, I can't imagine having to sever ties with my family. That is so cruel. But as Sanjay so rightly says"But then again this is the middle east that we are talking about and nothing is what it seems."

As for those shoes, "Ouch". I am almost 5.9" so I would be a giant wearing those. I am like Les and tend to wear Birkenstocks and tennies. I like my comfort.

Congrats on your reward. Couldn't go to a nicer person.


ML said...

Lotus, thank you for the Rockin' Girl Blogger award!!!! :)

Those shoes are seriously awful.

Asha said...

I saw that on TV, so sad! It's like India and Pakistan of olden days, many didn't visit Indian relatives for years until few years back!
Hope they get sensible like us too!
Those shoes! UGH!! These women should grow some brains instead of wearing those uglies!!

heather (errantdreams) said...

The movie sounds incredible, and thank you for talking about the situation of separated families. It's such a sad state of affairs.

The cruel shoes---youch! There's a reason I wear only sneakers, boots, and sandals. (Of course, part of that reason is that my feet are extra-wide so almost nothing fits them. Great excuse, huh?)

Brian said...

The situation in the Middle East in general is one of immense human suffering. The prevalence of "Dark Ages" religous superstition, as well as the "Super-Nationalism" of other states in the region give one little hope that the situation will improve in the foreseeable future.

Olivia said...

Actually, you're right, they are created for the catwalk. Not everything makes it off the catwalk apart from a few items which is modified for a handful of private clients. Most of it is art in motion I guess, a "look what I can do" from each designer. Those shoes go with the ridiculous head-gear (too fancy to call hats or even millinery) they strut up and down the runway.

Happy Reader said...

'Syrian Bride' sounds like an interesting movie. I would sure watch it. Congrats on the 'Rockin' Girl Blogger' Award :) And, Thanks for nominating me! You are so sweet!
And for the shoes, I could twist my ankle by just looking at those!

Bookfool said...

Hi Lotus!

You definitely rock.

The movie sounds wonderful. We don't subscribe to a rental service (hubby is vehemently opposed to doing so), which means I probably can't find that movie, but it sounds so much more meaningful than most that I wish I could get my mitts on it. Thanks for the excellent review.

The new shoes, this year, are ridiculous. I'm only 5'3", also, but I live in tennis shoes and flip-flops (when I have to wear shoes - most of the time I'm barefoot). There will not be any cruel shoes purchased by this chick!!

Tara said...

I don't even understand that first pair of shoes! They all look torturous. I am a Dansko clog girl, myself. The film sounds very interesting and saddens me. Thanks for sharing.

Jyothsna said...

I have to watch that movie! COngrats on the awards, well deserved! And those shoes, cruel is putting it rather mildly!!! I can't imagine how people balance on something that offers no support :)

Lotus Reads said...

@Sylvia ~ THanks! Yes,not being able to see my family is my worst nightmare too! You are tall, that's lovely!

@ml ~ You're welcome, you rock! :)

@Asha ~ Even today,when people from Pakistan visit India, they are given permission to visit only 2 cities and no more. There are still a lot of restrictions in place, but yeah, atleast we can now visit each other.

@Heather ~ I sympathize with the extra wide. My daughter has wide feet and getting shoes for her can be problematic.

@Brian ~ I am inclined to agree with you. Despite this being Rice's seventh visit to the region, not much has changed and now it seems unlikely that it ever will. Thank you for the visit!

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

Was the movie based on a true story? I would be interested to know if the bride was happy in her husband's family.

A Reader from India said...

Lotus, Congrats on the award, your blog sure rocks!

The Syrian Bride sounds like a heartrending movie. As you have mentioned, it reminded me of tales of the Partition. But unlike Puro of Pinjar, here the bride is doing it out of personal choice! Wonder when all these walls would finally break down, letting ordinary people live in peace.

The shoes look terrible. Do they really expect to sell these monstrosities in the market? :-)

hellomelissa said...

i'm sorry i am SO SLOW in thanking you for the honor! you rock too, lotus!

and also thanks for posting shoes that i would NEVER WEAR.

Lotus Reads said...

@Olivia ~ You are right, a lot of these shoes are made only for the catwalk, but man, now I understand why these models want to be paid so much! :)

@Chitts ~ You are so welcome, I was happy to spread the love!

@Nancy ~ Thank you! I think it is now possible to download quite a few of these movies at online sites (don't tell hubby!)

Ahhh, I love going barefoot too!

Lotus Reads said...

@Tara ~ I lived in my flip-flops all summer but now that it's over, I will reluctantly have to buy some boots with a heel ( my posture looks so bad when I wear flat shoes). I just walk so much better when I am in heels...

@Jyo ~ Thanks and I've been wondering the same thing! :)

@Heather ~ Hello! No, the movie wasn't based on a true story but it might as well have because lots of brides have gone through this when they've picked grooms on the other side of the border. I, too, hope they are happy with their new husbands or else they're doomed!

@A Reader ~ Oh, true, you bring up an excellent point! Many of the women during the India-Pak Partition were kidnapped and forcibly made to marry men across the border...I cannot even begin to think how dreadful that must have been for them! They are the true forgotten brides.

@Melissa ~ Better late than never! :) Enjoy your award, you so deserve it!

starry nights said...

First let me congratulate you on recieving the rockin girl award. You truly deserve it. The film about the syrian bride is so sad. would it not be nice to have countries without borders wher we can be free to come and go.I think that is how this earth was intended to be.

Sanjay said...

Hey Lotus.. Nice images there in the left navbar. I loved the one with the elephant and the lotus too. :)

JT said...

Great blog !
You can Download Films in DVD, DivX and iPod quality . Over 1000
Full-Length Movies
Available Instantly! All movies on our site have iPod-ready version.

lemonluv said...

hey guys you all seem to think those shoes are torture instruments but they also have a good side to them:
leave them for the masochistic richgirls that can appreciate a work of art when they see it.