How Live in Flashpoints Ukrainian Wives of Muslims

Gaza. The city should be restored after the operation "Cast lead". (Photo by AFP)
11/05/2009
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Ukrainian girls often connect their lives with the citizens of the countries, conditions in which, to put it mildly, are far from stable and prospering.

They should change their habits, leave their relatives, sometimes they change their faith. But as it was found out by "Today", now very few of them strive to return home — the present economic instability in Ukraine frightens more than bombardments of apartment houses in their cities or possible acts of terrorism.

Being daily endangered, Ukrainian women continue to raise children on alien earth, without forgetting to impart them the Ukrainian culture, too.

On New Year's holidays the whole world watched the next Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip, the victim of which for the first time for all history of Palestinian intifadas became the citizen of Ukraine — 36-year-old Albina Stahurskaya . Together with her was killed her one-and-a-half-year-old son Yusuf. The former inhabitant of Odessa was for more than ten years married to Palestinian Avni Al-Zhar, with whom she left for Gaza in the early nineties. They safely endured the previous operations of the Israeli army and hoped that they could go through it for this time, too. But the tank of TSAHAL chose their house as a target... For today in the Gaza Strip stay about 100 Ukrainian women married to Palestinians.

Our girls who stay in the Palestinian autonomy (PA) are not going to come back to Ukraine, though they understand, there are no guarantees that rocket bombardments will not start again, since the armistice between HAMAS, supervising the sector, and Israel is rather shaky.

"I very much aspired to leave in January, but now all ceased, nobody touches us, so we will stay, — ex-citizen of Kharkov Natasha, who raises in Gaza three children told to "Today". — And now in Ukraine is economic crash. We watch the news — Ukrainian economy is in dire situation. Here everybody says that Ukraine does not exist anymore. So, there is no place to go. Here, at least, the prices did not grow much. The price of vegetables and fruits is not to compare with the prices in Ukraine at all — here it is very cheap. And the prices of clothes remained at the same level. Our girls, who were evacuated, already returned, or stay in Israel waiting for the entry visa to Gaza. The maximum we wish to visit our relatives, and then again to return to Palestine. In Kharkov there is no place to live. And here we built a two-storied house, each child has his own room, there are two sitting-rooms and two toilets. They are just not finished yet — Israelis forbidden import of building materials".

The main problem, according to Natasha, is interaction with the Israeli authorities, "It is very hard to obtain ID, without which you, of course, can be let out from Palestine, without letting out your children, but you may not return. We already 10 times collected documents for this code and asked our consulate to help, but there are no results yet".

On a question why ten years ago Natasha decided to marry Palestinian Sathi, she answered simply, "Destiny".

"I understand that many speak in this way, and then a veil falls from eyes, and you are already in the world with different laws. But I am lucky, I do not complain — my husband does not drink, he does not fight. We got acquainted by phone when he studied in Kharkov Medical Institute. He provides me and my children with everything necessary though if I want I can go for a work. But it is his duty, and he tells me, "Children are not enough? Go to your friends, to the beach of the sea". Many our girls go mad of unemployment, our training — Ukrainian. Therefore nevertheless they find job. Lucky ones are employed according to their speciality - they are nurses and doctors, and the others opened their business — beauty salons, studios, market places. Here to open your own business you do not need any permissions, you do not need to pay taxes and deductions into a pension fund. You rent a place, pay rent and nobody touches you. There is no racket — everything is solved by the police on the place. Only shout and they are here to drag away the offender. Where, I do not know, but everyone is afraid of police. There are even no street fights... In general, if there was no fire, Gaza would be a good resort city. But nowadays everything here is destroyed by bombing".

In the household plan Natasha complains only on heat when the sea salt sates air so that her allergy appears. And on a winter cold (at night it's up to +5С), since houses in Palestine are not heated. And there are sometimes problems with water, because there is no central pipeline and all water is imported.

IN KIEV THEY CALL HIM "CHOCK"

Mohammad and Julia. Wish to leave from us not to hear a word "chock".

One more Arabian-Ukrainian family — the Kievan Julia and the citizen of Palestine Mohammad who live together already three years are going to leave Ukraine. Julia before a meeting with her husband-to-be became interested in the Arabian culture and converted to Islam.

"As soon as I finish postgraduate study, we will leave, if it will be possible to receive the entry visa to Palestine for Julia and our child, — Mohammad says. — Though here it is safe in respect of bombardments, but recently I feel dickey, though I was going apply for Ukrainian citizenship before. I tried to find a job on my speciality, but they consider me as an alien here. I had a small business, but it was boldly taken from me. I am afraid of skinheads, and the people in Ukraine recently became rather unfriendly. In my native land people are more affable to foreigners, and, I believe, anybody will say to my Julia anything impolite. And here I hear "a chock" almost daily"."

Julia too considers that it will be easier for her husband to realize himself at home. The Ukrainian woman is attracted to the Holy Land because of ecological reasons, too, "I am the ecologist, and I know, what water we drink and what air we breathe. Plus Chernobyl". Julia is assured that on the foreign land in their family will be no more wives, "We discussed it before marriage. I consider that my husband should have only one wife. Maybe because I did not grow up in the East".

UKRAINIAN WOMAN IN KURDISTAN, "I MISS OUR FOOD"

Even Ukrainians living in Iraq do not hasten to return back home. They raise children and hope to adjust commercial relations with Ukraine, but after the crisis.

"The condition in Iraq is hard. Every morning in Baghdad begins with explosions and sorties against civilians. But my family lives in the Independent Federation of Kurdistan, it is northern Iraq and here it is calm, — says the 32-year-old former inhabitant of Zaporozhye Oksana, which is married to a local resident Kamiran. — We have our own President, the Prime Minister, the army, and we try not to visit the rest of Iraq. But we are too much afraid when it is necessary to go to our embassy in Baghdad. Nowadays in the territory of Kurdistan stays foreign military contingent. Here the last act of terrorism took place about three years ago, and now rarely there are individual acts of terrorism which happen worldwide".

Oksana and Kamiran lived in Ukraine for four years and left when they finished medical university.

"My husband wanted to go home too much. And I was, of course, uncertain, but for today Kurdistan already became my second native land and if I will be suggested to return, I would refuse, without reflecting, — says Oksana who is now expecting her third child. — And not in the last instance because of the criminal conditions in Ukraine. Here I easily let the child to go to school; I go out of doors in the evening. Secondly, our authorities can provide us with work and worthy salary. My husband works as a doctor in a drugstore at the state hospital in branch of an artificial kidney and is still engaged in the private business. And who will give him such a good work in Ukraine? Here I already have all rights of the citizen of Kurdistan; I only can not propose my candidature on elections of the president (laughs, — the author). Nevertheless, it is easy to get a job. And, women work in state structures, in banks, as teachers, doctors and cars drivers.

In Kurdistan electricity is free, therefore conditioners work everywhere without any economy. Education is free, too. The state provides the children with office supplies and new textbooks. This socialism could be achieved due to rich deposits of oil in the region. Our compatriot misses just national Ukrainian food stuffs, which, surely, nobody delivers to this Muslim country.

IN BAGHDAD THERE IS NO CONCEPT "TO TAKE A WALK IN THE CITY"

Baghdad. For Ukrainians, as well as to locals, it is hardest to live in Iraq.

For today in Iraq stay about 70 citizens of Ukraine, the majority of them are men working here by the contract. According to the data of the Ukrainian embassy in Baghdad, in the capital of Iraq live two or three Ukrainian women who are married to local residents. On the whole in Iraq stay about ten Ukrainian women, most of them live in safe Kurdistan. "There are girls who work as a cardio-surgeon, a children's doctor, in hairdressing salons, and some work in the embassy of the Russian Federation, for there are needed those who know Russian", Oksana says.

"Those who live in Baghdad try to be closer to our embassy that if something happens they could ask for help and evacuate with their children home, — the consul of the embassy of Ukraine in Iraq Alexander Zub said to "Today". — But for now no one of them expressed a wish to leave to Ukraine. Though here it is hard with meals and water, but they have good families, children and loving husbands. And maybe also the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian woman affects... For the last year there were no special problems with our citizens, but here people perish every day and the region remains extremely dangerous. It is impossible to relax. In February somewhere in 200 meters from the embassy there was an explosion. It was so powerful that glasses in our building were broken. I was in a holiday and consequently did not suffer. My office also remained without glass. Certainly, we try to be constantly on the territory of the embassy which is enclosed by a high fence. But because of the work it is necessary to go across Baghdad, to the airport. Such a concept as to take a walk in a city simply does not exist. Unique possibility to take a breath of fresh air is to rise on the embassy roof — here the houses have flat roofs. But here it is unsafe, too, because of stray bullets. Some pieces got to a tank with water which is set on the embassy roof.

Most likely, the quantity of Ukrainians in Iraq will increase, because local officials are interested in cooperation with Ukraine. "I am engaged for more than a year in preparation of visit of Kurdish ministers and businessmen to Dnepropetrovsk where we are going to sign some contracts. But I do not know when it will happen. All depends on when your crisis will finish", Oksana's husband Kamiran Abdalla told us.

(Given in reduction)

Irina KOVALCHUK

The full version of the article is on the web-site of the newspaper "Today"

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