Thursday, February 24, 2005
The In T View: Fayrouz Hancock
Fayrouz Hancock, the delightful doyenne of the Dallas - Fort Worth metropolitan
area is one of the premiere Iraqi Christian Bloggers in the world through her Blog: Live From Dallas . In the In T View, she details her thoughts on Iraq and a wide variety of subjects:
MG: How are you?
Fayrouz: I can't be better :-)
MG: Were you excited by the vast participation of Iraqis in the recent election?
Fayrouz: For sure I was. Iraqi voters made me proud. They defied all odds.
MG: What were your emotions like on Election Day?
Fayrouz: I couldn't believe what I saw on TV. It was a very emotional day for many of us.
MG: Did your relatives and friends still in Iraq have an opportunity to vote or were they effected by some of the ballot irregularities?
Fayrouz: I'm not sure if they participated or not. But, my parents did vote in Detroit.
MG: Did anything about the elections surprise you?
Fayrouz: What surprises me the most is the people who couldn't swallow the events of that day. They're still calling the elections a failure. That's offennce the Iraqi people.
MG: Fay, could we get a little bit into your background. I believe you're of Chaldean descent?
Fayrouz: I'm a Chaldean Catholic. It goes back to many generations in my family. My dad's uncle was a priest. My mom's first cousin was a bishop. So, you see we're into Catholicism :-)
MG: Are most Iraqi Christians Chaldean?
Fayrouz: Most of Iraqi Christians are either Chaldeans or Assyrians. The rest are Roman Orthodox, Syriac Catholics, Protestants and Latin Catholics. I hope I didn't forget any other sector.
MG: Fay, you're a strong advocate of Christian Rights in Iraq - The Christians seem to have taken a beating in Post War Iraq, being affected by both the insurgent terrorists and Islamic extremists - How bad has it been?
Fayrouz: It has been very bad in Basrah for the Christian women and business owners in particular. The only part of Iraq where Christians' lives haven't changed is in Kurdistan. The harassment they encountered by different groups during the last two years forced many of them to leave the country for safer countries.
MG: Do you think the new Iraqi government will take steps to protect Christians and other Iraqi minorities?
Fayrouz: I sure hope so. Only time can tell.
MG: You've done quite a bit of charity work for Iraq through your blog - Is there a favorite group or charity that you encourage people to donate to?
Fayrouz: Any charity that delivers goods to orphans or kids with disabilities would be on top of my list. I listed the charities and groups I like on my sidebar. They mostly work with children.
MG: Now Fay, are Iraqi and Kurdish Women, truly the most beautiful women in the Middle East?
Fayrouz: Yes, they are. OK, maybe I'm a bit biased here :-) Turkish, Persian (Iranian), Syrian, Kurdish and Iraqi women are on the top of the list.
MG: Fay, what was your happiest memory of your years in Iraq?
Fayrouz: You can pick up any moment before the start of Iran-Iraq war. That was the best time of my life in Iraq.
MG: Is there something different or unique about Iraq as a country that says this is Iraq? Like a smell in the air or the kindness/friendliness of the people, or even pests like mosquitoes or ferocious stray dogs?
Fayrouz: We do have stray dogs. They tried to control them once in my neighborhood by shooting them at night. Most people have a cat or two living in their garden. Basrah is unique with its summer weather. Sharji as we call it is when the humidity level goes up to 100%, your clothes stick to your body and you feel that you can't breath. That's when you know you're definitely in Basra. Basrawis were the most generous and friendly people I've ever met in my life. If I can go back in time, I wouldn't exchange my years in Basra with any other city in Iraq including Baghdad.
MG: Have you ever seen a scorpion?
Fayrouz: Nope. Only on TV.
MG: Are they more frightening in person than what the average Americans sees on National Geographic or the Animal Planet?
Fayrouz: I know Omar and Ays had a horrible experience with a scorpion last year while working in Basra. Lucky me, never had their experience.
MG: War Zone- Basra: Fay, I believe during the Iraqi-Iran war you were trapped in Basra - What was that like for a young girl to see War up close and personal?
Fayrouz: I tried to make the best of it. I studied hard. Finished my studies with honors. I dated to make sure time passes quickly. When you're trapped in a war zone and the only leisure you have is a phone line, you better have someone with a nice voice to talk to on the other side of the line :-)
MG: What was the thing that most shocked you, when you first arrived in the United States?
Fayrouz: I'm still shocked with the portions of food served in American restaurants. It's scary.
MG: Let's talk about your Blog: Live From Dallas and Blogging in general. How did you get interested in blogging?
Fayrouz: I guess Zeyad made me interested in blogging. He's my blogging inspiration. I wish he would blog more often.
MG: How did Live From Dallas come about?
Fayrouz: I don't know. It just happened and it's doing well. I'm actually amazed with myself. I think wherever there are politics, there's something to blog about.
MG: Is it a labor of love for you or more like an addiction, where you start to feel withdrawn if you don't post anything?
Fayrouz: It's becoming an addiction in a good way. It keeps my information up-to-date.
MG: Fay, final question, have you ever seen a ghost?
Fayrouz: No I never did. But, when we were in elementary school, my friends and I were interested in ghosts. We read many scary books. They kept us entertained and scared. My sister-in-law in a medium. It's not fun to talk to dead people. Take care, Fay