Wednesday, November 24, 2004


It is Thanksgiving Day on Thursday. I don’t know whether certain greetings are used in such occasion, but let me wish the American people (Merry Thanksgiving) or as we, the Iraqis, say (Ayamkum Sa’eida) which means (wishing you happy days).

Is it the day on which the Americans cook a turkey? The turkey is called, here in Iraq, (Ali Sheesh) or (Fisei’fis). The more formal name is (Deek Roomee) which is well known in other Arab countries. (Deek) means (rooster) and (Roomee) is a formula of attributing something to the Romans. It seems that the first time this creature had been seen in Arabia through trading with the Roman Empire.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving. It is a very special time for us and a time for family to gather and eat together and give Thanks for everything that we have. Some day soon I hope that you can give Thanks for a free country in which all of your people can pray together freely, eat together without fear and prosper as a nation.

6:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Thursday is Thanksgiving. But my family will celebrate on Friday. My mother will arrive at the airport late on Thursday and my husband will not arrive at the airport until Friday (He is away on business.)

We will have the traditional turkey, but we will not be cooking it in the oven, we will fry ours in oil. We will have mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, yellow squash, green bean casserole and probably some broccoli in a cheese sauce. For dessert, my husband has asked for pumpkin pie.

I did a quick search for some history of Thanksgiving.

Modern Thanskgiving in the United States is quite different now. It's a big day for American Football and for big parades. The most famous Thanksgiving parade is The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. I'm sure you could try and watch part of the parade online, if you had any curiousity about it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

7:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Merry Thanksgiving' will do just fine, thank you for your thoughtful expressions of kindness, good will and thanks. We'll be enjoying our 'Roman roosters' and hope you find days of peace and blessings as well as you face the challenges ahead with vision, courage and hard work.

Ayamkum Sa'eida

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My family and I are touched by your thoughtfullness. Thank you. We will enjoy our day together and give thanks for all of the freedoms we enjoy.

It is our fervent wish that one day, you and your family will live in a peaceful and secure country, free to pursue your own happiness.

Ayamkum Sa'eida.

--Phil in Michigan, USA

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your thoughfulness brought tears of joy to my eyes. Blessings to you and all those you love. THis year I will be giving thanks for those in your country who have renewed my own passion for freedom and its blessings. Merry Thanksgiving!

Ayamkum Sa’eida

8:26 PM  
Blogger Scott from Oregon said...

Turkey day is the day we separate the limbs from the birds... It is the day we watch sports and cry fowl... It is the day our family squabbles get drowned out by gobbles.... It is the day of profound growth in our country, with weighty consequencees...

Happy Thanksgiving to all....

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, sir!

Thanksgiving is a day when family members get together to see each other and to be grateful for good things that have happened in life. Traditionally we cook a Turkey and thank God in the manner that the original settlers of America did, hundreds of years ago when they arrived by boat on these shores.

Too often the mainstream media is all about negativity and badness and never shows the good in life, so Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to remember the good.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

Ayamkum Sa’eida!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's a day for families and friends to get together. It's a day to forget differences, and give thanks for the joys in our lives. Most importantly, it's a day to eat a lot of food. (heh)

My favorite dish on Thanksgiving is a potato dish my mother cooks. We call it 'Company Potatoes'. Diced potatoes, onions and peppers, cream of mushroom, lots of cheese and sour cream, and some crumbled corn flakes on top. I cannot get enough of it.

Thanksgiving has a general theme, but every family has their own traditions. Some people watch (American)football. Some people play (American) football. My family talks politics. The men in the family used to play a game called 'Risk'.

My family varies greatly on politics, and sometimes the arguments get pretty heated. But after everything is all said and done, we forget the differences in opinion, eat some pie for dessert, and play some board games.

One thing we always do is pass a basket around the table to give thanks. We add a piece of candy corn and tell everyone what we give thanks for in the past year.
Well, I give thanks that there are people in the world with a newly found freedom to express themselves. I hope you and your family can get together and give thanks for the joys in your own lives, as well.

Merry Thanksgiving.

10:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ibn_Alrafidain,
Happy Thanksgiving to you too- and thanks for your kind thoughts. :) Wish I could send you some pumpkin pie- by far the best part of the Thanksgiving feast, in my opinion.

We will also be enjoying roman rooster at my parents' house. "Turkey" has gotten some negative colloquial connotations over the years, and turkeys have the reputation --domestic ones, anyway-- for being dumb birds! Roman Rooster sounds so much more noble and glamorous, I really like that. Christmas is also sometimes a day for roast turkey, that varies by family tradition a bit.

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition besides being with my family is watching the Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City- via television, I mean- I live far from NYC. There are some cool, very giant balloons, marching bands, singers, Broadway show's quite a spectacle. A little bit 'cheesy' and commercial but I still enjoy it. Makes me feel like a kid.

Ayamkum Sa’eida to you and everybody posting here.

11:16 PM  
Blogger Ibn_Alrafidain said...

Well, you reminded me about 'RISK' game. It is well known for me, my family, my friends and neighbors. It is the most popular game for us here, since most of our life time in Iraq is nothing more than war, fear and continual power failure. So we used to gather and play even under bombardment, using candles and lanterns, as a matter of relief. I'll try to post something about the recent war memories.
Thanks for the comment. Merry thanksgiving.


11:53 PM  
Blogger Kingfish said...

Happy Thanksgiving. I love Risk I could play that for hours

2:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from Bob of Oklahoma, USA. Ibn_Alrafidain may you have a Happy and SAFE Thanksgiving. I would like for all readers to stop for a moment and give thanks to those brave military and police persons (coalition and Iraqi together) who are working so hard to make a better future for the world, not just Iraq. Say a short prayer for those who are no longer with us who gave their lives for our freedom.

3:20 AM  
Blogger WC said...

Ibn Alrafidain,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well! My Mom and Dad and brother are at my home this year. We will be enjoying "rooster Roman style" as well. It is the busiest travel day of the year, the roads are jammed and the airports are very crowded.

As for my family, we will be taking stock of all our blessings and we will be giving thanks to our Maker and Sustainer.

Your words are very warm and kind.

May God richly bless you

3:29 AM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Greetings, and thank you so much for your well wishes.

In 1621 on the shores of the newly found land mass west of the europeans, a small group known as the "Pilgrims" did have a small feast with the company of the Native Americans who lived there.

Interesting facts and pictures can be found here:

It should be noted that reliable information is not available as much as would be liked and is needed.

Over the years this "Event" has turned into a National Holiday for all Americans. Most still think of it as a day of giving thanks and getting the family back together for a short time.

For others it is only an excuse for parades and parties or for not going to school or to work.

I have only a small family but with much to be thankful for. I hope and pray that you and yours future will be filled with many years of health and days of thanks.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas

3:31 AM  
Blogger Patty-Jo said...

This is my first visit to your site, but it will not be my last! I will keep you and your loved ones in my prayers. Thank you for the good wishes for Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving we have a feeding frenzy. But the next day is a shopping frenzy! It is traditional for the official start of Christmas shopping to begin the day after Thanksgiving. There are big sales, and the stores open early in the morning. People line up outside waiting for the doors to open. When they do it is sometimes like a stampede!

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Ibn_Alrafidain,

Thank you! (Also, I really appreciate being able to read your blog!)

My family will celebrate on Saturday so that my kids can be with their fiancees families on Thursday. We have baked turkey and my favorite part is the stuffing!

Wild Turkeys are native to America. I heard that Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey the USA's national bird instead of the eagle! Does Iraq have national birds and flowers and things like that, or other symbols that you like?

Ayamkum Sa’eida

8:58 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Yes, Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

We will also come together as a family and eat a lot of food. The turkey will be gone before we know it.

My family also plays games like charades or we draw pictures on a big piece of paper and our team is supposed to guess what it represents. Usually, it is supposed to represent a phrase like "running water". To draw that and make someone guess the entire phrase, we will draw a man running and then something that looks like water and hope that somebody knows what it is!

Every year, before we eat, we say grace and thank God for all his blessings and ask him to look out for our family and friends and for those that do not have the those same blessings or who are in difficult times.

This year, we will be asking for blessings on our Iraqi friends and our soldiers.

God bless you and keep you safe. Ayamkum Sa'eida.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...

Ibn, Greetings to you and yours.

Ben Franklin is thought of as one of our founding fathers in the USA. His "sayings", quotes are well remembered and said even today.

Here is a website with some of his better known quotes.
Some are a little hard to understand because of the language used in that period of history. I suppose you would call it "Old English".

I belive that many of them apply to all of us in our lives and in this period and strife in Iraq.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas

5:13 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

I have greatly enjoyed reading your blog. I don't have too much to add, except that yours is a wonderful perspactive. Keep up the good writing! :-)

Patrick (San Francisco CA, USA)

1:23 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...


I just posted to a young girl in Mosul, "A star from Mosul" is her blog.

She is unhappy and discouraged and afraid. I don't blame her, it is a terrible time for children.

I wanted to copy you on what I wrote her because I believe your site has some Iraq readership. It may not help anyone but if it gives one person some help it is worth re-posting on your blog.

My best to you and yours.

I read and appreciate your thoughts and concern for your family and friends. I am sure you wish that things would be better much faster than they are.

I am also sure that your Dad is very worried and afraid for the safety of his family. I am sure he is doing everything he can to protect you, and to make things better for you, that he can.

I love my children (they are all grown now) and my grandchildren more than anything in this world. Especially my one and only granddaughter, Sarah.

She is three and three/quarters years old (3 3/4). Yet she seems to act like she is 5 years old. She goes to daycare about 3 days a week. Her mother works two jobs and is not home much. I am her babysitter the rest of the time. Which I enjoy and cherish.

I can not work anymore because of disabilities. I draw a small pension (retirement check) each month from the company I worked for, for 28 and 1/2 years.

We don't have a lot of extra money, we live month to month and do the best we can. Christmas (if you know about that) is usually for the children's toys and presents. We usually don't have many toys or such, but we try and have a good Holiday anyway. Religion is not big in our family, but we do believe in a "God". We try and behave in decent ways and treat others like we would like to be treated.

My hope for the world and your country is selfish. I know that if peace and freedom do not win, my grandchildren will pay the price and suffer.

I can not stand to even consider my "Sweet Sarah" having to suffer or be denied her freedom and her happiness.

If I were 40 years younger I would join the American Military and fight to my last breath to protect my children's and grandchildren's future. But, I am not, I am old and half-crippled and its all that I can do just to make it around each day.

My Sarah makes me get up and to try to make it each day, to bring some happiness and joy to her life and to teach her that life is good but can be hard sometimes.

To teach her to be self-sufficient and to not depend on others. To teach her that she must educate herself and to prepare her for life. To make herself strong and to be able to adapt and persevere. That is what I am going to do if I live long enough.

Your life now is not as good as it may have been or what you want it to be. You must adapt and persevere.

You will have to depend on your family but you must now start to depend on yourself. You can do what ever you believe you can.

By the way, get yourself a big pot and warm water on the stove. It can be used for many things. My mother always had a big pot of water on the stove and warm bread in the oven. We were very poor and didn't even have an indoor bathroom untill I was twelve years old.

We raised rabbits, chickens and always had a garden. She didn't have an education, (she had to drop out of school when she was 12 year old) to go to work to help her mother when her dad was killed in North Africa in World War Two.

My Dad, went into the U. S. Army when he was 17 years old and made it for the D Day Landing in Normandy. He was wounded pretty bad but survived. He was disabled but worked as a truck driver for almost 50 years. He did not own his own truck until he was 40 years old.

They were very poor and I was born late to them. But they tried to make sure I had everything I needed and some of the things that I wanted.

We didn't own a home or a house until I was almost 14 years old and only then because of a very generous man that my Dad had hauled cattle for for several years. He left my Dad an older house in the country when he died. In his will he said that my Dad had become a good friend and that he had always done a great job when he worked hauling his cattle to the market and other odd jobs he had done. He said that his daughters had learned alot from my Dad by seeing the way that he worked and raised his one and only son (me).

So you see that I am grateful for all that my parents taught me and gave me. I know that you are as grateful and love your parents as much as I did.

The situation you are in is not good, no one would like it but be grateful for the things that you do have and try and make do with them as best as you can.

You must continue your education and continue to learn as much as you can about life and the world. Do not close your mind or be hardened by your hardships.

My hope and prayer is for all children in this world to grow up with an education and have a good life. A good life much, much better than I or your father has had or our grandfathers had.

But it will not come easy or cheaply.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas

9:13 PM  
Blogger Papa Ray said...


Ibn,I hope you and yours are well and safe.

I am looking for a word or two from you. We are well and have been recovering from eating too much.

I found a new website (It is US Military) that had a lot of information. I have not read much of it yet. But thought you would like to see this one piece of it.

Health and Happiness to you in your times of strife.

This is my post

Papa Ray
West Texas

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup - definately a day for a Roumieh (a greek), which we call a turkey.

A little extra irony, I think. In olden times they though the bird was so very vain, a "show-off" as it were, that it ended up with such a silly name, although I'm sure the scientific name doesn't sound NEARLY as tasty...

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