Thursday, April 19, 2007

Coaxing a Date Tree

24 Mar 07
Before discovering oil in Iraq, dates were one of Iraq’s principal exports. In Basrah they have several date palm forests. During the Iran-Iraq war, many of the forests were destroyed. Adnan explained that the date palm is a very delicate tree. If you shoot it with one bullet, the tree will die.

Apparently it is also an emotional tree. Adnan said it is a well known fact among date farmers that if a date palm does not produce dates, he must threaten the tree. In the spring the farmer will build a bon fire next to the tree and will yell at the tree threatening to burn it down and swear at the tree. Adnan assures me that in the coming June-July the tree will produce dates without fail.

My brother-in-law lives and works in Kuwait. He said Arabs are very superstitious and it’s common to read in the newspaper where someone taken to court by someone else claiming they placed a curse upon them.

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