An elderly Iraqi woman has changed her course of life in a matter of years, driven by nostalgic memories of her children and her desire to communicate with them and learn of their news.
The story began on Facebook more than two years ago with a woman known as Burtukala, Orange in Arabic, creating a profile and stirring the curiosity of young men who were eager to become friends with this beautiful dreamy woman.
After thorough research and investigation, it turned out “Burtukala” was simply 75-year-old Umm Riyad whose longing for her emigrant children compelled her to learn how to use a computer in order to communicate with them and to occupy her idle time.
In 4 years, Umm Riyad was able to learn the use of a computer and went from being an illiterate woman into a one deeply involved in politics and a critic of arts and music.
Her husband says his wife “insisted he buys her a computer and a camera. She learned how to use them, take pictures on her own and talk to her son”.
In addition to communicating with her children, Umm Riyad, “Burtukala” shares her suggestions on the political situation in Iraq and her opinions on the outcome of the race between Allawi and Maliki.
She also shares her opinion on the reality of the music industry in the Arab world and how it stopped being genuinely artistic and transformed into loud dance music.
Orange’s profile overflows with famous singers such as Umm Kalthum, Fairuz and Saad El Hali.
On communicating with her children, Umm Riyad says it is continuous, even when she’s in the kitchen, to the point she feels they are right next to her. She says she constantly talks to them and many of her friends.
With will and perseverance this woman reached the turning point of her life, beginning as someone who does not know how to read or write, into an intellectual woman well informed about politics and music.
Original report: Shaker Awwad
Adaptation: Sara Sfeir
Voice: Noora Faraj